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‘Our Technology Is Our Ideology’: George Siemens on the Future of Digital Learning

‘Our Technology Is Our Ideology’: George Siemens on the Future of Digital Learning
What does it mean to be human in a digital age? Some people researching education technology might not spend their days wondering how their work fits into this existential question—but George Siemens isn’t "some people." “Maybe my mama hugged me extra when I was a baby.” That’s his explanation for how he thinks about the role of education in the 21st century. A researcher, theorist, educator, Siemens is the digital learning guy. He’s credited with co-teaching the first MOOC in 2008, introduced the theory of “connectivism”—the idea that knowledge is distributed across digital networks—and spearheaded research projects about the role of data and analytics in education. Siemens’ work is on the cutting edge of what’s possible in digital learning, but he doesn’t want to discuss the latest fads in education technology. “Our technology is our ideology,” Siemens says. Rise of the robots Siemens has both an academic and an industry perspective on digital learning. The path forward

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Global education: Supporting collaborative learning and teaching With the near ubiquity of technology enhanced education, new learning environments are emerging. Flat learning, active learning, and place-based learning are modalities that are helping to revitalize schools, and work to the benefit of learners. From an educational leadership standpoint, how does one navigate this new landscape, the new tools, and the learning shifts to thus help educators and students take advantage of this new global education playing field? The answer is multifaceted. First let’s examine the new landscape of flat learning. Designing learning spaces for a mobile era The movement towards mobile computing is a great opportunity to rethink our relationship with technology and our relationship to digital and physical spaces. Computing and connectivity are no longer just personal, they’re increasingly pervasive. The shift from the immobility of PCs to the mobility of tablets and smartphones allows digital space to interact with material space, both in and out of the classroom, in entirely new ways. At British Study Centres in Oxford, where I work, this was an important consideration in our decision to integrate mobile technology into the everyday practice of language teaching. We wanted to create learning spaces configured for doing, in which the elements of the environment would facilitate a multiplicity of interactive possibilities between learners, technology, teachers and course content. Places where instruction, social interaction and digital media could be woven together flexibly and seamlessly.

Online Classes Get a Missing Piece: Teamwork Most online courses are a solitary experience for learners. Students lack the ability to strike up an impromptu conversation about last week’s homework or compare notes with whoever’s sitting next to them in class. The absence of social interaction could be one reason behind high dropout rates in online classes. Instead their interactions are relegated to stale chat forums, where questions go unanswered or where few students regularly visit.

constructivisminelt - Constructivist Learning Environments © Paweł How would you answer if you were asked to name something that you are well acknowledged with. You would say maths, musics, human anatomy or whatever is of interest to you, any subject you liked the most at school. But try to think of your own neighbourhood when you were a kid. Distracted From School or Learning? In my last post, I shared an article regarding a Michigan High School that recently banned mobile devices from their classrooms. Here was one of my comments: These articles used to really bother me, but what I have learned is that I never know the whole story. There is always more to any article or tweet you read online. That being said, here is one part that bothered me:

Technology does not equal innovation, but using technology is often crucial to innovation. – The Principal of Change Lately I have been doing things a little different in my workshops. Instead of slowing down and showing step-by-step every little thing that I am doing with technology, I am purposefully going fast and showing people the speed of how quickly I can get things done amazingly well with the technology. I talked about this recently in my post titled, “Spoon-Fed Learning”, and we far too often make others dependent upon us to learn. If I show you that what I am doing is truly valuable, many people will feel compelled to learn it on their own. I have noticed this during my workshops when I watch people sign up for twitter accounts on their own, but I never once tell them to do so.

So You Want to Be an Instructional Designer? Good listener. People person. Lifelong learner. Sound like you? No, we’re not trying to arrange a first date. How is Critical Thinking Different from Analytical or Lateral Thinking? Critical thinking as a term is often mentioned as a key skill for employees to have at all levels of the organization but many people do not fully understand it or confuse it with the related but different terms of analytical and lateral thinking. In this brief article let’s therefore look at what these latter two terms mean and then end on why critical thinking takes us further. So what is analytical thinking? Putting Love In It — Learning {Re}imagined Putting Love In It The Hipsterfication of Learning What can education learn from the revival of craft? Some years ago I penned an article and gave a talk at the Edinburgh Festival titled the “Napsterfication of Learning”. I was using the idea of piracy as a driver of innovation to unlock and provide access to a broader constituency thru the liberation of learning.

Beginners' guide to using technology in language lessons Blogging This is a fantastic way for pupils to share and celebrate their learning but a blog does need an audience to keep it alive for pupils. A teacher can set up a class blog with individual student pages and it is incredibly easy to do and manage and allows the pupils chance to write exclusively in the language they have been learning. As the teacher you will probably need to populate the blog with articles to get the ball rolling and the pupils engaged but once they get the hang of it not only will they be leaving comments but also writing their own posts too. The British Council has a simple guide for setting up a class blog.

NWeLearn: Creativity in Instructional Design These are only my notes and impressions. Non-tangential ramblings are my own. Contents may settle in shipping: Creativity in Instructional Design Shannon Riggs, Director of Ecampus Course Development and Training at Oregon State University