Back in what now feels like pre-history I remember writing about and advocating the triad model of learning support. The idea is that in addition to the education provider and the student there would be a third, local, institution where students could access resources and support. This is a bit like the idea outlined in this article. "These scalable centres will support students in online and blended learning programmes, and provide additional ways for remote students to engage with university services, faculty, staff, and peers." But there's a big difference created by the 'storefront' metaphor - the student is a customer, the university is both provider and local support centre, and so (as a result) there isn't that notion of advocacy on behalf of the learner we would see in a genuine triad with independent local hosts.
This post is the first of a series on change (or lack of it) in higher education. "If HE wishes to achieve long-lasting and constructive change," writes Gilly Salmon, "disruption needs to occur first and be accompanied by an increased tolerance of thinking differently about how new educational futures are created." Reading the article, it feels to me like the main message is that the universities should own the change, rather than to see their primary role as resisting it.
One of the reasons it makes so much sense to work on an application like gRSShopper even though I know it will never be a commercial product (or even widely used) is that it exposes me to the deep technical issues that are so important (and so often overlooked) in educational technology. This article describes one of them: the loading experience. How do you write applications so that all the components load in the right order, so that the user experience is slick and seamless? "There are metrics like total requests, page weight, time to glass, time to interactive, first input delay, etc. There are things to think about like asynchronous requests, render blocking, and priority downloading." Putting something useful on the screen as fast as possible is an art, and it is often overlooked.
The third of the three arguments is a straw man and I'll set it aside. The remaining two are as follows:
Jon Hutchinson's response to these is as follows:
Neither is a good response, in my view. The first rests on the presumption that different knowledge domains are like silos, and we know this isn't true; there's a lot of cross-over between them, both explicit (like mathematics) and metaphorical (like user interfaces), so skills in fact transfer easily across domains. In the case of the second, the conclusion doesn't follow - even if it is true that we don't know what we don't know, it doesn't follow that we must be taught explicitly - we can also learn from examples, demonstrations, hints, brainstorming and interaction, and trial and error, to name a few.
The answer to the question in the headline is "no, maybe not" (a conclusion I reached a long time ago) but it comes only after much discussion of how the creation of shared meaning is so central to so much discussion in educational research. "We might just have to accept that there are fundamental limitations to how much shared meaning we can create. This will be difficult for those who have built careers on talking in a general sense about education to stomach." Quite so. But if we can get past that, we can get past the muddle that is educational theory today, and begin working with specifics.
This is an article describing an MIT professor's redesigned school. Basically (as I read it) it's a lab experiment. "There is no such thing as too much observation for teachers, who keep track of engagement, concentration and interactions using paper charts. They also keep track of whether students are moving through curricular sequences, like counting, addition and multiplication, and how quickly." There are also no computers for students to use, the environment is lit with low-level incandescent light, and there are tree branches nailed to the brick wall. The article is gee-whiz but I find it sanctimonious and creepy.
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Copyright 2018 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.