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robertogreco : instructionism   4

Why EdTech Sucks – Learning {Re}imagined – Medium
"Some believe education should be a transmission of knowledge, others believe that it should be a reconstruction of knowledge. The former is called “instructionism” the latter is called “constructionism”.

Instructionism is popular amongst dinosaur education businesses who rely on scarcity and the selling of text books. These businesses have come up with all kinds of historical innovations to ensure we consume their sacred texts. Measurement being the most obvious one where they award certificates to stormtroopers who can recite them. Evil genius of the Sith.

Constructionism on the other hand relies on abundance and discovery where knowledge is constructed by making things and sharing them. Students use information they already know to acquire more knowledge. It is distinctly collaborative and social in nature, none of that being measured in total silence whilst sitting 3 foot away from your friends. Difficult to see the business model here isn’t it?

And it’s that business model thing that’s the rub and why I’ll be pleased to see the stage vacated by the chinless wonders who are still looking for the door marked entry.

Fortunately there are hundreds of super exciting start-ups and other enterprises who didn’t capitulate to the promise of a 3 year plan, an IPO or a seat in a office overlooking the Thames. They know that 21st century learning isn’t the equivalent of an airport passenger conveyor where you can go quick or slow but always end up at the same destination.

On the first day of London Edtech Week I was lucky to play a small part in one of these brilliant start-ups at the inaugural LitFilmFest, a children’s filmmaking festival hosted at London’s BFI IMAX.

The brainchild of A Tale Unfolds, LitFilmFest recognises the value of filmmaking not only in children developing their own voice and creativity but as a powerful way for children to learn literacy and digital skills. In my career I’ve visited hundreds of schools all over the world and the one thing I have an ear for is the sound of children who are loving learning. It sounds like joy.

A Tale Unfolds was set up by a brilliant team of primary school teachers who have created literacy resources and designed training that uses simple tech to help teachers bring their practice to life.

Chatting with some of the kids at LitFilmFest it was clear that their learning was joyful and engagement with their teachers as a learning partnership significantly better than chocolate covered broccoli in the form of an app. But don’t take my word for it A Tale Unfolds have a bunch of data that shows literacy progress in some schools increasing by a factor of three.

I should point out that I have zero financial interest in ATU nor have I ever received an inducement, more’s the pity, although full disclosure they did buy me a Vietnamese Pho in a street food gaff in Soho. What can I tell you other than I’m a cheap date?

Looking further afield and there are dozens of fabulously innovative firms who dance on the periphery of what we once thought of as EdTech before the wide boys and snake oil salesmen pitched up with their accelerator/ponzi schemes.

Some of these firms were smart enough to realise that calling their wares “EdTech” and then trying to sell them school by school was braindead and so realise that their play is, in fact, direct to children and parents. Others were not so lucky and, taking advice from investors who should know better, have crippled their innovations by following the selling to schools model. Many of the most interesting plays might better be described as media or non-fiction entertainment.

The reality, as I see it, is that EdTech as a thing has been hijacked and whilst there has been a period of more investment than at any time I can remember this hasn’t been matched by a commensurate increase in innovation. A key reason is that the influx of capital has been directed in an attempt to disrupt schools and teaching rather than the existing multinational incumbents like Pearson or the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company. Scratch around some of the investment funds for EdTech and you’ll find these knackered old dinosaurs.

My hope then is that when the party is over and the Noz has left the bubble these exciting firms will cut their chains and once again we’ll see some excitement where tech meets learning and teaching."
constructionism  edtech  education  learning  schools  teaching  howweteach  instructionism  grahambrown-martin  via:steelemaley  sfsh  ataleunfolds  marketing  control  capitalism 
june 2017 by robertogreco
The EdTech Rebel Alliance – Learning {Re}imagined – Medium
"Papert, who I had the opportunity to spend time with in those years, had developed a learning theory he called “Constructionism”. Papert had been a student of Piaget and Vygotsky who had developed philosophies about the nature of knowledge called Constructivism and Social Constructivism respectively.

