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Pedagogical Aspects thoughts on a theme Prof Angela McFarlane University of Bristol

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  1. Pedagogical Aspectsthoughts on a theme Prof Angela McFarlaneUniversity of Bristol ALT – C 2004

  2. Thoughts on conferences - ALT – C 2004

  3. What are they for? • Networking • Inducting new members • Information sharing • New ways of coping with volume • Consensus building? • Tension between need to present and time to debate ALT – C 2004

  4. Where is the emphasis? • Administration – providing timetables, lecture notes, reading lists • CMC – discussion, IM, SMS • Content presentation – learning object ALT – C 2004

  5. Are we neglecting what we know about learning when we research learning with digital technologies? ALT – C 2004

  6. Some excellent research at ALT-C suggests that the learner has not in fact changed that much – • their preferred methods of learning have a lot in common with resource based models of old. • they own their knowledge individually even where that knowledge is also shared. • collaboration is not spontaneous. • students subvert the purpose of systems. • Moreover - They will reject cumbersome expensive discussion tools in favour of slicker, cheaper, familiar technologies such as email, IM and SMS. ALT – C 2004

  7. 'Context matters' ALT – C 2004

  8. Where are the papers looking at the role of knowledge domains? Physics is not like Spanish is not like philosophy Good research in one domain should be wary of its claims for generalisability ALT – C 2004

  9. How are we theorising the models behind elearning? ALT – C 2004

  10. Some great papers - • Well theorised, knew what they were looking for and why and offered critical analysis of what they found. • Theory is a only a tool – often used as a blunt instrument • ‘Consensus reaching requires synchronous communications’ • ‘Learning is social’ ‘ This theory proves that…’ • Description, analysis, evaluation • Do we know what we know? ALT – C 2004

  11. Is it time to abandon the gurus? The future has been a disappointment. Lots of assertions that technology means everything is different but people do not change so fast. Maybe we should be seeking evolution not revolution – some good models here Guidance, quality, consistency, management of expectations are still pertinent issues. ALT – C 2004

  12. Lots of short hand - assumptions of shared meaning can be dangerous. Pedagogy? Community? Learning? ALT – C 2004

  13. Are our assumptions about the attractiveness of online, anytime anywhere learning backed by evidence? ALT – C 2004

  14. 'We held a party but nobody came' ALT – C 2004

  15. Participation disappoints • Up to 30% of students not registered or active online in first weeks of the course – and they go on to become at risk students • Significant percentage of academics do not engage with learning technology • Small percentage of students contribute to blogs • Even in compulsory courses some students contribute the minimum. • Quality of submissions are uneven • How many of these are purely digital issues? ALT – C 2004

  16. Privacy is an issue • We can in theory know more about student action than ever before – their digital footprint is large and deep • How much should we trap? • How much should we scrutinise? • What on earth should we interpret it all to mean? ALT – C 2004

  17. Summary • Some great work – but its patchy and we need to ensure we are not constantly re-discovering the known • Mind the gap – finding appropriate theory to help us understand what we are doing is hard, applying it to research design or implementation is harder • Small can be beautiful – thoroughly understanding a part of a system and its dependencies may take us further forward than whole system level work • The best work seems to come from inter-disciplinary teams who understand technology, pedagogy and context ALT – C 2004