3G pedagogy

By robynjay On February 27th, 2011

In his DEHub summit keynote Terry Anderson spoke on the technical challenges and opportunities of 3 generations of distance (in its loosest sense) education pedagogies. It was a balanced, eclectic approach that aligned to our approach in designing the PiE course at SWSI (moodle based).

He began by explicitly stating his values:

  • student control and freedom
  • continued educational opportunities as a human right, and that
  • we can continuously improve the quality effectiveness, appeal, cost and time efficiency of the learning experience

and his belief that ‘technology sets the beat and timing, and pedagogy defines what you do with it’.

The 3 generations – behaviourist, constructivist and connectivist – in themselves and their definitions were nothing new but he did a good job at positioning them as an integrated approach to meet the needs of life long learners in complex contexts.

A behavourist approach was presented as useful for

  • logically coherent self-paced study
  • context free skills and concepts
  • transmissable knowledge
  • presenting multiple representations
  • a support for student modelling and adaptation
  • reflection amplifiers
  • highly scalable teaching
  • reducing insecurity

Interestingly he placed most OER content in this bucket.

A constructivist approach is useful for:

  • presenting multiple perspectives
  • a focus on negotiation
  • metacognition
  • small group learning
  • dialogue
  • less structure
  • google docs, locked down spaces, discussion forums, voicethread

and a connectivist approach for:

  • learner control
  • highly scalable
  • emergent, soft skills related to real world engagement
  • connection forming
  • unpredictability
  • non-sequential

Terry encouraged a focus on NETWORKS of practice (as opposed to CoPs) and asked the audience ‘what is YOUR footprint online for others to connect with?’ and stressed the need to:

  • challenge our assessment models
  • use the network to filter/manage connections
  • rethink learning as a process of filtering and pruning
  • stop trying to MANAGE learning in a connectivist model but trust self-based accountability

My question is how do students learn the underpinnings of a connectivist approach to learning – the ability to filter, prune, connect?

Are some individuals destined to be excluded from the benefits this approach offers? What are the implications of this?

Terry’s slides:

cup half full

By robynjay On December 8th, 2010

This post is in response to Alex Hayes’ request for comments regarding his post over on Posterous. It’s an important debate that needs to be spread more widely so I’m repeating here in the hope it will gain some broader readership.

Alex, I’m speaking frankly and openly here as a critical friend, and hopefully to drive the debate forward . Thankfully I did have a posterous account as I would otherwise not have commented at all via the twitter and facebook login options – a tad ironic under the circumstances I think. I guess what concerns me most about your post and current state of mind is the ‘cup half empty’ lens. IMHO it’s about sensible high level policy, being informed, having the required literacy skills, and having and exercising choice.

As a company promoting a particular technology it naturally IS job to provide full and detailed information about what that technology can and cannot do, and the known inherent risks. As such, with educational clientele,  it would be pointless to offer any technology that was at odds with core educational principles (ie wellbeing of learners). It is, therefore, good to alert those customers and to facilitate debate.

People are buying POV cameras because they make the videoing that they’ve been doing since 8mm days more convenient. What has potential (as opposed to being a threat) are advancements in bandwidth that allow that content to be sent handled electronically. How it’s sent and where it’s stored and the systems that that content interacts with OF COURSE must be considered and evaluated. I don’t doubt that technologies exist that have the potential to capture more than a ‘rich media clip that shows a skill’ but to paint this as something ‘sinister’ and impending sounds a little paranoid. Risks and potential misuse exists with almost ANY technology; gaming is a good example.

Of course there are negatives around broadcasting your location and exposing your activities and habits etc. We all must be informed, learners must have choice, educators have a duty of care. Again it comes back to contemporary and ever-evolving literacy skills. All choices must be made intelligently but I don’t believe that that choice will not remain.

Educational institutions, armed with that information and skilled/professional staff then choose products and methodologies to meet the needs of their learners and contexts.

To say that geolocation is one of the most influential forces in the VET sector is just a tad over ambitious at this point in time but indeed it has POTENTIAL.

It’s easy when something is a passion or focus to think that the world should also have the same urgent interest. Unfortunately there are also students for whom traditional (safe) text-based modes of communication has failed, trainers who stand and lecture at poor unsuspecting students, kids who live in such poor circumstances that they cannot attend to learning. We all have our interests and passions and together that builds the diverse and rich professional community of which we are a part. Multimodal L&T and the use of multimedia in education are truly WONDERFUL things. A scare campaign is not what is needed.

I agree that the majority of adults are very poor at critical reflection generally however if there is ‘little open discourse about the implications for pedagogy that this technology is set to unleash’ it is probably because a) people are too busy dealing with more pressing matters, b) there is little balanced information to debate at present and c) there is no evidence that this IS or will in the near future be an actual legitimate concern for people.

‘Insidious modes of digital employee compliance’ is a separate and wider issue. We must be aware and able to opt-in and out even if OUT means leaving an organisation. But to be honest it concerns me little that the employer of Mike and John the landscape gardeners are aware that they spent 2 hours relaxing in the shade under the trees of my local park instead of getting on with their list of jobs including my new garden.

So having said all that we DO need to be informed and I’ll look forward to any further information you provide us and we DO need to focus on the implications of what we implement for learners but we must do so with a positive mindset lest we go sit in a cave and scratch on the walls with sticks.

And as for Latitude, most of us turned that off months ago as a pain in the arse.

CC FlickR image by paloooza

half the sky

By robynjay On January 20th, 2010


cc licensed flickr photo shared by MC-Leprosy

‘Women hold up half the sky’
- Chinese Proverb

If you only read one book in 2010 please make it ‘Half the Sky‘ by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

They say…

“We wrote a book devoted to women in the developing world because if you want to fight poverty and extremism, you need to educate and empower women and bring them into the economy. ” “Half the Sky lays out an agenda for the world’s women and three major abuses: sex trafficking and forced prostitution; gender-based violence including honor killings and mass rape; maternal mortality, which needlessly claims one woman a minute. We know there are many worthy causes competing for attention in the world. We focus on this one because this kind of oppression feels transcendent – and so does the opportunity. Outsiders can truly make a difference.”

This is a devastatingly sad and hard hitting book that will open your eyes to the plight of women and girls around the world.

Follow Nicholas:

in Facebook
on twitter
via the ‘On the ground’ blog
and buy the book on Amazon