Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dancing geek

The pedagogy of teaching fascinates me, despite the hubris implied by use of the word 'pedagogy' in public.  Taking pride (of the appropriate kind) reflected in preparation and professionalism in ones craft as an educator requires an awareness that teaching is both art and science, in somewhat equal measure.

Benjamin Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives is part of the rich science of teaching; understanding how to use the taxonomy is part of the art.  Long a fan of the elegant simplicity of a hierarchy of thinking skills, I have used Bloom's Taxonomy in course design, test design, and content delivery.

In the midst of teaching, explaining to students how learning happens seems prudent; students are, after all, my partners in the process and it helps if we're doing the same dance steps.  The step-wise progression from lower order thinking skills to higher order thinking skills is beautifully choreographed in the latest revision to Bloom's--we now have digital verbs.  For example, from the Update to Bloom's Revised Taxonomy:

  • Remembering - bookmarking, searching, googling, social bookmarking
  • Understanding - advanced/ boolean searches, blog journaling, annotating, subscribing, tweeting
  • Applying - executing, playing, uploading, editing
  • Analyzing - mashing, tagging, linking
  • Evaluating - commenting, posting, moderating, collaborating, reviewing
  • Creating - programming, blogging, podcasting, publishing, wiki-ing

For those of us who are pedagogists as well as closet geeks, this is really good news.  It means I can use technology as more than a tool to enable learning objectives related to other content.  The effective and well-planned use of technology is its own pedagogy, music to the ears of a geek who dances.

Related Ramblings:
Learning Through Teaching: Pandemic consumption
Learning Through Teaching:  My cup runneth over
Learning Through Teaching: The "no textbook" decision

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A work in progress

I don't even know where to begin to describe what's happening in our classroom this semester as we address online education as an innovation. From the scholarly articles and supporting texts come descriptions of what I'm observing:

"Above all, innovation is work rather than genius. It requires knowledge. It often requires ingenuity. And it requires focus." (1)

"(W)hen all is said and done, what innovation requires is hard, focused, purposeful work. If diligence, persistence, and commitment are lacking, talent, ingenuity, and knowledge are of no avail." (1)

"Innovators constantly ask questions that challenge common wisdom...they like to ask 'If we did this, what would happen?'" (2)

"(I)nnovative entrepreneurs actively try out new ideas by creating prototypes and launching pilots. Unlike observers...experimenters construct interactive experiences and try to provoke unorthodox responses to see what insights emerge." (2)

"It's no longer sufficient to create a product, a service, an experience, or a lifestyle that's merely functional. Today's it's economically crucial and personally rewarding to create something that is also beautiful, whimsical, or emotionally engaging." (3)
We have created a lab focused on asking questions, researching answers, and creating prototypes that embody the experience students (and standards organizations) expect from online education.  It's truly a beautiful process to watch.

(1) The Discipline of Innovation by Peter F. Drucker (HBR Case)
(2) The Innovator's DNA by Jeffrey H. Dyer, Hal. B. Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen (HBR Case)
(3) A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dreaming in class

I wish I could take credit for it, but I think I just blundered into it.  Regardless of the genesis, what's happening in the classroom is the stuff that dreams are made of.*

The week before classes started, the new president of our state university system presented to our faculty his call for innovation**--specifically, in the form of on-line education within our state's higher-education system--and the virtual dominoes snapped into place:  What better illustration of the concepts and challenges of innovation, creativity, and change than one issued to the system in which students find themselves? Suddenly, having 11 graduate students from multiple colleges in an elective course on Innovation and Creativity appeared as the gift it is and the course was adjusted to incorporate a semester-long project revolving around online education.

So far:
  • Students are applying concepts, theories, and models to a system they understand.
  • We're all learning about the state around us (literally and figuratively).
  • Business decisions about innovation are more easily understood or, at the very least, more easily discussed.
  • Pre-conceived ideas (mostly negative) about online education are being replaced by facts obtained through research.
  • Faculty from other colleges are lending support to the students in my class.
  • Technology and instructional design colleagues are also lending support to the class.
  • The faculty and staff who visit the classroom and/or read the material being gathered and posted on Blackboard are excited about the process.
  • We are using tools and technologies seamlessly, both as tools and as research topics.
  • I look forward to class.

One goal for the semester is to develop a sample of what quality online education, incorporating best practices and using the tools available.  The class has selected the subject matter and a sub-group is focusing on development of the actual product.  

Another goal is to create and deliver a presentation about our design process, the questions raised, and the students' recommendations.  My goal?  To fill the auditorium (literally and through technology) with faculty and staff.  To include others in the dream. To see where this leads. To wake and find at least some part of the dream.

* Though I've used Carly Simon's lyrics, credit is also due to Shakespeare.  
**The text of the presentation is here, with a link to watch.

Related Ramblings:

  1. Stay tuned for Dr. Seuss
  2. Accounts receivable or accounts paid?