Glyndwr University hosted its fourth Technology-Enhanced Learning symposium today.
The event included a keynote address from Mark Stiles, Emeritus Professor of Technology Supported Learning at Staffordshire University, plus a series of shorter, mainly on-topic presentations from both Glyndwr staffers and external speakers.
On a grey Wednesday in Wrexham, it got the grey matter working again – just in time to start delving into the next section of the MSc Learning and Technology.
Stiles, in particular, was scathing about the way universities fail to make innovation work.
“Decision-making processes in universities are almost universally dreadful,” he said.
He also criticised Vice Chancellors who want to have a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “just because their neighbour has one” – without understanding it.
Henry Platten of online security firm eTreble9, welcomed the use of picture-sharing media, such as Instagram, to promote the use of infographics in learning, but warned of the nefarious dangers of social media.
“Although you may think you’re not on a given social network, actually you may be,” he said.
So, from social-media learning to the way the biggest barriers to change in universities are the universities themsleves, here are seven things I learnt today:
Social media in e-learning is a fast-moving trend [source NMC Horizon Report 2014] but we haven’t got our heads round it yet
* This is my first post for the MSc Learning and Technology course I’m now following at Glyndwr University. Subscribe to the RSS or follow me on Twitter for updates.
Olivia, three, is at the pre-operational stage – in the parlance of the educational theorist Piaget.
Her sister, Maya, aged seven and a half, is at the operational stage.
What do I observe about learning from my daughters [pictured above]? How do they learn? And, as I’m chief homework monitor around the house, how do I facilitate learning in between episodes of Scooby Doo and playing on scooters in the park opposite?
For me, there are some basics:
A safe, stable environment with a regular routine
Quality one-on-one time whereby we sit and read, talk together
Time for free play to read, play, jigsaws etc.
Me sharing nuggets of learning through out the day eg. talking about using nice describing words in a story over dinner, or counting in tens while we walk to school
But my daughters are not typical students.
Many students never even access the news – on radio, TV or online. Many lack support in secondary school with their writing.
What to do with them? Can we apply historical educational theories of Piagetian Cognitive Developmentto this group?
And, while my personal approach borrows from the ideas of Vygotskean Social Cognition in relation to Maya and Olivia, will factoring in the social environment be enough to inspire?
In the age of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), the parameters are shifting.
The traditional theories worked before but now it’s time for a rethink.
“Learning is fundamentally networked. When we connect to other people and other ideas, we gain a depth of knowledge in a subject.”
Steve Wheeler, Associate Professor of learning technology in the Plymouth Institute of Education at Plymouth University, writing on his blog Learning with ‘e’s, addresses this in terms of rhizone theory.
How can, he asks, we reach a place in education where students find their own level and make their own pathways through learning? In a well-argued blog post, he calls for a living-curriculum approach and support for students to create their own personalised learning pathways.
“The self-determined pathway to learning is fast becoming familiar to learners in the digital age, and is also the antithesis to the formal, structured learning found in traditional education”