Thursday, February 20, 2014

16 Trends: # 1 and 2 population issues

The R&D Core Team is reading about 16 trends that will impact education.  The first 2 of these are connected with population trends, which as a geographer I'm particularly interested in.  It's clear, looking at these trends, they could be moving in different directions in different parts of the world.  Take for example aging.  Some parts of the world are seeing a huge increase in the aging population, along with an increase in the "elderly support burden", yet others are seeing an expanding youth.  The projected impact on education of these trends is a growing wave of lifelong learners with those who are retiring having the time and money to pursue their interests and curiosities, right at the time that in the developed world huge numbers of the baby boom generation of teachers are coming up for retirement. At the same time, with teaching not being seen as a very prestigious profession in many countries, there will be a growing shortage of those entering the teaching profession because of increased competition and opportunities for qualified people in other industries.

World population is continuing to grow - projected at over 9 billion by 2050 which represents an increase of over 350% in a century - and at this point the old will substantially outnumber the young in the more economically developed countries as wealth usually brings with it lower birth rates and lower death rates.  At the same time in the less economically developed countries the young will greatly outnumber the old.  These trends produce different challenges - in the developed world the challenge will be getting enough people for the workforce to support those who are living on a pension.  In the developing world the problems may well be issues of youth un- or under-employment.

Population will shift in other ways too.  While trend 1 was looking at the age distribution of the population of the world, trend 2 focuses on the position of minorities.  In some countries, the United States being an obvious one, today's majorities will become tomorrow's minorities - in fact the US will become a nation of minorities with no single racial or ethnic group constituting more than 50% of the population by the mid-century.  I've thought about this in terms of the various international schools where I have taught and the sort of diversity I've encountered among students.  We often talk about embracing diversity - but in the "real world" how often does this happen?  Of course there are situations when many diverse groups come together, for example to deal with common threats such as pandemics, natural disasters, environmental destruction and so on, yet all too often the wish for one group to dominate works against the acceptance of diversity.  This reminds me of the recent news coming out of Switzerland.  While I lived there I noticed many posters about the Swiss culture being "threatened" as a result of immigration.  Currently about 1 in 4 people in the country are immigrants and recently Swiss people voted in a referendum to bring back quotas for immigration from EU countries, believing that the free movement of people into the country has led to pressure on housing, health, education, transport, salaries and an increase in crime.

I've lived in many different countries and have always made an effort to fit in as much as possible with the culture and in particular to learn the language.  Many immigrants of course don't want to give up their culture, even when they have chosen to move to another country - their lives may still be an extension of their homeland just now in their new country.  When I grew up in east London in the 1960s it was quite common, for example, to see Indian ladies wearing sarees with a huge sweater on top - they didn't adopt western clothing even though the climate was radically different (though their children did).  Now that I live in India, I generally tend to continue to wear Western clothes except for a formal occasion like a wedding where I might choose to wear a saree.  I still feel very British, in the middle of this huge and cosmopolitan city!

How will these population trends impact education?  Or more to the point - does our education system need to change to remain relevant given the changes in population? Should there be more focus on educating students to be sensitive about differences and diversity in the world?

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

University Challenged

The NMC Horizon Report 2014 for Higher Education has been out a couple of weeks, but I've only managed to read it today.  Clearly there are huge challenges facing universities which the report highlights.  One of the biggest challenges to traditional universities, I think, will be the rise of free online courses and even initiatives such as the flipped classroom which may well make attending a physical campus on a daily basis unnecessary.  MOOCs have become very popular - however the low rate of completion could be a cause concern.  Perhaps online learning needs to be made more natural, so that it is more similar to face-to-face learning?  Another huge trend identified is the use of social media in learning.  Already in schools we can see social media such as Facebook being used as part of classes - this trend will surely continue as these students enter universities.  However yet again there will be challenges with this:  the Horizon Report identifies the low digital fluency of faculty.

When I was at university in the UK over 30 years ago, courses were mainly academic - the practical and vocational courses were taught at polytechnics.  This is changing too - firstly because all those polytechnics are now called universities, but secondly because of the rise in the Maker movement.  More and more we are going to see students demanding courses aimed at creation, design and entrepreneurship - and universities will need to change and adapt.

