Media literacy is about asking pertinent questions about what's there, and noticing what's not there. And it's the instinct to question what lies behind media productions - the motives, the money, the values and the ownership - and to be aware of how these factors influence content (Source: TeacherInfo)
Photo credit: Alan Levine
Inside this Media Literacy digest:
George Siemens' Media Literacy digest helps you uncover interesting trends, new technologies and approaches as well as guiding you to ask the difficult questions needed to make better sense of the fast changing times we live in.
learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends
by George Siemens
The Edgeless University (.pdf) argues, that while university enrollment continues to increase, universities are in an increasingly “fragile state”.
Growing competition, heavy reliance on public funding (which is made even more insecure in today’s economy), technology growth, open content, and social media / networks are forcing universities to adapt.
The author states that technology is the core of the change (p. 8). This isn’t entirely accurate. Technology is one of many change pressures.
The real change pressure is found on points along the longer time lime of change: how we interact with information and with each other. Today’s technology is only one point on the timeline. Language, Gutenberg, and the scientific method all occupy a role in increasing the ability for individuals and society to create / access / validate information.
This report, while focused on UK, provides a good overview of technological and policy concerns universities face. To increase relevance, universities need to become “edgeless”, extending current roles to include informal, collaborative, and participatory learning.
This report will get a fair bit of attention: Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning (.pdf).
The current report - by US Department of Education - is focused on the K-12 market and states that some online learning (blended) is actually superior to only face-to-face learning. Conclusions of this type likely won’t convince anyone who is antagonistic to technology use in classrooms.
At minimum, the report provides a sweeping overview of how various researchers have tackled the effectiveness of technology in schools over the last decade.
The questions we ask in research are sometimes more interesting than the findings…
During the talk, he makes a distinction between complicated and complex that resonates with my own work around learning theory (and Dave Snowden’s Cynefin framework, Ronald Barnett’s work on super complexity). In this distinction we find the driving motivation for reform of education.
Web 2.0 is an instantiation of change. It is not the core change. The shift from settled and stable information (complicated - like a jigsaw puzzle where every piece has a place in our curriculum) to adaptive and emerging (complex - like a weather system where numerous combinations of factors will produce outcomes that cannot be fully predicted) is the core change. New education models must be built on this change. Any system that is out of synch with the market it intends to serve risks irrelevance.
I encourage you to read this report from the MacArthur foundation, published by MIT Press The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (.pdf).
If you’ve followed elearnspace blog - and many others with a similar educational technology focus over the last seven years - you won’t find much new in it. And that’s the problem.
I like the report. It offers many insightful statements that I hope will be considered by leaders who don’t follow edublogs. Statements such as:
“We contend that the future of learning institutions demands a deep, epistemological appreciation of the profundity of what the Internet offers humanity as a model of a learning institution”... and
“participatory learning is about a process and not always a final product”... and
“We advocate institutional change because we believe our current formal educational institutions are not taking enough advantage of the modes of digital and participatory learning available to students today”... and
“Networked learning, however, goes beyond these conversational rules to include correcting others, being open to being corrected oneself, and working together to fashion workarounds when straightforward solutions to problems or learning challenges are not forthcoming”
I could offer many other similar statements. All of which have been discussed at great length on many sites and by many authors that I frequently reference.
One of the first steps in publishing on a subject is to do a literature review.
Type in “networked learning” into Google or Google scholar and you’ll see many individuals that have written at length on the subject: Chris Jones, Stephen Downes, Leigh Blackall, Martin de Laat... as well as entire conferences devoted to the theme. Or, when considering educational change and OERs, where is David Wiley? The list goes on.
The report irritates me because I’ve seen this happen several times: an existing field, and major thinkers within the field, is completely ignored as open, online conversations are squeezed into existing publication processes. This “reframing” of research builds on the intellectual work of others but fails to provide appropriate recognition as the message is shaped for a traditional audience.
Topics include talent management, role of CLO (including lifecycle, basics of success, team structure), and role of technology.
In all, it’s a good handbook. But, its strength is also a weakness: each chapter is only a few pages. After a few chapters you get the impression that you’re reading a series of blog posts.
This reflects a trend I’ve noticed over the last several years: when did leading thinkers in corporate learning conclude that their audience can not handle complex subjects? Why this push for shallowness?
I presented at a large corporate learning event about five months ago. After the presentation, a VP (in charge of training and development) approached me and stated that simple messages are preferable. I assumed this to mean that I had delivered a presentation that was too complex (I was talking about restructuring training departments to take advantage of existing organizational connections between people and using decentralized methods to achieve adaptive corporate strategies - yes, the topic was a bit complex, but because it was complex, it required a complex treatment).
I responded that a good presentation, in my eyes, should do two things: clarify simple issues and present a complex constellation of important issues.
The organization then faces the challenge of working through complex issues in a manner that reflects organizational and external contexts. If it were simple, we could just write a blog post about it or deliver a one-slide powerpoint presentation.
Corporate learners aren’t dumb. We don’t need to reduce significant training to pablum-like consistency.
There are many reasons to love emerging technologies - ease of use, features, ability to connect with family / friends. But for most people “free” is a prominent reason. Unfortunately, it’s not the right kind of free.
The idealism of early 2000 around open source and free software has given way (within education) to “wow, cool tool” syndrome of today.
I don’t mind paying for software, even content, when I actually own it, rather than rent it under the terms provided by a software user’s license.
This short article raises the important concerns about control again: Why free web services aren’t really free: “Trading one closed-source app for another gets us nowhere, even if the new app happens to come from Google”.
Advertising revenue for newspapers, TV, magazines, and other mainstream media will rebound once the current economic situation improves, right? Not according to Ballmer: “I don’t think we are in a recession, I think we have reset,” he said.
“A recession implies recovery [to pre-recession levels] and for planning purposes I don’t think we will. We have reset and won’t rebound and re-grow... within 10 years all traditional content will be digital and yet, Google aside, publishers are failing to generate serious digital revenues.”
The very simple (and obvious) lesson here is this: when a system no longer reflects the external context it serves, it is doomed. Examples are numerous - car manufacturers, mainframe computers, and subscription internet models of the early 90’s (AOL).
The question for educational leaders is how well does our system match the activities of our learners and society as a whole - are the approaches to research, learning, and teaching within education synchronized to the dominant long term trends around information creation, sharing, and personal interactions?.
About the author
To learn more about George Siemens and to access extensive information and resources on elearning check out www.elearnspace.org. Explore also George Siemens connectivism site for resources on the changing nature of learning and check out his new book "Knowing Knowledge".
George Siemens -
The Edgeless University - tonob
Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning - M.G. Mooij
Beyond Management: Personal Learning Environments - Ana Blazic
Learning Leaders Fieldbook -Ilin Sergey
Why Free Web Services Aren’t Really Free - kmitu>
A Global Reset For Advertising - Sebastian Kaulitzki