Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Its not what I had planned

What might I have learned if i had listened to students (or their music) instead of to managerial directives in higher education?

The living end has caught up with me, and its not pretty.
I've been buried in the sand
I've come down with no place to land
I (don't) need you to understand
It's not what I had planned....

Suicidal education
It got sold to our generation
Wake up to the manipulation
Wake up to the situation
(ref Aussie grunge band, The living end circa 2006)

So Ive downloaded the ringtone for my mobile phone, it might help me stay grounded in reality.

Pink Floyd's 'Teacher leave them kids alone' seems to have been taken literally. Beaming content from one venue to four others is a fiscal driven curriculum rather than an educational philosophically driven one. Let us not delude ourselves.

In working with new technologies these can be integrated for better or for worse. Measuring worse is of course difficult. As is measuring better no doubt. Both requires one first of all to think better or worse for whom. The second part of the question can then be considered, what is the measure of better? And is doing as much as possible with as little as possible a valid measure? Is efficiency valid when it is also accompanied by accidental learning that could include:
Your lecturer does not want to 'see' you.
Class time is engaging only if one considers engagement in the same way one might watch a film.
Enculturation into university studies means a lack of presence...

If your an educator with doubts you might like to take up the ringtone option as a way of at least reminding yourself that there was, and is, another way. Ghandi's approach of civil disobedience at least keeps me saner in the insane places of academic practice. Meantime i am directed(!!!) to teach to a formuleic template, x mins of ppt no less, followed by x mins of expert videos...followed by x mins of breakout time. Heavens.

I'm writing this on a table made from the floor of a chapel where Mary McKillop once walked, so i figure in hope and faith, that given things changed once they can change again. And being a devotee of actor-network theory, i know things can always be otherwise... enrolling a saint's help amongst one's allies will surely help in the restoration...


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  2. ... if criticism goes on and one it becomes mechanical. Whether it is true or not, it is no longer engaging. It tells us nothing new. To shake things up again and in new ways we now need other strategies. But what strategies, and where do we find them? Our theoretical frameworks seem to be too exclusively adapted to the task of 'criticism'. They unmask. They tend not to explore or build ideals but to undermine them. -- Annmarie Mol, The Logic of Care, pp. 89-90

  3. As deLong prophetically pointed out in the 'Shroud of Lecturing' 13 years ago the the importance of "the university as a physical space" is disrupted by new digital technologies, which democratise information by shifting the focus from production and delivery to customer and content -- from professor and lecture to student and information. This was presaged earlier in the 80s in the student learning research paradigm of Marton, Ramsden, Biggs etc. who pointed the way to a new ecological and enactive understanding of learning/teaching.

    Now in 2010 we delude ourselves by shrouding our professional persona in the guise of the old-school teacher who sees their practice as one of transmitting information - either by powerpoint to passive students in the same space or via interactive video to students in another space.... ummm.. this is the lecture 2.0 not a 'managerial directive'. Sure it has an economic driver but perhaps we should be aware that the the current teacher-directed model is not sustainable ?

    I designed the distributed synchronous learning model primarily as an educational way to enhance engagement through enquiry-based blended learning - not to perpetuate an obsolete mode of one-way 'beamed delivery'... If there is a formula it's "what the students do is far more important that what the teacher does".

    Sure - it's early days and there will be the inevitable resistance to change and some anxiety. Some may see this as making a virtue out of a necessity. But hopefully by the time St Anne is canonised in October we may seeing some new patterns in that shroud :)

  4. Thanks for your comments, cj and enactivist. Tis good to have some provocations for thinking.