Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I spent the better part of Boxing Day afternoon reading and mostly enjoying this book (186 page PDF). It is based on the work over the last 40 years of the Computers and Learning Research Group  (CALRG) at the U.K.'s Open University. The point of departure is CALRG's "Beyond Prototypes" which is used to explain "why educational technology initiatives worldwide succeed and why they often fail." This then informs  four major areas of inquiry: teaching and learning at scale, accessible inclusive learning, evidence-based learning, and STEM learning. Each is given a historical perspective, then in a separate chapter a look forward. In a commentary on the book Martin Weller describes it as a "good example" of an alternative to the "wilful historical amnesia in much of ed tech." Maybe so. But let's not forget that this is a book specifically about the Open University, and that while nobody doubts the OU's importance to the field, nobody would say that it alone defines its history, despite the often subtle ways the book says just that. Still. It's a good read, well worth the time.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Sept 30, 2023 04:37 a.m.

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