[Seymour Papert
https://medium.com/learning-re-imagined/thanks-for-sharing-this-bd5f1f736599#.s4s05qelz ]

Constructivism is primarily focused on how humans make meaning in relation to the interaction between their experiences and their ideas. That is, their learning is as a result of their experiences.

Such experiential learning, rather than the abstract learning of content by rote, inspired Papert to develop his own Constructionist learning theory. Papert saw how, at the dawn of the micro-computer, learning could be a reconstruction of knowledge rather than simply a transmission. That learning could be personal, experiential and situated where, aided by digital systems, learners would effectively construct their own meaning as a discovery of knowledge. This, Papert believed, was the true liberating power that computers would bring to future learners and teachers as creators of learning experiences.

[Situating Constructionism
http://www.papert.org/articles/SituatingConstructionism.html ]

But this is where the similarity between 1985 and 2017 ends. The optimism that we shared for the future of learning dwindled as technology was co-opted not to liberate but to reinforce standardisation and automation of schools ways.

In 1993 in his book,”The Children’s Machine”, Papert lamented:
“Little by little the subversive features of the computer were eroded away: Instead of cutting across and so challenging the very idea of subject boundaries, the computer now defined a new subject; instead of changing the emphasis from impersonal curriculum to excited live exploration by students, the computer was now used to reinforce School’s ways. What had started as a subversive instrument of change was neutralised by the system and converted into an instrument of consolidation.”

[The Children's Machine by Seymour Papert
http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~emurphy/stemnet/papert.html ]

As I walked around the 2017 Bett Show I was struck by how exceptionally bland everything was, bathed in fluorescent lighting that felt like it was irradiating the soul out of the machines like it was E.coli. Despite the incredible financial bets being made on EdTech, with more money than ever being injected into start-ups, they’ve turned EdTech into the equivalent of airport passenger conveyors or “satellite navigation” for learning which means you never get lost and you always end up at the same destination passing through the town of Boredom.

[Edtech is the next fintech
https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/13/edtech-is-the-next-fintech/ ]

Enslaved to the tyranny of testing and measurement, the affordances of todays technology in EdTech form are being used to develop ever more efficient ways of delivering a 19th century curriculum. Perhaps we have lost sight of what education is for and why we send our kids to school?

Essentially we are using today’s digital platforms to go into reverse. We’re talking about content, and teacher at the front distribution while measuring the effectiveness of our tech by improvement in measured learning outcomes for which read, passing tests.

When you look at who’s making the big financial investments in EdTech things suddenly become clear.

[Who's Investing in Ed-Tech (2010-2016)
http://hackeducation.com/2016/05/03/who-is-funding-this-bs ]

There is a chain of command of organisations, think tanks, agencies and deliverologists who brief financial institutions that whatever bells and whistles you’ve got the point is to get school kids through a set of tests preferably owned by another multinational corporation like, for example, Pearson.

[https://vimeo.com/165124568 ]
Standardised, Automated and Privatised

This, while the creeping privatisation of state education via academisation, charter and free schools who are adopting similar leadership strategies to those used in retail or fast food outlet management to the shop floor. Sorry, I mean classroom.

These strategies are based around standardisation and automation of content distribution and testing. By focusing on instruction rather than the learner, actual personalisation can take a backseat.

But what about “personalised learning” I hear you cry? Well, it takes a human being, practiced in the craft of teaching, to do that. Personalised learning is focused on the child rather than the instruction and the individuated or differentiated learning that software is capable of, think Amazon recommendations for example, is all about instruction. This is what is known as “Instructionism” or the explicit teaching of facts or showing students how to solve problems and then having the students practice them. Instructionists believe that learning is the direct result of having been taught.

But all is not lost.

Amidst the big budget trade stands/booths at the outer fringes of the galaxy are new start-ups, many of which are existing on the financial equivalent of fumes. This, to me, was where the action and excitement was. New EdTech designers like Night Zookeeper, Erase All Kittens, SAM Labs, Pi-Top, Stepping Into Business, Detective Dot, A Tale Unfolds, Technology Will Save Us and many others have embraced, wittingly or unwittingly, the spirit of Papert’s Constructionism. These young organisations are all about providing the tools and the opportunities for experiential learning that is centred on the learner rather than the instruction.