I'm interested in one other challenge identified both in this report and in the 16 Trends book that I was writing about yesterday - that of the lack of rewards for teaching.  In the 16 Trends the warning is that there will be a shortage of teachers - as other employment opportunities are more attractive.  There have been several reports I've read recently about the reasons why so many teacher leave the profession.  In the case of university lecturers it seems that teaching is valued less than research - and that teaching-only contracts are paid less despite the fact that these may be the best in terms of pedagogy when compared with the outdated teaching styles of those professors whose main focus is research.

As I walked through the R&D Office a couple of days ago I saw a new book there called College (Un)bound by Jeffrey Selingo which challenges the traditional belief that a university education offers a ticket to a better life (especially when considered along with student loan debt and rising unemployment).  This is definitely going to be a challenge - many will be asking is a university degree really worth the price?

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

From here to there

Today we had an R&D Core Team meeting.  It was great to hear back from the various task forces on how their work has been progressing, but even more exciting to me was hearing about what we will be doing after our current task forces reach the end of their investigations and write their reports.  We are going to start to look even further into the future!  At the moment we are looking a couple of years down the road - some of the things the R&D task forces have reported on over the past year or two have already become embedded in our practice at ASB, for example a new school calendar that includes intersessions, PBL, gamification, BYOM and so on.  This is because we were looking a short way ahead - the "near horizon" in the language of the NMC (New Media Consortium) Horizon Report - which means we want to implement these ideas now.  However what we also want to do is to look ahead to the "far horizon" and the trends that are happening in the world which sooner or later are going to impact education.  We want to be ready for these changes too, and so we are all going to read and discuss the book Sixteen Trends:  Their Profound Impact on Our Future by Gary Marx.

At the moment I've just looked at the contents and I'm intrigued by some of these trends, and curious about how education will have to change in order to accommodate them.  Of course I'll be blogging about these to reflect on my reading.  Here are some that I've found most interesting:

  • For the first time in history the old will outnumber the young:  the baby boomer generation of teachers is retiring which could well lead to a shortage of educators.
  • Standards and high-stake tests will fuel a demand for personalization in an education system increasingly committed to lifelong human development:  the shift will be from standardization to personalization and questions will have to be asked about the relevance of standards in producing students who are able to thrive in a global knowledge/information age.
  • Release of human ingenuity will become a primary responsibility of education and society: we are moving from valuing knowledge acquisition to valuing knowledge creation.
  • Competition will increase to attract and keep qualified educators:  the important questions schools will ask themselves are how are we gong to get them? and how are we going to keep them?
As well as looking at these 16 trends, we are also forging ahead with some ASB initiatives such as Re.D Studio (Research and Development Studio), a sandbox for emerging tools, methods or learning approaches that will be launched at the upcoming Un-Plugged for both teachers and schools who wish to try out new ideas with others, and the International Research Collaborative (IRC), which is already in its second year of studying specific topics across international schools in the world.  Read more about the IRC here.

It's exciting to be joining with other educators on the journey from here to there.  Once again this evening I am feeling grateful for the opportunity to work with people with vision who care about the future of education.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Being reflective -v- living in the now

Being reflective is one of the attributes of the IB Learner Profile.  It involves giving thoughtful consideration to experiences, actions, motivations and world events and learning from them.  It's often hard to reflect in a world where everything is now, but it's an essential part of learning because learning is not simply the consumption of content - it happens only as a result of interaction and reflection.

George Siemens asks an interesting question in the second half of Knowing Knowledge:  what is more important, current knowledge (existing content) or the capacity to continue to know more (connections)?  He writes that "connection forming tools will always create content, but their value lies in our ability to reflect on, dialogue about and internalize content in order to learn.  Content knowledge is frozen at a certain time, whereas a connection is a pipeline to continue to flow new knowledge."

However Siemens argues that reflection is becoming a "lost art".  How often do we look beneath the surface of the busyness?  Are our lives being consumed by the now?

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Everything is a remix

I'm doing a digital storytelling online course and have come to the part where I need to collect and make various media in order to tell my story.  I need a voiceover of the story, chunked into parts, I needs music and sound effects, I need some still and moving images - in short I am going to mix a lot of media together to create a multimedia story.  Such is remix culture.  We've moved from a "read only" culture where we simply consume media, to a "read and write" culture where we are able to create, using media that others have created and allowed us to use for free.

Some time ago I watched the video series Everything is a Remix by Kirby Ferguson (you can watch these here).  This series looks at remix culture in cinema, music and technology and calls for a redefinition of creativity.  The section in Knowing Knowledge that I've been reading over the past few days also examines remixing and repackaging as "the personalization of the knowledge created by others".

