Achieving Agency
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Achieving Agency






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  • Getting down to first principles We have to establish some ground rules
  • Throwing the question out. Don’t answer it now. Think about it as I talk about how the world is shifting.
  • Race against the Machine Chessboard analogy. “ Digital technologies change rapidly, but organizations and skills aren’t keeping pace. As a result, millions of people are being left behind. Their incomes and jobs are being destroyed, leaving them worse off in absolute purchasing power than before the digital revolution.Brynjolfsson, Erik; McAfee, Andrew (2011-10-17). Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy (pp. 28-29). Digital Frontier Press. Kindle Edition.
  • We are technological beings by nature. Read Kevin Kelly or Brian Arthur. The good news is that machines have consistently liberated us from drudgery. The bad news is the vast majority of workers make a living on drudgery.
  • These are computers. Where do you see the threats to your job or your students’ prospects?
  • Getting down to brass tacks.
  • The Horizon Report discussions have increasingly shifted away from individual technologies to human/systemic barriers - “wicked problems”
  • The first step is to look beyond the technology to what that technology is trying to do. Uncover the hype.
  • We return to this fundamental question. Technology will not answer this question - only pose new challenges to accepted models.
  • It’s time to rethink the paradigm. Fortunately, we have some guidance in this area. New Media Seminar read the last 65 years of technology thinking - back to Vannevar Bush.
  • Engelbart started from first principles and thought about how the new technology should be adapted to maximize human effectiveness. Licklider - man-computer symbiosis.
  • Technology changes us as much as we change technology. Being aware of how this change occurs is critical to understanding your classes interactions with technology.
  • An ecosystem is a way of looking at technology that brings all of these things together.
  • Technologies have often seemed to complex for “mere mortals” to understand. IT sees technology as an End. It also guards its priesthood jealously because that is the basis of its hold on organizations. The good news is that this is changing. There is less and less reason for the user to remain ignorant of technology systems. Users are more likely to see things systemically.
  • Now that we have established some ground rules, let’s look at a model for approaching your use of technology, whether it be in the classroom or anywhere else.
  • Ruben Puentedura is very good at getting to the fundamentals of what we are trying to do. Revisit his talk on my New Media Seminar site.
  • Augmentation of human intellect should always be your goal when approaching technology. If a technology fails in this aspect, discard it. If it takes you longer to do something with a technology than you did it the old way, discard it. This is a critical part of evolution in all systems
  • Creativity is what we bring to the table that cannot be replaced by the machines. Always use that to your advantage, both operationally and pedagogically.
  • Dan Pink provides at least one model for applied creativity in A Whole New Mind.
  • Look through the technology at the possibilities it offers. Some are not as evident as others. Always ask “Why” Right now we have tremendous opportunities to liberate ourselves from the traditional PC. Think about how they get in the way of your teaching. What could you do if you had the technology without the overhead?
  • It is only when a group of technologies works together seamlessly with its human component that a successful ecosystem for learning can emerge. Look for weak points in your ecosystem. Classroom systems? Software packages? Right now one of our biggest barriers to liberating ourselves from technology is Flash.
  • Stasis is your enemy. You need to be an agent of change because no one knows what makes for successful teaching better than those who practice it. Make your voice heard but make sure it is a voice for progress. The world will not be kind to those who do not adapt. That includes both you and your students.

Achieving Agency Achieving Agency Presentation Transcript

  • Achieving Agency Your Place in the Technology EcosystemTom Haymes, Director of Technology, NWC
  • Means vs. EndsUnless you are building it, a technology is never an End, it is only ever a Means to an End
  • What are theEnds of Education?Ends of Education?
  • Surfing the Wave The world is changing outside of academia.Are we riding the wave or being engulfed by it?
  • Outsourcing Ourselves Daniel Pink (and many others): Technology and the evolution of work
  • Daniel Pink’s Three Questions Three QuestionsCan someone overseas do it cheaper?Can a computer do it faster?Is what I’m offering in demand in an age of abundance?
  • How Does this Change Our Jobs? This is not a technology questionIt is a societal (and therefore pedagogical) question
  • Predictingthe Future The Horizon Report
  • What is New is Old Perspective is Critical: Don’t look at the technology, look at what the technology is trying to do.
  • What are theEnds of Education?Ends of Education?
  • Adaptation3 Approaches to rethinking the Education-Technology nexus in a world of information abundance
  • Douglas Engelbart I. Augmenting Human Intellect
  • II. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model
  • III. A Media & Technology Ecosystem EcosystemJohn Naughton’s definitionof a successful ecosystem:1. It is a System2. It is characterized byDiversity3. It requires Co-evolution4. But there are KeystoneSpecies
  • A fundamental problem: We tend to view technologies in isolation fromends, the human element, and other technologies.
  • Five Strategies to Achieve Teaching Agency Teaching Agency The EACOS Model
  • 1. Understandthe Ends ofwhat you aretrying toaccomplish
  • 2. Think of technology as anAugmentation of yourteaching
  • “We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human ‘feel for a situation’ usefully coexist with powerful concepts, streamlined technology andnotation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids.” - Douglas Engelbart, 1962
  • 3. Creatively bridge barriers usingtechnology solutions to approach theproblem from a different perspective
  • “The new age fairly glitters with opportunity but it is as unkind to the slow of foot as it is to the rigid of mind” - Daniel Pink
  • Pink’s Six Skills1)Design: Moving beyondfunction to engage thesenses2)Story: Narrative added toproducts and services - notjust argument3)Symphony - Addinginvention and the bigpictureEmpathy - Goingbeyond logic and engagingemotion and intuition5)Play - Bringing humor and light-heartedness to your work6)Meaning - The purpose is the journey, internal motivation
  • 4. Always be on the lookoutfor technology Opportunities
  • “The computer is simply an instrument whose music is ideas.” - Alan Kay
  • 5. Take a Systemic approachto technology
  • “Intellectual life and cultural development thrive inenvironments which make it easy to abstract, excerpt, borrow, and remix.” - John Naughton
  • EACOSFocus on EndsUse Technology toAugmentEngage in Creativeproblem-solvingPursue OpportunitiesThink Systemically
  • Final ThoughtsThe End should always take precedence over the MeansYou cannot stand stillThe outside world should drive your teaching strategies, not technology
  • What Now?• This presentation is at:• New Media Seminar Resources at:• Contact Me:
  • Works Cited• Brynjolfsson, Erik; McAfee, Andrew, Race Against the Machine (Digital Frontier Press, 2011).• Engelbart, Douglas, “Augmenting Human Intellect” at• Naughton, John, What You Really Need to Know About the Internet (London: Querecus, 2012)• New Media Consortium, The Horizon Report Higher-Ed Edition 2013,• Pink, Daniel, A Whole New Mind(New York: Penguin, 2006)• Puentedura, Ruben, “The SAMR Model: Six Exemplars” at