Pedagogy defines School 2.0 (revisited)

I was reading Will’s post today It’s Not Just the “Read/Write” Web and then thanks to twitter John Pederson’s post on Networks (I think that’s what it’s on anyway).

As I read I started thinking about a post I did back in January on defining School 2.0.

Not sure if it’s OK to quote yourself but back then I wrote:

School 2.0 although driven to change by the advancement of technology is not about technology, it’s about the advancement of society, of our culture as a world. Technology played a large part, but it is society that has changed. Everything from out-sourcing work to Asia, to the built in GPS in your car, to the phone/pda/web/music/video/picture iphone. Society has changed that’s why a new school is needed. If you think schools need to change because of technology…I’d argue you have it wrong. Schools need to change because our society has changed.

And I still believe this is true. What is School 2.0? It’s the new network world we live in. In the past couple of year I have started looking at everything differently. Is it just me or do you go around noticing all the ways our society relays on networks?

Today I went to the dentist where they took my picture because they are going  “Chartless.” Why? Because if all the information is in the computer they can easily access it from any room in the office. I go to room one and by the time I sit in the chair my chart is on the computer screen. The hygienist has a complete history of my visits, with pictures of my teeth and all the information she needs to do her job. The dentists in our area are also all forming a network to easily transfer and share files of patients. So now if I needed braces they would send the complete file electronically.

Or what about last week when my wife was looking for a new pair of shoes. The store didn’t have them in her size but the lady helping us scanned the shoe and then looked at the inventory of 5 other stores within our area to see if they had the right size. With a couple clicks the nice lady tells my wife that the shoes will be in the store in two days.

Will writes:

But here’s the thing that’s been sticking with me of late. For all of the talk about Classroom 2.0 and School 2.0 and Addyourwordhere 2.0, there still isn’t much talk about what fuels the 2.0…the network.

And I believe this is where we need to get. The tools allow us to form networks, to form our own personal learning networks continually connecting, disconnecting, and reconnection to the information we need. The tools allow us to become a learning nod for others, but I believe it’s been said before that RSS is the glue that holds it all together. It allows us to connect to these different nods. Pull them in, compare, contrast, mashup, and create new content based on the information you have and the information you want.

While at the EdBloggerCon at NECC I brought up in a session that we need to change teaching at its roots. At the very foundation….the pedagogy. Some disagreed with me saying that good teaching is still good teaching. I’m just not sure if I can swallow that.

Does good teaching in 1920 look the same as good teaching in 1950….1980…..1990…..200?. With the advancements in brain research alone can you say that good teaching never changes?
At this moment I think George Siemens Knowing Knowledge and connectivism theory of learning best represents how learning and knowledge has been changed in this new 2.0 world.

Connectivism

Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories. Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing.

Connectivism is a new theory based on networks and connections. A new theory brings with it a new Pedagogy that we need to understand. If we continue to use old theories to teach new skills we can never truly create the change we talk about in the blogosphere. I was taught the constructivist theory believe it is a good learning theory and is what is expected in an interview. But does it take into account the new networked world we live in? The new chaos and expansiveness of information today.

If we truly want to see the change we are all hoping for than I believe we need to look at the very root of education. We need to understand that the tools are only the things we use. It’s the network, the connections, the creating of new information in this open and free space that truly impacts learning, our society, and our world.

[tags]School2.0, connectivism, George Siemens[/tags]

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8 Comments

  1. I think we are all looking for better ways to teach and learn, but I would say that connectivism seems to me to be reinforcing the notion that learning happens outside the individual, and is untimately disempowering the learner. Don’t we want students to feel that they have the power to find answers within themselves? That knowledge is created and under their power, not found in books, teachers, or the network? While those are all good resources, ultimately, the learner holds the keys.

    It does seem the constructivism has become the “correct answer” in an interview, but isn’t really implemented in very many situations. Unfortunate, I think, because it really does place the learner at the center of knowledge creation.

    I guess at the heart of it is that I don’t understand how connectivism informs new classroom practices. What does it mean to you–other than teaching kids how to find information more efficiently? I’m missing how this changes what kids do after they find some information, maybe even better information than they could have 5 years (or 5 months) ago. Seems like what’s important is what happens after the initial investigations.