I've been thinking about the way I interact with new knowledge and media, in particular with the news both global and personal.  For example I have given up watching news on TV (I don't even have a TV) and only read the news online which allows me to decide what is important and interesting to me.   I then started thinking about how when I was younger, if I wanted to listen to music when and where I chose, I had to buy an LP, which contained the track I wanted and many others that I might or might not want - like listening to a 30 minute news broadcast which might contain 5 minutes of something that I found relevant or interesting to me.  Now I feel I am totally in control of what I read and what I listen to - I pull the bits I want and remix it into something that is useful to me via social media.

I've also started to think about the way I interact with people.  Over the past day I have had conversations with my family who live half a world away from me.  I have used Google Maps to look at an apartment that my son has decided to rent when he starts his new job next month, and also to see what shops and restaurants are nearby his new place.  I was able to see that my daughter was looking tired and cold yesterday when I skyped with her.  I was able to hear about my mother's upcoming visit to a museum when I skyped to her phone.  My relationships with my family are now defined by convenience and not by time and space.  If I want to talk to my son, for example, I know I can only do it quite late in the evening here, after he leaves work in the UK.  If I want to contact him before that I have to send him a WhatsApp or an email.  In our lives, knowledge exists in many spaces, not many of them physical and much of what we do can be remixed into what we actually want - for example when simultaneously looking at the same Google Map/Street View I know I was looking at and for completely different things from my son.

This is what I'm thinking about:  George Siemens writes that "today we receive our news, our entertainment, our learning, from distributed means.  Two people in the same household stitch together different understandings based on the pieces used ... we all belong to different communities [and] absorb different information.  Media develops conversations.  Conversations develop reality."  And here's another thing I read that sums up what I feel is true for me right now:  "the membrane between real and virtual is thinning.  We are starting to exit simultaneously in each."

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Embracing change in education

When the rate of change outside exceeds the rate of change inside, the end is in sight. - Jack Welch

So often we hear that the world outside of schools is changing, yet schools continue in the same old way as they have done for several hundred years.  The quote above speaks to me of this.  I used to work at a school that paid lip-service to the necessity of using technology, yet administrators at the school were still heard saying things like "there is no evidence that technology improves education," or "cloud computing will fail".  Perhaps now they regret their words and lack of vision, I have no idea since I'm no longer there, but last summer when I visited friends who still work there it didn't sound as if much had changed.  However the world has moved on, and I have moved on, and I'm now at a school that is BYOD, BOYM, finding new ways for PD, reinventing the school year, adding maker spaces, gamifying learning, badging achievements for both teachers and students and so on.  We have a Research and Development team who are focused on the future and getting the school and the students ready for it by transforming teaching and learning.  We are matching the external changes with internal changes and one of the ways we do it is to listen to the voices of those closest to the pressures for change.  Often these voices are those of the teachers - who volunteer to be part of various R&D task forces and who volunteer to prototype the various R&D initiatives and so become the early adopters.  At other times the changes could initiate from the leadership team.  Wherever they come from, these changes are taking root in the school, giving us new ideas of how we can do things differently and what new things are possible.

ASB believes in sharing this transformation.  In two weeks time we are opening our doors again for the 4th ASB Un-Plugged.  Hundreds of educators from around the world will visit to observe, interact with our students and our teachers, and engage in learning institutes and workshops being run by leading thinkers from around the world as well as by our own teachers and assistants.  Check out the video below and the  ASB Un-Plugged website to find out more.

Is knowledge power?

Reading on in Knowing Knowledge by George Siemens I've come across this question.  Most of the time we seem to take it for granted that with knowledge being freely available these days to anyone with an internet connection, that there has been a shift of power.  But has there?  Siemens questions whether this is just hype, or whether technology really is changing politics/society.

And from another perspective, who are the powerless today?  Are they the ones who cannot access the tools of global conversation - and surely this also includes those without the skills to contribute to these global conversations? Interesting questions!

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My 18 months of Superstruct

I've been at the American School of Bombay for about 18 months now, and I've recently started to reflect on just how far I've come in that time.  This thinking was provoked by reading Chapter 4 of Heidi Hayes Jacobs new book Leading the New Literacies - a chapter written by colleagues at ASB about the journey the school has taken in the 21st century.  This journey started long before I ever arrived at the school, so it was interesting for me to read about the history of these initiatives in changing ASB into probably the most innovative, cutting-edge school in the world, with a culture of innovation and using technology to transform teaching and learning.

