On “Digital learning environments, the science of learning and the relationship between the teacher and the learner”

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Under what conditions do these technology tools lead to the most effective learning experiences? Dο they serve as a distraction if not deliberately integrated into learning activities? When these devices are incorporated deliberately into learning activities, how are students using them to make sense of ideas and apply them in practice? (…) It is much more complicated and difficult to develop an environment that can facilitate learning in complex conceptual domains (…) while adaptive systems have taken some forward leaps, there is still some way to go before these environments can cope with the significant diversity in how individual students make sense of complex ideas (…) Depending on how students structure related ideas in their mind, that structure will limit the way in which new information can be incorporated (…) The problem with providing personalised instruction in a digital environment is therefore not just about what the overall level of prior knowledge is but how that knowledge is structured in students’ minds (…) Technologies that are and will continue to impact on education need to be built on a foundation that includes a deep understanding of how students learn (…) teachers are constantly navigating a decision set that is practically infinite (…) The question becomes one of when and how technologies can be most effectively used, for what, and understanding what implications this has for the teacher-student relationship (…) there are two central narratives about what learning is: the first, acquisition, is vital but the second, participation, is even more powerful for learning (…)

There are several key areas helping students work with technologies:

  • Informing the development of and evaluating new technologies: research examining the effectiveness of the tools lags well behind the spread of their use (…) there is a clear need to draw on principles of quality student learning to determine how best to effectively combine the expertise of teachers and power of machines
  • Helping students to work with technologies: it is critical to determine how best to support students to do so in the absence of a teacher to help with this
  • Determining how technologies can best facilitate teaching and learning: the science of learning will assist in understanding the changing student-teacher dynamic in education is through the implications on broader policy and practice (…) The increased use of these technologies in classrooms must be driven by what is known about quality learning and not about financial or political motives.

Full article available here

The Online Educator (part II)

So, I started watching Week I of The Online Educator course on FutureLearn run by the Open University with some very interesting articles by Audrey Watters and an interview with Rebecca Ferguson about second life and how it was used in education (so far so good) and then suddenly at some point the course required that we made a generic profile (?) of a student following a MOOC (personas: fictional yet realistic descriptions of a potential learner/ not intended to be a ‘typical’ student, but rather a non-typical student with particular characteristics that might exclude them from learning).

I know how analytical the English can be, but really? Who cares who the participant is (educational past, interests, competencies)? He/She can be anyone and will keep on following the course as long as there is something he/she can gain out of being in it. If we are looking in ways to understand the learners I don’t think this is going to come out of profiling them in abstract ways. Anyone can be in a course just as long as he/she desires to be. Assigning generic characteristics to participants isn’t going to resolve the chaotic character of learning and is somehow underestimating learners’ ability to come up with their own ways of being in a course.

The Online Educator

New course has been launched by Open University and Futurelearn entitled “The Online Educator”. Course is led by Leigh-Anne Perryman and Martin Weller, will last 4 weeks and will be available for free until July 2.

Networked Learning

NETWORK LEARNING

The network is a network of people: networked learning aims to understand social learning processes by asking how people develop and maintain a ‘web’ of social relations used for their learning and development (de Laat)

Networked learning does not necessarily involve ICT, though in specific cases it may make use of technology. What makes learning networked is the connection to and engagement with other people across different social positions inside and outside of a given institution.  The network is supportive of a person’s learning through the access it provides to other people’s ideas and ways of participating in practice as well as of course through the opportunity to discuss these ideas and ways of participating and to potentially develop nuanced, common perspectives (Carvalho and Goodyear)

Networked learning may utilize ICT but it might me also supported by other means such as physical artefacts or artistic stimulation of senses and feelings while connections may also be drawn spontaneously by the learners themselves (Bober & Hynes)

The network is a network of situations or contexts: connections between the diverse contexts in which the learners participate as significant for understanding learning beyond online learning spaces, and, indeed, within them as well. This is the sense in which the network, under-stood as a network of situations, supports learning: by offering tacit knowledge, perspectives and ways of acting from known situations for re-situated use in new ones. Networked Learning’ on this under-standing is the learning arising from the connections drawn between situations and from the resituated use in new situations of knowledge, perspectives and ways of acting from known ones (Dohn)

