The development and exchange of OER continues to be a technologically intensive process. Technological considerations in OER are not limited to authoring or remixing tools. Collaborative production of OER requires well- designed and robust online spaces and infrastructure (Wikiwijs) and repositories. The latter can also be used to combine OER to create lesson plans online (Open Science Education Resources in Europe). Unless OER are consistently and adequately described, they cannot easily be located in online searches. The chapter on GLOBE considers these challenges and offers solutions. COL’s earlier publications on OER offered insights and advice on good institutional practices, business models and policy matters.
However, the social dimension emerges as an important factor from a number
of chapters in this book. The study on OpenLearn shows that when OER are taken directly from formal courses, the biggest impact is on the formation of communities of learners around the OER. This is similar to the conclusion of
the chapter on OER for Lifelong Learning, both reflecting the experience of the UK’s Open University. The African Virtual University (AVU) chapter reveals
the importance of the formation of a consortium of OER producers across institutions and countries. This process requires subtle yet intensive facilitation for its sustenance and is important for the quality assurance of OER. The detailed analysis of the experience of the African Health OER Network also points to the viability of viewing OER as a social practice.
In two different chapters that focus on MOOCs (contributed by the global pioneers of MOOCs), what emerges is that even if the teachers do not use OER, the learners draw upon OER through their own social space and networks. The chapter based on COL’s experience reveals that the existing hierarchies and power relationships in many developing country institutions do not allow for the decentralisation that fosters and encourages the use of OER. The experience of the Open University in the Netherlands reveals the significant role of trust in encouraging the increased use and sharing of OER.
Issues of methodology and technology
Since computers started to be introduced in language learning (and in education in
general) people have rightly asked whether the investment we are making in these
technologies gives us value for money. As digital technologies have taken a hold
in society in general, this particular question is not asked quite so often, but it is
still important to make sure that the technologies that we have available are used
effectively. People are always tempted to try to make an argument for technology
having an impact on the development of pedagogy and in many cases we can see
that the use of technology has enabled teachers to re-think what they are doing.
We also see people trying to populate this domain by talking about notions like the
‘flipped classroom’, ostensibly a methodology that sees input as occurring at ‘home’
and physical classrooms being used as spaces to explore what has been presented
in the input. This is far from being a new idea, but these agendas are pushed for
a while and then disappear again. What is a contender for a methodology that is
central to the world of technology and language learning is that of blended learning
(Motteram and Sharma, 2009). We see this methodology still being developed, but
when handled best it is the most likely candidate for a starting point for getting
teachers to work with technology in their practice. It is still the case that most
teachers work in physical classrooms and looking at ways that these spaces can
be augmented with digital technologies is a very good starting point. In our recent
project for Cambridge University Press, Diane Slaouti, Zeynep Onat-Stelma and myself
added the idea of the extended classroom to the notion of blended learning (see
Chapter 3 for further discussion). An extended classroom is one that allows learners
to engage in material beyond the regular class period, so while a blended classroom
is looking at ways that an activity might be enhanced by a technology, we also see
technologies being used to make it possible to cover areas of the curriculum that
there is just not enough time for in the busy world of formal education, particularly
in primary and secondary schools. Thorne and Reinhardt (2008) have also proposed
the notion of ‘bridging activities’, which simplistically is about getting learners to talk
about how learners are using technology in their ‘out of class lives’ in the classroom.
Thorne and Reinhardt (2008) are interested in fan fiction, the sort of narrative
material that is created around digital gaming. What they propose is that teachers
encourage learners to bring this activity into the classroom with them and they use
it as the foundations of lessons. I explore this idea of the transformations of language learning through technology further in the final chapter (Chapter 7).
Key messages from the background review include the following:
Learners can, under the right conditions, become more critical, evaluative, self-aware, self-confident, skilled and capable in the use of technologies
Learners can also, under the right conditions, develop a wider and more effective range of strategies for their own learning
Although some of these capabilities may be ‘generic’, the consensus is that they are best supported in ‘communities of practice’, ‘communities of inquiry’, or ‘learning groups’ focused on tasks of value and interest to the learner
Skills acquired iteratively, through practice within authentic tasks and as needed are better retained than those taught one-off, in isolation, and through instruction.
Understanding literacies as situated practice means, in developing learners:
providing authentic contexts for practice, including digitally-mediated contexts
individual scaffolding and support
making explicit community practices of meaning-making
anticipating and helping learners manage conflict between different practice contexts recognising and helping learners integrate their prior conceptions and practices
There is a tension between recognising an ‘entitlement’ to basic digital literacy, and recognising technology practice as diverse and constitutive of personal identity, including identity in different peer, subject and workplace communities, and individual styles of participation.
