Revisiting old posts – part one

In this post, I try to create an overview of what I’ve written on my blog in relation to digital media & education

I’m not really the stable blogger, churning out a steady flow of blog posts week after week…and I probably never will be. Too much else is going on all the time. Too many projects, conferences, meetings, talks, articles, teaching, trips abroad, games, people and other exciting stuff. I love it. A bit hectic at times, but still; terrific.

I do have a couple of new posts coming up, yet I thought I’d also like to try another approach.

I’d like to try going back.

For you and for me, I’ll try to provide an overview of what I have written on digital media & education so far. Many posts are related, touching upon similar subjects, and grouping thus makes perfect sense; as long as it’s clear, that many posts overlap those four categories:

  • Sharing knowledge
  • A new direction for education?
  • New literacies?
  • Games & learning
The remainder of this post is a kind of summary of all that I’ve written on the blog. It is at the same time a summary of most of my thinking regarding digital media, games & learning.
I’ll cover the first three topics in this post, and the last one – games & learning – in a separate one, as this is a subject I’ve covered in a large number of posts.
Sharing knowledge

As hard as I may try, I’m probably not able to appropriately highlight exactly how important the sharing of knowledge is. 

In “knowing together?“, I briefly touched upon collective intelligence and how it “exploits the potential of network culture to allow many different minds operating in many different contexts to work together to solve problems that are more challenging than any of them could master as individuals”.

Throughout my work – and life – I try to promote “transparency as an ideal“, which I even describe as my business model. Increased sharing is a big part of the solution to the challenges of education, but “how do we nurture a culture of transparency in education? How do we make it not only feasible, but attractive to share?”.

I wrote a blog post on Twitter, which described “why I love Twitter (and you probably should too)” and in which I was able to quite Niels Bohr’s request for “free access to information”. I focus on Twitter, but I try to place Twitter within a larger framework of transparent communication and collaboration.

In my latest post on this topic, I end up shouting in order to encourage people to “share EVERYTHING“. This was sparked by a couple of thought-provoking incidents, which made it all too clear, that sharing is often considered much less important than creating knowledge. I recommend to not “fear experimentation. Try different methods, tools and approaches. Mix online with offline, writing, talking, showing. Be a little more ad hoc’ish – .anarchistic if you like.” We should experiment with the ways we share, and we should not wait until any “final” results; share the process as well.

A new direction for education?

Throughout my writing on this blog (as well as in most of what I do), I argue in favor of change. This is most prominent when talking about education, as I wholeheartedly believe, that radical change is needed.

Inspired by the many game jams taking place, I suggest that we start “jamming in education“. I would love to see education jams, in which we “summon a large number of dedicated, creative teachers and relevant practitioners, release them from the everyday constraints (if only for 48 hours) and indulge them to work out new experimental solutions”.

One challenge in facilitating change is that we are already so caught up in the “old ways” of doing things. We follow ancient maps, when we should probably just “leave the map behind“. “We should consider leaving the map behind a crucial part of our solution. We should continually encourage experiments and a willingness to risk failing by challenging conventional wisdom and old assumptions on what constitutes good education.”

We need to say and do things differently. When one approach doesn’t work, we shouldn’t just do the same again; “don’t just repeat; rephrase!“.

I have a profound problem with our current framing of cheating in education; not least because this practice effectively means, that “I’m a cheater“. “What is considered “cheating” in school, is considered “creative, innovative problem solving” outside school”.

I’m convinced, that one key component of education in the future must be “context design”, which I elaborate upon in “context is everything“. Oftentimes in school, we provide no context for the curricular activities we expect students to interact with. “Whichever kind of education (also the corporate kind) one is engaged in, context is invaluable. We’ll probably never become good enough at designing relevant contexts, but we should never stop trying. We should always strive towards embedding any kind of learning in a context, where said learning actually makes sense.”

This is important because we must not underestimate “the importance of relevance“. If learning contenst is isolated from proper contexts, chances are, that most students won’t understand the relevance and importance of said learning content. If they won’t understand the relevance, they’ll have a very, very hard time learning anything.

We also need to focus on new skills and competences. One such set of competences is comprised by the notion of “entrepreneurship” and the ability to “embrace the initiative“. Quoting Seth Godin, “most people don’t believe they are capable of initiative”. This is sad, and we as educators must be better role-models in inspiring students to think and work like entrepreneurs, who are willing to experiment, take chances and – from time to time – fail.

My latest ponderings on new directions for education was inspired by a little yellow duck (made of LEGO bricks). Guess I was in a poetic mood when I wrote about “the simple beauty of a duck“, yet my arguments were surprisingly well aligned with what I’ve written elsewehere. “Less scaffolding and rigid rules, more freedom and exploration”.

New literacies?

It’s becoming increasingly obvious, that we cannot rely solely on traditional notions of “literacy” in a world, where digital media is as pervasive and important as ever.

This is only accentuated by the oft-cited dichotomy between digital natives and digital immigrants. I’m quite skeptical about the value of these terms, and argue that “digital natives get lost too“. We need to understand, that digital natives are not really that competent, and that being competent means more than “pushing buttons”.

Digital competence can also be understood along the lines of “digital literacy” and I’ve been quite inspired by “a model for digital literacy” put forth by Futurelab. The value of this particular model is, that it makes it very clear, that digital literacy consists of many different skills and competences.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back very soon with another post summarising my writing on games & learning.

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