ASB started this journey in 2000 with the introduction of a 1:1 laptop programme.  While at the time this was very innovative, the real move to excellence came in 2006 with the development of a new vision for educational technology for enriching student learning.  In those days this vision was supported by the creation of a Tech Leadership Team of teachers from across the elementary, middle and high schools, parents and students who prototyped new technologies for learning.

ASB is a school that believes in sharing, so in 2008 the first ASB Un-Plugged Conference took place where the school opened up its classrooms to show participants its experiences with technology integration.  At this time I was still working in Thailand and I can remember the buzz about this conference from friends who attended.  It was a school I knew I wanted to keep an eye on!

For me the most impressive thing I heard about ASB in the years between the first Un-Plugged Conference in 2008 and the year I started working at ASB in 2012 was the way that technology was simply ubiquitous and was completely focused on good teaching practice and student learning.  In 2011, when I was at my school in Switzerland, I asked if I could use my PD money to go to ASB Un-Plugged to learn more about tech integration, but this request was turned down because I was told the school was not intending to adopt a 1:1 policy.  More than anything else, this decision led me to decide that my days were numbered there, as there was a complete mis-match between my vision and the vision of the management of the school about technology.  Little did I imagine, however, that within weeks of being turned down for my PD request to attend Un-Plugged that I would actually be offered a job there!

In my previous job I'd spent 3 years working with teachers to move away from a one-size fits all approach to technology where all classes in the same grade were using the same tool, to one where students had more choice.  ASB had already made this shift towards more 21st century thinking and through a very intentional programme of parent education, had got parents on-board too about the need for change to prepare students for a future that we couldn't yet imagine.  Over the previous few years at ASB courses had been designed for parents so that they could learn the same tools that their children were using at school.  This evolved into the ASB Online Academy which now offers courses for parents, teachers and students.

The ASB Online Academy is a wonderful way of getting anytime, anyplace PD, and educators from around the world have designed courses for it.  As well as this in-house PD, teachers have been encouraged to attend and to present at global conferences and have led PD sessions at school.  Consultants have also been brought in to work with faculty on whole school initiatives such as project based learning, digital storytelling and the establishment of Critical Friends Groups as learning communities to reflect on changing practice.

In 2011 ASB started Superstructing.  This was not a term I'd heard before I came to ASB, but it is based on the ideas of Jane McGonigal for reorganizing systems and structures by building on the foundations that already exist.  The first thing to be Superstructed was the teaming structure, where two new teams were established:  Teaching and Learning (T&L) and Research and Development (R&D).  The T&L team's focus is on implementing research-based best practices, in particular personalized learning and 21st century skills, while the R&D team studies and prototypes new practices for the future.  The teams are open to anyone who is interested in being on them and many teachers volunteer.  I am a member of the R&D Core Team, which is further divided into a number of smaller task forces.  Over the past 18 months I have worked on task forces involved in studying and prototyping mobile devices, internships and new forms of PD.

As mentioned previously, one of the things that sets ASB apart is its focus on sharing.  This is a real contrast from some institutions who see other schools as "competition" and don't encourage the sharing of any ideas!  As well as opening our doors to hundreds of educators from around the world each year, ASB has also established an International Research Collaborative to study topics and share experiences such as 1:1 technology across international schools around the world.

I can hardly believe my good fortune at ending up in an amazing school like ASB.   Having accepted the job the school flew me out to India for a week for induction.  This happened 5 months before I even started there.  The rest of the new staff were flown out in the April for a week long 1:1 institute to get them ready for working at ASB.  I truly don't know of another school in the world that does this.  Teachers who are already at ASB are encouraged to share their expertise by become coaches - we bring in trainee teachers from overseas, mentor local teachers through a 2 year teacher training programme, and employ novice teachers to work alongside our master teachers as co-teachers, giving those new to the profession valuable overseas experience at an international school.  ASB really values its teachers and it's interesting to know what they are looking for when hiring:  the top qualities that are important are being innovative, collaborative and reflective, being open to embrace change and of course to have excellent skills in integrating technology.  In turn, ASB's new model of teaching and learning is attracting teachers from around the world.

