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Learning 2.0...3.0?
Students arrived on campus Monday night for start of the Winter Term, a trimester that will stretch from the opening of classes tomorrow to the beginning of March. While the winter can seem like a long one, it affords classes the opportunity to engage in long-term projects involving significant research, organization of information and synthesizing of ideas. We highlighted some of these large-scale projects last winter in this post, and will be sure to revisit new projects this winter.

Our living in an era of Learning 2.0, defined as a time where learners are able to use social media and collaborative learning to augment their educational experiences, has reshaped what many of these long-term projects could, and should, look like for our students at Proctor.

Will Richardson, who visited campus to speak with faculty about the future of education and technology last January, recently shared this blog post via his Twitter Account. The post, written by Steve Wheeler, explores the notion of not only Learning 2.0, but a coming evolution of learning that will redefine how we teach and how we can expect students to learn. While Wheeler's concept of Learning 3.0 is self-described as embryonic, it is nonetheless an intriguing concept to ponder.

In one of Wheeler's previous blog posts, he references the architecture of learning in a 2.0 world, noting that students are key to enhancing both their own learning experience, and those of others engaging in social networks. Learning 2.0 is, "Recognised by more active and participatory modes of learning, and are rarely isolated learning activities." In Learning 2.0, individuals, "Increasingly rely on social interaction, and appropriate tools to mediate dialogue. Collaborative, shared online learning spaces are characteristic meeting places where content can be created and shared." Students become the content generators and help guide their own learning experience.

While many classes at Proctor use blogs and wikis to share information and to create dynamic collaborative learning spaces, we have also created entire programs that capitalize on concepts core to Learning 2.0. Thirty-six students are entering classes on campus tomorrow for the first time since last spring after having studied abroad in a dynamic, collaborative learning experience in one of three off-campus programs this fall (Costa Rica, Ocean Classroom, and Proctor in Spain). Thirty different students are preparing for a term abroad this winter, each in an educational program (Mountain Classroom, Proctor in Spain, European Art Classroom, and Costa Rica) that relies heavily on collaborative learning, shared ideas, and student driven experiences.

Steve Wheeler supposes Learning 3.0 will involve sophisticated, intelligent web tools that recommend content based on learned behavior of individuals and will involve infinite possibilities for learners. While we have no way to know what Learning 3.0 will truly look like, it will undoubtedly change the face of education as we know it. Equally exciting, however, is the understanding that no matter how technology shifts the process of learning, our programs at Proctor will continue to evolve as the world shifts around us, all while retaining the focus on experiential learning and relationships that make a Proctor education so unique.
Technology and the evolution of Learning 2.0 and even Learning 3.0 shifts how we approach student learning.
Collaborative exercises dominate our classrooms as students not only engage with each other with physical activities, but also through collaborative online forums.
What is most exciting about Proctor's educational model is its ability to offer programs that not only capitalize on new types of learning that have evolved with technology, but are founded on relationships and experiential learning.
Proctor's off-campus programs are the most obvious examples of this type of collaborative learning model, but the same type of environment exists on campus as well.
We have no idea what Learning 3.0 might look like, just as five years ago we had no idea what Learning 2.0 would look like today. But, we remain confident in our ability, as a school, to adjust, evolve, and complement technology with relationships and hands-on learning.