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#futurehappens - Challenging educational paradigms and the changing role of the learning technologist

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#futurehappens - Challenging educational paradigms and the changing role of the learning technologist

  1. 1. Peter Bryant London School of Economics @peterbryantHE http//www.peterbryant.org Challenging educational paradigms: The changing role of the learning technologist #futurehappens
  2. 2. The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed William Gibson
  3. 3. One one hand… ‘Six years ago, for the first time, the number of “things” connected to the internet surpassed the number of people … Experts estimate that, as of this year, there will be 25 billion connected devices, and by 2020, 50 billion’. US Federal Trade Commission Report 2016
  4. 4. Mobile ownership in Africa is on the increase, including smartphone ownership (but not as fast) On the other…
  5. 5. Internet access is not universal Source: internet.org 2014
  6. 6. Neither is affordable mobile data Source: internet.org 2014
  7. 7. Data poverty “Information is also a vital form of aid in itself. People need information as much as water, food, medicine or shelter. Information can save lives, livelihoods and resources. It may be the only form of disaster preparedness that the most vulnerable can afford. And yet it is very much neglected.” Red Cross 2005 https://www.flickr.com/photos/whiteafrican/3329178301
  8. 8. ‘Now that we're in that future, of course, plastics are no big deal. Is digital destined for the same banality? Certainly. Its literal form, the technology, is already beginning to be taken for granted, and its connotation will become tomorrow's commercial and cultural compost for new ideas. Like air and drinking water, being digital will be noticed only by its absence, not its presence.’ (Negroponte, 1998)
  9. 9. What kinds of experiences do learning technologies provide?
  10. 10. Here is one view…
  11. 11. ‘Thirty years from now the big university campuses will be relics. Universities won't survive. It's as large a change as when we first got the printed book. Do you realize that the cost of higher education has risen as fast as the cost of health care…such totally uncontrollable expenditures, without any visible improvement in either the content or the quality of education, means that the system is rapidly becoming untenable. Higher education is in deep crisis.’ Peter Drucker -1997
  12. 12. And how does that translate as an experience?
  13. 13. Modern pedagogy/ teaching is often… SEQUENTIAL SCAFFOLDED ALIGNED STRUCTURED STRATIFIED
  15. 15. The Museum of Broken Relationships Unlike ‘destructive’ self-help instructions for recovery from failed loves, the Museum offers a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation. “No museum has ever made me feel more connected to everyone else in the world before.”
  16. 16. that achieves the objectives AND builds on the art principles of line, space, colour, texture and unity Malcolm Knowles 1980
  18. 18. FOUND
  19. 19. IDENTITY
  20. 20. MAKING
  21. 21. Tensions Affordances v Resistances Technologies v Pedagogies Now v Future Systems v Cloud Service v Strategy
  22. 22. The use of technology is the exclusive privilege of the technically adept, the young or the innovator Technology is a ‘nice to have’, not an essential, integrated part of the action Learning has been and always will be the same and new technology simply enhances and builds on the successes of the past The blurry myths of technological change We need to focus on ‘the basics’ Innovators are ’out there’ on the fringe
  23. 23. The ‘harsh’ reality The agility of society and learners to adapt and innovate their learning with and through technology often far outstrips the ability of the educational institution to keep up Existing practice and innovation are pitted against each other as a contest to the death Investment is rarely commensurate with outcome and impact Learning, teaching and role of the learning technologist have changed
  24. 24. Strategic review Institutional restructure Pedagogical redesign The TEF Poor NSS/student experience results Budget cuts Change in leadership
  25. 25. An LSE/UAL hack #futurehappens
  27. 27. Rule 1: We are teaching and learning focused and institutionally committed Rule 2: What we talk about is institutionally/nationally agnostic but is all about making the institution better Rule 3: We are in the room with the decision makers. What we decide is critical to the future of our institutions. We are the institution Rule 4: Despite the chatter, all the tech ‘works’ - the digital is here, we are digital institutions. Digital is not the innovation. Rule 5: We are here to build not smash or protect or defend
  28. 28. “…an education that is understood in complexity terms cannot be conceived in terms of preparation for the future. Rather, it must be construed in terms of participation in the creation of possible futures” Davis and Sumara (2009)
  29. 29. Traditional approaches change to making institutional
  30. 30. The LSE experience • Tensions between systems support and innovation agenda • Delivering on our previous promise of ‘solutions in a box’ • Tensions around who owns ‘pedagogy’, ‘technology’ and ‘learning’ • Get the current stuff or the basics right before you start ‘playing’ (Boys/Girls with toys problem) • Shifting the pioneers to the business as usual
  31. 31. Scaled projects that have institutional impact (SCALE) Connected approaches that cross function, discipline and faculty (CONNECTION) Stimulating change through high profile, highly visible interventions (STIMULUS) Projects that make an impact with learners, teachers and the institution (IMPACT)
  32. 32. - And what do they do in the middle out? Thanks to Audrey Watters who found this image from 1973 She?
  33. 33. LEARNING SPACES Experiment Change the conversation Change the process Collaborate Bring the word in Fail and Succeed RENEWAL INNOVATION ASPIRATION TRANSFORMATION
  34. 34. LSE INNOVATORS http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lti/lse-innovator/ Creative hub Seeding innovation Reward and recognition Positive messages Inspiration Change practice
  35. 35. LSE 2020 Voice Impact Perceptions Positive messages Digital storytelling
  36. 36. I believe everything we dream can come to pass through our union we can turn the world around we can turn the earth's revolution we have the power People have the power ... Patti Smith, People have the Power 1985
  37. 37. THANK YOU