I have grown and developed in so many ways over the past 18 months I've been at ASB.  It has been inspiring to be part of a teaching community that embraces change and where my colleagues are constantly thinking of better ways to enhance teaching and learning.  I love the whole ethos of collaboration and sharing and the way that the school invites feedback by listening to and respecting everyone's ideas.  And this year I'm so looking forward to being a part of the upcoming ASB Un-Plugged - and to sharing what I have learned with others who are coming to see what we do and how we do it.

Would you like to know more?  Here is a link to where you can purchase Leading the new Literacies.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stepping into the stream and swimming in the river

I'm facilitating an online course for the IBO and this week we are looking at the 5 essential elements, one of which is knowledge.  This week, one of our readings compared a typical student's experience at school with trying to make a jigsaw puzzle without knowing what the big picture is.  The analogy goes further and summons up a picture in my head of students collecting lots of disconnected puzzle pieces as they go through their school day, not knowing how they fit together or even if they are part of the same puzzle.  Teachers too, are often in their homerooms with a certain grade or in their specialized subject areas and perhaps don't get to see how each of the pieces of the puzzle fits into the big picture either.  This is one reason why I enjoy working in a PYP school where there is an emphasis on collaborative planning - with all teachers in a grade level being responsible for planning a unit and for having an understanding of both the vertical as well as the horizontal articulation of the programme of inquiry.

The interesting thing about knowledge, however, is that we only know in relation to prior knowledge.  When we encounter a new piece of knowledge we connect it to what we already know, in the same way that when making a jigsaw puzzle we know the blue pieces are probably going to be sky and we don't try to make them connect with green or red.  But today knowledge is no longer static - like a finished puzzle - it keeps on changing and so we cannot possess all our needed knowledge personally.  A lot of this knowledge is stored within the connections we make and also within our technology.

George Siemens comes up with a new analogy for knowledge today.  It's not like a finished jigsaw with every piece in the right place.  He writes:
We have in the past seen knowledge as an object and learning as a product.  But knowledge is really more of a stream ... and learning more of a process.  A product is a stopped process ... the end of the process is the product.  Our internet-era knowledge is no longer suitable as a product - we can continue to revise, connect, and alter indefinitely.
So if knowledge is like a stream, is there any use in trying to store knowledge, like water in a reservoir?  Siemens thinks not.  Library catalogues and encyclopedias attempt to put knowledge into the reservoir and structure it in a way that makes sense in our era, only because we don't yet have the tools/technology that permits us to "step into the stream".  Yet, when knowledge is fluid, categories are less important.  The knowledge moves on and we need ways to access or re-find the knowledge when we need it.

Today, therefore it's important to be connected to the stream where "the voices of many flesh out and define an issue, concern or topic."  However Siemens cautions that the wisdom of the crowd only works "when each member of the collective brings a unique perspective to the space.  If we do not permit individuality we end up closing down the doors of creativity."  It's good, therefore, to reflect on where I am today - in a school that regards individual perspectives as something valuable - and, by no coincidence, a school that is at the cutting edge of creativity and innovation in education.  It's a school where we are encouraged to think and to share and to make connections.  It's a school that knows, as George Siemens would say, "Connections create structures.  Structures do not create connections."

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

PD doesn't just stand for Professional Development - at ASB it also stands for PlayDate!

Today the elementary campus of ASB hosted its first PlayDate.  For those unfamiliar with this term it stands for People Learning and Asking Y:  Digital Age Teacher Exploration (find out more about PlayDates here).   ASB's PD 3.0 R&D Task Force is charged with developing a new model of Professional Growth and Development for schools in the future.  We decided to prototype PlayDates as one form of PD that we can incorporate into a new PD model as we wanted something that feels less like work and more like play.

The idea of a PlayDate is to promote educators gathering together to explore and play with technology tools.  Many people are curious about new tools and would like to have the time to spend with colleagues to explore the tool with a view to using it with students to take learning to a new level.  Last week we sent out a survey to find out what tools teachers and TAs are interested in knowing more about.  We came up with 8 different tools or types of technologies and found 8 volunteers to facilitate the learning spaces.  The participants were free to choose where to go and when to move between the spaces.  They were also able to go to a break-out space with colleagues if the 8 options offered didn't meet their needs.  We encouraged all participants to Tweet out what they were learning so that everyone could see what was happening in the different spaces and so that they could move easily between things that seemed interesting to them.  At the end we offered a short survey to gauge responses to this new type of PD.

