Another way to think about complexity

One of the subjects where I teach is “School Organization and Educational Resources” for the  bilingual group of first-year students at the degree in Primary Education at my University (University of Murcia).

One of the first things I like working with my students when we come to speak about “the organization”, is try to understand complexity in education, everything that has to do with it and, very specifically, to the school as complex context.
I must confess, however, that these kinds of topics I find difficult to work; I guess because in the first year of degree and especially for those very young people, it is difficult to see the importance of issues as “tacit” and little “touchable” as the complex relations between the elements of a system. So, I try to make approaches to content analysis involving the concept, but, as closer as possible to reality.

On this occasion I suggested to my students the following task:

They must review the first chapter of the book Teaching and learning in the digital age de Louise Starkey (we have also worked using the 4th, but I’ll tell you soon), which speaks “simply” about 6 issues related to complexity in schools:

  • Complexity theory
  • The context of a complex organization
  • The emerging knowledge through connections
  • Diversity and redundancy
  • The balance between randomless and deterministic order
  • Theory of complexity and change in schools

I asked students who, after reading the text, should seek in the news last year (national or international), 1 news illustrate each of these issues. Each group conducted a newspaper where he exhibited his news and the relationship between the news and issues we work (here you can see some example  1 , here another 2, another more 3  and  finally another more 4

Once they made the newspapers, the whole class chose 6 articles that will help illustrate the concepts worked and the performed -among all (self-management and self-organization)- a News TV Show, with 6 news that try to illustrate how complex is the complexity of schools. Here you can see the result:

Here the links from the real news:

1 Hoy comienza la Semana Cultural del colegio Camilo Hernández.
2 BBC News Is South Korean education ‘best in world’?…
3 Un colegio en Vallecas, sin libros ni deberes.
4 Colegios innovadores… sin salir de España
5 Unique Uses of Twitter in the Classroom
6 La educación virtual

… It is not very long, so I invite you to watch it complete to value their work and give us some feedback: to students about whatever you want (please, treat them softly, take into account they already have enough with suffering a teacher like me), and to me, on the activity itself.

I worry that the video could “tarnishes” the important of the issue, the activity “eat” the content and the eflection, yet they continue to make their reflections in the group blog … nevertheless, “traditional” approaches do not ensure that they will focus on “the important thing” … so it only remains to explore and go in the direction of what we know: authentic learning, use of reality, reflection, collaborative work … at least try .. .

Well, you will say to me … I’m looking forward to hearing from you all…



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