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Posts Tagged ‘WebQuests’

The Chocolate Cafe Manifesto

For Learning after Lockdown; This blog is about my ideas and work connected to Heutagogy, what Stewart Hase defines as “self-determined learning” and which I am interested in as a way of enabling learner-centred learning in the UK (and elsewhere). We think that, following the pandemic, as a “new normal” is introduced in the UK schools will not be capable of 100% attendance and will have to design for 50/50 learning. Arguably this might force schools to recognise that they will have to “trust the learner” for a change and allow some learning agency into UK schools. Schools will become “time poor” so they will have to become “learning-rich” This blog post looks at some ways in which that might be achieved.

Introduction (Secondary Education UK); For reasons to do with the Brainsrusting group who are discussing this issue and writing the “manifesto” we are focussing on Secondary Education in the UK, although the principles and thoughts we share might be useful anywhere. We met monthly at The Chocolate Cafe in Canterbury (famous for its Cathedral School 1000 years ago) and have debated how we might share our discussion and ideas as a “Manifesto for Learning” so here it is/will be.

50/50 Learning; We think that social distancing will require schools to offer only 50% of time in the classroom compared to the previous 100%. We are also assuming that UK (English) schools for the next academic year 20/21 will continue to follow the rigid OFSTED driven high-stakes achievement oriented education model that was introduced in the UK to “make sure the sixties never happens again” (PM Margaret Thatcher). From that perspective the 50% in classroom time will arguably remain the same but the 50% “beyond the classroom” learning time might allow some learning agency for schoolchildren. It is in this new “heutagogic learning time” that some freedom of learning might emerge. Our hierarchical schools made now be time poor but they can become “learning rich” instead.

Fast Education/Slow Learning; We need to design an education system that isn’t just concerned with the unchallenging “memorization” of “facts” the so-called “learning by rote” that is the hallmark of our exam-driven secondary system; what I call “Fast Education”. We also need to allow for the thoughtful, reflective “Eureka” process of “slow learning” where we make sense of the world for ourselves, to be part of our education system. Daniel Kahneman talked of “Thinking Fast and Slow” and showed how “slow thinking” is how we make sense and create our own meaning, whereas as “fast thinking” is about developing high speed answers to known questions. Our secondary education is almost entirely concerned with “fast thinking” and so points students at clearly defined subject areas where the teacher knows the answer. This is an education system that is good for providing clear answers for exams, but no-good for solving-problems and enabling sense-making when events diverge from the norm; as in pandemics. Here are our 4 big ideas; (more…)

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Teaching & learner-centred learning

In A History of Teaching in 10 Lectures I discussed the quality of accidentally discovering truths about teaching by bumping into the expectations of learners.
This process of bumping into the expectations of learners ended up, for me, in developing a technique I called educational brokering. Captured well in this interview with David Jennings on creating “learner-generated contexts.

Other teachers developed other techniques, and I referred to Bernie Dodge of San Diego who invented WebQuests, or rather co-created WebQuests, with an SDSU class. Back in 1994 and lacking material (or perhaps being unprepared) Bernie decided to run a class as a debate discussing the question “is browsing learning?” He had noticed that people using the, then newly invented, web spent a lot of time “just browsing, thanks.” He thought his class would be split 50/50 and his unprepared 50 minutes would pass easily by in the gentle to-and-fro of debate. Instead EVERYONE said “browsing IS learning, thanks” and so they spent the next 48 minutes inventing WebQuests in order to capture browsing as learning. Or described as Heutagogy, 48 minutes were spent in the co-creation of a self-determined learning tool.

More explicit applied Heutagogy was displayed by the wonderful Thom Cochrane who took the PAH Continuum, which he discovered by just browsing, thanks, and (more…)

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From Education to Learning; A Brief History of Open (2)

Last Week I asked; what have we learnt from Web-enabled Education? Has the Web begun to enable more learning-centred approaches? Have we used the affordances of new technology to improve our learning, lives and society? This was in answer to @aleksk on Untangling the Web observation who said she would focus on ‘pedagogical theories, online education enablers, novel learning techniques and approaches that the web affords’. In fact her brief article in todays Observer disappointingly focusses on university research issues, a customary mistake by academics and policy-makers. Shockingly she quotes the complacent Hamish MacLeod (who he?) at Edinburgh “I wouldn’t say there are any profound changes in the way we should be thinking about theories of learning”. I beg to differ! So let’s look a little more inclusively at what the web has afforded us for learning.

What have we learnt from Web-enabled Education; in terms of pedagogical theories, online education enablers, novel learning techniques and approaches as Aleks Krotoski asked? Well last week as I argued that in untangling the web on education’ we are only taking a fifteen-year snapshot of a 50-year process of social change. Picking out the educational consequences of the web is a small and partial view of a broader ongoing set of social processes. Primarily we can say that the web has resulted more in changes to the processes of learning than in changes to the nature of the institutions of education; the consequences of the web on those institutions are yet to be fully realised.

However in terms of pedagogy there can’t have been a richer 15-year period since (more…)

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