It's the question on everyone's minds. What will we take away with us after the pandemic? "I am not saying that the remote experience was preferable for teaching – far from it. BUT it did offer us some lessons we were determined to remember. It revealed to many of us some new truths about ourselves, our children, our families – about what it means to teach and what it means to learn." Do we carry this with us, or do we just turn on the same old teaching machine again and go back to the Way It Always Was.
This post looks at a chapter from An Urgency of Teachers, and specifically, a quote from a Sean Michael Morris chapter: "Today most students of online courses are more users than learners. The majority of online learning basically asks humans to behave like machines…" Veronica Douglas says, "learners are not a uniform body, nor is it possible to create a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching." I think that this is exactly what's at issue in a lot of the discussion around online learning. Consider the whole debate about whether learning styles are a myth: it revolves around the question, do we treat all students the same (ie., does the content determine how it is taught?) or do we in some way adapt to the individual (or allow the idividual to do the adapting themselves)? And all of this is the same writ small in the discussion of 'engagement': is the pushing of a button 'engagement'? Or is it different for each person?
One of the reasons I like neural network theory is that it provides real explanations for cognitive phenomena, not black boxes. If someone says 'working memory' in a neural network theory, they need to provide the actual neural network structure or set of algorithms, not just a hand-drawn box on a document. And so we have a case in point here with dreams. As the author notes, " most cognitive theories treat dreams as an epiphenomenon." But as outlined in this article (and reference publication by Erik Hoel (18 page PDF)) dreams may have evolved because they address overfitting in neural networks, and hence prevent us from generalizing on insignificant details.
Sooner or later a model like this will be successful for freelance journalists, and therefore, for freelance educators as well. The question is, who will be served by the successful model. Substack, in a nutshell, allows journalists to create newsletters and to charge subscriptions for them; Substack gets paid only if the journalists get paid. That's its tagline. Writer Clio Chang asks, "will Substack replicate the patterns of marginalization found across the media industry, or will it help people locked out of the dominant media sphere to flourish?" Right now, there’s no algorithm-based feed, so the leaderboards are based on actual readership - but the actual readership favours those who are already established.
The website and the organization were new to me. The Global Education Network Europe (GENE) is a network of ministries and agencies "responsible for support, funding and policy-making in the field of Global Education." The Academic Network on Global Education & Learning (ANGEL) meanwhile, is a network of academics with expertise in global education. If you're wondering (as I was), global education (GE) is "education that opens people’s eyes and minds to the realities of the world, and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity and human rights for all." This digest is its third; it took me several minutes of searching to find it on the GENE website (there was no link on the LinkedIn post) but here it is: 150 page PDF (it's multilingual; the English version is pages 11-38). It's mostly a bibliography of relevant GE literature in English (the bibliographies in different languages are different).
Tony Bates writes this short post to highlight "a new set of six course modules called Learning to Teach Online. These have been developed by Dr. Michelle Schira Hagerman and Dr. Hugh Kellam from the University of Ottawa." The course resembles an online text more than a course; it's very linear, navigational aids are minimal, there's no interaction and non-text elements are few. I also think it's less of a 'how to do it' and more of a 'what you should do' style of presentation. But if you're new to online teaching then it's certainly worth reading through for the perspective and advice.
This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.
Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.
Copyright 2020 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.