When I say my brain isn’t very happy I mean that the part of my brain that is used to a course having one specific path and medium. I am thrilled to be so challenged.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been engaged in a cMOOC with Stephen Downes, ELearning 3.0. Of course, engagement is a tricky thing. I fully intended to be on top of everything, every day, but I have had to dip in and out.
This afternoon, I read through Stephen’s description of designing the course (the series starts here). It was fascinating at so many different levels. One the surface, this series looks like nothing more than a technical description of the tool he built for this cMOOC, gRSShopper. But it is really about what it means to design, implement, and evolve a (personal) learning environment. The tool is not just a tool. It is a vehicle for learning.
This is incredibly relevant to me. I have been spending the last few years investigating learning design, first as a K-12 educator (I was a secondary biology teacher in New York) and now as a teacher educator at Pace University. In this capacity, I am interested in the emergence of learning networks under conditions of autonomy and competence support (I am in the midst of writing a theoretical framework/blog post on this topic at the moment.
The point for the moment is that the tools of design and their implementation are the learning environment itself in a real way. I can only learn using the personal learning environment I have created. If I want to learn more, I need a modified/more robust/better(?) learning environment. Lots to think about now.
This series told the story of CompStat, a system built by the NYPD in the 90’s in order to help make crime and crime patterns visible in actionable ways and which evolved to end up eating and dominating the system that built it. To my mind, it’s a story of good intentions, positive outcomes, and unintended consequences.
Ed Tech analogues, anyone?