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Emergent Learning

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Digital Pedagogy Lab 2015 Institute Keynote
Amy Collier and Jesse Stommel

Far too much of education revels in knowing rather than not knowing. Sitting fastidiously in a place of not knowing is one of the hardest, most rigorous, parts of learning. But this is rigor of a different color. Learning is not something we can script in advance. Syllabi should be living documents, co-created with students. Full of possible paths. Not a barrel of predetermined outcomes, carefully crafted to be specific, measurable, loved by our accrediting bodies. Outcomes, and rubrics or assessments we design, should be wild-eyed and tentative. Assessment as an act of agency, a learning activity in and of itself not something delivered ex post facto by an external authority.

Emergent Learning

  1. 1. emergent learning Amy Collier Jesse Stommel @amcollier @Jessifer
  2. 2. Image&from&Codex41&CC/BY/2.0&&Removed&GLaDOS&statement& "Unbelievable! You, Subject Name Here, must be the pride of Subject Hometown Here.” -GLaDOS
  3. 3. 1As learners, we can handle a lot more complexity and interactivity than we often give learners credit for. Play is the stuff — the raw material — of learning.
  4. 4. Photo by Praline3001 “A class is … an independent organism with its own goal and dynamics. It is always something more than what even the most imaginative lesson plan can predict.” ~ Thomas P. Kasulis,“Questioning”
  5. 5. A well-designed course isn’t overly simplistic but needs minimal instruction.
  6. 6. Compare: NYT site. Lots of stimulus. Lots of navigational choices. No patronizing instructions or architecture.
  7. 7. Now the LMS.Telegraphs where to go. Everything is in tidy boxes.The content and engagement density is painfully low.
  8. 8. Photo by flickr user markus spiske “What we need are new ways to read the data, analyzing its poetry where once it had only quantitative character.We need to close-read learning data to begin hypothesizing and ruminating on what it means, rather than jumping too quickly (and prematurely) into assessment.” ~ Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel
  9. 9. How do we know when learning happens?
  10. 10. Evidence-based teaching and “what works” approaches are problematic, and they do not sufficiently recognize the complexity of learning 2
  11. 11. “We need better theories of human learning, and to get those theories, we need better data. We can use the technology as great big data collectors.” Karlyn Borysenko’s synopsis of speakers at 2014 ACE Annual Meeting CC&A@ribuDon&ShareAlike&2.0&Generic&Image&from&justgrimes&
  12. 12. “With online learning, we are capturing amazing amounts of data about students and how they learn. Now, we have the opportunity to mine the information to help us improve learning both online and on campus. These insights into how people learn are one of the great aspects of online learning as they will help us improve the future of education for all.” -Anant Argawal, EdX CC&A@ribuDon&ShareAlike&2.0&Generic&Image&from&r2hox&
  13. 13. input output
  14. 14. The behaviors specified, measured, and tracked can be cognitively demanding “smart human tricks.” There can even be qualitatively measured learning outcomes, though it appears these are less frequent than quantitative metrics, for reasons I think are obvious. Yet these are still behaviors, specified with a set of what I can only describe as jawohl! statements, all rewarding the bon eleves and marching toward compliance and away from more elusive and disruptive concepts like curiosity or wonder… Gardner Campbell, Understanding and Learning Outcomes
  15. 15. You will be hard-pressed to find anyone who works inside of education who finds our current system, or even the practices of their home institution faultless, but the notion that the work that happens inside colleges and universities is indeed an “illusion” because “wonks” who have never spent a moment teaching in an undergraduate classroom can’t figure out how to measure it, doesn’t make it so. John Warner, Kevin Carey’s Dangerous Playbook, Inside Higher Ed CC&A@ribuDon&2.0&Generic&Image&from&Anssi&Koskinen&
  16. 16. …we must create our own standards of evaluation, our own measures of quality, influence, excellence, and social justice impact. These are moral criteria. They celebrate resistance, experimentation, and empowerment…They promote human dignity, human rights, and just societies across the globe. Norman Denzin, The Qualitative Manifesto CC&A@ribuDon&2.0&Generic&Image&from&Hugo&A.&Quintero&G.&
  17. 17. 3Outcomes. Competencies. Rubrics. Standardization. All of these are at odds with teaching and learning. Learning outcomes should be a call to exploration, aspiration, play, and not-yetness rather than Rube Goldberg-like machinations leading to a prescribed end.
  18. 18. "When students struggle for excellence only for the sake of a grade, what we see is not motivation but atrophy of motivation." ~ Peter Elbow,“Grading Student Writing: Making It Simpler, Fairer, Clearer” Photo by Kalexanderson Outcomes
  19. 19. Outcomes for an assignment emerge over time through the work of each group of students. If I articulate outcomes too clearly at the start, students are less able to articulate them. Photo by luca savettiere
  20. 20. Photo by flickr user Giovanni Arteaga We haven’t been nearly imaginative enough with outcomes. I want outcomes like “for us to have an epiphany” or “for students to do something I couldn’t anticipate.”
  21. 21. Photo by flickr user Johnny Worthington The goal of education should always be better learning and not better assessments.
  22. 22. Photo by flickr userValerie Quality Matter
  23. 23. Photo by flickr user SergeyYeliseev Scaffolding
  24. 24. Photo by flickr user Pedro Figueiredo Backwards Design
  25. 25. Photo by flickr user Emmanuel Amador Rubrics
  26. 26. “Too often, faculty design pedagogy around the worst-case scenario and then apply that pedagogy to every student." ~ Janine DeBaise,“Best Practices:Thoughts on a Flash Mob Mentality” Photo by wvs Best Practices
  27. 27. Photo by flickr user Giovanni Arteaga “The course as composition is not fundamentally instrumental, producing an article or living up to an outcome; but rather the course as composition is an action which has intrinsic value.” ~ Sean Michael Morris
  28. 28. Photo by rromer “Not-yetness is not satisfying every condition, not fully understanding something, not check-listing everything, not tidying everything, not trying to solve every problem.” ~ Amy Collier