What is “content” and howmight we (not) get beyond it?         Norm Friesen               &         Irwin DeVries
Overview• What is (educational) content?• Examples: What do they show about the  learning in content and about its re-use?...
Content"We learn anywhere, anytime, anyplace;there are opportunities to learn all around useveryday. We learn in the home,...
Common Perceptions and Complaints Learning objects, OER, emerging pedagogies haveraised new awareness and questions about ...
Beyond the Reusability Paradox“If a learning object isuseful in a particularcontext, by definition it isnot reusable in a ...
But what is this “content”?• The sum of qualities, notions, ideal  elements given in or composing a  conception; the subst...
What is (Educational) Content?• It can be discussed generally only through  form: textbooks, video clips, writing, podcast...
Euclid’s Elements• A line is breadthless length.• Rectilinear figures are those which  are contained by straight lines, tr...
http://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0014579305000104-gr1.jpg
http://www.atlanticz.ca/zclub/techtips/explodedviews/280z/exploded%20l28.gif
http://www.scienceclarified.com/everyday/images/scet_01_img0015.jpg
Thoughts about Examples• Organization is emphasized; are about  organization• Organization according to the specific subje...
Recommendations re: Content• Make connections among concepts explicit• Explicitly highlight deep features• Use contrasting...
Not taking content for granted    Content in a c/x-MOOC worldE.g. c-MOOCs             x-MOOCsSupported by             Need...
Text books are a ripoff…• …but they’re more than just a ripoff• "A textbook is not merely a compendium of knowledge.  Rath...
Pedagogical KnowledgeExhibits a number of characteristics distinguishingit from scientific knowledge. As a rule it ...•onl...
Daniel Tröhler“Pedagogical knowledge is derived fromscientific knowledge through such actions asselection, condensation, c...
Daniel Tröhler, con’tBy contrast, scientific knowledge is basedon the assumption that knowledge is not somuch an object of...
Concluding Thoughts & Suggestions• A BIG gap between content in general and any  one example: “content” a dangerous word• ...
What is “content” and how might we (not) get beyond it?
What is “content” and how might we (not) get beyond it?
What is “content” and how might we (not) get beyond it?
What is “content” and how might we (not) get beyond it?
What is “content” and how might we (not) get beyond it?
What is “content” and how might we (not) get beyond it?
What is “content” and how might we (not) get beyond it?
What is “content” and how might we (not) get beyond it?
What is “content” and how might we (not) get beyond it?
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What is “content” and how might we (not) get beyond it?

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At first glance, the meaning of the term "content" could not be more obvious. It is the stuff we share, study, watch, create and mashup on the Web. However, a closer look at content as substance, as educational, as opposed to form, and even --deposed or enthroned on the Web-- as king, raises many more questions. What is the ³educational² nature of content and how does it relate to its (re)usability? How does form (e.g. learning designs, management systems) relate to content? And what makes it valuable or valueless?

This presentation taps into ideas of curriculum as an overall structure that both enables and limits the coherence of educational ³contents,² contexts and purposes. It looks at the issue of specificity and irreplaceability that is implied in the notion of content as substance and
materiality -as something that is actually specific to a place and time, rather than ubiquitous and (theoretically) endlessly adaptable. Our point, in short, is to show that content is something to understand more fully before we leave it behind.

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  • What is “content” and how might we (not) get beyond it?

