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Posts Tagged ‘Co-Creating’

Is Heutagogy the Future of Education?

In Wired for Culture Mark Pagel points out that

 “Modern humans seem, uniquely among animals, capable of something that psychologists and anthropologists call cultural or social learning”.

Homo Sapiens rise to civilisation was based on this capability for learning but, on the many occasions that we have tried to design an education system for our species, we have invariably failed to improve on our original ability to learn socially. In Plato’s Academy 2500 years ago Socrates was already warning that the new-fangled invention of writing with symbolic language would result in something poorer than existing oral culture. We were about to become mediated by tools less flexible than our face-to-face conversational framework.

Socrates was talking during the first axial age when the settlement-based civilisations of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth switched to an underpinning metaphor of life that was based on a materialist creator God, because we were building cultures out of the crude raw materials we extracted from nature.

Universities, whether Arabic or Western, were originally built around sharing the ideas captured in the books that Socrates had warned about writing in the first place. Universities were originally built on the principle of disseminating this new monotheism (the only basis on which a Royal Charter would be granted in the UK) and when Paris and Bologna spotted that self-organised “communities of scholars” were visiting their cities with money to spend they incorporated universities in order to benefit from the cash spend of scholars; nothing new there then. Universities were built in order to take money off scholars whilst drilling them to think in a singular fashion based on a “learning by rote” copying down of rare and selected texts.

Fortunately the medieval university evolved the Liberal Arts model of Education which, at Bachelors level, involved the development of multiple skills of expression (music, rhetoric, grammar, etc) and only at Masters level was subject mastery (hence the name) the basis of education. This was eventually replace by the integrated Prussian model of a “nation-building” education during the nineteenth-century when the nation-state became fashionable as did national languages, a national curriculum and standardisation of all things.

The 7 Liberal Arts; Grammar Rhetoric Logic (Dialectic) Music Geometry Mathematics Astronomy

When, in 1970 as a school leaver, I came to choose between going to an English University, where the purpose of studying was driven by the Oxbridge model of training colonial administrators who could run the British Empire, or going to a Polytechnic to gain the skills necessary to maintain the factories of the Industrial Revolution, I was completely bemused. The British Empire had effectively collapsed in 1956 (Suez crisis) whilst British industry had been in terminal decline after Bretton Woods (1946) which ensured the loss of the closed markets that the Empire had previously guaranteed. I chose instead to enter the cultural industries (popular music) that the creative working class had spontaneously created during the 1960s using the tools made available by the Analogue Revolution. With the exception of some Art Colleges, usually seen as places for school children who had failed in the examinations of the formal education system, as John Lennon, Keith Richard Pete Townsend had (and in differing ways Mary Quant and Pauline Boty), there was no education available for the fastest-growing sector of the British Economy. Why? (more…)

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World Heutagogy Day 2020

World Heutagogy Day on 23rd September is when we both celebrate the publication of the first book on heutagogy, Self-Determined Learning edited by Stewart Hase and Chris Kenyon, and also try to both extend our understanding of heutagogy and identify new practices. The slideshare “What is Heutagogy” produced as a curated conversation by the authors of this collection of essays on the practice of heutagogy is a good introduction to heutagogy and reflects where we were with our understanding back in 2013.

Developing Heutagogy This year, because of the remarkable work of Vijaya Bhanu Kote a headteacher of a primary school in Andhara Pradesh India, we are focussing on “Heutagogy for Teachers” based on sharing her work in developing her school into a heutagogy school. This consists of more than just an abstract declaration that the school will practice heutagogy. It involves the very practical activity of training teachers in methods in which they can help their primary school children become what Vijaya calls “heutagogs” and producing a training guide. Remarkably Vijaya has involved the parents at her school who also become “heutagogs” and are involved helping their children become self-determined learners, or “heutagogs”. She has summarised her work in the following presentation.

Implementing Heutagogy for Teachers 

All teachers want their learners to do well; they want them to thrive, develop and grow. In the main their institutions get in the way of this ambition. Schools mistakenly measure success at the institutional level through examination results.  Educational “success” is quantified and measured in exam results, still based on what we call the content fallacy.

The content fallacy is the belief that education is entirely about the transfer of pre-defined subject knowledge from the almost-full memory of an active teacher into the empty memory cells of passive learners.

