Is there any school of life?

Have you found your school of life?

In 16:08 – 16:57..

“I am my own master.  Let me take this journey with you.” What an educator!

You do your homework, and I do my homework. Sounds interesting.

Enjoy. Let me know what you think.

#Change11 Stephen Downes’ session on the Role of the Teacher in Today’s Online Education

Here are the links to Stephen’s session on the Role of the Teacher in Today’s Online Education:

#Change11 On motivation

What could I learn from this wonderful post of motivation?

Would these principles on What demotivates workers be applicable in the case of motivation of learners and educators in online courses?  Just replace the word of workers by learners, and we will get a wonderful set of guidelines on What demotivates learners:

Hype: A failure to acknowledge the real difficulties the learners face.

Futurism: Pointing down the road at “difficult or impossible future goals” and not at the tangible achievement of learners’ recent efforts.

False democracy: Inviting learner’s input when the leader (educator) already made up his/her mind.

“And that’s a key point: in addition to demotivating talented workers (learners and educators), an opaque and dictatorial leadership style can silence innovation from below, leaving the leader in charge of coming up with all the great ideas. Nobody’s that good – not even Steve Jobs.”

So, motivation could be a critical success factor in distance education and online learning.  What is needed is to explore the assumptions behind those factors – the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Will explore motivation and leadership in another post.  Forthcoming!

#eduMOOC Week 3 Online and Networked Learning

Photo credit: Flickr

Here is my second post on eduMOOC, with part of our conversation on Facebook on online and networked learning:

Online academy for K12 students would be operated very differently from higher education, as likely the emphasis would shift from “lower order” learning based on learning of content (facts and information) to “higher order” learning based on learning of critical thinking, metacognition (thinking how to think), sensemaking and wayfinding. The transition of Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 could be hindered if the teacher or lecturer would like to “teach” all the content as stipulated in the lesson (based on lesson plan) without regard to what the learners actually need or might be interested individually, especially in the case of adult learning. That makes learning seems like spoon feeding when the learners’ experience and prior knowledge are disregarded. So, for education and learning for professors, for K-12 educators, for veterans could be very different to novices, if viewed under the lens of pedagogy, and the critical question is: should a differentiated approach in teaching and learning for those categories of learners be used instead of a one-size suit all (lecture) that are still typically used in HE?
Isn’t learning for individuals more about setting goals, developing strategies and action plans, and implementing those plans with technology, media and networks as affordances (the philosophy of having a PLE/PLN)? As Mary said it requires the learners to coordinate and organise the learning him/herself, and that of groups and collectives, especially for independent (or interdependent) learners. The challenge is: who decides on the plans, content, actions for the learners? In the case of a course, is it the teacher? The learner? Or a combination of teacher/learner in the case of coaching/mentoring where the coach or mentor mediates the learning, and supports the learners to experiment through their own learning spaces/networks? Or the peer learners (like here eduMOOC/MOOC)? Our past researches indicated that MOOC might be welcome by more experienced educators who wanted to advance their teaching and learning, but could be a huge challenge for novices who would like to have some structures in their course of study. That makes learning “appears” to be somewhat more complicated and complex, especially when the new comers found that they might be inundated with information and might also have found some advice perplexing, as that is not what they have experienced in their previous studies (high school, or even university studies with lectures, face-to-face education). Some educators and learners would argue that learning should be simplified by the teachers, and so the curation of learning resources should rest solely on the teachers, and the learners are merely consumers of such curated resources (as isn’t that what a commercial customer wants when buying products?). So if education is viewed as a commodity, or a product that a learner could buy through the process of education, then such education would need to be “effective and efficient” from the educator’s point of view, as educators are responsible for the teaching and accountable to their institution authorities for what they are paid for. These fundamental roles of educators as assumed in institution could then be very different from that in a typical MOOC, where the roles of educators are shared amongst the peers, especially in the case of 2300 + in edu MOOC. Would the learners perceive their role in this way? Or would most (>95%) remain as LPP as is the case in past MOOCs?

#CCK11 Re-thinking traditional course structure and roles of educators, and education

Is this post on re-thinking traditional course structure- actually going to class challenging enough?

In an era when students can easily grab material online, including lectures by gifted speakers in every field, a learning environment that avoids courses completely—or seriously reshapes them—might produce a very effective new form of college.

Sounds convincing, but here we seem to focus again on lectures by gifted speakers in every field, and might have assumed that these students still like to attend lectures to learn.  Why would students attend such lectures?  What are the assumptions behind these – that students have lost interests in attending lectures in their institutions?

Are there other avenues of learning that might provide an equally effective learning environment?  How about on-the-job learning and training?  In Australia, we have been using such ways of learning and training for the last decade.  There is no need for a formal lecture, a formal classroom, and learning could take place on the job, with authentic learning experiences.  The educator could be the supervisor, the trainer, the teacher, professor, or the mentor, who may be part of the learning team to support the learner.  Instead of lectures, there could be training discussion session, small groups discussion in a work setting, or one-on-one mentoring and assessment session. This, together with online learning support may provide a far better outcome than the traditional course lecture, especially when the target learners are adult learners, working in businesses or organisations.

