How to Build a Natural Swimming Pond
Mary Ellis and Darin Faber
As an exploration of the implications of abundant content for lifelong learners, we were asked to partner up with a classmate and research a topic of interest. Upon completing our first meeting, reviewing a variety of different subjects of interest, we decided to research how to build a natural swimming pond. Neither of us has experience in the construction of natural swimming ponds. Environmental awareness is a hot topic, both in education and in everyday life. Building a natural swimming pond follows the theme of environmental awareness and is an alternative to the creation of a traditional swimming pool.
Sources of Digital Content
- websites (personal),
- blogs (personal),
- commercial pool installers (opinion, FAQs and tips articles),
- communities of practice websites,
- complete portable doucment format (PDF) based manuals
- (communities of practice websites),
- social media (Facebook, Reddit),
- photographs (Google images, Pinterest),
- Youtube, Vimeo,
- e-books, and
- online university libraries (Royal Roads, Carleton).
Level of Abundance
In our original discussion, based on our assessment of environmental awareness as a hot topic in today’s world, we predicted that there would more than likely be a large quantity of material available on the web. This conclusion was accurate, as we culminated a collection of hundreds of sources on how to build a natural swimming pond.This collection included a multitude of do-it-yourself articles, videos, photographs, and documents. We also found several opinion-based articles on natural swimming ponds. However, these were mostly supplied by commercial pool companies.
The results from our searches, within Google.com and Bing.com, showed that the majority of the resource-based learning (RBL) (Weller, 2011) material on building natural swimming ponds originated from the general public. While the RBL material does come from a variety of individuals, it is the amount of material that gives the learner ability to compare with the different instructions made available. As Weller (2011) states “the ability to construct appropriate and rigorous knowledge from a range of sources is even more relevant” (p.8). Some articles and videos were found within communities of practice that involve environmental awareness or the building and maintenance of pools. While not directly related to pedagogy, these communities of practice, as outlined by Weller (2011), do promote “self-direction, user-generated content and social aspect” (p. 9).
Equipped for Use
Weller (2011) suggests that a pedagogy of abundance be based on some assumptions, one of which is a generative system. Weller cites Zittrain’s (as cited by Weller, 2008) argument that unpredictability and freedom, essential characteristics of the internet, create innovative developments. We found this to be true in the user-generated content outlining various designs and systems for natural swimming pools. There were many competing systems and opinions on best practices and safety concerns. Making use of this abundance of online material requires the learner to be equipped with methods for the dissemination of such a large body of information. George Siemens (as cited by Weller, 2011) proposed the theory of connectivism in that “learning takes place within a network” (p. 9). Siemen’s principles of connectivism outline the tools necessary for the learner to make use of the abundant content on the web. Anderson (n.d.) summarized these methods as the ability to “access, process, filter, recommend, and apply information with the aid of machines, peers, and experts within the learning network” (p. 43).Learners also can also locate field-related professionals on the web. As Weller states “it is not only content that is accessible” on the web, the learner now has “access to social networks of peers, experts, and learners” (p. 5). Instruction can be shared and delivered from a variety of individual sources. As with the abundance of learning material, there are more field-related experts who are readily available to share their thoughts and ideas in blogs and on forums (Weller, 2011).
Teaching the Content
Without the first-hand experience of building a natural swimming pond, we both came to the same conclusion; we would not be confident enough to teach a course on the construction of a natural swimming pond without the experience. However, we could comfortably aggregate enough available information and instruction from the abundance of digital content available on the web to create an online step-by-step course. This online course would have to include a disclaimer, as the learner would be responsible for the construct of their natural swimming pond.
Anderson, T. (2016). Chapter 3: Theories of Learning with Emerging Technologies. In Veletsianos, G. (Ed). Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications. Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.
Weller, M. (2011). A pedagogy of abundance. Spanish Journal of Pedagogy, 249, 223–236.