Pluralism Monism

scientificpluralismTzvetan Todorov  writes that the  most important democratic value is pluralism. Monistic societies and governments as are communism and national socialism are not democratic.  In education we should give pluralism an important place.

Maha Bali   begins her blogpost with the students need for different ways of teaching, for variety in structure of courses, and adapting to students preferences and needs.
But she the most valuable text of Maha is about cultural pluralism and respect. In Maha Bali’s blog about education she says:  But it’s in allowing the diverse voices within us to have a space (even if it’s an English-speaking space because it’s the only language we have in common) and voice, that alone helps to enrich the online space with the diversity that’s in it. Pluralism is a ways to foster learning and creativity and innovation.

Pluralism in education is a movement  that does not ask for teaching to the test and standard testing. It is about learning to live with differences in methods of teaching, about democracy and about pluralism as a key to research and learning.
Proposed Changes in Education (this is in a wiki about citizenship & diversity)

  • from formal to informal
  • from exclusive to inclusive
  • from restrictive to experiential
  • from instructionist to constructivist
  • promotion of knowledge building, lifelong learning
  • promotion of inter-generational knowledge exchange

I am not writing about religious pluralism. In the USA pluralism also is used to talk about racial matters. Both are important issues.


Connected Learning and research

connectedlearningI would like to understand connected learning. Connected learning … propose a new approach to learning — connected learning — that is anchored in research, robust theories of learning, and the best of traditional standards,…
In the FAQ we read … the learning philosophy of connected learning draws from John Dewey and Maria Montessori, as well as other progressive learning approaches …
And in Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design (PDF) Siemens and connectivist approaches are mentioned. (p.83) And on p. 87: … This report has synthesized a body of empirical and design research in order to propose an approach to learning and educational reform … I am getting very curious to find this body of empirical research.

A big #change11 is sharing educational materials.

A big #change11 is sharing educational materials. Note to self, this could be a long and interesting study:

Now I am thinking of the subject “sharing educational materials”.
In this MOOC we did share, how about massive sharing educational materials by all teachers.

  • Do schools have a property right on educational materials that is made by teachers? (law)
  • And if so is that right? (ethics)
  • Who pays the bill?  (economics)
  • Why do teachers not share? (psychology and sociology, law)
  •  My country wants to be a knowledge economy, how does sharing knowledge fit into a knowledge economy?
  • and more questions to come.

The #change11 tag did insert itself.  Kind of habituation of my computer.

Passive Learning or active learning. #change11

FlaggWakeUpAmerica “Students have to be active in developing their knowledge,” says Hestenes. “They can’t passively assimilate it.”
Watching a video is passive learning. Making on line students watch a videoed lecture is not new and innovative teaching (Weasel words, but you know what I mean).
Interactive Engagement methods as those designed at least in part to promote conceptual understanding through interactive engagement of students in heads-on (always) and hands-on (usually) activities which yield immediate feedback through discussion with peers and/or instructors. (Richard R. Hake)
Question. Is a MOOC a passive way of teaching or is a MOOC an opportunity to engage interactively and receive feedback from peers or instructors?
Question. Is video lectures the only ways of delivering On line open Courses? It seems to me to be like scanning all pages of old schoolbooks and publish them as digital learning material.
Question. Do students prefer learning in the old fashioned ways of their parents and teachers? Like teachers prefer to teach like their teachers did? Do students have to learn better learning methods? Like teachers have to learn new teaching methods?

Learning goal and teaching goal #change11

noordpool poohSometimes simple questions become a lot more complicated when one starts thinking about them. And these  simple questions will start to reproduce like bacteria in a lab test when one thinks any longer. Colin Milligan did ask if I had been able to achieve my goal with this MOOC. And what was that goal. This question kept coming back in my mind again and again. (I am not in any way criticizing Colin Milligan’s research)

How could one possibly formulate a goal before one is learning something? One could say I want to learn X, but one only will know what that means after one has learned X.

“Going on an Expotition?” said Pooh eagerly. “I don’t think I’ve ever been on one of those. Where are we going to on this Expotition?”
“Expedition, silly old Bear. It’s got an ‘x’ in it.”
“Oh!” said Pooh. “I know.” But he didn’t really.
“We’re going to discover the North Pole.”
“Oh!” said Pooh again. “What is the North Pole?” he asked.
“It’s just a thing you discover,” said Christopher Robin carelessly, not being quite sure himself.

I think any learning goal formulated before a course starts will have been changed when the course is going on. Most learning goals will almost only cover the formal learning part of learning. which is only 5% of all occurring learning.

When the #Change11 MOOC did start we were asked to write down goals. I did not, because for me the MOOC was a kind of expedition into an unknown country. The only goal I had was: Start and go on until it is over. So there is a problem. No no goal, pre-test. How could we possibly measure my learning progress in this course in the right way prescribed by some educational scientists?

“For the bureaucrat (simple domain) all failures are a failure of process”. Dave Cormier. Testing is a (teacher) instrument to observe the progression of a student, and when bureaucrats lay their hands on that fragile instrument they change it. Then testing becomes a means to solve complex problems in a simple way. Bureaucratic testing goes with simple goals and simple tests,  where observing the progress of a student needs complex (fuzzy) goals and measurements. We need to know the narrative of the student to be able to observe change.  Lisa Lane calls it ‘Guiding forces‘   “Bureaucrats” with simple testing will change education into simple teaching.