Time to Begin Using MOOCs to Harvest and Aggregate Our Collective Knowledge for an Educational Technology and Media Knowledge Base for Teaching

In gold mining, I’ve heard miners use terms like “overburden,” “pay gravel,” “gold pan,” “sample,” “bedrock,” “gold path,” “color,” “gold flakes,” gold nuggets,” “we got gold!”

The miner scrapes away the overburden or soil on a claim until they reach pay gravel which lies on top of the bedrock. “Pay” gravel is a rather hopeful term until the miner use the gold pan to sample the gravel for gold. Gravel is placed in the pan with water, the sampling process results in the gold, which is heavy, ending up on the bottom of the pan in black soil so it is clearly visible in the pan. Colors, flakes, and gold nuggets refer to the gold’s appearance in the pan from the smallest (colors) in size to largest (nuggets). Obviously the miner seeks a large sample of gold which indicate they may be onto a rich deposit of gold that would be well worth the investment of heavy equipment.

In an earlier post I asked: “How is and/or should be developing a Professional Knowledge Base for Teaching (PKBT) from the learning experiences we have during #etmooc like mining for gold?”

As participants in Etmooc, we seek the gold of new learning. In some ways isn’t our participation in the mooc a decision to seek the “pay gravel” so we can sample until we find the gold standard of Educational Technology and Media knowledge, understanding, maybe even wisdom?

Lorne Upton pointed me to “How the Crowd Can Teach”

The article speaks about the current use of educational technology and social software by “groups” and “networks,” and the collective knowledge that can be anonymously “harvested” from the space and tools used by networks using collective tools.

They do not speak of communities of practice (a network) consciously choosing to design mechanisms and containers for harvesting and aggregating the rich thinking by practitioners and researchers during a Mooc so they can add to professional knowledge base for teaching using educational technology.

In The Skillful Teacher (Saphier, Haley-Spica and Gower, 2008) the authors present The (Six) Knowledge Bases for Professional Teachers graphic. I think, as participants in Etmooc, we have an opportunity to present the educational community with our understanding of the collective knowledge base for educational technology and media, the seventh and currently missing knowledge base.

For that to happen, however, we have to consciously choose to design mechanisms and containers for harvesting and aggregating the rich thinking by practitioners and researchers during Etmooc.  Maybe then we can collectively shout out to our profession and the world, “We got gold.”

What do you think?

Graphic from page 7 of The Skillful Teacher (Saphier, Haley-Spica and Gower, 2008) Click it to view larger.

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