The internet is what you get when everyone is a curator and everything is linked — David Weinberger, Too Big to Know
What I like most about THATCamps is that the sessions are inclusive and participatory. While there may be a session moderator, the best moderators manage to decentralize the flow of ideas. Since my first THATCamp at CHNM in 2011, I’ve wondered how I could bring the unconference to the college classroom. I therefore propose a session in which we figure out how to become unteachers. What does an unclassroom look like? What does an unteacher do? Do students have enough knowledge to bring to the table so they can have a rich and transformative discussion? How is unteaching different from “flipping” the classroom?
At the 2011 THATCamp MCN conference, I announced to a group of curators that I wasn’t a huge fan of museums, which generated an eager and productive conversation. I suggested that perhaps I’d take more interest in museum exhibits if I were the one curating them — researching the history of artifacts, grouping them according to themes, writing historical notes, etc. (And since then, I’ve see that at least one museum has taken up a similar idea.)
I imagine the same exercise of curating could be true for my own students. When David Weinberger says that “everyone is a curator,” he’s referring to the vast amount of information that everyone has to sift through on the internet and in the archives. Now, more than ever, students need to learn to sift through this information themselves, and teachers (and publishers) should not continue to safeguard the curriculum by writing syllabi and requiring pre-curated textbooks.
I therefore have two major lines of inquiry I’d like to explore. 1) How does an unteacher design an unclass? What does a syllabus for an unclass look like? 2) How does an unteacher manage the everyday classroom? How can students apply their independently curated knowledge? What do students do every day?