The ‘network’ is one of ICT infrastructure, enabling connections across space and time: The support for learning provided by the network is one of infrastructure, i.e. the ease of saving, transporting and retrieving content for future use. Learning, it would seem, will be ‘networked’ whenever it is ICT-mediated, by that very fact; perhaps with the proviso that the situations of learning should indeed be separated in space and/or time so that the infrastructure (the ‘network’) is actually brought into play. This proviso would differentiate the field of networked learning somewhat from the field of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), where many studies concern ICT-facilitated group work between physically co-located students. The re-search field of Networked Learning is characterized, not only by focusing on ‘networks’, but also by taking a certain approach to learning, focusing critically on aspects of democratization and empowerment (Czerniewicz and Lee)

The ‘network’ is one of actants: consisting of both human and non-human agents in symmetrical relationship to each other. It is a systemic approach to learning, where individual learners’ interaction and learning may be analyzed as a result of socio-material entanglement with objects and other people. The network supports learning in the sense that any learning is in fact the result of concrete socio-material entanglement of physical, virtual, and human actants (Wright and Parchoma; Jones)

 

References

Bonderup Dohn, N., Sime, J-A., Cranmer, S., Ryberg, T., & de Laat, M. (2018). Reflections and challenges in Networked Learning. In N. Bonderup Dohn, S. Cranmer, J-A. Sime, M. de Laat, & T. Ryberg (Eds.), Networked Learning – reflections and challenges (pp. 187-212). Switzerland: Springer. Research in Networked Learning,
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-74857-3_11

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Lumen Learning on personalized learning

LUMEN

The original typical high-level approach to personalization included:

  • building up an internal model of what a student knows and can do,
  • algorithmically interrogating that model, and
  • providing the learner with a unique set of learning experiences based on the system’s analysis of the student model

“but if a personalized approach is for the people”, says Wiley, “in the above mentioned model there is no active role for the learner in this “personalized” experience”.

“LL approach”, he continues, “still involves building up a model of what the student knows, but rather than presenting that model to a system to make decisions on the learner’s behalf, we present a view of the model directly to students and ask them to reflect on where they are and make decisions for themselves using that information. As part of our assessment strategy, which includes a good mix of human-graded and machine-graded assessments, students are asked to rate their level of confidence in each of their answers on machine-graded formative and summative assessments.”

Excerpts from David Wiley’s article entitled “Putting the ‘Person’ Back in Personalized Learning”, full article available here

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Types of learning in a connectivist course

 

typesofconnectivistlearning

  1. Aggregation – access to a wide variety of resources to read, watch, or play, along with a newsletter called The Daily, which highlighted some of this content;
  2. Remixing – after reading, watching, or listening to some content, it was possible to keep track of that somewhere (i.e., by creating a blog, setting up an account with Delicious and creating a new entry, taking part in a Moodle discussion, or using any service on the Internet);
  3. Repurposing – participants were encouraged to create something of their own; in these MOOCs, the facilitators suggested and described tools that participants could use to create their own content, and it was envisaged that with practice, participants would become accomplished creators and critics of ideas and knowledge; and
  4. Feed Forward – participants were encouraged to share their work with other people in the course and with the world at large.

 

Reference

Kop, R., Fournier, H., Man, JSF, 2011. A Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant Support on Massive Open Online Courses. In IRRODL, Vol 12, no 7, 201, full article available here

