Everybody possesses knowledge or a skill that they could share with others. But, in too many classrooms – both online and offline – what students know is mostly left out. Coding the Humanities creates a classroom that offers context to everybody’s knowledge and reduces the need for more or new content, by leveraging the knowledge that’s already there.
The Alternative Classroom
Imagine two classrooms. In the first, you see a teacher who teaches a group of students. The student’s contribution is only minimal. In the second classroom, you see a group of people sharing what they know with each other. Yet, many traditional classrooms – and even many online learning spaces – are modelled after the first classroom. Only the second classroom, however, do learners actively engage with and share their personal learning paths.
The Coding the Humanities pilot set out to create an alternative classroom where knowledge is contributed and shared by everyone, but where learners simultaneously focus on their own, personal learning goals.
Be Lazy, Impatient and Bold
In May 2013, Coding the Humanities organised a one-month coding boot camp for humanities students. We created a space where students were encouraged to shape their own learning paths. Students were encouraged adopt a programmer’s mindset, which meant:
- Be lazy. Use the work of others
- Be impatient. Make something before you know it
- Be bold. Boast and share every step take
Out of everyone and everything, from teachers, to students, to guest lecturers, most knowledge came from Google. Almost anything students needed to know, they found online. It turned out there was no need for more content. There was a need to structure, track and share all the things that they found.