CAL11 Workshop 1pm April 15th #mosialong
If this is too abstract then we can reference the works of Howard Rheingold, Dave Weinberger and Clay Shirkey and describe the Emergent Learning Model as; Smart Mobs + Everything is Miscellaneous means Here Comes Everybody
Workshop; The workshop was organised as follows and in the event we discussed about half the slides prepared.We decided to work in groups and address how to deal with learner self-organisation, resource creation and institutional changes. The schedule and workshop notes follow.
Schedule 1.00 Introduction
1.05 Overview of Emergent Learning Model and Ambient Learning City
1.15 Questions; Divide into 3 groups; Learners, Resources, Institutions
1.45 3 points from each group
1.55; Plenary from Floor
Learner’s How do we enable the self-organisation of learners
Issues; Will learners self-organise to learn about their interests? Are smart-mobs, flash-mobs the solution, are there emerging technologies that might enable better learning collaborations. Do we know how to design participative learning? Can we enable city places to spontaneously support or prompt informal learning?
Resources; How do we design resources for learner-appropriation
Are OERs any good for learning? What makes a good learning resource? Is a learning journey or a learning sequence a resource? Can we design learning sequences that can be edited and that capture ‘learning’? How do we create user-generated learning metadata? Do we have good content-creation toolkits that teachers and learners can use and share. Can QR Codes on buildings, say, make Manchester an Ambient Learning City or do we need social-media aggregator platforms to store sequences? Do students or staff do the aggregation, or is there a good co-creation model.
Institutions; How do we enable the post-hoc accreditation of learning
If accreditation is the key how can we organise distributed accreditation, or micro-accreditation? Do we need to create a Wikiquals resource? Can we do this in old, traditional, institutions or do we need to create new institutions like the Ragged University or Really Free School? Who owns learning accreditation? Can we develop post-institutional models of accreditation. What is the role of institutions in the world Clay Shirkey describes in Here Comes Everybody as ‘organising without organising’? Can we create Public Interest Institutions out of our cognitive surplus alone? Or, put another way, how do we make institutions ‘fit for context’
Ambient Learning City
How do we locate resources and support interactions within a city, and other ambient learning environments, so that they enable learning in context (useful interactions in context) and can also be recognised as learning in contexts for accreditation purposes? Remember this project is about examining ways to enable the accreditation of informal learning in a range of contexts which are selected by learners.
Draw your Ambient Learning City (1.20) & lets have a general debate (1.45)
Questions?; We value Questions as much as your Answers
Oh by the way I’m not an ‘expert’ in, er, Ambient Learning, rather I am a problem solver, and so this workshop addressed the problem of how do we re-organise the city to enable learner-generated contexts to emerge from citizen interactions…
Workshop Problem; How do we make Manchester ready to enable learner-generated contexts to emerge in response to learner needs? What toolkits do we need? What processes do technologies need to support to enable this. How may institutions facilitate these processes?
The group who attended decided to address some of the issues by category, learner’s, resources, and the role of institutions, and we moved to the Cornerhouse to further the discussions over refreshments. Thanks to Phil, Susan, Brendan and Andy for conversational extensions to the workshop. Beth, from MOSI-ALONG, who took notes during the workshop also joined us.
Observations; I updated the Ambient Learning City presentation and tweaked it for the session, for example adding my motto ‘The answers are already here, we just aren’t asking the right questions yet!’ This was exemplified by the deep unease of the group at being asked to address questions allegedly outside of their competence, even in a workshop; the very ‘thinking in silos’ that the Emergent Learning Model is designed to address. I also failed to add that the definition of emergence is a ‘non-directional dynamic system‘ which is as good a way of defining an Ambient Learning City as ‘an uninterrupted opportunity to interact with a range of contexts’.
Learners; One group did come up with a delightful example of how to interact contextually by focussing on a park, suggesting a number of triggers, such as identifying trees, and using smart phones to upload information and link to other parks and park groups. ‘Learners’ could respond appropriately to the contextual opportunities as they rambled. They also offered some creative options such as creating holographic records of flora or fauna they came across; very cool! This suggests that different contexts have different affordances for stimulating learning and, as I have seen in earlier workshops, parks seem to offer much stimulus and great opportunities for ambient learning.
Institutions; Pulling together several discussions before and after the workshop it can be seen that institutions are the key blockers in this process. All attendees felt oppressed by the behaviours of their institutions and couldn’t immediately see ways of changing that. However along with other discussions they surfaced the idea of using the Mozilla Foundation, particularly for micro-qualifications (Mark van Harmelan) and developing a WikiQuals resource working on Guild-like ‘show and tell’ (own your own accreditation), which came up twice. The conclusion was that educational institutions are not ready to engage with supporting ambient, or extra-institutional, learning. Worse, educators aren’t ready to think about organising without organisations. Even worse, I personally think that there is hardly any relevant organisational literacy extant in the educational world, (which is what Nigel Ecclesfield and I are addressing on the Architecture of Participation blog)
Resources; Several ideas were floated in this area, unsurprisingly given the audience at CAL11. Lots of presentations, such as the LDSE planner, offered elements of the solution, as did Agnes Kukulska-Hume’s shading of mobile learning into learning on-the-move and her identification of the Four Frustrations of mobile use; a) Where’s my stuff? b) How bad is this connection! c) Dont know how to make this work! d) Make it more flexible so I can use the stuff! I think that a lot of the papers at CAL11 are involved in the early work of building the engine of the more flexible resources we will need to make ‘fit for context’ resources for user appropriation. These might then be used to support learner-generated needs and purposes that emerge in ambient learning contexts.
Conclusion; designing emergent, non-directional, dynamic learning systems; For me thinking of designing an interactive, or ambient Learning City using the Emergent Learning Model raises a lot of obvious issues. However most people haven’t thought of designing non-directional dynamic learning systems, to enable and support extra-institutional self-directed learning to emerge. Sugata Mitra is working on designing SOLE (Self-Organised Learning Environments), but at the moment his focus is within schools, despite the Hole in the Wall work. Our concern is with design learning in order to take it out of academe and into public spaces where it can be made purposeful, as Mike Wesch puts it, by its context.
We need to allow non-directional learning processes to emerge from the physical context by;
a) enabling groups to self-organise out of the classroom (what I am calling Digital Brigades after Leif Jerram’s Streetlife)
b) designing editable learning resources for appropriation and re-use, to allow for learner-generated content (see our Aggregate then Curate model)
c) preparing institutions for post-hoc accreditation.
We will be addressing these three issues over the coming weeks.
Update (Sept 2011)
a) MOSI-ALONG has developed the concept of organising triggers to allow learners self-organisation; See the Digital Cabinet of Curiosities approach.
b) MOSI-ALONG has developed the Aggregate then Curate Model
c) WikiQuals has outlined a post-hoc accreditation model based on the Show & Tell ideas discussed in the workshop