What follows is a summary of one of the chapters included in Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications.
Digital learning is messy and complex. Yet, it’s often portrayed as a solution to the perils facing educational systems or as a cause of those problems. Ross and Collier call for a recognition of the messiness of digital learning. As emerging technologies and practices practices are not yet fully understood or researched, these authors provide a compass to help readers make sense of digital learning environments and their design. They argue that in designing digital learning we
- should avoid emulating established practices,
- could gain fruitful knowledge about the instructor’s role if consider the online instructors’ body, and
- should consider how calls for accountability and data science are unsatisfactory for modern educational systems
Ross, J., & Collier, A. (2016). Complexity, Mess, and Not-yetness: Teaching Online with Emerging Technologies. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.), Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications (pp. 17-33). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.
What follows is a summary of one of the chapters included in Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications.
The terms “emerging technologies” and “emerging practices ”are catch-all phrases that are often misused and haphazardly defined. This chapter defines those two terms. It argues that what makes technologies and practices emerging are not specific technologies (e.g., virtual reality) or practices (e.g., openness), but the environments in which particular technologies or practices operate. It is argued that emerging technologies and emerging practices share four characteristics:
- not defined by newness;
- coming into being;
- not-yet fully understood or researched (i.e. not-yetness); and
- unfulfilled but promising potential.
Veletsianos, G. (2016). Defining Characteristics of Emerging Technologies and Emerging Practices. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.), Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications (pp. 3-16). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.
Athabasca University Press has just published Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning, a book I edited that owes its existence to the insightful authors who contributed their chapters on the topic. Like other titles published by AU Press, the book is open access.
Emerging technologies (e.g., social media, serious games, adaptive software) and emerging practices (e.g., openness, user modeling) in particular, have been heralded as providing opportunities to transform education, learning, and teaching. In such conversations it is often suggested that new ideas – whether technologies or practices – will address educational problems (e.g., open textbooks may make college more affordable) or provide opportunities to rethink the ways that education is organized and enacted (e.g., the collection and analysis of big data may enable designers to develop algorithms that provide early and critical feedback to at-risk students). Yet, our understanding of emerging technologies and emerging practices is elusive. In this book, we amalgamate work associated with emergence in digital education to conceptualize, design, critique, enhance, and better understand education.
If you’ve ben following the conversations in the last two years, there will be some themes that you’ll recognize here. To mention a few: defining emerging technologies; not-yetness; data mining; technology integration models; open and social learning; and sociocultural aspects of MOOCs.
In the days that follow, I will summarize each chapter here.
One of our research papers was published in its final form this morning. Since I had yet another conversation about the publishing industry at Congress yesterday and I keep track of dates, below are the behind-the-scenes details for this particular paper.
Submission: Aug 1, 2015
Minor revisions requested: Nov 6, 2015
Revision submitted: Nov 13, 2015
Minor revisions requested: Feb 10, 2016
Revision submitted: Feb 10, 2016
Accepted: Feb 13, 2016
Unedited article (uncorrected proofs) appears online: Feb 15, 2016
In Press version of the article appears online: Feb 23, 2016
Final version of the article – assigned to a journal issue/volume: June 1, 2016
I know (and have experienced) papers taking much longer (and much shorter) to publish. So, four words of caution are probably needed here:
- This n of 1 may or may not to be representative of this journal. I had other papers in this journal published under different time horizons.
- This paper is in a non Open Access (NOA) journal.Do no take this n of 1 to mean that Open Access (OA) publishers will necessarily publish a paper faster. I’ve had a paper accepted as is with a reputable OA publisher and the whole process took 2 months. I also have a paper with an OA publisher under review that is taking forever.
- It might be worthwhile to explore what the differences are beyond OA vs NOA. Reviewer turn-around time is a significant variable in this process.
- The paper was published in a journal concerned with education and specifically educational/learning technologies.