For young university students, the use of internship, on-the-job placement or simulated learning environment could be used as an augmentation to the formal lectures.  Besides, the use of PLE and Web 2.0 could surely benefit the students by opening more opportunities for them to practice their social networking and learning skills, by actually immersing into the social media, and experiencing the virtual social life, on top of the face-to-face social interaction.

The UnCollege

Some universities have gone even further to challenge the course model. At Worcester Polytechnic Institute, administrators run seven-week immersion projects with no lecture component, in which students work in teams on projects that benefit nonprofit organizations. Mr. Bass, of Georgetown, describes that as a harbinger of things to come.

If the core activity at college shifts away from the classroom and into practical activities, do students even need to come to a campus? re-thinking traditional course structure- actually going to class

So, instead of having mass-lectures, all packed with hundreds of university students, it may be worthwhile to re-consider using technology and media and some of the on-the-job training to stimulate the interests of students.

When I was attending my polytechnic university, I spent half-a year in the workshop as part of the formal engineering training.  There were only short instruction sessions given by the instructors, and as a student I spent most of the time working on assignments and projects in a factory workshop environment (which has exactly the same environment as that of a factory).  The work provides the learning platform.  Work becomes learning.

How about the educators?

So, is there still a need for educators in schools and universities?

It is imperative however to note that the role of educators (professors) here might have changed from being a lecturer or professor (giving lectures only) to one who actively plans and provides new and novel learning environment that could cater for the changing needs of students.  This requires a totally different mindsets amongst the professors which involves a paradigm shift from teaching to one focusing on learning – where learning becomes the spotlight.  The educator may need to be aware that he or she is there to support the learners, making learning easier if ever possible, though challenging the learners to raise their potential at their best.  This means the educator has to play out multiple roles throughout their teaching and learning journey with their learners.

What are the other ways of learning?  We have e-learning as highlighted here as a means to support workforce development.

How about this presentation by Zaid?

Or the MOOC, which provides a rich opportunity in connecting and networking with global networks, professors, educators and learners.

There are many benefits in having university courses, and so is the need for teachers and professors to support learning within those courses.

What about education then?

Do you think we should keep the traditional  course structure?  Why/Why not?

How about the roles of educators? What are the implications  of  such changes in the course structures for educators?

Postscript: This post on if something is shared do you value sounds interesting

Education around the world – Who is the best?

I read Heyjude’s post on thinking about teaching with great interests.  She shared the highlights of meeting which was designed to provide  input and feedback to the 22 draft elaborations of the Graduate standards required for proficiency in the National Professional Standards for Teachers in Australia.  Very informative.

She has a special reference to Finland’s education.

Here is Finland’s education at a glimpse.

I am impressed with Finland’s emphasis on education and teaching.

How about China? Here is the news.

How about the role of parents in education? Aren’t parents also the educators of their children?

Do you think parents also have a role in the education and learning of their children?

Here is my post on Academic achievement, personalization of education and learning.

I think it’s time to reflect on what education and learning means for our children and next generation.

Can a network of learners play the role of teacher? More reflections – I

I couldn’t sign in to read the article.  I can’t comment because I haven’t read the full paper. I am wondering the reason why people are looking for efficiency in learning. 

An old saying: it takes half to a year to grow a crop, ten years to grow a tree, and many tens of years to grow people.  At this digital age, we have a manic society.  How long will it take to grow and develop a person – to become a digital, net or network citizen?  Do you need a seond life?

Here is a picture in a scene featured in a best-of compilation called Parrot Sketh Not Included:

It is the Silly Olympics.  The stadium is full.  There is a blue sky overhead.  There is a sense of great anticipation as the main event is about to begin.  Assembled at the starting line are the finalists – an elite band of runners who have absolutely no sense of direction.

The runners are clearly agitated.  They are itching to get on with the race.  The starting gun fires, and the runners are off.  Very quickly they all leave the track – sprinting forwards, sprinting backwards, sprinting sideways, sprinting in circles.  They are all running extremely fast.  Maximum haste.  Great effort.  Fantastic speed.  Very athletic.  But there is no track, no direction, no finishing line and, ultimately, no purpose to the running.

How does this relate to the learning in this ‘Fast Society’?  Are we no difffernt to the fast runners?  Are we becoming a generation of “fast laners” in the networks?  Are we testing the limits of fast living, fast business, fast learning, fast instructions?  Fast posting? Fast responses? Fast research?…..Fast teachers?  And fast learners?  So you don’t need years to become expert, don’t you?

Is instruction important?  Do you need a purpose to your learning?