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Learning in a Digital Age: Myth and reality


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A keynote speech to the eLearning 2.0 Conference, held at Brunel University, London on 8 June 2012. Some of the slides are annotated for additional clarity and explanation.

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Learning in a Digital Age: Myth and reality

  1. Learning in a Digital Age: Myth and Reality Steve Wheeler @timbuckteeth Plymouth University eLearning 2.0 Conference, Brunel University: June 8, 2012
  2. Prague Airport 2012
  3. Prague Airport 2012
  4. Source: Kelly Hodgkins
  5. So Me use >260 Million >90 Million >4 Billion views/day >60 hours/minute Sources from service providers and also
  6. Worldwide ownership of mobile phones5.9 Billion mobile accounts = 87% of population ?
  7. Mobile game based learning
  8. The first mobile device“We are becoming distributed beings. Mobile makesthe trend more explicit.” - Mark Curtis (2005)
  9. Connection Although the world’s media were in Berlin for Obama’s historic speech, each person in the crowd wanted to capture their own memories and share them with others. cc Steve Wheeler, University of Plymouth, 2010
  10. “..we can drown in our technology.The fog of information can drive out knowledge.” - Daniel J. Boorstin
  11. [The next big thing - Flipped Classrooms]
  12. MOOC The Khan Academy and other attempts to create out of classroom content are great. But learning is much more than this. TED
  13. Flipping the classroom is not just about video. We need to more deeply consider how students are learning in the digital age.
  14. Flip the roles, not the classroom Students can take on the roles of teachers, andteachers those of learners. This is the essence of the true flipped classroom.
  15. We learn by teaching
  16. Bearpit Pedagogy Students encouraged to create their own content, present it to their peers and defend it against criticism – developing critical thinking.
  17. [Learning styles] “There are as many learning styles as there are people.” – Wheeler (2009)
  18. VAK model Visual Seeing and reading Auditory Hearing and speakingKinaesthetic Touching and doing
  19. Multi-modal learning...? Auditory Visual Kinaesthetic
  20. ...or Confucius repurposed? I hear, I know Auditory Visual KinaestheticI see, I remember I do, I understand
  21. Situated learning I hear, I know Cognition Deeper Auditory Learning Visual KinaestheticI see, I remember I do, I understand Memory Meta Cognition
  22. “This field suffers from serious conceptual confusion and a lack of accumulated theoretical knowledge.” – Frank Coffield
  23. [Learning in largeorganisations cannot bepersonalised]
  24. Personalised learning means ensuring that individual differences are acknowledged
  25. We are family
  26. Wii are family!
  27. Personal Learning Environment Steve Wheeler & Manish Malik (2010) Source:
  28. [There are digital natives]“The average digital birth of childrenhappens at about six months.”
  30. Residents or Visitors?
  31. [Mobile Phones should be banned]
  32. Objections from Educators Mobile phones are banned in most schools because... ...they are distracting and disruptive. The phone becomes the focus of attention, inappropriate images/videos can be taken and sent, leading to invasion of privacy and loss of teacher control!
  33. BYOD - Personal technologies When we ban young people from using their mobile devices, we prevent them from communicating and learning in ways that are meaningful to them.
  34. Digital cultural capital “Where digital communication has fractured the tyranny of distance and computers have become pervasive and ubiquitous, identification through digital mediation has become the new cultural capital”. - Wheeler (2009)
  35. [SMS is dumbing down the English Language]
  36. Language is organic
  37. Evolution of Language “The ethos of 50 years ago was arrival of [new “The that there was one kind of Englishpulled technologies] all that was right and in new language directions. But texting is everything else was different” wrong....There’s a new kind of ethos now.” ~ David Crystal Crystal ~ David
  38. Competition to write the Lord’s Prayer in <160 charactersr pa in evan, respect 2 u, may urain ear as in evan. giv us rneeds, 4giv r sin as we 4giv rnmes. resq us from the evil 1. 4ur always the most xlent dude.yo
  39. ‘Squeeze txt’ and literacy“Mobile phones are forcing children to become more literate. Without the ability to txt, theycannot fully participate in their own culture of communication” Peter Yeomans (2010)
  40. [All technology is neutral]The old debate between Clark and Kozma overwhether technology has the potential to change the way we learn…
  41. … and some wisdom from Marshal McLuhan on the power of technology to shape our perceptions and behaviour.
  42. Intuitive handheld devicesNatural gesture interface Connection to my learning network Source: Maria Webster -
  43. Learning is changing
  44. [Wikipedia isuntrustworthy]
  45. Who can you trust online?
  46. “60% of all Internet pages contain misleading information.” - Thomas EdisonLearners need ‘digital wisdom’
  47. “Knowledge thatis acquired undercompulsionobtains no holdon the mind.”- Socrates
  48. “Knowledge thatis acquired undercompulsionobtains no holdon the mind.” Plato- Socrates
  49. “Knowledge thatis acquired undercompulsionobtains no holdon the mind.” Plato- Socrates
  50. “Knowledge thatis acquired undercompulsionobtains no holdon the mind.” Plato- Socrates
  51. “Knowledge thatis acquired undercompulsionobtains no holdon the mind.” Plato- Socrates Through iteration, editing, deletion, additionand reworking, we witness the survival of the fittest content online.
  52. Wikipedia iscrowdsourcing evaluation
  53. Folksonomies emerge based on the desire of the community. This bottom-up approach ensures thatcontent that is important to the community becomes the most prominent… Community as curriculum
  54. [Twitter is all about breakfast]
  55. Twitter as a library Twitter as a street cornerTwitter as a broadcast channel Twitter as amplification
  56. What my students said about Twitter...
  57. [The Internet is dangerous]
  58. Content goes viral when it is useful, funny, entertaining, shocking or otherwise resonant to the community.25 million views 46 million views51 million views 447 million views
  59. Sometimes content can be ambiguous, or subject tosubtle changes that are difficult for some to detect…
  60. “Lee Harvey and the Wailers”(Lee Harvey did not jam alone)
  61. “We know that there are two thousand elements which We know that there are two thousand elements which we cannot use to make a good light bulb. we cannot use to make a good light bulb.”[Failure is a bad -Thomas Edison thing]
  62. “All too often today we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.” - John W Gardner
  63. Steve Wheeler University of Plymouth, United Kingdom This work is licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: International Licence.