Neophobia fear of the new – not new but it’s….annoying

 

Why do people fear the new?  Is it a product of superficial reaction about cognition that doesn’t allow the mind and human nature to be malleable and adjust to new thinking?  This article by Donald Clark addresses neophobia.  He reminds us of the famous Douglas Adams’ thoughts – 1) Everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal  2)  Anything that gets invented before then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career of it  3)  Anything that gets invented after your thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it until it has been around for ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright….

I agree with his post, however this is about adults, and how they learn, and how they change.  The are additional dynamics that are introduced when a new process or technology is introduced into the “normalcy” that someone experiences everyday.  Every day tasks become about the technology, and not about the process or goal we are trying to achieve.  It gets in the way, it is like training a new employee (except we are training ourselves.)  It is an investment of time we hope will pay off.

Good food for thought from Donald Clark.

Thomas Kuhn and the evolutionist Wilson, saw neophobia as a brake on human thinking and progress, as individuals and institutions tend to work within paradigms, encouraging ‘groupthink’ which makes people irrationally defensive and unsupportive of new ideas and technologies.

via Donald Clark Plan B: Neophobia fear of the new – not new but it’s damn annoying.

From Courses to Communities

The long tail of open learning – free online courses of any type, cMOOCs, xMOOCs – is the community that forms around each one.  This has been my personal experience, and one we don’t usually hear discussed.  The course may not ever be completed, but the people we virtually bump into often share common interests and become a part of our PLNs.  In some cases we already know them from other virtual learning environments.  Interests intersect, and we bump into others – nodes in our networks.  This has been so valuable.  This article is from DML Central.

“When I started collaborating with Mitchel Resnick and Natalie Rusk at the MIT Media Lab we set out to design and offer a somewhat different online course. It would be easy to say now that creating an online learning community was our intention from the start, but the truth is, we were a little surprised ourselves, surprised and excited. Learning Creative Learning, the online course we created, became a springboard for learning with family, friends, and colleagues and turned into an ongoing community.”

via From Courses to Communities | DMLcentral.

Our Education System Conflicts With the Science of Learning

 

Our brains are not designed to learn in what we consider a typical setting.  Classrooms and lectures are recent constructs, and in fact the brain is a “forager” well equipped to collect information informally, on the go.  Benedict Carey shares his theory on Big Think, where he explains there no one-size-fits all tactic for learning…

“He explains the importance of sleep, as it’s the brain’s method of consolidating a day’s lessons. He defends the act of forgetting, as it allows for stronger retention after re-learning like the building of a memory muscle. Daydreaming and distraction, in certain contexts, can actually boost your learning ability.”

via Our Education System Conflicts With the Science of Learning | Big Think | IdeaFeed.

Digital Media Plus Teaching Equals Support for Freedom

There is ongoing debate about technology in the classroom, erupting again in the past week when Clay Shirky (NYU) wrote an article about his classroom. He is no longer allowing laptops or devices.  This survey of 10,000 high school students asked if technology made them smarter, not as smart, or if they believed the tool was not important – it’s how we use it.  They chose the last view.  From MediaShift/PBS.

“A new survey of more than 10,000 high school students lends support to that last view. Amid an explosion in social and mobile media – their media – high school students are supporting freedom of expression in record numbers, and are even more likely to do so if they also have had a class in the First Amendment.”

via News for High Schools: Digital Media Plus Teaching Equals Support for Freedom | Mediashift | PBS.

15 Questions To Help Students Respond To New Ideas

 

In learning and its design, we have always referred to essential or generative questions.  Through the use of questions, deeper learning objectives are often recognized.  Thoughts are generated and connections are made.  In TeachThought, Terry Heick asks us to think about how we can use questions in ways that work best with the Google generation.  Information is ubiquitous, but helping them slow down to navigate information requires supporting them.  Using these questions is a way of teaching them to think. “Metacognition isn’t a matter of a “lesson,” or a teacher telling students it’s something they should do. Rather, it’s a matter of habit. Habits are everything. So, below are 15 questions to help students respond to new ideas, and begin to establish the kinds of habits that make thinkers, and just maybe, starting telling you what you want to hear.”

via 15 Questions To Help Students Respond To New Ideas.

