Friday, 9 December 2016

Commenting & sharing free 5th innovating pedagogy report #pedagogy #EdTech #OU

While I was reading the latest innovative pedagogies report, some comments came to mind, which I will gladly share a bit further down this blogpost after a quick description of the report itself. Researchers from the Instituteof Educational Technology located at The Open University (UK) together with academics from the Learning Sciences Lab at the National Institute of Education in Singapore recently published the fifth Innovative pedagogy report. A full-text PDF version of this 47 page report is available to download from In the report they provide an overview of emerging innovative pedagogies. This report covers: learning through social media, the concept of productive failure as a pedagogical option, teachback, design thinking, learning from the crowd, learning through video games, formative analytics, learning for the future, translanguaging, and the blockchain for learning. The aim of the report is to explore new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation. This fifth report proposes ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education.

This is definitely an interesting report, as it offers a quick overview of emerging pedagogies. There have been prior reports that I found inspiring as well (previous reports can be found here). The introduction situates the current learning science and puts it within the increasingly interdisciplinary realm of learning and teaching, both formal and informal. While most introductions are merely synthesis of what can be expected, the introduction of this report offers a truly rich – yet brief – background to the report, adding what went before it and providing a state of the art overview of EdTech.

As an educational technologist, some of the innovative pedagogies seem familiar, e.g. learning through social media is a topic most of us are familiar with, but indeed, it is not always implemented as a recognised pedagogical policy. The report also emphasizes the need for educators/facilitators to be part of the learning process to allow truthful curation of content. The examples given of crowdsourced and facilitator driven social media accounts are really inspiring (@realtimeWOII and both using direct quotes from the past to bring it back to life).

The productive failure option fits with the flipped classroom/lecture approach, as it allows learners to first try out finding a solution on their own, possible failing at it, after which a teacher/instructor steps in. Giving the students room to creatively work around a problem they cannot solve at first, and discussing it. I like this approach. I would also like to see deliberate flawed research presentations, I mean giving faulty presentations first, asking the audience to indicate where they thought a faulty research method/deduction… had taken place and then rectify it as a presenter. I guess that would make a conference audience more attentive and make the whole process more inspiring. … Yes, I will use this in an upcoming presentation. Maybe even a classroom or lecture option.

The teachback approach is slightly related to the productive failure, in that it tries to limit failure in communicating. This approach comes from the medical world, and I remember doctors in training having to learn to listen to patients in order to really grasp the medical condition as it is portrayed by the patient. Teachback asks one person (usually an expert or teacher) to explain something they know about a topic to another person (usually someone new to the topic). Then the novice tries to teach their new understanding back to the expert. If the learner gives a good response, the expert goes on to explain some more about the topic.

Massive peer learning, or learning from the crowd fits the next level of networked learning, in its nicest form is the citizen learning, where people share what they learn in their contexts/locations with others. This is used in

Formative analytics, based on learning analytics but giving the learners tools to visualize their learning and possibly adjust their learning is an upcoming trend. But then again, I do wonder what are the chosen indicators for visualizing learning (is it the learner who decides or others that decides what matters in terms of learning?).

The translanguaging is something that is in need for accepting. Most of us global citizens speak at least two languages. Mixing languages to deepen understanding is something most of us have been doing, but is now growing interest in formalized learning and I am truly happy to see that, ik ben er echt blij om, vraiment ça me donne de l’énergie! Or to use my native dialect: doar zenn’k na ne kier echt blaai oem! 

Blockchain learning becomes interesting (a blockchain stores digital events securely on every user’s computer rather than in a central database). It is of interest, especially when we will be able to keep our learning trajectories openly accessible for personal use. Creating our own learning across formal and informal learning environments.

Anyhow the report provides new ideas, and new ways of creating learning opportunities. But … pedagogy is only one part of the learning equation and recently, I wonder whether we as educational technologists are not loosing serious learning/teaching ground. Education for all is slipping through our fingers as we dig deeper into pedagogies, yet deny current filter bubbles as results of algorithms. For people do indeed learn from social media, but this learning increasingly happens in isolated information islands… only rehashing what you like. This means that what I get to see through social media is increasingly what fits my views… this means the learning is decreasingly Socratic, for I am not provided with discussion food the way I (or dare I include we) I used to.

If we learn increasingly with the use of social media, we are increasingly learning from results that are filtered by non-transparent algorithms. Numerous algorithms that we are unaware off. Are we slowly being brainwashed, now more than ever before?