    1. 1. What is “content” and howmight we (not) get beyond it? Norm Friesen & Irwin DeVries
    2. 2. Overview• What is (educational) content?• Examples: What do they show about the learning in content and about its re-use?• Possible ways of understanding learning or education re: content [discussion; slides as or if needed]
    3. 3. Content"We learn anywhere, anytime, anyplace;there are opportunities to learn all around useveryday. We learn in the home, office, onthe road. Likewise, educational content canbe shaped to fit all kinds of useful deliverymedia that is convenient, user-friendly, and(most important) serves the educationalneed of members without the content beingshortchanged or trivialized." Smith, J.(2001)
    4. 4. Common Perceptions and Complaints Learning objects, OER, emerging pedagogies haveraised new awareness and questions about content• Final vs. emergent • memorization & rote• Consumed vs. created learning• Conducive to teaching • Inert; unengagingand learning as • Locked up in copyright“transmission” and proprietary formats• Reinforces instructivist • Owned vs sharedteaching habits • Driven by publishing industry
    5. 5. Beyond the Reusability Paradox“If a learning object isuseful in a particularcontext, by definition it isnot reusable in a differentcontext. If a learning objectis reusable in manycontexts, it isn’t particularlyuseful in any.” (D. Wiley, assummarized by D’Arcy Norman)
    6. 6. But what is this “content”?• The sum of qualities, notions, ideal elements given in or composing a conception; the substance or matter (of cognition, or art, etc.) as opposed to the form.• The things contained or treated of in a writing or document; the various subdivisions of its subject matter.• Form is general; content is specific.
    7. 7. What is (Educational) Content?• It can be discussed generally only through form: textbooks, video clips, writing, podcasts• We have generally thought of education and other issues in terms of forms (from Plato onwards)• Often authorship is not important• Web and new forms reinforce this• Try to counteract this through examples: this textbook, this clip, this podcast
    8. 8. Euclid’s Elements• A line is breadthless length.• Rectilinear figures are those which are contained by straight lines, trilateral figures being those contained by three, quadrilateral those contained by four, and multilateral those contained by more than four straight lines.• In isosceles triangles the angles at the base equal one another, and, if the equal straight lines are produced further, then the angles under the base equal one another.
    9. 9. http://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0014579305000104-gr1.jpg
    10. 10. http://www.atlanticz.ca/zclub/techtips/explodedviews/280z/exploded%20l28.gif
    11. 11. http://www.scienceclarified.com/everyday/images/scet_01_img0015.jpg
    12. 12. Thoughts about Examples• Organization is emphasized; are about organization• Organization according to the specific subject matter and desired emphasis• Is progressive and cumulative in particular ways: from basic to advanced, from fundamental to secondary etc. … (outward from centre, top to bottom)• Method of progression; Engages reader or viewer from: – General to particular or particular to general
    13. 13. Recommendations re: Content• Make connections among concepts explicit• Explicitly highlight deep features• Use contrasting and boundary cases to highlight organizing features• Expose students ’ knowledge organizations• Analyze tasks to identify the most appropriate knowledge organization
    14. 14. Not taking content for granted Content in a c/x-MOOC worldE.g. c-MOOCs x-MOOCsSupported by Need for• Instructional videos • Adaptation• Guides to MOOCs • Contextualization• Syllabi • Currency• Aggregations • Learning design• Wrapups or summaries
    15. 15. Text books are a ripoff…• …but they’re more than just a ripoff• "A textbook is not merely a compendium of knowledge. Rather, it is a assemblage of knowledge organised for educational purposes.  Textbooks, therefore, are not simply depositories of knowledge.  Through their chapters, headings. tables, illustrations, worked examples, homework exercises, and so on, they mediate the structure of knowledge on the one hand, and the performance of teaching and learning on the other.“Peter Ramus and the beginnings of modern schoolinghttp://www.onlineassessment.nu/onlineas_webb/contact_us/Umea/David/ramustex
    16. 16. Pedagogical KnowledgeExhibits a number of characteristics distinguishingit from scientific knowledge. As a rule it ...•only looks at a part of the whole•(radically) simplifies this knowledge•integrates it into a logical-seeming context•avoids contradictions and exceptions•makes knowledge appealing by means of varioustools (slides, films, experiments, murals)•is taught with maximum efficiency
    17. 17. Daniel Tröhler“Pedagogical knowledge is derived fromscientific knowledge through such actions asselection, condensation, composition,didactical structuring and streamlining forclassroom instruction. Pedagogical knowledgeis meant to be obvious, unambiguous, precise,ordered and interesting, and it is not supposedto take a lot of time to learn. It assumes a"dogmatic" character because it is primarilyviewed as an object of teaching.”
    18. 18. Daniel Tröhler, con’tBy contrast, scientific knowledge is basedon the assumption that knowledge is not somuch an object of teaching as that ofresearch. Knowledge is not a given, but isconstantly reconstructed, questioned andexamined to uncover its underlyingpremises. In contrast to pedagogicalknowledge, advances are not logicallystructured, but more dependent onfundamental convictions as to how objectsare to be handled.
    19. 19. Concluding Thoughts & Suggestions• A BIG gap between content in general and any one example: “content” a dangerous word• May be useful to bring “scientific” and “pedagogical” knowledge into some kind of balance: both “techniques” are needed• Both stress connections between content, and making these as clear as possible• These connections depend on perspective• Simplification / attractiveness / “type of logic”

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