#becomingeducational W25: Thinking about the essay

This bonus blog post is inspired by – and copied from – a post by Maha Bali on preparing a talk for an #edtech company – for the whole post – go here: http://blog.mahabali.me/blog/educational-technology-2/brainstorming-an-upcoming-talk-for-an-ed-tech-company/

What I like about this post is that although she is talking about #edtech – she is fundamentally talking about learning – what it is – and how to facilitate all the messy business that learning entails. So why post this here? Well – you are thinking about the essay: “To what extent has the module, ‘Becoming an educationalist’ prepared you for the reality of becoming an educationalist. Justify your answer with reference to at least three activities on or aspects of the course.” See how far the module has achieved some of the things that Maha argues education is – and thus what an educationalist should be trying to do!

Here’s that extract from Maha’s blog:

  1. Learning is social and connected.Does the learning technology allow for more social interaction than is currently possible in our classrooms? Or does the learning technology allow us to have more space and time for social connection in the classroom? Even better, does the technology help us integrate our social connections inside and outside the classroom? Communication is important between learners, between learners and teachers, but also with parents and the community beyond the classroom. (one of their products creates space for this with a facebook like interface).
  2. Learning is about creating, constructing, remixing.Does the learning technology treat the learner as a consumer to follow a pre-set path, or does the learning technology allow the learner to remix existing material or to create their own? Two good learning tools to look at are Play-Doh and Legos. Legos sometimes come with a pre-defined look you are supposed to build, but you still have freedom to create something different. Play-doh is so versatile that you can create almost anything with it. How can we design ed tech so that the child programs the computer rather than the computer programming the child (ideas of Papert – maybe get a quote?)
  3. Learning happens when we take risks and fail.The wonderful thing about play-doh and legos is not only that you can create anything – but that you can fail comfortably and try again. A good learning environment allows us to take risks in a safe space so we can learn from our failures. (they have a virtual lab that works like a Wii so it seems really cool – but how can they give learners even more choices? More room to make mistakes?)
  4. Learning needs to be accessible to different people.(Refer to Universal Design for Learning and gender – and accessibility issues in design of learning materials)
  5. Learning should encourage values we wish to promote like sharing.We live in an age of knowledge abundance. Leveraging the power of the internet and open sharing in order to advance everyone’s knowledge is important. For younger children where open sharing is risky, smaller scale sharing within a school-based technology tool, and sharing between teachers in the same school or across schools can make a difference. (they have a tool for teachers to find resources made by each other or the web – ask if it allows them to share across schools??)
  6. Learning is about human beings.No educational technology should attempt to remove the need for human interaction; instead, it can be used to enhance it. Even when there is no direct human interaction through the tool, the material learners interact with are produced by people, programmed by people, and builds on the ideas and work of other people.

Ask audience: why do you do what you do? What inspires you to keep going? What worries you about what you do?

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