One response to anything new is to attempt to assimilate it – to fit it into existing models. While it could be argued that Education has attention blindness to technology I think the problem with education and technology goes deeper – a combination of the Shirky Principlecausing education to become stuck into attempting to assimilate technology to reinforce existing models. – the end result being a system that is robust to change yet ever more expensive and irrelevant. One meaning for the E in E-learning is “Expensive”.
However, when context change is so radical attempts to assimilate it leave one disconnected from reality (psychotic) and sustained by rituals and delusions.
Technology can flip our reality:
That which was once scarce becomes abundant
That which was once difficult becomes easy
That which was once once expensive becomes cheap (or free)
That which was once large becomes small
That which was once institutional becomes personal
The technology context within which education operates has changed so radically over the last decade that education must find ways of altering its existing models to accommodate a changing reality – educated learning needs to find a way to accommodate its flip side – uneducated learning or risk increasing irrelevance.
Lets have a look at just two of these flipping changes.
Flipping Space – Time
Educational space and time is a scheduled batch process in specified locations – the meeting – otherwise know as timetabled classes.
Classrooms and timetables were a necessary batch process to distribute scarce resources and time to abundant learners – move the learners to resources to meet at specified times in specified places.
Nowadays learning resources can be accessed almost anytime and anyplace – learners no longer need to wait to be batch processed in a timetabled classroom – learning can happen anyplace, anytime in real-time on demand – Indeed, better learning happens this way.
Technology resources were once expensive and scarce and education quite rightly provided these for learning – computers, email, storage space and applications.
Nowadays many learners have their own personal technology resources and they are usually much easier and better than those provided by education yet education often chooses to ignore or even ban learners personal technology. Education must accommodate to the reality that learning can take place using learners own resources – Indeed, better learning happens this way.
How to accommodate – strip down
Education has used technology to build a suite of armour – a lumbering and reinforced steampunk monstrosity of defence – sucking in increasing resources to reinforce, maintain and move. Within its suite of armour education is blind to the world around it and unable to move fast enough it will become isolated and left behind in a world of its own.
Education needs to strip down – throw off its suite of armour – become part of the world in which it exists and use the resources of its environment.
Education needs to flip from institutional to personal – the conditions to do this are emerging from cheaper, pervasive, abundant, personal and connected mobile computing.
How to look good Naked
Here are some Rules Of Thumb – ROT to do
* Go Web
Use the web – avoid platform and paper dependencies.
* Go Mobile
Resources have to be useable on a smartphone anyplace and anytime
* Go Free
Use free open web based resources – the sort that any learner and teacher can use anywhere with no support overheads.
* Go Wild
Think of teaching and learning as wilderness survival – a lifelong skill in how to find and use the natural resources of the web. Think of the smartphone as a survival multi-tool.
* Go Open
Use and produce public open resources
* Go Connected
“The network is our computer” – Invest in your networks – especially wireless, guest and Internet connections.
“Value is in the network not the nodes”
MASH and connect your own and others content.
Develop Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)
* Go Outside
- Think and Design systems outside the classroom and outside the school or college – think Web, Mobile and Global.
* Go Personal
Encourage and use people’s own personal resources and identity.
* Go Equal
Invest and focus on digital equality
The meaning of London Educamp One.
The unconference event has been around for quite a while but the emergence timing of the first London Educamp is very meaningful now.
There are many inconvenient truths about education, technology and the use of technology in education. Among these “truths” are that much of education happens the same way it did 50 years ago but we spend so much more on it – IT suites, “smartboards”, VLEs etc. Technology has mostly been used to reinforce and lock-in established ways of operation. Despite Web 2.0 we still operate as education 1.0
The inconvenient questions for education today are whether it needs to change, wants to change, whether it can change and what that change could be. The inconvenient truth for technology is that technology alone is not enough – there needs to be interaction and social engagement.
The Websquared idea offers one model for change: social-technological engagement – the application of Web 2.0 “philosophies” to the real world and society.
London Educamp one was a working example the application of Web 2.0 “philosophies” – a user driven, flat, open, self service, participative “beta” event.
My impressions from Educamp.
The themes I came across were:
a – Miindset shift – new technology is available it’s whether you choose to use it and how you use it
b – Amazing technology is becoming available to everyone, its often free and easy to use, it creates a level playing field
c – Identity and the concept of Identity 2.0 is an opportunity to engage through personalisation, ownership and sharing but a problem for institutions needing control and verification.
There was a full mix of session styles – my favourites were those without technology using the unpresentation style.
My favorite was – Diane Brewster: “The Sussex Creativity Zone, innovative teaching and learning in a technology rich, flexible, learning space”. This was a great session - Diane unpresented while mingling with us around a table of hands on material - standing rather than sitting was more dynamic but chairs were there as well – it was a very fluid and natural. This session summed up “the meaning of London Educamp one”
Below are some videos of the amazing Sussex Creativity zone “not quite a holodeck” but it’s close.
This is far from new but the development of the MIT Opencourseware is I think “awesome” and potentially disruptive in our area (education).
We talk about the 21st century inverting the value propositions on which businesses have been built – in education our raw material (information) is quickly becoming a natural, plentiful and free resource – We can no longer operate or construct our identity on the premise that information is rare and imbues power. Institutions and individuals are generating and consuming our natural resource at an exponential rate – we need to look where our value lies in a time of “infinite” and exponential information.