Over the term I have noticed on a number of occasions that in order to find success with their Inquiry the students need further help on how to research to find good and relevant information and to work together to timeframes. Last term while we were completing biographies on Explorers I had become aware that my students were finding it a challenge to locate and use the information available to them successfully. ( This was noticeable because of the output of learning they were producing) So after reading up about this I have come across the SOLE project headed by Sugata Mitra. SOLE = Self Organised Learning Environment.

In a SOLE environment student driven learning is facilitated by an educator and is collaborative, curious, social and self organised. I have always been a strong educator in the areas of encouraging curious and collaborative environments but reflecting on my current practice there is definitely room for the self organised part to be further developed in group learning and to reap rewards for my students.  The cohort I have this year could benefit from the opportunity to develop organisational skills when completing group work. SO I THINK I HAVE FOUND ANOTHER CHALLENGE! How wonderful to be able to embark on something new at this stage in the year, and hopefully set them up for success with group learning as they progress through the school

Reading on theschoolinthecloud.org I am in for a treat!

The sessions run for 55 minutes and start with a big question for the children to explode. Our Geography topic is looking at South America, Africa and how they compare and contrast to Australia. Some of the big questions I am going to use are:

What do we know about the way South American people live work and play?

What do we know about the way African people live, work and play?

How do the lives of African people differ from the lives of Australian people?

How do the lives of South American people differ from the lives of Australian people?

What impact does the climate and or terrain have on the types of dwellings people build?

(Let me know if you have any other suggestions)

Then the students work in groups of four with one computer to research their information and work out their thoughts. They only have 40 minutes.

After that we have ten minutes to reflect back as a class and facilitate a discussion on their learning and most importantly their process.

One of the challenges for me is that to truly operate as a SOLE the following rules apply:

  • Get into groups of about four
  • Each group should have access to one computer
  • The students can move groups at any time
  • It’s okay to share learning between groups
  • Everyone can move around and talk freely
  • You will be largely ‘invisible’ during the session – it might be an idea to get the students to nominate a mediator who can liaise with you if need be

Many of these rules I am a familiar practitioner with but….in group work in my classroom in the past I have never let the students move groups at anytime, WOW I wonder how this will turn out.  I can see that there will be benefits socially.  I also love the idea of groups sharing learning on the go and moving around and talking freely. This will allow us to build and add on to our information to create a much bigger base together.

So now I just have to wait out the holidays before I can try it out……


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