Learning Technologies of Change

Learning Change Project: 8 Blogs, +7300 Readings

Quality Models in Online and Open Education around the Globe

The global Higher Educational landscape is in a period of dramatic change. Although it is too early to say whether these changes will be disruptive, revolutionary or merely evolutionary, a significant driver of change has been the dramatic rise in the use and availability of new educational technology. More specifically the growth of the Internet is challenging conventional modes of delivery and helping to  extend access to higher education beyond traditional campus-based learners. In recent years, the demand for “online learning”, whether called open, distance, flexible, or e-learning, has grown exponentially in response to this new environment. Likewise, has the rise of opening up education movement, and the growing development with Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), and the entire unbundling approach in education. Increased internationalisation, widening recruitment and upscaling of reaching students are other drivers. Hence, how, where and when students learn, how institutions structure programmes and services, and how these services are structured are global challenges. Improving quality of student experiences is more than ever extremely important.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

August 12, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Exploring Curation as a core Competency in Digital and Media Literacy Education

In today’s hypermedia landscape, youth and young adults are increasingly using social media platforms, online aggregators and mobile applications for daily information use.  Communication educators, armed with a host of free, easy-to-use online tools, have the ability to create dynamic approaches to teaching and learning about information and communication flow online. In this paper we explore the concept of curation as a student- and creation-driven pedagogical tool to enhance digital and media literacy education. We present a theoretical justification for curation and present six key ways that curation can be used to teach about critical thinking, analysis and expression online. We utilize a case study of the digital curation platform Storify to explore how curation works in the classroom, and present a framework that integrates curation pedagogy into core media literacy education learning outcomes.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

August 12, 2015 at 1:27 pm

The Future of Ubiquitous Learning: Learning Designs for Emerging Pedagogies

This book explores emerging pedagogical perspectives based on the design of new learning spaces supported by digital technologies and brings together some of the best research in this field. The book is divided into three themes: foundations of emerging pedagogies, learning designs for emerging pedagogies and, adaptive and personalized learning. The chapters provide up-to-date information about new pedagogical proposals, and examples for acquiring the requisite skills to both design and support learning opportunities that improve the potential of available technologies.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

August 4, 2015 at 2:41 pm

Social Movements and Their Technologies: Wiring Social Change

Social Movements and their Technologies explores the interplay between social movements and their ‘liberated technologies‘. It analyzes the rise of low-power radio stations and radical internet projects (‘emancipatory communication practices‘) as a political subject, focusing on the sociological and cultural processes at play. It provides an overview of the relationship between social movements and technology, and investigates what is behind the communication infrastructure that made possible the main protest events of the past fifteen years. In doing so, Stefania Milan illustrates how contemporary social movements organize in order to create autonomous alternatives to communication systems and networks, and how they contribute to change the way people communicate in daily life, as well as try to change communication policy from the grassroots. She situates these efforts in a historical context in order to show the origins of contemporary communication activism, and its linkages to media reform campaigns and policy advocacy.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 29, 2015 at 8:42 am

The Learning Environment as a Chaotic and Complex Adaptive System

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Thrivability is a novel concept describing the intention to go beyond sustainability, allowing a system to flourish. For a society or organization to be thrivable, educated, responsible acting agents are needed. Traditional education focuses on (efficient) reproduction of existing organised bodies of information. We argue that complex adaptive systems theory and chaos theory provide concepts well suited to inform the design of learning environments, in order to facilitate a thrivable organization. This learning is not linear and externally controlled, but happens in a chaotic, yet guided manner. After discussing the suitability of the theoretical body of these general approaches, we show how a concrete progressive education approach, called the Dalton-Plan pedagogy, implements and supports these elements. By doing so, we show that the Dalton-Plan pedagogy is well suited for education of agents working in and for thrivable organizations. Support for teachers as part of this evolving learning system is provided by an e-learning environment.