Pedagogy, as one theory of teaching, is about the better design of that content transfer. Pedagogy starts with the subject knowledge as “content” to be transferred from teacher to learner taken as a given. 900 years ago it was just copying a book in your own handwriting. In the 21st century it is writing down lecture notes as dictated by a teacher. Learners are seen as empty vessels into which we pour endless chunks of content to be memorised and our “high-stakes assessment” system is there to police that memorisation. In short, schools are not learner-centric and teachers are not rewarded for putting learners, and learning first, but for exam results. How can we improve that? (more…)

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With Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA-USP) Sao Paulo Brasil

Co-creating Open Scholarship; was a paper Nigel Ecclesfield and I wrote a year ago for ALT-C. There was a lot of interest in reflecting on what we had learnt about learning technology since ALT was founded in 1993, and this was what we addressed. We were asked to expand our original submission into a journal article which is now freely available in ALT’s open repository. There was some debate about using Boyer’s model of scholarship as a baseline but, unlike Martin Weller in Digital Scholar, we felt that Boyer’s model itself needed updating. This was because what we had learnt most from using learning technology was about the pedagogy of learning itself. Inspired by Terry Anderson’s excellent keynote at ALT-C on Open Learning and his early scoping of Open Scholarship we felt that we should provide a synthesis and propose a new model, derived from Boyer, upon which we could debate the future of scholarship. What we are attempting to do in this post is provide some supporting arguments for such a debate with the Escola de Comunicações e Artes in Sao Paulo.

Framing the debate; In 2012 there has been a lot of discussion on what has been called open learning. However this is perhaps more about the massification of learning, or rethinking mass education, and seems to be focussed on scaling up traditional learning models, and addressing the opportunities and threats of globalisation using technology, whilst keeping the same institutional and policy frameworks. I’m thinking of Udacity, Coursera and MITx amongst others, as well as MOOCs. As I discussed on my blog on Open Academic Practice I had been a teacher for 15 years before I designed technology-enhanced (blended) learning for the first time in 1997, and I immediately designed for collaboration and discussion; which are core features of learning that do not scale and so don’t interest the biggest institutions. I have been working on pedagogically related issues concerning the use of technology ever since, mostly with an informal group of researchers known as the Learner-generated Contexts Research Group. This post outlines from where our ideas about co-creating open scholarship emerged.  (more…)

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From Open Scholar to Open Student

This is a blog post version of the paper “Towards a framework for co-creating Open Scholarship” by Fred Garnett, and Nigel Ecclesfield given as a paper at ALT-C 2011 published in the Proceedings and freely available in their open Access repository. The shorter slide presentation is on Slideshare. This post includes the arguments as to how we might develop Boyer’s Model of Scholarship in the digital age towards an open model of learning by developing his arguments about Discovery, Integration, Application and Teaching, to include Co-creation. It is a ‘modest proposal’ not the finished article. However it develops our long-term thinking that digital learning is not a subset of old models of learning but a superset of ideas that are capable of transforming our understanding about, and the practice of, learning. (more…)

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(1) From Education to Learning; A Brief History of Open

If we try to untangle the impact of the web on education we can describe it as enabling a shift from a focus on education as a system to learning as a process, particularly since the web itself has become more open, social and participatory, especially since Web 2.0.  So how did we get here?

Background; I myself (@fredgarnett) started looking at the impact of the Web, indirectly, in 1984 when I began teaching a Unit called Information, Technology and Society. Deciding that taking the tropes of the Industrial Revolution and applying them to the Information Revolution was way too limited I looked instead at how the social organisation of settlements emerged out of agriculture and that from hunter-gathering; maps, flints and fires. Inspired by Yoneji Masuda and Nikolai Kondratieff, and my own observations, by 1988 I had evolved the NSU model, so-called because I think social change comes from new Networks being built, new Services being provided and new User behaviours emerging, over 50-year long-wave Kondratieff economic cycles stimulated by new technologies; the micro-chip was invented in 1971. New economies emerge from new networks of distribution. In 1989 I wrote a story to capture the changes we might see by 2021 as a Masters paper called Homi & the NeXT One (the title a tribute to Steve Jobs). Consequently I have had some understanding of the process by which new technology changes society ever since. For me the key aspect discernible over the last 250 years (especially when preceded by a knowledge revolution like the scientific revolution) are the cumulative effects of unnoticed second-order, or unanticipated, effects; hence the poverty of most predictions about the future which focus on first-order (anticipated effects) based on the knowledge of experts whose expertise is historically based.

Watching the Web Flow 1990s; Being more Utopian than dystopian I looked forward to the, then, forthcoming information revolution democratising our representative democracy, with its UK roots in the 17th Century (1689), by enabling new participatory *constitutions* to be written, redefining the social relations by which we live. Whether they be communications, networked or mash-ups, technologies don’t change society, they create first-order effects, that is consequences of what the technologies were designed to do. Social change comes from users inventing new use-states in line with their beliefs and social behaviours. (more…)

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