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Reimagining Community

Session 5
Teresa DeFlitch — Winchester Thurston School

Social technologies have disrupted traditional notions of community. Instead of geographical hometowns, community is thriving within digital, interest-based global networks. While many lament the demise of the town square, many individuals utilize global networks to innovate, create, and solve problems. How do we engage our students in the exploration of this global network of collective action?

We will consider how the digital age affects how we teach community, not only in terms of tools but also conceptually. For example, traditionally, students move from small to big, i.e., classroom to town to state to region to nation to world and so on. This progression is certainly logical, but does it prepare students for the complex, fluid notions of community with which they must engage? Does it address the growing tension between private and public space, or the push and pull of globalization on community structures?

To frame this conversation, we will consider the role of systems thinking, technology, and community-based learning. What is systems thinking, how is it being taught in the K-12 setting, and what role does it play in developing student understanding of what a community is and what it can be? What role do mobile technologies play in connecting students internationally, in addition to engaging the local community? How may we rethink authentic learning, typically implemented through field trips, project-based learning, and experiential learning, in a way that reflects modern perspectives of community, collaboration and collective action?

Conversational Practice

We will use visual thinking strategies to explore changing definitions of community and then use Corkboard.me to collectively brainstorm what role systems thinking and technology play in teaching community, and how community-based learning and other areas of focus suggested by the group may look differently based on our definition. We can then share our brainstorming via the Corkboard.me link.

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Presenter Profiles

Teresa DeFlitch
Teresa DeFlitch
Winchester Thurston School


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