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History of Open Education

open-education

  • Barth 1971: Open Education is used here to designate a general approach to teaching and learning which presumes the child’s right and competence to make important decisions; views the teacher more as a facilitator of learning than a transmitter of knowledge, and abundant alternatives and choice for students
  • Katz 1972: Open education movement is the commitment to humanistic values including self-determination, freedom of children and aesthetic appreciation.
  • Resnick 1972: while the open education movements and educational technology are often seen as mutually hostile, the challenge in education for the future is to find ways to develop the full range of each individual’s capacities
  • Paquette 1979: Open Pedagogy is not an assemble of pedagogical processes applied in a classroom that allow results as any other pedagogy. OP influences the way of thinking and acting, it is an innovative way to envisage the educational act (..) it is focused on the interaction that exists in a class between the students and the educational environment (…) it is founded a. on the respect of individual differences, b. on the individuals’ beliefs, c. on the indirect influence of the educator and d. on a natural process of apprenticeship
  • Paquette 1995: 3 sets of foundational values of open pedagogy, namely:  autonomy and interdependence; freedom and responsibility; democracy and participation.
  • Gremmo and Riley 1995: “Autonomous learning” has been shown to be a fruitful approach and one that impinges on every aspect of language learning theory and practice, in all parts of the world. However, one important lesson which has been learnt from this work is that self-directed learning schemes and resource centers have to be planned locally, taking into account specific institutional requirements and expectations, the particular characteristics of the learners and staff, including the socio-cultural constraints on learning practices. There is no universal model for setting up a self-directed learning scheme (…) One of the first “tailor-made” resource centres was established by CRAPEL at the University of Nancy (Riley and Zoppis, 1974; also in Riley, 1986)
  • Laura Gibbs and Stacy Zemke 2015: 1. open = agency — Learners are individuals and independent agents within the learning process. They are allowed to operate independently and explore with personal freedom./ 2. open = choice — Learners choose their own pace, their own direction, and their own connections./ 3. open = expansion — The learning network is an open-ended and ever-expanding network of nodes. Each node in the network represents is a connection, a possibility for learning. Everything in the network is a project./ 4. open = creativity — Openness translates to rich possibilities that inspire new perspectives and ideas./ 5. open = student-constructed — Learners take responsibility for their learning networks and are active participants in its planning and growth./ 6. open = open-ended problems — Learning design is focused less on specific outcomes or competencies than on process. It is about empowering learners to create real solutions to real problems./ 7. open: unmeasurable outcomes — Traditional outcome measurement implies the learning is static and closed./ 8. open = risk and goodness — Choosing often leads to unexpected and unpredictable results. While there is risk associated with the unknown, there is even greater reward and goodness.
  • Wiley 2015: open= free+permissions/ free and unfettered access, perpetual, irrevocable 5R permissions (retain, reuse, revise, remix, redistribute), open= democratizes innovation, permits innovation (…) open pedagogy: a set of things you can do when outcomes, assessments, and resources are open that you cannot do otherwise (…) openness facilitates the unexpected. 
  • Downes 2016: “In the case of personal learning, the role of the educational system is not to provide learning, it is to support learning. Meanwhile, the decisions about what to learn, how to learn, and where to learn are made outside the educational system, and principally, by the individual learners themselves”

 

References

Dr Vivien Rolfe, University of the West of England, Bristol UK. Open. But not for criticism? In Opened16 Conference, available here

Claude Paquette “Quelques fondements d’une pédagogie ouverte.” Québec français 36 (1979): 20–21. available here

MARIE-JOSI~ GREMMO and PHILIP RILEY , AUTONOMY, SELF-DIRECTION AND SELF ACCESS IN LANGUAGE TEACHING AND LEARNING: THE HISTORY OF AN IDEA, System, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 151-164, 1995 Elsevier Science Ltd Printed in Great Britain, available here

NEXTTHOUGHT, Laura Gibbs and Stacy Zemke, Eight Qualities of Open Pedagogy, available here

David Wiley, The Open Education Infrastructure, Keynote presentation for Open Apereo 2015, available here (Frischmann’s,  Von Hippel’s and Thierer’s work)

Downes 2016, Personal and Personalized Learning, available here 

Tannis Morgan, Open pedagogy and a very brief history of the concept, available here

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Global Freshman Academy

ASU GLOBAL FRESHMEN ACADEMY.png

This is an Arizona State University (ASU) initiative in collaboration with edX to offer a full year of freshmen courses as MOOCs (for more click here) Students of these courses can buy their credit unit only if and when they are happy with their grade. The cost of a GFA class is 600 USD.

References

Image available here

The Not-Yetness term.

Openness as transparency between students; communication between students and the outside world; interdependent relationships between educational institutions and external practices ( Dalsgaard and Thestrup). This paper asks if openness is a absolute positive.

