Grainne Conole’s questions

I have finally managed to listen to Grainne Conole and view the slide presentation (thanks Kristina) and was interested in her Slide 100 with three questions, which I have been thinking about.

1. How can we encourage a culture of sharing ideas and designs?

A lot will need to change in HE before a culture of sharing ideas and designs becomes truly established if it ever does. Currently the whole system is geared to promoting individual advancement, in research, teaching and management. I think Stephen has the answer when he says it needs to be done through modelling and demonstration, which is just what he and George have done with this course. They have shown that it can be done. It would be interesting to know how many of their colleagues at the University of Manitoba freely share their ideas and designs. And how many people on this course will go back to their universities/institutions and request to be allowed to start open courses with free access to their ideas and course designs. My experience is that you can’t even take your own work to a new job in another institution, as work done for an institution is regarded as the property of that institution!

2. Why has there been little uptake of educational repositories?

My feeling is that the answer to this question lies in what I was trying to get at in my last post – and here I want to thank Rodd Lucier for his comment.

Although there wasn’t mention of commenting on Cloudworks products produced by others, the use of a common template would make such projects easily recognizable, shareable and editable. I think that’s what makes the WebQuest model of rich project development such a useful framework.

Another benefit to the tool Grainne shared, is that it walks teacher-designers through a thoughtful process of building a lesson, unit, or course. Educators are forced to consider a relevant lesson components from expectations thru roles and activities.

I don’t disagree with anything Rodd has said, but his points don’t answer my original concern and that is that a teaching idea is only of use when it can be practically applied in the classroom and that that is context dependent. Having listened to Grainne’s talk and it seems that she considers Cloudworks to be a social network, but I can’t see on the site where the discussions are going to take place. I suspect they will take place off the site, which could lead to a site which people take from, rather than give to and take from. If there hasn’t been an uptake on educational repositories it’s because they don’t provide what people need.

3. Can we apply web 2.0 principles to an educational context?

I think this course is proof that we can, but there has been plenty of discussion this week about the gap between the web 2.0 principles and many educational contexts. I thought Stephen overstepped the mark a little in tonight’s Elluminate session when he all but suggested that Lisa would either have to be content with only applying web 2.0 principles to her own learning, or might have to choose to leave her job if she couldn’t apply them in her current situation. He did retract rather quickly after this (I wonder if he heard my sharp intake of breath!). Of all people Stephen will know that there is a big gap between our traditional education systems and the principles to which web 2.0 technologies aspire. This is not going to go away and I think it’s probably a preferable option to try and change a system from the inside rather than from the outside (although loads of politicans seem to manage it from the outside!). Stephen himself has said that teachers need to model and demonstrate and this makes perfect sense to me. We just take small steps to begin with, modelling and demonstrating in small ways what can be achieved and celebrating success as we go along and gradually things start to move, but it will be a slow process. Rome wasn’t built in a day – as they say!


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