Here is my response to Future of Education Course led by George Siemens and Dave Cormier.
I have followed part of the conversation.
Using a course to discuss about education futures do require some consensus on the process to adopt. This is quite a challenge as some participants might have a “best practice” approach or experience in such education future research, whilst others might be figuring about how such “wisdom of the crowds” approach could work. The various suggestions of using Delphi, Drupal, etc. are examples of tools and techniques. However, would this way of discussion be confined to a networking approach where the discourse stays at the “theoretical level” if no consensus are made? It would be very difficult to form into groups to actually implement those suggested drupal research.
A course which is decentralised is great for brainstorming ideas, generating possible senarios of education, and sharing and debating different ideas and models, but could be difficult to come up with a pattern of education future which is reflective and evaluative, unless there are concrete adaptive evaluation tools which could be developed or emerged out of the network.
As every participant has his/her own views, perceptions, and experience about education, so such evaluations may only make sense if individuals are to formulate their visions of future. This could be achieved by individuals sharing such visions in their blogs, followed by further conversations in the forum to share and reflect on, so as to arrive to some common themes and pattern that networkers could recognise.
About the course:
I think it depends on what individuals want to achieve through such a course, based on negotiations amongst the participants, rather than the pre-determined outcomes of the course, which are highlighted as what is expected from the course, if the course designer and facilitator wishes to achieve an optimum outcome which is based on network principles. However, if you want to discuss the education future using a formal or “traditional” approach of defining the objectives first, then certain levels of facilitation and structure would be needed, in order to guide the participants through a Delphi or Drupal approach towards “best practice”. One could also relate to the Horizon Report which provides some framework on how technology enhanced education could be envisioned.
Would participants view these “framework” or “suggested best practice” as constraints or too limited in the sharing of views? Or would they value the suggestions as “expert” views towards best practice? We are aware that education future is both complicated and complex in nature due to the uncertainty future. Without considering the cultures, contexts, and local needs, it wouldn’t be easy to come up with any concrete ideas about what may be best about our education system. This is both a challenge and opportunity for participants and facilitator to share their “international perspectives” based on global network.
So, would it be important to reconsider what is important in the design of a course using a network structure first? This would enable each of us (facilitator and participants) to rethink what it means when discussing an important, though complex subject.
What are the needs and expectations of participants when engaged in such an open network structure? What motivate them to explore about education future? What are their utopian view of education future? Have they already got such visions? What are the context of such visions? What are the implications?
In summary, I don’t see it easy to share an open and complex topic on education future based on a network/course hybrid approach.
Further discussion and sharing may be based on (a) what an open course could offer in the discussion of education future, (b) how such discussion could be consolidated, and researched with the possibility of group research and research community, (c) the merits and demerits of using such approach in tackling complicated and complex topics.
I have written a post on future education.