At some point at Educon, and unfortunately I can’t remember when, where, or who, someone said something about ‘sharing between students bandwidth.’ I made a quick note to myself asking, “What is the sharing between students bandwidth where I am?”
I know that my most powerful learning comes out of conversation, be that in person, on Twitter, or elsewhere online. It helps me to talk to others, listen to others, and try to see other perspectives. I think I have a lot of bandwidth for sharing.
I don’t know that my students do. There is a significant amount of time in our classroom during which students are talking to each other. The amount of time they spend listening to me is pretty small and the amount of time they have to be quiet is minimal. This is something I have worked hard to achieve over the years. So, that would seem positive.
However, I’m not convinced that most of their talk is powerful. I’m not sure they truly know how to share their learning and discuss it in ways that will help them and their classmates grow. I think they have a lot of bandwidth for sharing, but I don’t think they know how to use it.
Having the bandwidth isn’t very meaningful if it isn’t used well. I wouldn’t let them get on our computers and just use them to watch PBS Kids videos or play drill and kill games. Those aren’t terrible things to do, just as their talk right now isn’t terrible, but both could be a lot better. We need to ensure that we’re making good use of our bandwidth. At least most of the time.