Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Teaching is changing - but how and what model is correct?

Week 32 of the #change11 MOOC and we are looking into teaching as a Design Science. Diana Laurillard's paper on "Digital Support for Teaching as a Design Science" has four propositions to make:
  1. Fundamental nature of the learning process in formal education will not change much but the means by which we do it will.
  2. Digital technologies have much to offer but are badly exploited.
  3. Teachers need to create the pedagogy and share it.
  4. Digital support needed by teachers includes:
    • ontology [a description] for pedagogical patterns (lesson plans? instructional pathways?)
    • sharing of pedagogic ideas in an effective way
    • common repository for easily found pedagogic patterns
    • knowledge base
    • wiki for advice and guidance.
Earlier in the paper she describes the need for supporting teachers in their everyday role and having them work collaboratively to develop these ideas.
I have not been able to follow the links to the reading materials nor to her recently published book (will do so if these links appear), so my contribution relates just to what I have read so far.
Laurillard uses the idea of pedagogical patterns - I take it that these are are sort of learning plan or pathway for a particular bit of learning, with the resources sourced and available. I remember the idea of digital learning objects (2009) - could it be something like this?
Subsequently, David Wiley criticised the idea stating:
The paradox claims that the more context laden a given educational resource is, the more effectively it teaches but the more difficult it is to reuse in a novel context. Conversely, the less context laden a given educational resource is, the less effectively it teaches but the easier it is to reuse in novel contexts. So with learning objects, you had a choice - a great resource that is essentially impossible to reuse, or a really poor resource that you can easily reuse.
(The Re-usability Paradox)
Perhaps the pedagogical patterns are not so object-y-fide and are more complete, covering the learning necessary for a complete skill. Teachers are usually very fussy about other people's lesson plans, however. I have yet to be satisfied with someone else's planning for a lesson that I would give - could this be the weakness of the pedagogical pattern?
Another issue is the aspect of the model used for learning (and teaching). Divide up what you are teaching into knowledge, skills and understanding and you approach this from a different point of view. The move away from knowledge (as in content) to skills and understanding is proposed by many at this time. Below is Anthony Salcito presenting on "The New Classroom Experience". He states that "the fundamental paradigm of learning has changed.... they come into the classroom with the content pre-wired". Now, not sure I understand what this last statement means, but he uses this as the justification for moving away from content to skills.
The video is pertinent to this discussion from about 16:00 onwards and in it he says of a Microsoft global research survey:
"...if innovative teaching practices are connected without technology you get great experience with no scale; technology applied without great teaching, you get very little change...; great innovative teaching with great technology you get scale and change and lasting impact".
Would like to see the research on this, although it seems logical.


Francisco Morfín said...

Hola George, me sucede lo mismo, aún no estoy seguro de cómo cambia el aprendizaje; ni siquiera de si cambia el aprendizaje.

A pesar de eso, creo que el cambio del contenido hacia la habilidad o la "competencia" (hacia el saber hacer) es un cambio del que se habla desde antes de la era de la información. Quizás lo que sucede es que estas tecnologías y esta abundancia nos permiten realizar un sueño ya antiguo.

George Hobson said...

Francisco - good point, we have always striven for good learning and if we harness technology correctly, with good pedagogy, we might achieve this.
Thanks for the comment!