  2. Jeff I believe you are right, it is the root of teaching that has to change. No longer should all students sit in rows facing front and listening all day, but I have principals who think this way. They deny students can learn from online games. Something I struggle with as an instructional technology specialist is how do I get my administration to embrace the tools? So they can then model for my teachers what use of the tools looks and like and can do. I have teachers who are willing to use the power of web2.0 tools to connect their students to others, to use wikis and blogs as collaborative spaces to offer their students a chance to find their voice. But for some, when their principal comes in to observe, they have no idea what these things are or why they have chosen to use them. I continue to expose teachers to the tools available to change their teaching and the learning experience for the students but I would like any suggestions anyone has for how I can move administrators to see the value of networks as well. It is not a practice where I am we are still at the point of school web page being the main form of communication again, the I say you listen model.
    Thanks for bringing the post back to life, I believe it is important.

  3. Great ideas, I love where you’re going with this. Actually, I’m going to my own post somewhat similar. My question is how you made that very cool dot map?

  4. “…good teaching is still good teaching…”

    Yeah — I disagree with this as well. I think there is this persistent perception that what teachers did 10, 20, 30, 40,… years ago was effective (and therefore, is still effective), but I believe that this is incorrect. What teachers used to do — and what some consider now to be classical effective teaching — DIDN’T work for all students. It didn’t work then, it won’t work now.

    And what will work now is constantly in flux. It isn’t enough just to become fluent in the new tools — especially if we are just using the new tools in old ways (SMART boards in place of chalk boards, lecturing to students who take notes on laptops, Powerpoint in place of overhead transparencies) — we must now also be fluent in how students learn (through connections, networks, collaboratively, and through real-world activities that are relevant and engaging), and what they need to learn to be successful in a workplace that is looking less and less like the workplace that existed when we were all still in college (before we entered the classroom and lost touch with the “real world”).

    I think you are correct — we do need to change teaching “at its roots”… just as we need to change (reinvent) the education system. When I say we need innovation, I mean innovation in everything from the structure of school, function of school, leadership & management of school, and in the teaching/learning process.

    Good post Jeff — take care,
    Stephanie

  5. I don’t think that saying “good teaching is still good teaching” implied that ALL teaching in the past was good. It means that there were, are, and will be teachers who could engage students, frame lessons in real-world contexts, and provide opportunities for every child to succeed.

    Those teachers can take a blog or a smartboard or a bag of pipe cleaners and good stuff happens. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. We KNOW what works, we just don’t do it.

  6. Jeff,

    Can we use this for our class posting? LOL :)

  7. Some inchoate thoughts from an interested bystander

    This seems to be the beginning of a very interesting process of discovery. I suspect that your apparent dissociation of constructivism and necessary pedagogic innovation may be a false paradigm. The evolving sets of related technologies do require the inversion of contemporary notions of teaching/learning and even the teacher/student relationship.

    Media and Comms Technologies facilitate pedagogies that place the learner within a fluid set of networks through which they can exert control over the form and structure of information streams.

    For the first time students can utilise tools of access, control, manipulation and exploration of information. This is offers stupendous potential to completely redefine the nature and consumption of information and its transformation into knowledge, and the development of higher level thinking skills.

    But simple access to mass information is not enough. While it does bring potential efficiency gains, it also spells overload and diversion without concomitant develoment of tools and processes with which this information can be formed into meaningful experiences and activities that support learning outcomes (I prefer to think of cognitive skills and conceptual frameworks)

    There is some serious pedagogy, content and practice
    scaffolding (that may be an unfortunate term in this context) that needs to be built around the technology for it to have a chance. Teachers need simple, effective tools and practical stepping stones toguide them.

    Nonetheless, I don’t view this as being necessarily incompatible with constructivist ideas. Indeed, from certain perspectives, new technologies may make constructivist based pedagogies accessible for the first time – as opposed to a fairly abstract construct. All of this technology is a powerful enabler. Networks/connections together with flexible tools have the potetnial to truly empower teachers and pupils, redefining the learning process.

    Of course, this would result in radically new pedagogies…something that can be tested with some very simple classroom innovations. Unfortunately, such radical changes imply a profound shift of power, or at least the perception of power, between stakeholders, and naturally leads to redefined roles for teachers, to being something like facilitators and mentors I imagine.

    Alas, rather large political barriers lie between the visions and their realisation as tangible outcomes. Even the simplest experiments demonstrate what i understand to be your central point.

