Sunday, 20 September 2015

Watching and thinking about online and networked learning

I was interested to read the post by Lisa on some reading she had been doing in designing online content for the needs of learners, as this reflected a few interesting TED talks I watched yesterday in relation to online and networked learning.

Th first talk was from Koller, and the free online education system with subjects from top universities she set up with a Partner, called Coursera. Interestingly she described her findings in relation to how they could use networked learning to make the experience better for the participants, yet still provide meaningful outcomes.

I've included the video here as it is quite an interesting watch.

Reflecting on this video from a student perspective, my first thought was - I have gone about this study thing the completely wrong way! And cost myself a gazillion dollars in the process!! (OK not quite that much - but close!).  In this blog post about a discussion on the future of education, the interviewees make an interesting point "...more and more people are being hired on their work samples, projects completed, portfolios they have developed...based on their ability to solve problems and socially interact with others in discussion forums...main hires are from own network of students". Basically, more employers are moving away purely from a degree-mandated set of experiences and knowledge. I could continually participate in 'lifelong learning' for free with a certificate from a recognised university, and perhaps be part of a community, and a network of people, that could open my options for employment rather than the standard 'look on SEEK' approach. It became very apparent I am guilty of the non-networked mindset in terms of education. 

Reflecting on this as a web based teacher, something has finally 'clicked' and I started to get excited (however still a little daunted) by the possibilities of online teaching and learning. Online teachers generally don't have to cater for synchronicity, and can therefore personalise the learning experience (Koller sees this as an area of great potential), use technology to engage students with the material (mastery learning through questions and not progressing with material until the concept is grasped), and even engage that meta cognition skill of 'critical thinking' by engaging in peer grading (peer marks tended to correlate with teacher marks).

Thrun & Khan discuss the business side to teaching. For me, who would be approaching teaching from from a non-traditional perspective (ie not getting paid as a 'teacher' in an educational institution), it is all well and good to teach 'for free' but that ain't going to pay the bills. Thrun states "I’d really love to see a business model for higher education going forward that is actually affordable, that uses modern technology to reach scale and quality and that really reimburses the services rendered in a way that’s meaningful to everybody". For me, I would have to think about this aspect some more.

In the second TED talk I watched, Green talks about 'teachers' as being 'community builders', and it is these new communities that will replace how we think about education. This also ties in with the Riel & Polin reading.  Especially for adult learners, who would be my target market, it is about refinding these communities of learning, and refinding learning, after a break from 'formal education'. Green goes about this by creating 'YouTube' channels, where you can essentially set up a 'classroom' with an 'instructor'. Reflecting on my potential ability as a teacher in this space, I went and checked out Youtube channels and did a search for 'permaculture'. Turns out I'm pretty behind the times as EVERYONE (well it seems that way) has a YouTube channel. Riel and Polin discuss how people co-construct knowledge by building on the ideas and practices of group members, and thinking about as as me as a teacher, it again brings home the point that I need to increase my networks and become part of those communities in the sphere I looking to teach in.

The third video I watched was I guess more motivational, but still applicable for my goals as teacher. Dinsmore asks the question "What is the work you can't not do?" (I know - the double negative doesn't quite sit right with me either). He talks about modelling yourself on passionate world changers who do three things; 1. Become self-experts (unique strengths, values, experiences, which define your definition of success), 2. Do the impossible (break the 'can't' mindset, get rid of your own impossibilities), 3. Control your environment (surround yourself with passionate people who want to 'get there', people change everything). When you surround yourself with people doing extraordinary things, everything changes and this becomes the new norm. For me, I still need to work through issues of self-belief.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's so true, Murra Mumma, that a portfolio is more important than a degree, these days - and I spoke with an HR specialist the other day who said only 30% of jobs tend to be advertised - the ones left over after the recruiters have already checked their networks and LinkedIn.
    This was a really thoughtful post. Thanks.