Media Literacy: Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens - May 16 09
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: Media Awareness Network)
Photo credit: Jason Rhode
Inside this Media Literacy Digest:
- Emergent Meaning or Prescription? - What if meaning emerges as a by-product of interaction... rather than something that exists externally (in the head of an expert) and is then communicated to prospective learners?
- The Psychology of Attention - Attention and multitasking is an important aspect of learning.
- Growth of Universities - Globally, enrollment in HE increased from 68 million in 1991 to 144 million in 2005.
- All Information Is Suspect - The big lesson of our Wikipedia-era is not that amateur information is potentially false, but rather that all information must be questioned.
- CNIE, uOttawa, and Mohawk College Presentation - Society builds institutions in response to the information needs and habits of an era.
- This Thing Called the Future - Which concepts / ideas / philosophies are of suitable force to serve as a foundation for building new institutions, business models, and even societies?
If you want to understand how new technologies are changing the way both teachers and learners experience education, this weekly digest will help you make sense of the evolution in progress inside society and what the future may hold for you.
eLearning Resources and News
learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends
by George Siemens
Emergent Meaning or Prescription?
"new approaches that have become possible since technology matured from process control and information flow to the networked, fragmented and semi-structured worlds of social computing. Here as communication flow increases, patterns of meaning start to emerge."
When information is bounded in courses, books, newspapers and other frameworks that are established by experts, the primary mode of interaction is intended to be absorption. The predominant view is that information can be known, packaged, and communicated.
Through social media, information is increasingly fragmented. Frameworks created to communicate no longer have the pull they once did. Hence, even the concept of a course can be questioned.
What if meaning emerges as a by-product of interaction... rather than something that exists externally (in the head of an expert) and is then communicated to prospective learners?
What if coherence of subject matter is produced individually, rather than externally? This - or something close to it - is the fundamental change higher education needs to understand.
The Psychology of Attention
The psychology of attention lists numerous views (and research projects) on how attention works. Some contradictory information - see the "cocktail party effect" and "reading and writing multitasking".
Attention and multitasking is an important aspect of learning.
I'm personally not convinced that we are very good at multitasking - I think we task switch rapidly, leaving the impression that we can multitask. We should be relying on existing research in the psychology of attention to inform our views of learning, memory, and multitasking.
New technologies can be a bit deceptive, suggesting we are entering a brave new world... but they hardly overwrite several decades of research into the human brain.
Growth of Universities
I'll happily admit my bias: higher needs to be rethought and restructured. But it's important to take an accurate look at where we are and where we might end up (a subject for futures thinking, as stated previously).
Higher education is not (yet?) in decline. It's growing. Rapidly. Daily announcements are made about funding for higher education: research, new buildings, new campuses, etc.
Globally, enrollment in HE increased from 68 million in 1991 to 144 million in 2005.
The need for education has never been greater. But while education is in demand, the current model seems untenable. The expense of education in the developed world is not feasible as a model for the next 3 billion people that require education in developing regions of the world.
I personally think online and networked learning will play a central role in expanding access, improving quality, and reducing the costs of education (see Daniels, Kanwar, Uvalic-Trumbec). It's time to question those aspects of our thinking about education that were formed in a pre-internet era and are no longer needed.
All Information Is Suspect
The big lesson of our Wikipedia-era is not that amateur information is potentially false, but rather that all information must be questioned.
The last week has produced one of those lessons that information literacy educators will be using a case studies for years: Elsevier admits to producing a fake journal that looked like it was peer reviewed, but was sponsored by Merck. And then, only a few days later, it's revealed that Elsevier published at least six journals in a similar "sponsored by" method.
The somewhat arrogant attitudes of journal editors and publishers is called into question in media environments where transparency is sought.
What happens to the authority of journals when everyone is (can be) an information producer? Is all information eventually equal? What / who will be the mediators of quality?
Instead of hierarchy, in an ideal world, quality is determined (vetted) by a network of experts and amateurs alike. Journals will likely continue to exist for a while, at least. But fields like education, engineering, medicine, etc. no longer need their mediative role. We can mediate our own resources in our own networks.
CNIE, uOttawa, and Mohawk College Presentation
I had the pleasure last week of presenting to Mohawk College (they recently switched to D2L and the conference was focused on transitioning to online and blended learning). Then, a short hop over to uOttawa for a presentation on emerging technologies and social learning.
After a brief trip home (to watch my youngest daughter play in a hockey tournament), I'm back in Ottawa for Canadian Network for Innovation in Education's annual conference. I used Prezi for the keynote. The topic: A Firm Foundation (references in delicious).
My main assertion: society builds institutions in response to the information needs and habits of an era. An understanding of the future of education requires an exploration of what is being done with information (instead of looking at "new learners" or "web 2.0").
This Thing Called the Future
It's ironic that in times of rapid change knowing what the future holds is simultaneously more important and more inaccessible.
Which trends are "real"? Which concepts / ideas / philosophies are of suitable force to serve as a foundation for building new institutions, business models, and even societies?
Futures thinking is an important requirement for educators (particularly leaders and funders).
I have found two resources to be particularly valuable in directing my thinking about the future:
- The Futurist is a magazine published by the World Futures Society - a group that explores trends, hosts an annual conference, and generally tries to make sense of what is happening.
- Trendwatching focuses less on trying to figure out the future... and more on trying to give a cohesive overview of what is happening today. See their recent innovation jubilation briefing for a sample.
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 -
Emergent Meaning or Prescription? - adempercem
The Psychology of Attention - mipan
Growth of Universities - Martin Konz
All Information Is Suspect - immajestic
CNIE, uOttawa, and Mohawk College Presentation - Jiri Kabele
This Thing Called the Future - maek123
Reference: eLearnSpace [ Read more ]
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