Notas do Editor

  • The transformational potential of learning technologists in a post digital age
    The worlds of educational development and learning technology are merging
    MOOCs were a warning shot where our activity was dictated to us

    This is not a discussion about potential, this is a statement that the future happens, and the future as we describe has already happened

    Learning, teaching and assessment are contested fields, where the people saying things have changed are the ones are seen as the barbarians at the gate, where as the people defending existing practice dictate the terms of the debate, creating and supporting systems that replicate and reinforce existing practices

    What I want to argue today is that we cannot allow the future to be dictated to us by forces not operating in the bests interests of students, teachers, society and ultimately our institutions, and that the learning technologist, the educational development, the digital education practitioner, the teacher and the learner need to be in the room, advocating and arguing for change.

    (I will use the term learning technologist to cover a wide variety of practice)
  • Let’s take a step back
    We always talk about technology as potential, the fractured debates around natives, the transormative/disruptive nature of technology, the social media generation, netizens, clickivism
  • This is not a function of technology, or of access to technology. So, what is important for the learning technologist?
  • Found is at the heart of my artistic practice. The notion of found is fundamental to the work, as something that is lost can eventually be found. Found sounds, footage, fragments of words reconstructed, often without context or description, perhaps with just a vague sense of where. Bricolage and discovery are very powerful learning tools. The sheer scope and scale of many social media communities can create a shattered web of fleeting connections or weak ties between users (Mackey and Evans, 2011, Manago, 2015, Siemens, 2005). Users pass by each other in disconnected and transient ways, connecting with some by the way of a single photo or a comment. Rarely do users go back to those interactions to form lasting bonds. However, Siemens (2005) argues that these ties can create small hubs of innovation and creation, as users are exposed to networks wider than their own.

    Found is about discovery
  • Identity is critical to modern teaching and learning
    Challenging notions of identity and realness are at the core of my own work
    Identity as fluid can be discontinuous, out of sync and
    Challenging stereotypes (students facebooking)
    Constructing positive approaches to digital identity (not stranger danger) (change slide)
    Criticality and engagement
    Make connections that are authentic and real, outside and inside
    (Issue with LSE, first years friends, last year nodding)
    Digital stranger – These connections don’t have to be deep to be lasting, they can be about a construction of identity, harnessing the complexity of engagement in a digital world
  • Making is fundamental to how I live my life
    Making is a philosophical approach to holidays, to eating, to engaging, to working
    DIY philosophy of zine making (PhD work)
    Digital tactility, physicality to making digitally (move to next slide)
    Pedagogy positions making as a form of practice and separate theory from practice
    Lectures and exams are great examples of that
  • These are the functional tensions that learning technology teams are dealing with. These shape the relationships we have with academics, the institution, professional services and to some extent students
  • These tensions manifest themselves in these often unspoken myths of learning technology. So, we often work with the people who want to work with us, provide systems that replicate existing practices or even worse have little or no benefit to the student experience.
  • But the harsh reality is that things have changed, there are both tacit and explicit conflicts and tensions that impact on our role

