Reading List #2

In all honesty this was a week of some cracking reads – special thanks to Audrey Watters for some fantastic work (you made the list twice!):

  • Connected leadership by Harold Jarche http://t.co/FaFasDFp9q  – interesting commentary on the role of leadership and hierachy in an increasingly networked world. Really enjoying Jarche’s writing in this space as it fits with my vision of the changes required within organisations and businesses.
  • The 3 Laws of Ed-Tech Robotics – Audrey Watters writes another great post on the automation of teaching and learning, the development of teaching machines and robots in the classroom. I think this whole area is illustrative of the lack of differentiation between “learning” and “education”. In many ways its organic cognitive function vs mechanical practice – but there is a fundamental lack of debate about this. You can make education as mechanical as you like but learning will never be. Audrey’s main point however is to ask why? Why do we want a mechanised system? What benefit will it be and how will it impact on our humanity? I can’t wait for the video!
  • How to capture the “full benefits of the creative, original and imaginative efforts of” teaching staff – David Jones. A good post discussing points from the Group of 8 –

    If Australia is to capture the full benefits of the creative, original and imaginative efforts of its researchers, it will always need a means to support the ideas and challenges coming from individuals and small groups, even when these ideas fall outside formal priority setting mechanisms.

    I can definitely see a mismatch in this statement and the practices that most institutions are engaging and resourcing. There is a disjoin from what management wants, what teachers/students want and the policies that then get implemented. Is it that there is a lack of models available to management to encourage innovation? Skunkworks is one that is tried and tested, but are there others? Should innovation just be the domain of a single group within an organisation or embedded in it’s day to day business?

  • Peer Learning, Online Learning, MOOCs, and Me: Response to the Chronicle of Higher Education – Wow! A really fantastic post from Cathy Davidson worth more than a tweet. To give context its a response to an infographic published by the Chronicle of Higher Education linking her to MOOCs, where she questions the categorisation and the framing of debate. I think she nails the root cause of the challenges that education faces:

    “Nothing about our current Industrial Age education system, with its silo’d knowledge and emphasis on professionalism, is designed for adaptation to rapid change, interactive thinking, iterative process, or collaborative methodologies, all informed by deeply humanistic and social attention to such major issues as intellectual property, security, privacy, freedom, and even the definition of the “self.” Everyday life and everyday work brings most of us into constant contact with these issues. And education? Hardly at all. The world has changed drastically since April 22, 1993 when NCSA decided to make the Mosaic 1.0 browser available to the larger public, officially entering in the Information Age. Education has undergone few structural changes in the last twenty years commensurate with these huge shifts in how we work, play, socialize, interact, exchange capital, and even pray in the 21st century.”

  • Hybrid Academic Collectives by Jesse Stommel. This transcript is from this talk: I’m so grateful for watching as it introduced a great new concept to me, that of the collective. To quote:

    “Thomas and Brown offer a useful exploration of the notion of a “collective,” which they contrast with the notion of a “community.” For Thomas and Brown communities are built around a sense of belonging, whereas collectives are built around participation. Collectives are “content-neutral platforms” with facilitating peer-to-peer learning as their reason for existing (53). According to Thomas and Brown, “collectives scale in an almost unlimited way” (53), because they are built around shared practice and are inherently nodal.”

    The other point “Collaboration, though, both in teaching and learning, is rarely institutionalized at an administrative level” really honed in on a key issue for me around the enablers of innovation. How can you build it into the culture and the institution? The concept of the collective is one that could allow this, combined with social media and online spaces perhaps we can begin to collaborate across discipline areas, faculties and universities. This idea of the collective fits this ideas that “You can do anything. But you can’t do everything.” Collaboration isn’t just about belonging, but achieving together and leveraging the different perspectives, skills and talents we can all bring to the table.

  • [Expletive Deleted] Ed-Tech Another great article from @audreywatters. She is smashing them out of the park at the moment and cutting through the hype, the byllshit, and the spin surrounding edtech. It is refreshing and insightful stuff, like this:

    “building human capacity trumps adding tablet capacity; ones where agency matter more than algorithms; ones where innovation comes from students, from professors, from librarians, from researchers; ones where new ideas are not driven by commercialism but by care; stories and initiatives that are local and will not scale but need not scale;”

  • The value of bad ideas –  An Interesting take on MOOCs – and perhaps more importantly the value of good design. Some interesting comments too.
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