#Change11 :: Disconnection not Discontent
I’m trying hard to be a Lurker but keep being drawn in, fascinated by all the activity and the sterling efforts made by the facilitators in sharing their time and expertise. Now I’m reduced to throwing down a few disconnected notes – nothing like a bit of chaos and confusion! So here goes:
- What’s Education for? – I’ve pondered this before – society and the individual need myriad survival skills. These range from very basic to countless specialist skills for trades, professions, humanities and whatever else contributes to human wellbeing. The survival problems currently facing humanity are complex, global and inter-related. They will not be understood or competently addressed by under-educated populations. Also, the effective, rational and sometimes painful solutions to these problems are more likely to be democratically acceptable to educated populations.
What’s Education Theory for? – Lacking the same solid factual (yes facts!) basis and predictive power of the widely accepted scientific theories, education theory attempts to guide rather than dictate. As all sorts of theories and metaphors bubble away in the pot, the body of knowledge surrounding education is debated, tested and refined. The more acceptable parts emerge to have a disproportionate influence on received wisdom and ultimately on practice. When I was a boy, corporal punishment was justified in schools and practiced by many otherwise competent teachers – now it’s almost entirely taboo. Presumably, this was the result of a steady percolation of ideas from broadly accepted theory to practice.
If the purpose of education theory is to influence and guide education practice then how should a new theory be presented? Given the current situation of real classrooms, lecture halls, inflexible curricula and the burden of assessment, the concern of many educators will often be less with turning established pedagogy upside down than with cheerfully exploiting the bits and pieces of whatever theory or theories fit their particular circumstances. A theory with good predictive value and a compelling message that can be translated into the specificity of action deserves to be trumpeted loudly and clearly !
- What’s Dave Cormier for? – Change of course, and that’s a fact! The massive effort he put into his Change11 week was very impressive. Regrettably, I’ve had little time to delve much into Rhizomatic Learning but I did find the recordings informative. On the mattter of ‘alienation‘, I can understand why some aspects of the presentations might be considered unsettling. Trying to talk sense and keep an eye on the text chat while some participants simultaneously scrawl over the screen seems above the call of duty! Someone suggested that facilitators might consider initially setting the scene a little more formally – a prepared video for example and this makes good sense to me.
- What’s this Blog for? – I’m beginning to wonder as it’s rambling all over and out of control – but this a MOOC and I’ll do what I like! There’s a bit of self-discovery involved – perhaps it’s becoming more like ‘notes to myself’ – but I’m not discontented and we’ll see how things go.