I couldn’t help myself for creating a Star Trek reference! For those that don’t understand the insignia, it is the Borg symbol. This is the only other time I have heard the term “collective”.
“The Borg Collective is the term used to define the forced combined consciousness of trillions of individuals, using technology. The Borg are distinguished by their collective consciousness (often heard by a chorus of voices), their fusion of biological matter and technology, and their driving principle to assimilate all knowledge or eradicate threats, without regard to ethics.” (Star Trek Online Wiki, 2016)
According to Thomas, a collective “is a collection of people, skills, and talent that produces a result greater than the sum of its parts.” (Kindle location 615-630) Ironically, we enhance this collective by using technology, so essentially the Borg Collective is not too different than what Thomas describes, except that our collectives are ruled by ethics.
Strength comes from participation from each member of the collective, and that reminds me of two pedagogies, student-centered learning, and project-based learning. It was great to read a math teacher’s strategies to incorporate student-centered learning in a high school math class. Paul Bogdan lists five strategies, but the one that caught my attention was the first one. “Write detailed lesson plans and give them to the students to execute.” (Bogdan, 2011) I was astonished at this strategy, until I read the explanation. Teachers know their content and many, including me, don’t like to write lesson plans because they know the lesson already, so why not write a lesson plan for students to follow? They can explore, research, collaborate, and really take charge of their own learning. The teacher is now the facilitator instead of the sole provider of knowledge. There is still opportunities for individual, group, or whole class teaching by the teacher, but the majority of learning comes from the students themselves. They can use this collective idea that Thomas talks about.
Project-based learning also reminds me of a collective. The elements of project-based learning are: students work in groups; students have increased control over their learning; teachers serve as facilitators or coaches; and students tackle real-world problems. (Vega, 2015) I think this collective term is really a combination of several known pedagogies that can be grouped that have similar strategies, goals, and outcomes. One aspect that might appear different is the introduction of technology that can allow students from different locations around the globe work together in this collective. There are no physical boundaries, and limitations of a small collective would disappear because of the increased participation of students around the world.
My reference to the Borg earlier is somewhat light-hearted, but I believe there is some truth and relation to what the goal of the Borg is, and the goal of Thomas’ collective. We want to assimilate all knowledge from the group, from all corners of the Earth. The Borg is just a fantasy version of it, in a galactic perspective. 🙂
Bogdan, Paul. (2011). Student-Centered Learning Strategies for Math and Other Subjects. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/student-centered-learning-activities-paul-bogdan
Thomas, Douglas. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change (Kindle). CreateSpace. Kindle Edition.
Unknown Author. (2016). The Borg Collective. Star Trek Online Wiki. Retrieved from http://sto.gamepedia.com/Borg_Collective
Vega, Vanessa. (2015). Project-Based Learning Research Review. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/pbl-research-learning-outcomes