This week, I was asked too contribute to a class google slides project about our shared purpose in equitable connected learning. It was an interesting experience because while we all had a similar basic interpretation of equity in the classroom, we each have a personal spin on equity as it has played out in our lives.
This s what is so great about shared purpose! There is a goal that we are all working toward, but it offers a certain flexibility that allows each of us to reach that goal in our own way. I am reminded of Roberto, a student I was introduced to in Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom. Roberto is a student who does not see the value in engaging in academia in the traditional ways because the system itself looks down on identities that he claims. Those tasks that Roberto does deem meaningful, he engages in completely, which is when his teach used shared purpose to approach Roberto and engage his strengths.
Roberto reminds me of my brother. He always did exactly what he had to do to get A’s and B’s and he exerted little more energy than that. He was not stimulated by the traditional classroom setting, however, he would come home and go cliff jumping with his friends and his Go-Pro and come home and make films with audio and visuals. When he got bored of that, he began taking sneakers apart and rebuilding them in the basement. My brother is very intelligent, though you would not necessarily know it by looking at his report cards growing up. He thinks differently and is stimulated by real-world problems, not the facsimiles produced in classrooms.
My brother could have greatly benefited from learning with a shared purpose because it would have allowed him to demonstrate his unique style of problem-solving and bring an additional perspective to the classroom. That is what shared purpose can offer. In the classroom, shared purpose can offer access by valuing diversity where diversity would otherwise be looked down on in favor of teaching to the test.