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Learner Generated Contexts

Learner Generated Contexts Group
OpenLearn 07 - Sept 2007

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Learner Generated Contexts

  1. 1. The evolving story of LGC: Part 3
  2. 2. What/ Who is the LGC group? <ul><li>A group of people with non traditional education backgrounds who wanted to explore how learning might be better supported by technology </li></ul><ul><li>We are an aggregation of multiple perspectives moving towards integration </li></ul><ul><li>We know that this is a complex space and that multiple perspectives matter: Teacher, Trainer, Learner, Researcher, Designer, Policy-maker, Developer… </li></ul><ul><li>It needs an Interdisciplinary approach </li></ul><ul><li>Looking at Formal, Informal and Non-formal learning </li></ul><ul><li>We are “our evolving history” </li></ul>
  3. 3. “ Getting the mess on the table” <ul><li>September 2007 a debate at the London Knowledge Lab. </li></ul><ul><li>We defined a Learner Generated Context as a context created by people interacting together with a common, self-defined goal . Learners marshal the resources available to them to create an ecology that meets their needs. </li></ul><ul><li>I n some senses all contexts can be described in this way: all are created from some combination of human enterprise in the world. The key aspect of Learner Generated Contexts is that they are created through the enterprise of those who would previously have been consumers in a context created for them . </li></ul>
  4. 4. We considered different perspectives… Teacher, Trainer, Learner, Researcher <ul><li>Mismatch between technology change and ‘ogy’ change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology has increased our choices and our capacity to: publish in multimedia, network, capture aspects of our physical environment, collaborate, socialise, appropriate and re-define. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How has teaching, training, learning changed? The Ikea Education as 'flat pack’ metaphor: what kind of instructions/support do we now need? Distributed, evolving… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Linked to negotiated curricula and the active co-construction of the technological parameters of our lives. </li></ul><ul><li>The generation of context is characterised as an action on tools where a user actively selects, appropriates and implements learning solutions to meet their own needs (Bakardjieva, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>The participatory design of education in which all can be informed participants in the generative process. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Designers, Policy-makers and Developers <ul><li>Learning Space Design: We are constantly reading cues from our environment about what is possible, permissible and desirable. It shapes our behaviour and influences our thinking. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexibility is only part of the solution. If we are serious about authentic ‘learner generated’ learning contexts then the learner needs to participate in the control of how their environment feels and works . However, the ‘preferred’ and ‘best’ learning context may not be the same </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Policy- making: How do we design a Public Architecture of Participation? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>And in so doing find ways to re-negotiate the issues concerning roles , expertise, knowledge, pedagogy, accreditation, power, technology, participation and democracy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Developers: Exploring new ways to understand users :Media Citizens - public participation in media publishing from community films to citizen journalism & the creation of public archives. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Others offered fresh views… <ul><li>Are LGC innovating because it is now politically OK to look at the learner? </li></ul><ul><li>There is not much about pedagogy - the democratisation of learning ran through the presentation - what about teachers ? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we validate knowledge? Who validates it? Huge challenge is the epistemological questions surrounding the assertion that “I can create my own knowledge” Do technologies proliferate non-knowledge ? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are we saying all this, it has all been said before ? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Some subsequent observations <ul><li>The learner and the political landscape: Recent Becta policy seminar series to shape next version of the Harnessing Technology: the first one was about learner voice. </li></ul><ul><li>Pedagogy and Democracy. The DCSF means Children and Families now have more recognition and more voice? Fifth Becta policy seminar was about System Reform and those present voted for a revolution! </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge or Information? A tough one, but essential if we are to address issues of assessment and plagiarism, for example. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why is there no entry for LGC on wikipedia? We are “non-notable jargon”. (…to be continued at a future LKL debate) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… because there needs to be more change … and it needs to be multi-perspective, participatory and interdisciplinary </li></ul>
  8. 8. And … from the Open Learn reviewers … Reviewer 1 lot of ideas presented in this paper and each needs to be expanded carefully and with simple examples. There’s a lot to digest in a short abstract . . . Some care required in linking the various parts of the fundamental ideas – not an easy task. Reviewer 2 Avoid buzzwords! “agile intermediaries”. What is the systematic value of LGC? Provided examples are too fragmented, there needs to be a coherent framework of reference - Provide clear and coherent framework for the concept of LGC Reviewer 3 Focuses on a perhaps somewhat under-researched aspect. However, the proposal seems very immature , doesn’t provide much beyond mentioning that learner-generated contexts are important. The writing is clear, though there is quite a bit of jargon … No real conclusions: the paper tries to “raise awareness” The authors should really analyse the notion of learner-generated contexts in more detail and explain what it contributes exactly to the state-of-the-art .
  9. 9. A Possible Framework?
  10. 10. Knowledge Curriculum Resources Administration Organisation Environment Underpinning concept: The Ecology of Resources model of context
  11. 11. Knowledge Curriculum Resources Administration Organisation Environment The Ecology of Resources model of context: for LGC we need bi-directional arrows in all parts of the model
  12. 12. Knowledge Curriculum Resources Administration Organisation Environment The Ecology of Resources model of context: we also need to identify appropriate boundaries or filters
