Learning, Learning Community, Rhizo15

Time to Drop the Mic Instructors: Learning Gone Wild {#Rhizo15 Week 4}

Thanks for your#Rhizo15 hack in week 4, Viplav. Your questions really got me thinking:

  • How do we really learn online?
  • How much of control and direction do we need?
  • How much of control do we want when we teach?
  • How do we expect others to learn in such environments?
  • What do we expect of them as co-learners?

For #Rhizo15, a strong and involved learning community, the answers are easier to navigate when we remove the instructor or when “DAVE’S NOT HERE.” With a number of educators who are passionate about learning and entrenched in thinking in #rhizo15, you are bound to keep the conversation going and the learners engaged. For most of us, we have experienced traditional pedagogical models and like the ideas of this sort of free-form learning and ability to dip into the curriculum as we like. Also, it won’t take much for someone to create a video, post a cartoon, record a sound cloud, or throw up a blog post on the topic of getting rid of the instructor. As co-learners, we thrive among the course banter and expect one another to contribute. So getting rid of Dave (metaphorically, of course) in #rhizo15, would not impact this course as much as we think (no offense, Dave).

Now, what would happen if we removed an instructor from a course? This could be online or face-to-face class. How would the learners react? When control is given to the course participants, will it be “Learners Gone Wild” or will our students take up the charge to contribute? My thought: it really depends on the course design.

drop-the-mic

These questions made me think back to my undergraduate days at the University of Guelph (Go Gryphons!), where most of my 4th-year history seminar courses were just that. As per the typical course syllabi, we were assigned weekly readings; however instead of coming to a “sage on a stage” lecture we were required to do the teaching. Each week 1-2 students volunteered  to offer a micro lesson, develop questions, and  facilitate the discussion on a topic. The professor often sat back in the class, and let us drive the critical analysis, synthesize the material, and debate about issues. It was GREAT! I thought – THIS is what learning is all about at university. I want more!

StudentCenteredTheories

Student-centered learning theories & methods for flipped learning (Bishop & Verleger, 2013).

Student-centered learning is the key to deep learning, and although not described as “flipped learning” (Bishop & Verleger, 2013) back then, this is what most of my history faculty did at U of G. If you set up your curriculum to purposefully ALLOW for peer-to-peer learning, then removing the facilitator/instructor from the course may be just what you need. By creating intentional spaces (online or in-class) and opportunities for your students to co-learn, you might just be surprised on how they can bring more life to the course subject. During the course, instructors become facilitators of learning to support students with active learning strategies, such as individual problem-solving and team-based projects.Empowering your learners to take the reigns requires them to be embedded in the discipline of study. When you teach someone else about a concept, it requires a deep understanding of the material before you have to explain or critique it.

This does take some intention and planning in how you set up your course structure. It will be important for you to think about where, how, and when you want to infuse peer instruction and the support required for your learners. Think about how you want learners to contribute, lead, evaluate, and understand. When done well, this type of learning has huge benefits for both the instructor and leaders. There are so many possibilities to create dynamic interactions, meaningful conversations and critical thinking about your subject without your lead. Embrace the idea of “letting go of teaching” to see what might happen in part or all of your class. You might be pleasantly surprised at what YOU will learn from your students. Be sure to answer the following questions before you “drop the mic” as an instructor (adopted from Hoffman, 2014):

  • What positive opportunities can student-lead instruction offer your students?
  • How can instructors benefit from creating a cooperative learning experience?
  • What are the possible challenges students and instructors might with peer-assisted learning, and how might they be avoided?
  • What are evidence-based practices for learning environment without an instructor?

Interested in joining the #Rhizo15 world late or want to be part of the conversation and not just a lurker? Dave’s got a guide for that:

  1. This is a list of all rhizo15 blog posts
  2. Pick a title that resonates – click on it.
  3. Leave a comment
  4. Approach mirror, give the person in the mirror a high five
  5. Return contentedly to previous activity
Check out the course website http://rhizomatic.net or go to the hashtag on twitter #rhizo15
Also, you can write late blog posts (like me!) on any of the weekly topics.

For those #Rhizo15 slackers like Kevin & me (well, myself more so), we’re working on said things. The Slackers #Rhizo15 Guide will be available… when we get around to it. 🙂

Slacker's #Rhizo15 Guide... to comeCartoon via @dogtrax (Thanks, Kevin!)

 References:

Bishop, J. L., & Verleger, M. A. (2013). The flipped classroom: A survey of the research. In Proceedings from the 120th ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, GA.

Hoffman, J. G. (2014). The functionality and feasibility of flipping. Proceedings from the 25th International Conference on College Teaching and Learning, (pp. 112-126). Jacksonville, FL

Higher Education, MOOC, Open Education

New Social Learning … is It “New”?

