I’ll try and summarise in the next few posts what for me are the highlights of the networked learning conference. Caroline Haythornthwaite opened an interesting symposium of four papers around ‘Making the Transition to Ubiquitous Learning’. Bill Cole’s paper ‘Ubiquitous Learning: An Agenda for Educational Transformation’ argued that: ‘Ubiquitous learning is a new educational paradigm made possible in part by the affordances of digital media. This paper sets out to explore the dimensions of this proposition.’ He argued that technologies are now everywhere (which was sort of at odds and ironic in relation to the first keynote speaker’s talk on social justice education) but that on the whole old pedagogies are being mapped onto these new technologies, whereas we need to move beyond this and capitalise on the affordances of new technologies. He then put forward seven ‘moves’, which he argued are characteristic of ubiquitous learning. The abstract to the paper concludes:
Each explores and exploits the potentials of ubiquitous computing. None, however, is a pedagogical thought or social agenda that is new to the era of ubiquitous computing. The only difference today is that there is now no practical reason not to make each of these moves. The affordances are there, and if we can, perhaps we should. And when we do, we may discover that a new educational paradigm begins to emerge. And as new paradigms emerge, we might find they take a leading role on technological innovation.
Here’s a summary of the seven moves:
1. Blurring of spatial and temporal boundaries of education – we don’t need the same spatial relationships as before, need to move out of these ingrained habit.
2. Shift in the balance of agency. Have shifted to a more participatory world, which is challenging existing power structures and dynamics and in particular the distinction between learner and teacher breaking down.
3. Allowing agency – leading to increased diversity, the potential for new channels for the voice of learners.
4. Broader range of representational modes – shift from alphabetical literacy to more multimodal approach to literacy; text, image, and sound in different combinations.
5. Complex technical and social architecture – need to develop new conceptual representations to navigate around this. Need new patterns and schemas.
6. Distributed cognition and collective intelligence. We are beginning to more and more rely on other peoples’ knowledge rather than being individual experts: open world, social networks, OERs, etc.
7. Need to build collaborative knowledge structures.