[https://www.nightzookeeper.com/
https://eraseallkittens.com/
https://www.samlabs.com/
https://www.pi-top.com/
http://steppingintobusiness.org/
https://www.detectivedot.org/
https://ataleunfolds.co.uk/
https://www.techwillsaveus.com/ ]

I would argue that it is organisations like these who, rather than those seeking to automate and standardise education, are like a “Rebel Alliance” liberating learners and teachers alike to create their own, powerful learning experiences. Learning how to learn, solving abstract challenges and creating new knowledge must surely be some of the most vital competences that a child can leave school with.

It’s hard to see how another interactive white board or learning management system, with or without AI, will provide access to these skills. Yet these nascent enterprises give me hope that EdTech has yet to have its soul completely crushed, swallowed and spat out as another uberfication of education where the learner is simply a passenger and the destination is a set of certificates from a bygone age.

Perhaps we need an alternative event to the kind that the Bett Show, or ISTE for that matter, has become. Perhaps we actually do need to form an “EdTech Rebel Alliance” where all of the stakeholders of learning, that includes teachers, parents and learners can converge to design new learning futures.

It strikes me that we need something that isn’t just another EdTech incubator/accelerator/trade association Ponzi scheme where whoever pays the most cash gets the most attention. I’m thinking of a mutually supportive collective committed to radically transforming education not by automating it but by liberating it from the tyrannical business plan of a multinational corporation."
education  technology  automation  grahambrown-martin  2017  resistance  children  constructionism  contructivism  socialconstructivism  seymourpapert  jeanpiaget  vygotsky  experientiallearning  sfsh  canon  privatization  instructionism  standardization  personalization  differentiation  unschooling  deschooling  learning  howwelearn  control  content 
february 2017 by robertogreco
Michael Wesch at Pasadena City College - YouTube
[Questions that burn in the souls of Wesch's students:
Who am I?
What is the meaning of life?
What am I going to do with my life?
Am I going to make it?]

[See also: http://mediatedcultures.net/presentations/learning-as-soul-making/ ]
education  teaching  michaelwesch  identity  cv  soulmaking  spirituality  why  whyweteach  howweteach  learning  unschooling  deschooling  life  purpose  relationships  anthropology  ethnography  canon  meaning  meaningmaking  schooliness  schools  schooling  achievement  bigpicture  counseling  society  seymourpapert  empathy  perspective  assessment  fakingit  presentationofself  burnout  web  internet  wonder  curiosity  ambiguity  controversy  questions  questioning  askingquestions  questionasking  modeling  quests  risk  risktaking  2014  death  vulnerability  connectedness  sharedvulnerability  cars  technology  telecommunications  boxes  robertputnam  community  lievendecauter  capsules  openness  trust  peterwhite  safety  pubictrust  exploration  helicopterparenting  interestedness  ambition  ericagoldson  structure  institutions  organizations  constructionism  patricksuppes  instructionism  adaptivelearning  khanacademy  play  cocreationtesting  challenge  rules  engagement  novelty  simulation  compassion  digitalethnography  classideas  projectideas  collaboration  lcproject  tcsnmy  op 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Khan Academy and the mythical math cure « Generation YES Blog
"There is no doubt that Khan Academy fills a perceived need that something needs to be fixed about math instruction. But at some point, when you talk about learning math, you have to define your terms. If you are a strict instructionist – you are going to love Khan Academy. If you are a constructivist, you are going to find fault with a solution that is all about instruction. So any discussion of Khan Academy in the classroom has to start with the question, how do YOU believe people learn?

I have more to say about Khan Academy and math education in the US — this post turned into 4 parts!

Part 1 – Khan Academy and the mythical math cure (this post)
Part 2 – Khan Academy – algorithms and autonomy
Part 3 – Don’t we need balance? and other questions
Part 4 – Monday… Someday"
math  learning  khanacademy  education  constructivism  instruction  memorization  algorithms  schools  teaching  sylviamartinez  2011  instructionism  mathematics  tcsnmy 
april 2011 by robertogreco

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