Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Curriculum, assessment, and instruction and today's youth

Why is it so vital that curriculum development and instruction are tailored to the youth of today's unique learning styles? (Kelly Clark)
It's vital that the written, taught, and tested curriculum; assessment; and instruction be tailored to today's learner (avoiding a discussion of learning styles at this point) because today's learners learn differently than those in the past. Technology affords learners to network with others which opens up educational opportunities like no other time in history. Learners now have the world as their audience as opposed to only the teacher.
In terms of learning objectives, expressive over behavioral outcomes provide the potential for diversifying assessment and instruction in terms of content, process, and products. Giving learners a choice in their own learning shifts to a more learner-centered paradigm that considers teachers more as curators, way-finders, and facilitators. Finally, today's learner needs to know the what, how, when, where, why, and with whom of education in a way that focuses more on ontology (i.e., Who am I? What is my role in life? How do I impact my own personal learning network?) and not only epistemology. And yes, I think these same questions can honestly and productively be applied to youth of all ages in ways that promote creativity, criticality, and caring.  This is one perspective on why it’s vital that the written, taught, and tested curriculum; assessment; and instruction be tailored to today's learner.  Thanks for asking. :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Free Learning

Doug Peterson discusses my 'Free Learning' badge, which was created in response to one of his comments. "But, what does this mean? What am I supporting? ... All day yesterday, I kept thinking about this new badge as I was having my discussions with friends, old and new. It could be interpreted in so many ways. My focus is on the word 'free'. Has Stephen used it as a verb? Or, does it connect with 'learning' to be a noun. It seems to me that it takes on a different connotation depending upon how you use it." To me, it's fine no matter how you use it. I like the many meanings of the word free. I think they're intermingled and related. And the meaning depends on your perspective. I have no problem with that (Badges ~ Stephen's Web).

Free learning (as opposed to free beer) means having the option of reusing, remixing, recopying, and redistributing Open Educational Resources (OERs). And I support free learning!

I support free learning

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wikieducator Workshop

Wikieducator workshop scheduled for this week...sign up today!

#CritLit2010 Teacher-controlled/Autonomous Dichotomy

#CritLit2010 Networked learning � Suifaijohnmak's Weblog

To what extent is the help of teacher necessary?

This question is at the root of determining where teachers and students lie when looking at the teacher-controlled/autonomous dichotomy. Using terms like approach or roles seems a bit too permanent when one considers the act of teaching and learning as being complex. Instead, being a didactic instructor, facilitator, and coach resembles activities as opposed to roles or approaches since teachers, students, and other actors within the learning ecosystem move in and out of these positions quite fluidly depending on the particular discourse. The goal of the teacher is to be prepared to move in and out of these three positions as well as create the same mindset with the students in a way that promotes sustainability. Sustainability will thus allow for learnings - or “understandings” (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005) to emerge in a more natural and profound way.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

#CritLit2010 Twitter vs. Facebook Discourse

“When I reflected on Foucault’s definition of discourse, I realize that power relations would have a significant impact on the conversations held between networkers”

According to Barabási (2003), the Internet is a scale-free network (i.e., containing hubs and connections) that follows a power law distribution (for good or bad). In order to recognize the impact power has on any particular type of discourse requires that each actor 1) recognize the type of tie that exists between the actor and other nodes within the network and 2) recognize the attributes of each node. This level of criticality will help determine the impact nodes (including the actor herself) have on the network with regard to centrality and prestige.

“Take Twitter as an example, would the followers and the following assume a power relation?”

This would depend on how much the actor depended on Twitter as part of a personal learning network and whether the actor perceived the tie with the individual or node as valuable. I would dare say that most people use Twitter in conjunction with a wide variety of additional tools that ultimately would limit the impact power might have on this type of discourse. That is, even those along the long tail have the opportunity to gain some level of power if they are able to critically assess ties and node attributes.

I view Twitter discourse (TD) differently than Facebook discourse (FBD). Typically, TD is limited to the individuals participating in that discourse and tends to be a bit more fragmented and difficult to follow for “outsiders”. It’s been my experience that FBD is easier for others to view discourse and the discourse itself tends to include more turn-taking. In general, TD is more spontaneous and I would say contains more utterances (non-discursive) while FBD is more thought out and contains more conversations (discursive) - although I don’t have the data to back this up. Finally, I see TD as more of a network, FBD as more of a group, at least in terms of degree of openness, agency, types of interaction.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Predicting" Gets a Bad Rap

I love your statement: “Prediction is doomed to failure. The value of futures thinking is in opening minds to consider new possibilities and to deal with change. They should not be seen as visions of where an organization might go.” - Siemens, 2010

Gonick (2010) argues that the future of education will include the following: open, global, lifelong, and informal learning.  This is a prediction in that they are outcomes that are assumed to transpire in the future.  Whether they happen or not, this information is based on a sound argument in my point of view.  Intuitively, I think most would agree that whether these outcomes happen or not, we will adapt to whatever the result.  It's possible to include a level of creativity and scenario-based discussions around these predictions that help provide context.  

At a more basic level, each time I communicate with others, I am predicting.  I am predicting that my message will be communicated.  I am predicting that my audience will understand my meaning.  I am predicting that my audience will react in a certain way, etc.  They can be either sound or weak, but nonetheless are still predictions. 

Predictions are gimmicks... - Levine (2010)

Just because it's a prediction doesn't automatically equate it as being unsound or weak.  The argument behind the prediction (i.e., stating a single outcome could happen) or forecast (i.e., stating a variety of outcomes could happen) frames the level of certainty.  I could forecast an outcome by saying, "Under this situation, this could happen, or this could happen, or this could happen, etc.  One could argue that this level of uncertainty is what is needed in forecasting - not predicting - the future, but it could also lead to such ambiguity that the usefulness of the statement could be in question.   

I agree that we need to be open, creative, and willing to adapt to situations as they happen.  But I think we can form arguments that lead to a single outcome or a variety of outcomes that both take into consideration the right amount of certainty and uncertainty to adequately support an argument.