The authors claim that:

  • a. the binary between open and closed is false: closed is associated with hierarchy and repression while openess represents creativity and innovation, a total liberation from the constraints of formal study (…) all forms of openess entail forms of closed-ness (Edwards), educators decide what forms of openess are justifiable pedagogically and ideologically.
  • b. the overemphasis on access homogenizes learners and contexts: not all individuals require simply access to content in order to learn; OER emphasis on replication presumes uniformity of learners (…) complexity reduction is problematic (McArthur)
  • c. open does not attend issues of power and inclusion: OERs could be reproducing asymmetric power relations between those who produce and those who passively assimilate the offerings (…) access is not enough unless it is seen in a context of social inclusion and justice

Not-Yetness is a response to dominant discourse of using technology in education: accepting risk and uncertainty of practices in flux while setting boundaries and looking for alternative modes of openness in digital education where there is an emphasis on the learners’ connections and not just content. Openness as a quality of relationship amongst students, teachers, technologies, texts and an unknown audience.

Example No 1: while wikis promote consensus around dominant voices, a federated wiki allows individuals to manage and control content, they resolve to multiple servers

Example No 2: blogging provokes an awareness of audience and voice but student bloggers rarely have the option to experiment with identity or set their own limits of exposure

Example No 3: exposing learning to an unknown and therefore unpredictable audience (the agents beyond the course) may lead students to making decisions based on the awareness of that audience.

 

References

Collier, A., Ross J. 2016. For whom, and for what? Not-yetness and thinking beyond
open content. Open Praxis, vol. 9 issue 1, January–March 2017, pp. 7–16 (ISSN 2304-070X), available here

Nomad

A Nomad…

  1. is an apt metaphor for the learner
  2. exists only in becoming and in interaction
  3. is intrinsically motivated toward the pursuit of learning
  4. is another phase of becoming
  5. appropriates the authority of some distant figure who often holds over it
  6. thinks of knowledge not as static, but rather as a flexible element to be alchemically interacted with
  7. is unconstrained
  8. is in constant movement
  9. is not as “losing one’s way” but is as “losing the way”
  10. is restrained from prefixed and definite articles
  11. space is smooth, open-ended
  12. mode of distribution is nomos (=arraying oneself in space), not logos
  13. moves in amorphous, informal spaces, nonlinear structures
  14. finds a viable milieu in the complex and chaotic structure of the web

 

Remembering Umberto Eco’s A Componential Analysis of the Architectural Sign /Column semiotic analysis through this stunning paper entitled; “Community Tracking in a cMOOC and nomadic learner behavior identification on a connectivist rhizomatic learning network” by : Bozkurt, A., Honeychurch, S., Caines, A., Bali, M., Koutropoulos, Ap., Cormier, D.

 

Degreed

degreed

Degreed is a startup that aspires to become a credentials’ bank. It does so by trying to create a standardized assessment for skills no matter where the individuals got them. Only a year ago it was funded with a 21 million investment to fuel the continued growth of lifelong learning and skills’ measurement for companies and professionals. Degreed seeks to create a common language for grading.

In the log in process Degreed asks you to Use the Degreed free online platform to achieve your learning goals, whether your goal is to learn a new skill or polish an existing one. You then choose from a variety of themes the ones that appeal to you more and you begin attending related material offered to you in the platform. Degreed keeps track of any books, articles, videos or even courses you might read about or watch and accumulates the traces of this material to help you prove your competencies.

In this week’s Economist the article: The return of the MOOC: Established education providers v new contenders, introduces Degreed along with Pluralsight as two companies that are trying different ways to answer to the difficult task of assessing one’s capabilities. The author claims that as long any training gets recognized and accredited it is even more likely that more lifelong learners will receive a continuing education through MOOCs or any other form of adult learning.

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2016 MOOC Stats

COURSES: 6.850 from over 700 Universities (2.600+ new ones)

USERS: Coursera: 23million/ edX 10 million/ XuetangX: 6 million/ FutureLearn 5.3 million/ Udacity: 4 million

PROVIDERS-Coursera: 1700 + courses/ EdX: 1300/ FutureLearn: 480/ Miriada X: 350 (Spanish)/ XuetangX 300+ 9Chinese)

SUBJECTS:

mooc-thematics-copy

 

Image & Data retrieved here