Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Plenary Session

Professor Alan Dodson the PVC (Environment, Infrastructure and Information Services) at Nottingham He says we are about:
Moving beyond the first-movers to embedding the new paradigms in learning and teaching into institutions
Mike Sharples then introduced Dr Michelle Selinger who is talking about 'You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps'. This looked at the way learning has changed. I liked the South Park clib that was used to demonstrate different encounters in learning.

Chasm 1 - Informal and Formal Learning (Education and Industry)

Michelle, explored the changing media consumption of digital natives, some of the work drew on Wim Veen's work. Informal learning becomes the crucial learning engagement, Michelle's move from HE to industry meant a large learning curve for the languages between sectors. This was using a range of learning sources, almost none of them formal.

Stasis - Links with print remains, lecturers, slides, content - not learning. E-learning (According to McConnell is linear and deterministic. A chasm between the type of learners we are engaging with.

Chasm 2 - Schools and HE

A big chasm between school experience and university experience. Schools control assessment and have limited online access. Universities are getting better - group tasks, group work, peer review, eportfolios, online collaboration.


Chasm 3 - North and South

University experience very different. We bring people to the North for education, but they don't go back. How can we help developing countries get the benefit of education without taking them from their home environment.

Technologies are being used which students can;t afford (this reminds me of some of my Ghanaian students who were managers, in their culture only admin staff had PCs, so he got his secretary to access the web and type essays - was it his MSc or hers?)

Impose our forms of pedagogy - learning imperialism

Solutions

Thornburg used to look at what employers want from graduates.

PLEs are becoming part of the solution for learners to learn in their own way.

Blogs and podcasts with experts help draw the world into student learners.

Big questions for us:

What needs to be taught? What is actually taught? What is learnt?

Knowing is more than content - knowing why, how, where and when and not only what.

Resturucturing teaching - people are watching this on Elluminate, can we use it this way. What about student's authoring content, how will this change what we teach - collaboration is key to all of this happening.

Media Archive, open courseware - all examples of real collaboration adding real value to learning. Students can raise their questions and look at better ways of addressing them.

Human Network, people subscribing to people e.g. Lindked in or Facebook, improve communication, improve interaction, improve learning. (This raises technology issues and bandwidth issues that others will need to address). Mobile phones and their role in learning are also crucial. But also avatars and other forms on online presence.

North-South - Joint appointments, local relevance, global action.

Caveats

Some times smaller steps are needed, but are giant steps possible. Better links between schools and HE & HE and the workplace.

Not all learners are 'ground breaking pioneers' and we have to teach all.

Assessment is political - how can we leap that chasm.

My Thoughts

Nothing that I'd not already seen or heard about, but presented in a clear context to challenge us all to get this type of message into our own organisations.

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