Bear with me. This work-in-progress is a bit raw. I’d love any feedback that you might have.
Back in 2008, my colleagues and I wrote a short paper arguing that social justice is a core element of good instructional design. Good designs were, and still are, predominantly judged upon their effectiveness, efficiency, and engagement (e3 instruction). Critical and anti-opressive educators and theorists have laid the foundations of extending educational practice beyond effectiveness a long time ago.
I’m not convinced that edtech, learning design, instructional design, digital learning, or any other label that one wants to apply to the “practice of improving digital teaching and learning” is there yet.
I’ve been thinking more and more about compassion with respect to digital learning. More specifically, I’ve been reflecting on the following question:
What does compassion look like in digital learning contexts?
I’m blogging about this now, because my paper journal is limiting and there is an increasing recognition within various circles in the field that are coalescing around similar themes. For instance,
- The CFP for Learning with MOOCs III asks: What does it mean to be human in the digital age?
- Our research questions reductionist agendas embedded in some approaches to evaluating and enhancing learning online. Similar arguments are made by Jen Ross, Amy Collier, and Jon Becker.
- Kate Bowles says “we have a capacity to listen to each other, and to honour what is particular in the experience of another person.”
- Lumen Learning’s personalized pathways recognize learner agency (as opposed to dominant personalization paradigms that focus on system control)
Compassion is one commonality that these initiatives, calls to action, and observations have in common (and, empowerment, but that’s a different post).
This is not a call for teaching compassion or empathy to the learner. That’s a different topic. I’m more concerned here with how to embed compassion in our practice – in our teaching, in our learning design processes, the technologies that we create, in the research methods that we use. At this point I have a lot of questions and some answers. Some of my questions are:
- What does compassionate digital pedagogy look like?
- What are the purported and actual relationships between compassion and various innovations such as flexible learning environments, competency-based learning, and open education?
- What are the narratives surrounding innovations [The work of Neil Selwyn, Audrey Watters, and David Noble is helpful here]
- What does compassionate technology look like?
- Can technologies express empathy and sympathy? Do students perceive technologies expressing empathy? [Relevant to this: research on pedagogical agents, chatbots, and affective computing]
- What does compassion look like in the design of algorithms for new technologies?
- What does compassionate learning design look like?
- Does a commitment to anti-oppressive education lead to compassionate design?
- Are there any learning design models that explicitly account for compassion and care? Is that perhaps implicit in the general aim to improve learning & teaching?
- In what ways is compassion embedded in design thinking?
- What do compassionate digital learning research methods look like?
- What are their aims and goals?
- Does this question even make sense? Does this question have to do with the paradigm or does it have to do with the perspective employed in the research? Arguing that research methods informed by critical theory are compassionate is easy. Can positivist research methods be compassionate? Researchers may have compassionate goals and use positivist approaches (e.g., “I want to evaluate the efficacy of testing regimes because I believe that they might be harmful to students”).
- What does compassionate digital learning advocacy look like?
- Advocating for widespread adoption of tools/practices/etc without addressing social, political, economic, and cultural contexts is potentially harmful (e.g., Social media might be beneficial but advocating for everyone to use social media ignores the fact that certain populations may face more risks when doing so)
There’s many other topics here (e.g., adjunctification, pedagogies of hope, public scholarship, commercialization….) but there’s more than enough in this post alone!
When my friends Jon Becker and Alec Couros were applying for tenure, they did something open, innovative, and thoughtful: They asked the community for feedback on their work and scholarship. This feedback often gets missed in tenure applications because it the impact and reach of scholarship tends to be evaluated in basic ways: How many times was a publications cited? In how many high-impact factor journals did one publish in? Alec’s and Jon’s request serve to add another dimension to the evaluation of their work.