I could hardly wait to get home and look at the feedback - and when I read it, it really blew me away! 98% responded that they had learned something new and 96% said that they want to explore another tool that they did not have time for this afternoon and they know where to find the resources to go about doing this.   About 40% of our faculty said that after this session they are confident to use at least one app or tool that they have never used before.  74% said it was more engaging than most other PD experiences and 26% said it was the most engaging PD format they have ever experienced.  Yes, you read that correctly - add the 2 percentages together and you will find that everyone found it one of the most engaging PD experiences that they have ever had!  Wow!

Most amazing of all was that many of the responses were asking for more - as there are many more tools they want to explore with their colleagues in a safe and supporting environment.  Over and over again I heard the comment "Please do it again" and "When is the next one?"  How often do you hear this coming away from a faculty meeting or a PD day?  PlayDates for us were a real success - I would definitely encourage other schools to give them a try.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Connected and perpetually current

To be adaptive is to be perpetually current - George Siemens

When I was an IB Geography teacher in Thailand in 2008-9 I was often asked by students how old a case study could be for citing in their assignments.  We talked about the fact that in geography, to be current, a case study should date from this century, and if that was impossible it should certainly be from within their own lifetime.  Any earlier than this would be history.  In subjects like geography, content can have a fairly short lifespan, which implies that it is the concepts that are important to understand, not the content.  Siemens writes about how in a connectivist approach to learning we create networks of knowledge to assist in replace outdated content with current content.

Tomorrow we are trying a new form of PD at the elementary campus of ASB - we are prototyping a PlayDate.  This is an unconference where educators can explore technology in a group setting.  Last week we sent out a survey to find out what types of tools teachers and TAs are interested in exploring, and we have come up with 8 different tools that people can explore.  Each space will have a facilitator who is not there to present but to support and guide our educators through the process.  We're hoping that participants will tweet out from the various spaces about the learning that is taking place, and that people will move from space to space, or even into breakout spaces, depending on where their curiosities and passions take them.

Today I was preparing for our PlayDate at ASB tomorrow.  I was looking for resources that would help the facilitators of each space of the PlayDate to get started.  It was important for me to find the most up-to-date examples of videos about the tools and blog posts about how they are being used in classrooms around the world.  I drew heavily on my social networks of educators to find some of the most current resources.

Filling the learner with content only works when the "half-life" of knowledge is long - when it takes a long time for it to lose relevance.  Tech tools are constantly evolving and the half life of these is incredible short.  I'm happy that the educators in my network have become content creators and that our learning is continuous (and our sharing of this learning is too).

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Rethinking the tools to foster learning

Last week I wrote about how our R&D Coordinator, Scot Hoffman, and myself are working on a Multimedia Project Guide and Planner for Teachers.  Our aim is to empower the teachers to be able to give students much more choice about the types of media they use to communicate their learning.  All too often, in schools where there is a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching, students are mandated which tool they should use, ending up with cookie-cutter projects where the tool drives what students are doing, rather than the communication goals driving the choice of technology.  In the case of teachers this is also true - when they are limited by the tool they can use to communicate with their class, pedagogy will bend to fit the tool.

In Knowing Knowledge, George Siemens write that "fostering learning requires rethinking the tools used.  Do the tools work in the manner in which people learn?  Do the tools represent how the learners will be functioning in "real life"?

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Different types of learning

As I've been reading on in George Siemens Knowing Knowledge, I've come to a section about 4 different types of learning:

  • Transmission - the traditional way of learning where you receive content, often through courses and lectures.  This is a good way to transmit structured knowledge and to build knowledge about a discipline.  The problem with this model is that in a traditional classroom it is expensive to implement (one teacher to twenty students) and also does not address how most learning happens (social, two-way, ongoing).
  • Emergence - creating knowledge through high level cognition can be very effective for deep learning and can lead to innovation.  This model is also hard to scale as it requires critical thinking in each learner.
  • Acquisition - inquiry based exploration where the learner is in control of deciding what s/he needs to know based around personal interests.  While this type of learning lacks structure and can appear too loose, the learners are very self-directed and learn from many diverse sources.
  • Accretion - the learner finds knowledge when and where it is needed as part of the constant activity of life.  Often this learning might come from a conversation or from a workshop or reading an article.  We also learn from reflecting on both failed and successful projects.
I'm thinking about the match (or mis-match) between learning that happens in schools and the type of learning that most people want.  For myself I would say that at the moment I'm very much in the accretion stage, whereas I think students are much more subjected to transmission and some acquisition.

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