I'm trying to organize a series of classes based on a collaborative learning environment, but I need some information about how a non-hierarchical classroom could actually work.
I want to learn things, other people want to learn things, but none of us are really experts. So let's all do this together! Think recurring book club on steroids.
There's some stuff
on Wikipedia about collaborative learning, but most of it is business or task-oriented. We'd be working through a book on bookbinding together, not trying to build a spaceship. It seems pretty easy when you're making things, but the further you get into the intellectual realm the more difficult this seems to get.
What I've got so far:
One person is designated the instructor and acts as a mediator, reading ahead and keeping everyone on task, but beyond that I'm pretty lost. The more structured it is and the more power we give the instructor the easier it should be, but the whole point
is acknowledging that the person in charge doesn't know much more than any given person in the class, and everyone's input is valuable. We'll also be charging participants to trick them into valuing the class and keeping things a little more serious (although we'll probably refund most of their money at the end of the series).
I'm looking for info on organizations that foster a similar type of environment, anecdotes about how to successfully manage people in this type of situation, or pointers about systems that we could learn from or emulate!
and if you live in NYC and are interested in being a guinea pig, memail me and we'll see what we can do!