The term 'pedagogy' can make a teacher's eyes glaze over.

Let's think of it as the essence of our craft - the way we define ourselves and what we do. This 'essence'underpins our thinking, especially important if we are embracing a new approach - one that moves away from us being a 'source of knowledge', toward being an influencer, a resource person, a coach and mentor. At the core of C21 Ideas is an online course management system that allows you to fill this role effectively.

The system, called 'Moodle' is something of a revolution in education, partly because as an online learning environment it has few equals, but also because of the ideology of its creator Martin Dougiamas. He developed the system and makes it freely available to support his philosophy of education, one he calls 'social constructionism'. It has five main principles:

  • All of us are potential teachers as well as learners - in a true collaborative environment we are both.
  • We learn particularly well from the act of creating or expressing something for others to see (learning by doing).
  • We learn a lot by just observing the activity of our peers.
  • By understanding the contexts of others, we can teach in a more transformational way.
  • A learning environment needs to be flexible and adaptable so that it can quickly respond to the needs of the participants in it.

As well as ideas, pedagogy is also about practice - the structures in place to support the learning activities. Once again, there are many learning models that become fashionable for a time, then get superseded by later models. While C21 Ideas has clear links to at least three current learning models: E5; Stealth Learning; and Cognitive Apprenticeship, the program is based upon a model developed in response to four common student questions:

  • what do I need to know? ( Knowledge)
  • what can I do with it?(Operacy)
  • what will I have when I've done it? (Results)
  • what next? (Reflection)

Each part of the C21 Ideas process from design challenges to student funded travel provides an answer to these four questions. As a learning model it keeps the process simple and objectives clear - essential when all partners in the activity are working in a simulated 'real-world' environment.