I find myself in a similar position. Would you please help me provide a more diverse evidence for my application? If my work has impacted you in any way, could you please add a note below? Perhaps my research was helpful in helping you get started on your MA/PhD thesis/dissertation. Or perhaps you used my work to provide professional development for teachers/faculty. Or, you assigned my work as reading. Or, you reused one of the teaching activities I shared on my blog. Or, you learned something from me at some time. Many of these “indicators of impact” are invisible, so, in essence what I am asking is to help me make them visible.
If you have a few moments to spare, I’d appreciate your feedback in the form below, which has the same format as the one created by Jon (Thanks, Jon!). My plan is to include these data with my application in raw and summary form.
Below is an available position in Cognitive Science at Lund University, with possibility of placement in the Educational Technology group. Lund University is a great institution, and so are the colleagues at the Educational Technology research group.
***** FULLY FUNDED PHD POSITION AT LUND UNIVERSITY COGNITIVE SCIENCE *****
I would like to bring to your attention an open PhD-position in Cognitive Science at Lund University. Applications are welcome in all areas in Cognitive Science represented at the department including Educational Technology
**The Educational Technology Group** www.lucs.lu.se/educational-
The two purposes are intertwined. The developed software builds on empirical findings about the human mind within the cognitive and the learning sciences. The software is used to extend our knowledge, and the knowledge gained is fed back into the software as we develop it further. Our projects are characterized by an orientation towards school’s and preschool’s educational practices, together with the use of iterative processes of evaluation and redesigning.
The Educational Technology Group has close collaborations with some other national groups and with AAA-lab at Stanford University. Other essential collaborators are a number of schools and preschools, in Sweden and in the U.S., with their students, teachers and headmasters.
For more information about the group and the research domain contact
Professor Agneta Gulz — Agneta.Gulz@lucs.lu.se
More information about Lund University Cognitive Science can be found at the homepage: http://www.lucs.lu.se
Type of employment: Limit of tenure, Maximum 4 years
Extent: 100 % If combined with up to 20% teaching, the length is extended accordingly.
A completed master education in a relevant field is required to be eligible for the position.
Apply online (from February 1st):
Application must be received before March 1st, 2016.
The application must include:
– records of first- and second-cycle studies (Ladok transcript or other transcript of courses and grades)
– first- and second-cycle theses/degree projects
– a list of other relevant administrative and educational qualifications
– scholarly journal articles, reports or papers of relevance for the subject
– where applicable, documented skills in a language of relevance for the research studies
– project proposal (1500 words max. excluding references)
For general information please contact:
Christian Balkenius, Professor
046-222 32 51
Martin Weller sent me a photo of my book a couple of weeks ago. I was away from the office, and that was the first time I saw a photo of the physical book. I saw the physical one a week later when I returned to my office. There it was. In print. And published.
I wanted to write a book about the complicated realities of the use of technology in education. I wanted to write about us. About the people who use technology as part of their day-to-day professional life – and about the times that professional and personal life are intertwined. I am tired of the recycled unsubstantiated claims regarding the potential of new solutions and new technologies. So, I wrote a book about scholars and social media. A book about what scholars – professors and doctoral students – do on social media and why the use them. A book about those times that the potential is realized, those times that new technologies are put into familiar uses, and those times that the issues become a tad more complex. No surprises there – I’ve been working on this area for a few years now.
If you would like me to talk to your colleagues or students about this area, I would be happy to do so. I hope the short blurb below describes the essence of the argument:
Social media and online social networks are expected to transform academia and the scholarly process. However, intense emotions permeate scholars’ online practices and an increasing number of academics are finding themselves in trouble in networked spaces. In reality, the evidence describing scholars’ experiences in online social networks and social media is fragmented. As a result, the ways that social media are used and experienced by scholars are not well understood. Social Media in Academia examines the day-to-day realities of social media and online networks for scholarship and illuminates the opportunities, tensions, conflicts, and inequities that exist in these spaces. The book concludes with suggestions for institutions, individual scholars, and doctoral students regarding online participation, social media, networked practice, and public scholarship.