What's the difference between ecosystem and ecology?

ECOLOGY – "the study of" environment, geography for instance.
It is a comprehensive study of organisms and their relation with the environment they live in and interact with one another.

Discussion about Human Knot Activity
*How did this make you feel?
-comfortable due to prior familiarity with one another
-closer -- got to know one another better
-uncomfortable: don’t like touching/being touched; perceiving other person’s discomfort
-like a ragdoll
-don’t like being forced to join; alternatives: participate the first time, choose a different role the second time (e.g., moderator, cheerleader)
-physically in pain
-blind: physically -- back to group or can’t see around people; mind -- can’t think because of stress or lack of proficiency in spatial reasoning
*What does this make you think of?
-importance of hygiene -- family and cultural connections
-credibility of information -- does this person who’s making a suggestion know what she’s talking about?
-faith, trust, to go with it
-people’s skills
-leadership negotiation -- who spoke more, who followed more
-value of process
-risking “failure” or not delivering a successful product
-diction: failure < challenge, not succeeding yet, how could you do it differently?
-opening opportunity to safely struggle, experience disappointment, recover -- resilience
-open-mindedness -- seeing what happens when you suggest a challenging task
-motivation of trying hard and not quite getting it -- “failure” as addictive
-recommitting -- deciding to re-join the group in order to save a tanking endeavor in order to increase the odds of success or at least maintain (even enrich) relations among participants

*How can this be adopted?
-Literal activity: first week of class activity
-Ingredients of activity: create opportunities to challenge teachers’ and students’ comfort around “failure,” think through experiences that might make students feel uncomfortable/blind; build in access points for multiple learners, interrogate cultural assumptions embedded in lessons (e.g., it’s okay for people to touch one another, it’s easy for people to speak up); give time to processes that require experimentation and play; support community members’ opportunities to discover others’ diverse skills, intelligences

*NML Skills

_Discussion about Learning Ecosystem
[-Bronfenbrenner ecological systems model:]

-administrators being critical, focusing on the negative
-pretending for the administrators’ benefit, tipping students off to their presence
-analogy of cop pulling up alongside you on the road, you wondering what you’re doing wrong, not trusting that your words or actions will be understood
-unclear objectives in administrators’ observations -- to flush out deficits, to merely watch the students’ observations
-freedom to play and to fail is often not granted by administrators and/or under administrators’ scrutiny
-freedom to explore when administrators are absent
-confidence in own work vs. uncertainty as to how best to prepare students for future
-role of confidence in getting people on board, regardless of audience
-academic research instills confidence in the validity of certain approaches
-understanding administrators’ position: they are not instructional leaders
-to what extent should we be cautious vis-a-vis administrators for own sake, colleagues’ sake?
-vernacular: administrator vs. team leader
-collective bargaining -- group of teachers approaches the administrator
-project-based learning, immersion learning as new approach along with new assessment method --- administrators pull students out and interview them
-people who overlap columns in different ways, flat and/or innovative structure vs. traditional, hierarchical structure
-resistance against change, even at “top-notch” institutions
-complexity of co-teaching -- communicative challenges, negotiation, give-and-take
-comfort with self is required in order to transparently share with others
-how does behavior change when you know you’re being watched vs. when you feel protected from outsiders’ judgment?
-positive feedback would increase comfort around “going public”

_“How Wide is a Line” video

_Back to administrator discussion
*Role of administrators in Summer Sandbox?
-chilling effect on frankness
-potential risk for getting in trouble
-frustration with people who couldn’t handle classroom management now dictating policy for classroom management
-administrators’ ultimate job is to support educators, should be forced into classroom at least one-two hours a week and should have to teach so that they don’t lose touch

-is that too simple? does an hour every once in a while really convey reality?
-are principals the middlemen/yesmen between teachers and district?
*Where are spaces for positive conversations?
*How would administrators react to our ideas?
-artistic approach to science since the school is cutting the arts program might be attractive; would standardized test scores-oriented administrators reject this idea? as a group, are administrators more rule-followers than teachers?
-critical problem-solving skills prepared students for taking on unfamiliar material -- higher test scores than in classes where the students had covered the whole book)
-as number of years that an administrator has been outside of the classroom increases, s/he is better able to remember what it’s like to be inside the classroom, less willing to listen to concerns, more permissive of teachers’ autonomy
-if admin would sit in PD explicating 21st century learning, then they would be more receptive to allowing “organized chaos”

