Asynchronous Learning – Part 1

Asynchronous learning – people online learning independently at their own pace and time.

I watched a keynote presentation by Angela Maiers. This presentation was done in 2011 as part of an annual K-12 online conference. Presenters create videos, usually 20 minutes in length where it is posted for people to view.

The presentation by Angela was centered around the conference’s theme, Purposeful Play.

Her presentation is entitled, ‘The Sandbox Manifesto‘ – “The ‘Rules of the Sandbox’ are not just for kids. There is much we can learn as teachers, leaders, and citizens of the web and world. See how playing nice and playing well is not just only good behavior, it is good strategy for success on the Social Web. Join me as we explore the tenets of ‘The Sandbox Manifesto’ can serve us in our classrooms and communities.”

Here are some quotes from Angela which resonated with me:

  • “Play isn’t simply something we do as an extra part of our life. Play is life. It’s through play that we find ourselves.”
  • “Play is also a place where change happens. In play, we create, we imagine, we dream, we dig, we tinker, we discover and amazing things come about from those experiences.”
  • “… the end of learning as serious work. The end of learning as covering content. The end of learning as something boring and something standard.”
  • “Play is work.

This reminded me that as teachers, we should remember the importance of play for all of our students. They need play to dream, create, imagine and to explore. Not everything has to be so structured. I think we should let students play – whether they are in kindergarten or in grade 12 and as adults too!

Then, Angela plays in a sandbox with students. She discovers rules of the sandbox as told by the kids: be humble, be respectful, don’t throw sand, share, take turns, work together, you can’t be in other people’s way. As I watched the clips of the kids playing, they were happy and they were having fun using their imagination – they didn’t need a tv or video game to entertain them, they were content with the company of others and the sand and their own creativity.

Angela then presented the 10 tenets (principles/beliefs) of  “The Sandbox Manifesto“:

  1. “Sharing is caring” – share more, care more, give more and find success.
  2. “Messy is good” – you will find freedom and beauty.
  3. “Imagination is your greatest asset” – anything is possible.
  4. “Sand is for filling buckets,  never for throwing” – it hurts others and wastes your play time.
  5. “Hugs help and smiles always matter” – never underestimate the power of these simple acts of kindness as they define you.
  6. “Take it to the community” – turn to others if problems arise because there will always be someone who can help you and make things work.
  7. “Strangers and future friends” – a stranger is a friend you haven’t played with long enough yet to get to know them.
  8. “Be remarkable” – do what you love, do it the way you dod it. The world and sandbox needs your contributions. You are your own genius.
  9. “You are the master of your universe” – the only limitations are the ones you set for yourself.
  10. “Play is work” – honour the tools, the rules and one another for together, there is nothing we can’t accomplish.

“Live the manifesto as your students do. Expect great things.””

I really like the fifth tenet and believe that all of the tenets can be applied to the lives of our students and to our own lives.

One hour of play tells you more about an individual than one hundred hours of intellectual conversations. – Aristotle. 



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