Informal or “Less Formal” Learning?

In order to assess how people define “informal learning” in the workplace, Jane Hart did a survey for an eLearning Guild report and asked respondents for their definitions. – “The first question asked respondents to select five words or phrases they felt best described the term “informal learning.” The purpose of this question was to see if respondents understood the term informal learning similarly to how experts understand it.”  The chart above shows the responses.

A copy of the report is at the link as well.

via eLearning Guild Research: Informal or “Less Formal” Learning? by Patti Shank : Learning Solutions Magazine.

Digital Tools Can’t Magically Create Connections

 

There are a number of digital tools used to make social connections, all with different purposes.  danah boyd’s recent book, “It’s Complicated, The Social Lives of Networked Teens” shares her as-always profound understanding of how networked spaces work.  In this article from DML Central, Nicole Mirra shares a review of one of danah and Harold Jenkins’ recent book talks and suggests ways in which some of the points made in the discussion geared for parents can also be used as catalysts for meaningful conversations between educators and their students.

1. “Tools that can connect us don’t do so automatically — online spaces are often just as segregated as other social spaces.”boyd and Jenkins explained that while it may appear that digital tools automatically inspire connection across boundaries, the reality of how people use them often produces increased isolation socioeconomically and ideologically……”

via Digital Tools Can’t Magically Create Connections | DMLcentral.

2014 Student and Faculty Technology Research Studies

1/3 of faculty have taught an online class in the past year, and 62% of those faculty say that online learning will lead to pedagogical breakthroughs, according to a new study done by Educause.  Educause, a higher ed technology organization, is likely sharing information from its own member base who are all technology users – which is a subset of the total faculty population – but it is still very interesting.  Shared by Daniel Christian, here are some key findings.

 

“Faculty recognize that online learning opportunities can promote access to higher education but are more reserved in their expectations for online courses to improve outcomes.

Faculty interest in early-alert systems and intervention notifications is strong.

The majority of faculty are using basic features and functions of LMSs but recognize that these systems have much more potential to enhance teaching and learning.

Faculty think they could be more effective instructors if they were better skilled at integrating various kinds of technology into their courses.

Faculty recognize that mobile devices have the potential to enhance learning.”

via 2014 Student and Faculty Technology Research Studies [Educause/ECAR].

12 Steps for Creating a Digital Assignment or Hybrid Class

I’m often asked about new technology to offer faculty for use in their classes.  The first answer is number 3 below – best to use tools with which we are already familiar.   If the technology isn’t transparent, then it becomes the focus instead of the pedagogy or the content.  In this article from Jesse Stommel via Hybrid Pedagogy about Creating a Digital Assignment, he offers many great ideas (as always.)  But on a fundamental level, we often can’t get past the concept of anything minimally digital if the trepidation of a new tool gets in the way.

 

“Questions I ask myself when creating a digital assignment or hybrid course:

1. What is my primary goal for students with this course / assignment?

2. What is my digital pedagogy? How does my goal for this assignment intersect with my broader teaching philosophy?

3. What tools that I already use analog or digital could help me achieve these goals? It is often best to use the tools with which we are already familiar, rather than turning to the shiny and newfangled.

4. In order for this activity / class to work, what gaps do I need to fill with other tools / strategies?

5. Is my idea simple enough? What can I do to streamline the activity?

6. What is my goal beyond this assignment / course? How will the activity and my pedagogy evolve? In other words, don’t feel like you have to meet all your goals during the first attempt — think of the process, from the start, as iterative. Think also about how you can bring students their feedback and the fruits of their work during the first iteration into the continuing evolution of the activity / course.

7. Go back to step 1 and work through these steps and likely several times.”

via 12 Steps for Creating a Digital Assignment or Hybrid Class | Digital Pedagogy | Jesse Stommel  .