Self-Directed and Collaborative Education through SOLE

Session Description

In this workshop, you will learn about Sugata Mitra’s Self-Organized Learning Environments (SOLE) collaborative learning model and how to implement it in a co-op environment. We will focus on troubleshooting common problems that SOLE facilitators encounter during a SOLE session and develop solutions to those problems.

In 2013, Sugata Mitra won the TED Talk Prize with “Building a School in the Cloud,” in which he explains a revolutionary way of looking at how kids can teach themselves and each other using internet resources. Students today are growing up in a world full of information and easy ways to access it, unlike previous generations when knowledge was relatively more scarce. This change in culture necessitates a change in how students find, evaluate, and use information. SOLEs are process-focused (as opposed to a content-focused class such as history or math), and through the SOLE process, students are challenged to educate themselves on a topic in a collaborative manner, sharing resources, ideas, working through problems, diving deeper into the topic according to their interests, and coming up with a method to share the information they have discovered with others.

SchoolintheCloud.org provides those who are interested in facilitating SOLEs with a toolkit for getting started. In this interactive class, we will build on that toolkit to troubleshoot common problems that may occur in a SOLE session, including how to teach kids how to do the SOLE, coming up with interesting questions, how to manage conflicts, how to develop deeper research and evaluation skills. The role of the facilitator is primarily observer, which means that to the extent possible, the facilitator must stay out of the students’ work processes. However, being a skilled observer is not easy. I’ll show you a few things facilitators can do to make the SOLE session a valuable learning experience for everyone.

Attendees will come away from this class with an understanding of what SOLE is and how to run one, some specific strategies for managing common SOLE problems, and clear expectations of what a successful SOLE looks like (hint: it doesn’t always involve a smooth-running, conflict-free class!). We will have a lot of fun working together to develop solutions and ideas!

All participants should download and familiarize themselves with the SOLE Toolkit (attached) and also found here: https://www.theschoolinthecloud.org/how-to/sole-toolkit/. This is free material provided by SOLE, and we will be referring to this throughout the workshop.

Secular Homeschool Convention, Atlanta 2018

Jenn’s Biography

Jenn Casey is a homeschooling mom of 3 kids (ages 10, 13, and 16) who lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia. She has been running SOLEs since 2013, over 180 so far among four different co-op groups. Jenn is also the Vice President on the Board of Directors for STAC: Space, Time, and Community, which is a secular inclusive community of homeschooling families. When she is not working with her own kids or homeschooling communities, Jenn is a competitive Kettlebell Sport athlete, a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer, and runs the CrossFit Kids and Swing Fit programs at CrossFit Kennesaw. Jenn is a member of Team USA and competed in Kettlebell Sport at the World Championships in Seoul, South Korea in November 2017.

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