    That means managing profound change with bells on. I concur wholeheartedly with the vision thing, but the implication strike at multiple powerful roots that underpin institutional education. education exists within a socio-political context….ooops…we’ll terminate that segue we could spend an age or two on the implications in a Chinese context alone…….

    Despite some of the marvellous work being done, the vast majority of educational experiences remain resolutely pre-web 1.0, much less 2.0. The gap between the institutional expertise and peception of media technologies and the experience of each successive generation, appears to be widening, not narrowing.

    Also I would be chary of naked technology adoption – the challenge is not to embrace technology, but the design and deployment of usable tools aligned to reformulated learning goals…not all of the fancy gizmos are necessarily beneficial….for example are serious games actually useful?…personally, i think such environments have great potenial….although i doubt that current designs can begin to deliver effective outcomes…..i guess that’s yet another conversation…so i’ll stop.

    Aplogies of this seems a bit of a ramble…it’s the wee hours here and i wanted to jump in, so i hope you don’t mind.

    Thanks for the juicy posts…I’ll keep quiet and have a proper mulch on the connectivism paper now.

    Regards

    Blabber

  8. Connectivism

    Some inchoate thoughts from an interested bystander

    This seems to be the beginning of a very interesting process of discovery. I suspect that your apparent dissociation of constructivism and necessary pedagogic innovation may be a false paradigm. The evolving sets of related technologies do require the inversion of contemporary notions of teaching/learning and even the teacher/student relationship.

    Media and Comms Technologies facilitate pedagogies that place the learner within a fluid set of networks through which they can exert control over the form and structure of information streams.

    For the first time students can utilise tools of access, control, manipulation and exploration of information. This is offers stupendous potential to completely redefine the nature and consumption of information and its transformation into knowledge, and the development of higher level thinking skills.

    But simple access to mass information is not enough. While it does bring potential efficiency gains, it also spells overload and diversion without concomitant development of tools and processes with which this information can be formed into meaningful experiences and activities that support learning outcomes (I prefer to think of cognitive skills and conceptual frameworks)

    There is some serious scaffolding (that may be an unfortunate term in this context)that needs to be built around the technology, in terms of pedagogy, content and practice.

    I see this as not necessarily being incompatible with constructivist ideas. Indeed, from certain perspectives, new technologies may make constructivist based pedagogies accessible for the first time – as opposed to a fairly abstract construct. All of this technology is a powerful enabler. Networks/connections together with flexible tools have the potential to truly empower teachers and pupils, redefining the learning process.

    Of course, this would result in radically new pedagogies…something that can be tested with some very simple classroom innovations. Unfortunately, such radical changes imply a profound shift of power, or at least the perception of power, between stakeholders, and naturally leads to redefined roles for teachers, to being something like facilitators and mentors I imagine.

    Alas, rather large political barriers lie between the visions and their realisation as tangible outcomes. Even the simplest experiments demonstrate what i understand to be your central point.

    That means managing profound change with bells on. I concur wholeheartedly with the vision thing, but the implication strike at multiple powerful roots that underpin institutional education. education exists within a socio-political context….ooops…we’ll terminate that segue we could spend an age or two on the implications in a Chinese context alone…….

    Despite some of the marvellous work being done, the vast majority of educational experiences remain resolutely pre-web 1.0, much less 2.0. The gap between the institutional expertise and perception of media technologies and the experience of each successive generation, appears to be widening, not narrowing.

    Another point: be careful what you ask for. I’ve seen a little the effect of student centred learning…it works, children are liberated and motivated, and teachers can hate it….

    In addition I’m chary of naked technology adoption – as pointed out in other comments, the challenge is not to embrace technology, but the design and deployment of usable tools aligned to reformulated learning processes…

    Not all of the fancy stuff is necessarily beneficial….in fact some very simple tools would seem to be the most effective. Are serious games actually useful?…personally, i think such environments have great potential, but i find the basic premis of ‘intuitive learning’ and inductive type pedagogies a bit of a funding con – at best very inefficient for many current learning objectives…..i guess that’s another conversation…so I’ll stop.

    Apologies of this seems a bit of a ramble…it’s the wee hours here and i wanted to jump in after stumbling upon a very interesting conversation, so i hope you don’t mind.

    Thanks for the juicy posts…I’ll have a proper mulch on the connectivism paper now….and be quiet.

    Regards

    Blabber

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