What Personal Learning Environments mean for teachers

In the most simplistic-possible terms: over these past few years of intense (and I believe excessive) student-centred rhetoric, I realise that the old question in Higher Education “What can e-learning offer that is different from the way we teach now?” has been replaced by a new one: “What do teachers have to offer that is better than the way we can learn online”. Teachers get ready to justify your existence.

(I was stupid in Oxford the other day, boasting about how thoroughly I anonymise this blog. That shot me through the foot because now, as I use the tag the particular person I was bragging to suggested in his presentation that we should use, I compromise my anonymity. And the fact that I publish this paragraph clearly indicates that I don’t plan to untag my ‘shock07’ posts… Ah well [removing dark glasses, wig and false moustache].)


2 thoughts on “What Personal Learning Environments mean for teachers

  1. “Hear, Hear (as long as it’s through my gaming headphones)”

    As an adopter of Advanced Distributed Learning, for the appropriateness it holds, and a staunch champion of andragogical principles, I completely agree that our current earthly model of scholarly effort (both in delivery and consumption) must be revised to maintain viability.

    Just-In-Time, Anywhere, Anyplace, Tailored Just For Me learning IS our future.

    I had an interesting chat with a Lawrence Livermore scientist a few weeks ago and we both (quite seriously) chatted about the not-to-distant day where we will “plug-in” a la The Matrix and learn what need for the moment in a matter of seconds.

    Far-fetched? Take a look at the March 2007 issue of Wired Magazine.

  2. Hi Jay,

    Which Wired piece in particular – can I get to it online?

    The plug-in cyborg approach may well work for some well-defined learning outcomes. For example, Kevin Warwick is heavily into the idea of developing extra senses (e.g. multiple dimensions, ultraviolet, olfactory) and having them reside on a server somewhere and mediated by a network and software. Also the prospect of manipulating muscle groups to enable us to e.g. ‘learn’ figure skating in a day, given sufficient basic fitness. Procedures and mechanistic knowledge may be programmable But would you consider this type of thing to involve learning (as opposed to – exactly that – a plug-in, extension, add-on)?

    ‘Solving’ the above kinds of learning problems would still leave us with the challenges recognised by the slow learning movement which holds that knowledge, and certainly wisdom and the personal development it implies, accumulate not through single plug-in exposures, but through repeated, reinforcing exposures. See Gary Woodill’s blog entry on the importance of learning slowly: http://brandon-hall.com/garywoodill/?p=14, for example.

    What kinds of learning are you dealing with at the FGDLA? I’d be interested to hear more about your plug-in approach.

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