  13. 13. So, what are the characteristics of an LGC? <ul><li>… if we had LGC glasses – what would we see? </li></ul><ul><li>Learners engaging in shaping their learning context: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge and Curriculum: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>learners have agency and are pro-active in identifying a social learning need and/or a knowledge gap </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>learners work is published and accessible outside of institution/school and 'visitors' or experts are brought into the dialogue via physical meetings or virtual spaces. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>learners are generating content and meta content that is recognised by others, thus validating the organisation of their contextually generated knowledge. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>learners can understand the relevance of their knowledge gap to the rest of their lives, beyond their current environment. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. So, what are the characteristics of an LGC? <ul><li>… if we had LGC glasses – what would we see? </li></ul><ul><li>Learners engaging in shaping their learning context: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Resources and Administration: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Learners can recognize & understand enough about the resources available to them to appropriate them to meet their needs. They can understand the functionalities and affordances of the resources that make up their environment and how these match to their recognition production gap </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. and…. <ul><li>The Environment and its Organisation can be characterised by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Loose frameworks and freedom of choice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learner ability to understand the elements that make up their environment in terms of multiple perspectives , such as physical, social and communication so that they can marshall them into symbiotic relationships. This activity might operate from scratch or may simply mean the tailoring of existing relationships and interactions </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. and…. <ul><li>The Learning process is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personally meaningful for the learners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitated in some way by their environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There are signs of ever widening boundaries of dialogue with and between multiple participants across multiple locations </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. what about teachers/trainers/mentors? <ul><li>From a secondary school teacher: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I think the teacher role is a significant one because, at present, at least - it is the teacher who decides how much freedom students can have... so, LGC is also about negotiated concepts of authority and responsibility - where, for me, if my students are happy to take responsibility for their own learning, I'm happy to facilitate that by giving them greater freedom of choice, selection and method.” </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. what about teachers/trainers/mentors? <ul><li>From a secondary school teacher: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ LGC is about new ways of working - peer review, peer support for individual work and for time-consuming activities - peer collaboration to reduce problems of time management and encourage team-working and group support. Then, the class becomes (a) a community; (b) a community of communities and (c) a community within a network of communities (real and virtual).” </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. what about teachers/trainers/mentors? <ul><li>Outside the classroom </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Many UK online centres (and CGfL's) were operating at the edge of the LGC space, &quot;Trusted Intermediaries&quot; already had good participatory design practice and built local activities out of that practice. ” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Streetsafe http://www. intomedia .org. uk /CMS/admin/form. php </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Initial Observations: Students media interests focused on social networking sites; demonstrated little interest in the world outside themselves and their friends; would only listen to recommendations/advice from their peers; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Emerging findings:The real learning in the project came from gaining trust and challenging their thinking. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. what about teachers/trainers/mentors? <ul><li>From a University Lecturer re. the multiple environmental perspectives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… it may well be that some of these are harder to give learners autonomy and control of. And some might have a bigger impact than others. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Obuchenie” </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. what about teachers/trainers/mentors? <ul><li>Academia 2.0 The integration of education </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. youtube .com/watch?v =vZ1jFaXgTnw </li></ul><ul><li>Elizabeth Unger, KSU Associate Provost: Students have a 3 - 5 minutes attention span, that’s once you have their attention - you have lost them unless you have their attention within 90 seconds… </li></ul><ul><li>Michael Wesch KSU Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology : not convinced about reduced attention span - students are better at multi tasking now - they do a different type of thinking not necessarily worse not necessarily better - just different </li></ul><ul><li>It's not about keeping it short, it's not about attention... it's about relevance…if it’s relevant students will pay attention for hours… </li></ul><ul><li>We can use the tools to understand what is relevant to students - the more we can understand their world the more we can understand how to make the information more relevant to them </li></ul>
  22. 22. Examples <ul><li>The LGC group itself </li></ul><ul><li>The Sussex Self Managed Learning Centre </li></ul><ul><li>Media Citizens </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul>
  23. 23. What else are we doing now? <ul><li>RSA - event and curriculum reform </li></ul><ul><li>Continuing the debate and joining in the debate </li></ul><ul><li>Practical action through devising a common methodology for evaluating example projects </li></ul><ul><li>Publications </li></ul><ul><li>Inviting participation… </li></ul>
  24. 24. Debate Now and to be continued at: http:// learnergeneratedcontexts . pbwiki .com/
  25. 25. Debate <ul><li>Call for a multiple perspective, interdisciplinary, participatory approach across formal, informal and non-formal learning </li></ul><ul><li>Learners marshal the resources available to them to create an ecology that meets their needs - what about teachers? </li></ul><ul><li>The changing technology, policy, political… space </li></ul><ul><li>Need to understand more about the nature of Knowledge cf Information </li></ul><ul><li>Need for a framework and more detailed examples </li></ul><ul><li>How can we recognise an LGC or LGC’ness? Need to think in terms of Knowledge and its Validation/Curriculum, Resources and their administration, Environment and its Organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Need a common methodology/data set/questions </li></ul><ul><li>The role for teachers/mentors/education </li></ul>
  26. 26. How might we progress? <ul><li>Develop a checklist: &quot;LGC benchmark document&quot;, tick the boxes, and give the situation a &quot;score&quot;, if it exceeds a certain level you call it “LGC”. </li></ul><ul><li>BUT the very ability to set such definitions in the first place is made exclusionary. Such a &quot;top down&quot; approach can gloss over the exclusions which still remain. </li></ul><ul><li>A more normative, critical stance, in which ”LGC’ness&quot; is judged by the participants, on an ongoing basis and depending on their needs. It can also be seen not as something you &quot;are&quot; or &quot;are not&quot; (dichotomy), but as a sort of centre of gravitation, towards which you can approach, or move further away </li></ul>