Education rarely reinvents the wheel. This is not necessarily a bad thing. There are a number of great theorists, researchers, scholars, practitioners, and educators who have been utilizing connected and social learning ideas for decades.

In thinking about social learning for instructional design, I will turn to Bingham and Conner’s (2010) outline for how this is “new” in many of our organizations:

  • The new social learning is not just for knowledge workers – community-oriented.
  • Plays well with formal education to capture shared learning.
  • Compliments training and supplements development.
  • Similar but not the same as informal learning – more search and reading.
  • More than just online search and social networking.
  • Not like broadcasting information, more communal.
  • Allows for interaction and experiences to share ideas.

Image from Social Media Portal

Thomas and Brown (2011) inquire about the new culture of learning in their book, specifically asking: “What happens to learning when we move from stable infrastructure of the twentieth century to the fluid infrastructure of the twenty-first century, where technology is constantly creating and responding to change?”

I am thinking about this question a lot. A number of educators are looking for the “new” instead of asking questions and assessing the present practices. As a scholar-practitioner with perhaps faculty inklings, I have many concerns and questions for the future of our learning in higher education:

  1. Who (collaboratively) will best respond to the challenges and changes for our learning landscape on your campus?
  2. Why are educational changes and decisions being made? Is there assessment and evaluation? Data-driven decisions? Literature to support the change?
  3. What are we doing well & what can we improve upon in our face-to-face, online, and blended pedagogy in higher education?
  4. How are we thinking about connections, creativity, and social learning for our campus learning environments?
  5. When & how seek out the learner’s input for changes to our educational curriculum, campus programs, and student support services?

The idea of one idea, one thing, or one person to tackle the challenges/changes in higher education is ridiculous. If you think a “new” way to learn – perhaps a MOOC – will solve your university or college, then I am concerned about your strategic goals and learning outcomes. Take a gander at George Siemen’s recent #open13 talk [slides & video] to get a historical perspective on MOOCs (then and now), learning challenges, and other considerations for higher education pedagogy. [P.s. If you want to talk more MOOCs and research – y’all should come down to Texas for the 1st MOOC Research Conference in December]

One great take away from George’s talk (via a priest) about the upcoming shifts to higher education: “Don’t move away from things…because if you move away from things you don’t have a clue where you’re going to end up. Instead, move towards something.”

References

Bingham, T., & Conner, M. (2010). The new social learning: A guide to transforming organizations through social media. Berrett-Koehler Store.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change (Vol. 219). Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.

Siemens, G. (2013, November 7). MOOCs: How did we get here? Elearnspace. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2013/11/07/moocs-how-did-we-get-here/

MOOC

#EDUsprint 2 – How Technology Can Change Pedagogy

The EDUCAUSE EDU Sprints continues, so why not share what I gleaned from today’s session. With a lot of information being shared, it actually feels like more of a marathon, so here’s the breakdown from the #EDUsprint 2:  How Technology Can Change Pedagogy webinar.

How Tech Can Change Pedagogy

The session was lead by the following panelists who shared their thoughts about gong “Beyond MOOCs”:

  • Hank Lucas, Professor of Information Systems, University of Maryland College Park
  • W. Eric L. Grimson, Chancellor, MIT
  • Susan Grajek, Vice President, Data, Research, and Analytics, EDUCAUSE

Hank Lucas sees great challenges and opportunities with blended learning, online learning, and MOOCs; however he wants to charge institutions with more than the technological trends. Due to these emerging technologies and social platforms, there are many different ways to connect with our students; however we have to be purposeful and think critically about our instructional design.  

The Survivor Model via Hank Lucas

Lucas shares his concept of ‘The Survivor Model’ (screen shot of slide), that outlines how disruptive technologies will impact higher education and learning. [Side note: You will find “disrupt” on the #sxswEDU 2013 bingo card I made back in March.} The language always seems so doom and gloom, especially when asked what the “threat” for learning technology is on our campus i.e. students, adminstration or faculty. Roll the cliche…

Lucas thinks more institutions need to question where they stand with online learning, blended learning, and MOOCs, as “The schools that compete vigorously with faculty who figure out how to add value to their courses will survive and flourish.” And I would agree with one of the final points he shared:

Eric Grimson gave his 2 cents of higher education and learning technology change, which included ideas around learning techniques, active engagement, suggestions for assessment, and a “new” accronym to add to our campus alphabet soup: SPOC (small private online course)

The second segment seemed to dive into ideas and themes being played out in our schema of learning in higher education. Grimson shared ideas and suggestions to help support online learning, which included:

A number of articles were shared in the streams, so here are a selection reads from today’s webinar:

More resources for online learning, instructional design, flipping, MOOC-ing, and then some:

Unfortunately I had to dip out of this session early and I will have to catch the rest of the webinar via the recording – but here are some interesting takeaways I found on the #EDUSprint Twitter backchannel that should be noted:

Book Review, Higher Education, K-12, Open Education, PLN

10 Principles for the Future of Learning

While working on some late night treadmill mileage, I decided to catch up on documents and books I have been collecting on my Kindle. Last week I read The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, which was a precursor to The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age book published by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Although this material is a bit dated, I think that some of the pedagogy still applies for educational development.

