chapter 1

Reclaiming Innovation: EDUCAUSE Review

Reclaiming innovation! EDUCAUSE online report

Important thoughts that caught my attention:
IT people should not be separate from academics. It should be one team.
If the Internet was created within the university, it was a product of the university, how come is the university so alien to it 25 years later?

We privilege a mindset that views learning not as a life-affirming adventure but instead as a technological problem, one that requires a “system” to “manage” it.

With Learning Management Systems students are contained in a system, not outside in the wild web trying to find out new adventures, new uses for tools or even creating new tools. They are managed. Why would they need to be managed?
Giving a deeper thought to this idea:
Imagine what higher education institutions could do if they started approaching academic publishing platforms as collaborative, open spaces for community-authored materials. What if educational institutions start reclaiming innovative learning on the web?
The most striking pedagogic short come of LMS is that in an era where we should be guiding students how to cope with uncertainty, chaos, and an information age of huge complexity, the university forces students to spend countless hours within a closed system that does nothing to help students improve their practical web skills.
Solutions maybe come in a form of small pragmatic initiatives within the university. Maybe daring to try out different ways to design and setout a learning environment with not a very much clear and defined picture of how its going to look like, but withe the courage to delve into the wild and experiment with the new to bring some of that into the university.

LMS is a monolithyc element. What is needed to be changed? In my opinion LMS has its role in the university, maybe that role even needs improvement but I would not say it needs to be removed. What needs to be done in work towards a culture of innovation within the students and staff community.

Here is a video about this idea of culture of innovation in USA

“It gives you a greater sense of the realism of the web”

The full report can be read here

2 more good reading related to this topic is The Invented Story of the Factory model of Education by Audrey Watters
John Udell: The Disruptive Nature of Technology a podcast that I will hear tomorrow.

David, Jonassen (1997). Computer as cognitive tools (Article)

There is also the book: Computers as Cognitive Tools. No more walls. (Susanne P. Lajoie, 2000) that needs to be revised, particularly the epilogue: Fallible, distractible, forgetful, wilful, and irrational learners.

Analysis of the article

The basic idea of the article is that web-based or computers can be seen as cognitive tools as they are used to re-present knowledge that has already been learned or that needs to be processed in order to learn it. Computers can be seen as cognitive tools that can expand learner’s thinking. I think one analogy that could be made here is VLEs seen as computers in front of which students are passives and asked to operate in a closed already made system whereas in a PLE the student is asked to design it, think about which tools can support which bit of the learning, how to organise a digital working space, how to find ways in which new tools can serve the purpose of old ones but adding new features, the tasks involved in a learning process. PLEs are seen using Jonassen’s framework, as cognitive tools, like constructive environments, where students need to interact with the environment in order to create it and also to use it as a workbench to re-present the knowledge for which has been designed for:

Learners function as designers when they use computers as cognitive tools for analysing the world, accessing information, interpreting and organising their personal knowledge, and representing what they know to others. Cognitive tools are generalisable computer tools that are intended to engage and facilitate cognitive processing, hence cognitive tools. (Kommers, Jonassen, & Mayes, 1992). They are knowledge construction and facilitation tools that can be applied to any subject matter domain represented in university.(p.2)

Learners as designers: The process of articulating the knowledge in order to construct the artefact or even in choosing the tools to create that artefact forces the designer to reflect on the knowledge and its process of transformation in new and meaningful ways. Give the representational power of the tool to the learner. Perkins (1993, cited by Jonassens) is of the idea that tools are powerful in their ability to represent knowledge, if that is for what they are chosen to, but they are not “fingertip” tools that learners use naturally, effortlessly and, effectively. Rather they provide an environment and vehicle that ofter demand from the learner to think harder about the knowledge they want to represent generating thoughts that without the tool may have not arisen.