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Self-organized Collective Decision Making: The weighted voter model

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Collective decision making in self-organized systems is challenging because it relies on local perception and local communication. Globally defined qualities such as consensus time and decision accuracy are both difficult to predict and difficult to guarantee. We present the weighted voter model which implements a self-organized collective decision making process. We provide an ODE model, a master equation model (numerically solved by the Gillespie algorithm), and agent-based simulations of the proposed decision-making strategy. This set of models enables us to investigate the system behavior in the thermodynamic limit and to investigate finite-size effects due to random fluctuations. Based on our results, we give minimum requirements to guarantee consensus on the optimal decision, a minimum swarm size to guarantee a certain accuracy, and we show that the proposed approach scales with system size and is robust to noise.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

June 29, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Rethinking University Teaching – A Framework for the Effective Use of Educational Technology

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There have been extensive changes in the technologies available for learning over the last decade. These technologies have the potential to improve radically the way students engage with knowledge and negotiate ideas. However, this book argues that the promises made for e-learning will only be realised if we begin with an understanding of how students learn, and design the use of learning technologies from this standpoint. This new edition has been updated in view of recent technological advances and provides a sound theoretical basis for designing and using learning technologies in university teaching. The author argues that although the new learning technologies are not individually capable of matching the effectiveness of the one-to-one teacher, together they can support the full range of student learning, both efficiently and effectively. This book is essential reading for all academics and academic support staff concerned with improving the quality of teaching in Higher Education. Diana Laurillard is Professor of Educational Technology and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning Technologies and Teaching at The Open University.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

June 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Why Technology Hasn’t Delivered More Democracy

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The current moment confronts us with a paradox. The first fifteen years of this century have been a time of astonishing advances in communications and information technology, including digitalization, mass-accessible video platforms, smart phones, social media, billions of people gaining internet access, and much else. These revolutionary changes all imply a profound empowerment of individuals through exponentially greater access to information, tremendous ease of communication and data-sharing, and formidable tools for networking. Yet despite these changes, democracy — a political system based on the idea of the empowerment of individuals — has in these same years become stagnant in the world. The number of democracies today is basically no greater than it was at the start of the century. Many democracies, both long-established ones and newer ones, are experiencing serious institutional debilities and weak public confidence. How can we reconcile these two contrasting global realities — the unprecedented advance of technologies that facilitate individual empowerment and the overall lack of advance of democracy worldwide? To help answer this question, I asked six experts on political change, all from very different professional and national perspectives. Here are their responses, followed by a few brief observations of my own.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

June 6, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Posted in Democracy, Technology

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Evaluating Pedagogical Practices in MOOCs

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Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have become a prominent feature of the higher education discourse in recent years. Yet, little is known about the effectiveness of these online courses in engaging participants in the learning process. This study explores the range of pedagogical tools used in 24 MOOCs, including the epistemological and social dimensions of instruction, to consider the extent to which these courses provide students with high-quality, collaborative learning experiences. Findings suggest that the range of pedagogical practices currently used in MOOCs tends toward an objectivist-individual approach, with some efforts to incorporate more constructivist and group-oriented approaches. By examining MOOCs through the lens of engaged teaching and learning, this study raises concerns about the degree to which MOOCs are actually revolutionizing higher education by using technology to improve quality, and challenges educators to strive for more creative and empowering forms of open online learning.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

March 24, 2015 at 11:53 am

The use of Flipped Classrooms in Higher Education: A scoping review

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There is increasing pressure for Higher Education institutions to undergo transformation, with education being seen as needing to adapt in ways that meet the conceptual needs of our time. Reflecting this is the rise of the flipped or inverted classroom. The purpose of this scoping review was to provide a comprehensive overview of relevant research regarding the emergence of the flipped classroom and the links to pedagogy and educational outcomes, identifying any gaps in the literature which could inform future design and evaluation. The scoping review is underpinned by the five-stage framework Arksey and O’Malley. The results indicate that there is much indirect evidence emerging of improved academic performance and student and staff satisfaction with the flipped approach but a paucity of conclusive evidence that it contributes to building lifelong learning and other 21st Century skills in under-graduate education and post-graduate education.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

March 24, 2015 at 11:28 am

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