This paper reports the findings of a meta-interpretation into of the emergence of a new learn- ing design concept and its positionality within the learning and teaching theory landscape. The purpose of this examination of the concept of ‘connectivism’ is to ‘dig for nuggets’ and contribute new knowledge to the current debate about the validity of ‘connectivism’ as a new and emerg- ing learning theory. The deconstruction and systematic analysis of the concept ‘connectivism’ is based on a newly developed coding system that is also applied to other, established learning theories, providing a comparative evaluation of commonly agreed properties of well-known learn- ing theories. The results of our analysis are discussed and possible implications for practice and further research are outlined.
In this chapter we pursue and discuss a number of pertinent questions raised in a recently published book on Networked Learning Practices. In this book the edi- tors contrast a current trend towards personalisation and individualisation of learn- ing with a focus on mutual interdependency and collaboration amongst networked learners, and ask which directions designers of Networked Learning should take. Related to this, they express concerns with notions of Personal Learning Environ- ments, asking whether these might erode collaborative or communal patterns of interaction and the commonality of experiences among students. We continue the- se discussions by critically examining recent ideas articulated by researchers pro- moting the notion of ‘connectivism’, as this concept has strong relations to the re- cent popularisation of web 2.0. Terms such as ‘connections’, ‘networks’, ‘sharing’, learner-centric’, ‘collaboration’, ‘participation’ seem to be shared be- tween Networked Learning theory and connectivism. We argue, however, that there are subtle, but fundamental differences in how these terms are understood, which might have implications for pedagogical orchestrations of networked learn- ing. In particular, we query into different understandings and values around the ‘interactional interdependencies’ between people, and how we should orchestrate networked learning in Higher Education. In doing so, we provide examples from our own practice to discuss how we might address or dissolve dichotomies, such as between individualisation and collaboration, and how ideas from networked learning and connectivism can inform each other.
This qualitative thesis explores the work of George Siemens and connectivist learning theory, „A Learning Theory for the Digital Age‟. Findings are based on a literature review which investigated the foundations, strengths and weaknesses of connectivism and synthesized conclusions into a knowledge base of practical applications for the college level, Instructional Technology classroom. The half-life of knowledge is shrinking, especially in the field of Instructional Technology; connectivism helps to ensure students remain current by facilitating the building of active connections, utilizing intelligent social networking and encouraging student- generated curricula. Connectivism allows the future of education to be viewed in an optimistic, almost utopian perspective, as individuals co-create knowledge in a global, networked environment.
A central goal of this report is to shift the focus of the conversation about the digital divide from questions of technological access to those of opportunities to participate and to develop the cultural competencies and social skills needed for full involvement. Schools as institutions have been slow to react to the emergence of this new participatory culture; the greatest oppor- tunity for change is currently found in afterschool programs and informal learning communi- ties. Schools and afterschool programs must devote more attention to fostering what we call the new media literacies: a set of cultural competencies and social skills that young people need in the new media landscape. Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of indi- vidual expression to community involvement.The new literacies almost all involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking.These skills build on the foundation of tradi- tional literacy, research skills, technical skills, and critical analysis skills taught in the classroom.
The new skills include:
Play — the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving Performance — the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery
Simulation — the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes
Appropriation — the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content Multitasking — the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.
Distributed Cognition — the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities
Collective Intelligence — the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with
others toward a common goal
Judgment — the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources
Transmedia Navigation — the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities
Networking — the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information Negotiation — the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.
Many training and develop- ment professionals stay in the comfortable world of Kirkpatrick Level 1 and Level 2 evalu- ations. Their reasons for avoiding on-the-job behavior and organiza- tional results often include “It’s too expensive,” “It’s too difficult,” “It’s not part of our job,” or “We don’t have access to training participants af-
ter they leave training.” But reaching Kirkpatrick Level 3 or Level 4 is not as difficult, time-consuming, or expen- sive as many believe.
A cautionary tale
What’s at stake by working strictly on the learning side of the equation? Perhaps your job. Consider the fol- lowing scenario.
Two years ago, we presented a one-hour lunch-and-learn to approxi- mately 100 training professionals at a large corporation. Our message was clear: It is no longer sufficient to de- velop and deliver training solutions. Instead, professionals in our field need to reinvent themselves into true, stra- tegic business partners. The likely consequence of not doing so is to be replaced by technology that can inex- pensively deliver training content.
This paper provides the rationale and framework for the blended advising model, a coherent
approach to fusing technology—particularly the ePortfolio—into advising. The proposed term,
“blended advising,” is based on blended learning theory and incorporates the deliberate use of the
strengths from both face-to-face and online environments, as well as synchronous and asynchronous
technologies and interactions. ePortfolios and an advising syllabus will be offered as core examples
of practical applications of the theoretical blended advising model in redefining and reengineering
the advising process. Current and emerging advisor support systems and delivery technologies are
also organized and applied to the proposed model to illustrate the possibilities, potential, and
processes that are created from a transformative blended advising redesign.