From Access to Content to Context

Beyond Open; #fslt12 MOOC Reflections

Overview; This is my fifth in a sequence of six reflective blog posts on how I developed my teaching and learning practice and reflects on my practice in the noughties. I spent time running workshops in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in Community Learning, become a Visioneer with Culture Online in 2001, an early attempt to create a digital public space. The DfES asks to me develop a ‘Digital Divide Content Strategy’ and we started the Metadata for Community Content project looking at modelling informal e-learning.  I also start work on the Cybrarian project, a Facebook for e-learning that had a working prototype social network, built by Fujitsu before Zuckerburg started his “Hot or Not” coding. It was rejected on the advice of management consultants (who charged £4.5m for that deathless advice), we form lastfridaymob (a pubic technology group), which later reconfigures as the Learner-Generated Contexts Research Group. We present the Open Context Model of Learning at the launch of Open Learn; John Seeley Brown call it the ‘most exciting thing happening in England’. The OU refused to publish it.

Developing informal e-learning nationally; The £250m Community Access to Lifelong Learning (CALL) initiative in 2000 followed Continue reading

An Internet Model of Learning & Teaching

Somewhere in the 20th Century

Overview; This is my fourth in a sequence of six reflective blog posts on how I developed my teaching and learning practice and reflects on my practice in the 1990s. I become aware of the Internet in the 1980s and discussed its social impact before incorporating it into course design.  I looked at the technical architecture of the net and the Web and started to developed early courses for the Internet and the web, including the MirandaWeb award-winning TaLENT Community Grid for Learning project in Lewisham; Teaching and LEarning with Educational NeTworks. I look at how this new learning design required new learning literacies.

A Global Information Utility (GIU) was posited by Yoneji Masuda for the Japanese Government as a key characteristic of the global future in the 21st Century when he was at MITI in 1981; the English translation was published in 1986. As an ancillary to my future vision NeXT 2021 I wrote a handout on the technical possibilities of building the infrastructure to support a GIU in 1989. As the possible platform I ranked the low-bandwidth Internet third behind the higher-bandwidth multi-media SONET & ISDN which had greater controls and costs. However it was the “self-booting” character of the internet and the freedom of users to create tools, such as HTTP, the web and browsers, and upload them for others to use, that meant its bandwidth limitations were circumvented (who has heard of SONET?). It is this creative flexibility to develop and evolve that the Internet incorporates that underpins  Continue reading

The Craft of Teaching

Brokering Learning; reflections for #fslt MOOC

Overview; This third reflective blog post on my learning and teaching is about how I developed my professionalism as a teacher in the After Math of beginning to teach computing in a UK college instead of politics in a USA University; it’s how the light gets in. I think I eventually developed a craft of teaching which, as Malcolm Gladwell and Richard Sennett argue, takes 10,000 hours.

Getting by on teaching alone; Intrigued by my Greek friend Eli Georgeadou’s suggestion that my teaching skills alone enabled me to teach Computing, and also being unemployed with a baby on the way, I decided to take up her offer. Unsurprisingly I got Mathematics (Numeracy Skills), Organisational Theory and English (the Americans had failed to overthrow English), on Computer Studies and Systems Analysis courses. That year was more terrifying than delivering my first class with my arm in a sling after a car crash as I KNEW NUFFINK! No back-up, de nada. I did learn to be completely honest and Continue reading

Curious & Confident (2)

Initial Teaching Experience #fslt12 reflections

Overview; This is my second reflective post (the first was on learning) and is quite complicated because I was the alternative education officer in a Student’s Union when I was 19 then, when I was 28, had an offer to be a teaching assistant in the USA where I started teaching Politics, then when I was back in the UK, had a very significant phone call asking me to teach Computing. Resolving those differences lead me to become a good teacher IMHO, the significant aspects of which I will pick up tomorrow.

Education Officer; In his recent brilliant book, Together, Richard Sennet analyses how we might make co-operation work. He argues that we need to understand dialogic, or collaboratively driven, processes, rather than dialectic, or rationally resolved, processes. Continue reading

Curious & Confident (1)

My life as a learner: reflections #flst12

Overview; This is my opening blog post for the MOOC First Steps in Teaching and Learning and we have been asked to reflect on our practice as learners and teachers. I will cover 4 points, my learning experience, my initial teaching, my practice after understanding teaching (brokering learning) and my open context based practice in a post-Web 2.0 world. Having commenced this process with this blog post I have now decided to do this as 4 daily blog posts; this is part 1.

My learning experience; Actually I have written a complete reflective novel on my experiences of learning called 63/68 A Visceral History. This is a novelisation of the Open Context Model of Learning (ref below) which, like most of my work, was rejected by people in authority in the UK; in this case the Open Universities Open Learn team (how ironic, how elitist too). We had it accepted as a chapter in an Australian book on Web 2.0 based e-learning; finally published 3 years after we gave our talk! It was this ridiculous time delay, in a Web 2.0 world, of publishing a paper likely to be read by perhaps 20 people that prompted me to write a novel reflecting on my own learning, in what Ronan O’Beirne deliciously described as a “pre-theory” story. He’s right! All theory has been removed (though it is loaded with that) and so you have to work out the meaning of the stories for yourself. You know what? That is how I teach. Continue reading