    Learning has changed (
    21st century skills, apps to solve problems (and problems found by apps), media consumption…knowledge acquisition, knowledge transfer, knowledge verification and authenticity

    Teaching has changed
    Peer led and student co-creation, expanding outside the networks and boundaries of the class, EDx use at MIT, ending of broadcast mode, enhanced role for gaming, DIY coding, social media use
    Learning Technology has changed
    Skills of integration, cloud, UX leading to working with staff to adapt, change, innovate and transform their teaching and learning.
    The VLE of 2015 needs to be able to do that, some of the Moodle competitors have moved towards ‘some’ of these
  • The aim of the document is to frame the discussions and debates we need to have at our institutions in order put innovation and the digital at the heart of the institutional approach to learning and teaching.  There is a case to be made that institutionally, we have failed. ‘Traditional’ custom and practice is legitimised in the digital, whilst practice based innovation can be banished to the fringe or the grassroots. Techno-solutionism is equally legitimised, where ‘solutions in a box’ and services drive our activity; an activity that often replicates existing practice rather than transforming it. This widens the gap between ‘academic’ practice and the changing nature of learning in a digital era, masked by the procurement of new, and by implication, ‘innovative’ technologies
  • At a strategic level, these tensions shape the way we in which implement change
    Top down or bottom up

    Bottom up
    We can leverage the bottom up enthusiasm of our champions, who have been piloting and practicing for decades.  Their momentum and enthusiasm will eventually infect the rest of the faculty.  We can take their interventions and scale them to larger cohorts and bigger projects.
    But the problem with bottom up is that institutions are a bit like a cow, impossible to tip over (yes, that myth has been dispelled). The pace of change and the fear that a lack of tenure creates means that an intransigent block begins somewhere above the grassroots and steadfastly refuses to engage. Time. Resources. Policy. Custom and Practice.  We all know the reasons, and they are legitimate (in part). They simply do not create a fertile environment for change.
    Top down
    We can expect strong leadership from the top down.  They wrote the strategy.  They want the university to go in singular direction, to position itself against the competition and deliver on the KPIs. People will listen to them because all we ask for is direction from our leaders.
    But the problem with top down is that management and leadership across higher education has become diffused, disaggregated and siloed. An inspired direction from the VC becomes a call to do more with less from the DVC and a set of rolled eyes from the Dean.  We have all heard it before. Another strategic plan, another restructure, what are we this time; faculties or Schools? Departments or Divisions? Keeping your head below the parapet, doing your job to the best of your ability without changing too much is the only way to survive. Once again, this is not a fertile environment for change.  And in both cases, technology becomes the cause célèbre for resistors and the politically savvy.  And from that arises so many myths and misconceptions about technology that have blighted our sector for decades.  
  • We argue that the role of learning technologists as agents and leaders of change at a strategic level is often compromised by tensions and actions arising from implicit internal practices or explicit external relationships. In both cases we found that as teams who led learning technology initiatives we continually found ourselves in untenable positions, arguing for the ongoing support and efficacy of institutional systems that may run counter to engaging the institution in more innovative pedagogical approaches. At the same time, functional tensions arose over who owned ‘pedagogy’, ‘technology’ and ‘learning’ institutionally, and whether there was a role for collaborative stakeholder experimentation and evaluation as opposed to reactive project and systems support.
  • Scaled projects that have institutional impact
    Connected approaches the cross function, discipline and faculty
    Activity that is part of a strategic vision
    The learning technologist and the educational developer working together as advocates of change
    Alignment of policy to practice

  • This would be a role where the learning technologist argues, lobbies, supports and resources change and where they work to break down functional barriers and siloes between academic and professional services, in order to seek change through the development and celebration of a collective identity. A role which shapes and integrates a shared orientation and argues for the need to challenge the status quo and to address change through practical action (James and van Seters, 2014) and where they flip the support of practice at a local level to one where they advocate and lead change at an institutional level.