Image c/o Martin Hawksey (and his musings on this text as well). 

In the first collaborative project, the authors share ten principles to support the future of learning. Davidson and Goldberg (2009) presented these pillars of institutional pedagogy to help institutions rethink learning and meet the challenges that lie ahead for both K-12 and higher education:

  1. Self-Learning – discovering and exploring online possibilities
  2. Horizontal Structures – how learning institutions enable learning; from learning that to learning how; from content to process
  3. From Presumed Authority to Collective Credibility – shifting issues of authority to issues of credibility; understand how to make wise choices
  4. A De-Centered Pedagogy – adopt a more inductive, collective learning that takes advantage of our era and digital resources
  5. Networked Learning – socially networked collaborative learning stressing cooperation, interactivity, mutuality and social engagement
  6. Open Source Education – seeks to share openly and freely in the creation of culture and learning; provides a more collective model of interchange
  7. Learning as Connectivity and Interactivity – digital connection and interaction to produce sustainable, scaffolding ensembles
  8. Lifelong Learning – there is no finality to learning; learning is part of society and culture
  9. Learning Institutions as Mobilizing Networks – networks enable flexibility, interactivity, and outcome; new institutional organizations reliability and innovation
  10. Flexible Scalability and Simulation – new technologies allow for collaboration beyond distance or scale for productive interactions that warrant educational merit

Reference: Davidson, C.N. & Goldberg, D.T. (2009). The future of learning institutions in a digital age. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

EC&I831, eduMOOC, Higher Education, Learning Community, Learning Technologies, Open Education, PLN, Virtual Communities, Web Design

#mtmoot Opening Keynote: Digital Pedagogy to Engage

This morning I will be joining the Mountain MoodleMoot at Carroll College in Helena, MT to share some thoughts and ideas around engaged digital pedagogy. Our learners are connected; however  I think more educators and instructional designers need to support our students in developing effective learning skills to navigate this new culture of learning. For those of you interested in following along, be sure to tweet with hashtag  #mtmoot, check out my slides (below), and feel free to scope out the digital handout http://bit.ly/mtmoot12 I compiled for this session.

 

Today’s learners operate in a world that is informal, networked, and filled with technology. Connectivity and digital access is an increasing need for our students and a vital requirement to excel beyond structured learning environments. Our learners are now able to interact with information, learning materials, and peers from around the globe. There is an increasing need to expand and enhance our learners’ involvement in learning technology to support engagement in online learning environments.

With the emergence of collaborative, online tools, educators can take advantage of multidimensional and engaged participation to reach their learning outcomes. Social media creates a space where “everybody and anybody can share anything anywhere anytime” (Joosten, 2012, p.6). Educational paradigms are shifting to include new modes of online and collaborative learning and student-centered, active learning to challenge our students to connect curriculum with real life issues (Johnson, Adams & Cummins, 2012). As a new generation of learners begin to create and share content, educators need to understand how to effectively utilize social web resources to impact in instructional practice create a culture of online participatory learning.

Emerging technology platforms and devices are beginning to disrupt education as we know it. To coevolve and positively impact learner success, it is critical that instructors and instructional designers consider how digital pedagogy can support learning outcomes. This keynote plenary will share ideas and suggested practices to develop a richer learning experience and thrive in the changing digital learning frontier.

References

Johnson, L., Adams, S. & Cummins, M. (2012). The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 Higher Education Edition. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium.

Joosten, T. (2012). Social Media for Educators. San Francisco, CA: Wiley/Jossey-Bass.

Collaboration, Higher Education, Learning Community, Learning Technologies, Professional Development

Course Exploration Continues… (Day 2)

Today was the second half of Exploring the Future of Courses: From Courses to Dis/Course web conference.  There great things to hear & learn about from the 3 sessions:

It is great to engage with others who share the same passion and interest in the EdTech community. Although there was some great exchange today, I did leave the online conference with many questions and thoughts to ponder. After digesting the wealth of information & presentations I will be sure to share more thoughts.

Many thanks to:

  • Martin Weller, George Siemens, and Grainne Conole for initiating the web conference
  • All the presenters who shared their experiences & knowledge
  • And of course, the many participants who contributed to a myriad of discussions & posts

For more follow up discussions check out the Disc09 Moodle.