_Learning ecologies outside of the school environment, through popular cultures, and opportunities for bringing this back inside the school?
*Avatar as a metaphor to enact experience -- Palestinian protestors in occupied territory marched in costume as Na’vi
-notion of disguise, occupying body of other for political protest
-challenging imperialism via cultural imperialism, appropriating a story that speaks to the West and drawing connections between their plight and the sympathetic characters’ -- perhaps the West chose the wrong side
-identify bias -- can do a disservice to class if you don’t trace video’s origins and bias
-montage of walls: Great Wall of China, Haiti, Berlin Wall, Texas-Mexico border; do borders and boundaries change shape? are they always visible? do boundaries deny liberty or keep you safe?
-Avatar as critique of military industrial complex and hypocrisy -- flexible set of metaphors that people can align with (miners vs. industrialists, natives vs. loggers, refugees vs. landowners)
-what is the power of metaphor for politics?
-power of pop culture as a way of understanding the world and power relations

*Harry Potter
-borders between those who enjoy the story and those who seek to ban it
-device for exploring school contexts, how teaching and learning should happen, styles of teachers and their relationships with students
-scaffolding and learning ecosystem: requirement of drawing from community in order to succeed in Triwizard Tournament
-Daily Prophet (which has been taken down) as method for connecting to Hogwarts and imaging role in that community
-Fiction Alley as site for receiving feedback on writing that is richer than teachers often give
-peer-to-peer mentoring in English language skills from people who are reading their stories online
-multiple forms of assessment
-J.K. Rowling encourages the use the imagination to build empathy for the other, particularly for the generation of students who grew up/learned how to read on Harry Potter
-Harry Potter Alliance
-Mohammed’s video: DreamActivists.org, collaboration across country and ethnic groups (as opposed to other social/civil rights movements that have been segmented by ethnic groups), new media facilitates rapid spread of innovation/rhetoric/tactics across the country and intimacy (first names as intimacy and as less trackable (no last names)), risk of deportation by rejecting anonymity, inspired by LGBT movement (“coming out”), inspired by The Office
-shift from individual to collective intelligence
-complex learning ecology that’s taking place on the online world
-fludiity of learning culture in the classroom -- the way students are learning outside of school are fluid, interconnected, combining stakeholders
-if school is unconnected, becomes more difficult to replicate the powerful learning that occurs outside
-can provocative videos such as these be shown in the classrom? (can do it but don’t tell administrators, more experienced teachers more willing to butt heads due to confidence of own rightness and/or job security)
-balance both sides of political issues in order to avoid accusations of brainwashing kids with own political beliefs
-What’s my purpose/goal? frame controversial videos for different purpose -- examine learning ecologies and the interactions between/among dialogues in multiple loci rather than position on immigration
-is it disingenuous to show a political video but disavow politics? choosing this controversial film is a defacto political decision
-is the classroom a sacred space? do students enter with assumption that the information is more credible, less biased than outside?
-how do we acknowledge our own implicit bias vs. deal with explicit political bias?
-what is authentic material for classroom, what is going to facilitate a constructive conversation vs. distract?
-set up a classroom climate before bringing in controversial material
-facial recognition technology and video tracking software -- threatening anonymity of people who post videos and integrating digital footprint
-social media for alternative channels of information, connecting outsiders to the story > organizing people within a country

A Sense of Place: The Classroom
-Inspiration = brainstorming software

1. Brainstorm elements that are important to consider in designing a participatory learning environment (e.g., lighting, furniture mobility as well as voice, time, etc)
2. On paper, draw a map of your classroom’s current configuration.
3. On a transparency, draw what your ideal classroom would like if money were no object. Overlay this transparency on top of the current classroom.
4. On a transparency, draw a reality-based classroom configuration (in which money is an object, working with materials that are accessible).