Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pedagogy 2.0

“The challenge is to enable self-direction, knowledge building, and learner control by offering flexible options for students to engage in learning that is authentic and relevant to their needs and to those of the networked society while still providing necessary structure and scaffolding” (McLoughin and Lee, 2008, Innovate, p. 2).

This is a good description of the goal of using Web 2.0 tools to teach. In this article the authors go on to define “pedagogy 2.0” as consisting of six features:

  • Content: Microunits that augment thinking and cognition by offering diverse perspectives and representations to learners and learner-generated resources that accrue from students creating, sharing, and revising ideas;
  • Curriculum: Syllabi that are not fixed but dynamic, open to negotiation and learner input, consisting of bite-sized modules that are interdisciplinary in focus and that blend formal and informal learning;
  • Communication: Open, peer-to-peer, multifaceted communication using multiple media types to achieve relevance and clarity;
  • Process: Situated, reflective, integrated thinking processes that are iterative, dynamic, and performance and inquiry based;
  • Resources: Multiple informal and formal sources that are rich in media and global in reach;
  • Scaffolds: Support for students from a network of peers, teachers, experts, and communities; and
  • Learning tasks: Authentic, personalized, learner-driven and learner-designed, experiential tasks that enable learners to create content.

All of these features deserve much more specification and analysis. These topics are at the heart of their ideas.

I find myself asking these questions about the definitions they offer:

1. How small or large is a “microunit” or a “bite-sized module”? Does size matter and if so, how?

2. Content seems to be defined as student-generated, teacher generated and community generated. Is there an overall organizational structure for managing this? How is “community” defined?

3. If the curriculum is “open to negotiation and learner input” how is this accomplished? Can you show me an open syllabus and then show me what it looks like throughout the course?

4. In several places it is suggested that “communication use multiple media types,” why does this matter? In what ways does the modality of communication—text, audio, video enrich or enhance communication?

5. Process is defined as “Situated, reflective, integrated thinking processes that are iterative, dynamic and performance and inquiry based.” Unpack this sentence for me. There are at least seven key words here. What do they each mean? All these ideas seem important and powerful by themselves, how do teachers conduct learning in this way?

6. You suggest that resources be global in reach. Hasn’t science been global in many instances already?

7. “Scaffolding” is a particularly important idea in teaching. You suggest that learning be supported by peer, teacher, expert and community members. I want to see the structures to support this.

8. Learning tasks are defined as “authentic, personalized, learner-driven and learner-designed, experiential tasks that enable learners to create content.” Another powerful set of ideas all packed together. What do these look like? How do you create these?

To advance the development of online teaching and learning we need to develop specific ideas about how to engage in these new forms of instruction.

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