Climbing La Soufrière in Saint Vincent (Ian Usher/Flickr)

Soufrière

Reda Sadki Publishing, Quotes

“What I like,” whispered my dinner companion, “is that these publishing types have survived the fire of digital transformation, emerging out of the boiling pits of disruption, and all of that. Some were dismembered before, during, and after – acquired and merged, sold and resold. All paid a terrible price, but bear their bruises and scars proudly. They are not only smart but also scrappy, battle-seasoned veterans whose eyes still gleam with the thick knowledge that they produce. The culture (and, yes, the economy) that sustains their work is very much alive, circulating in networks that don’t care whether they are made of silicon or white matter. Blood, sweat and tears, man! And, yes, most if not all are showing a profit!” And then, like a drop of sulfuric acid on the rusty metal plate separating ‘education’ from ‘publishing’ in our fragmented knowledge universe: “Beats babbling on about 70-20-10, eh?” …

Lifebuoy soap for health

Sustainability

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud

In a complex, knowledge-driven society, learning, education and training are key to sustainability. Sustainability initiatives need to explicitly make learning strategic in order to succeed in the face of growing challenges. No organization, no sector can do so alone. Professionalization alone is not the answer. Education is failing to prepare humanity for disasters, climate change, globalization or conflicts. Existing partnerships do not address this gap. Attempting to do more of what has been done in the past is not the answer. There are three main reasons why a profit-making enterprise has a shared interest in sustainability: To increase and maintain stability To resolve crises so that business can continue To improve the economy This is what links profit and non-profit sectors. Learning is the unexplored conduit. Photo credit: Under the floorboard

Mobile learning: the “anywhere” in the affordance of ubiquity

Reda Sadki Writing

When I look at my Facebook friends online, I can see that most of them are connected, almost 24/7, via their phones. Those connected from a laptop or desktop computer (shown by a green dot instead of a little phone icon) are an ever-dwindling minority. As Scholar is meant to be a social application for learning, I thought it might be useful to reflect on what mobile means for learning. Recently, I invited mobile design expert Josh Clark to explain to a Red Cross audience why we should design our applications (including those for learning) using a mobile-first strategy. He’s not a learning guy, but I haven’t been able to find a learning expert with useful insights on these issues (as I explain in my conclusion). You can read about Josh’s work on the web here, for example: Josh’s first point is that we have a “condescending” view of mobile, …

Badges for online learning: gimmick or game-changer?

Reda Sadki Writing

As I’ve been thinking about building a MOOC for the 13.1 million Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers, I’ve become increasingly interested in connectivism. One of the platforms I’ve discovered is called P2PU (“Peer To Peer University”), which draws heavily on connectivist ideas. Surprise: on P2PU there is a debate raging on about badges, of all things. I initially scoffed. I’ve seen badges on Khan Academy and have read that they are very popular with learners, but did not really seriously consider these badges to be anything more than gimmicks. It turns out that badges are serious learning tools, and that makes sense from a connectivist perspective. A white paper from the Mozilla Foundation summarizes why and how, drawing on an earlier paper from P2PU’s co-founder Philipp Schmidt. George Siemens’s (2005) connectivism theory of learning is said to go “beyond traditional theories of learning (such as behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism) to include technology as a core element”. So badges in this theory would use …

Maybe old learning isn’t so bad, after all?

Reda Sadki Writing

When I first saw Professor Cope’s photos of a 1983 elementary school classroom, I scoffed. It was so obvious that the “communications and knowledge architecture” was one-way, focused on rote learning and rewarding good behavior which involved staying safely “inside the box”. How easy to critique, deconstructing all of the ways in which this particular “banking” form of education was unlikely to intentionally “deposit” anything that might actually be useful to the future lives of these school children. How awful, I thought, and how at odds with everything I try to put into practice with respect to my own professional role. Today’s MOOCs and flipped classrooms, with their objectives of making active knowledge-making ubiquitous, make 1983 look like the Dark Ages of education. And yet. And yet this classroom very closely resembles the ones in which I grew up, with 5th grade in 1980 as a reference point. And I …

Thinking about the first Red Cross Red Crescent MOOC

Reda Sadki Writing

You have no doubt heard about the Red Cross or Red Crescent. Some of you may be first aiders or otherwise already involved as volunteers in your community. My organization, the IFRC, federates the American Red Cross and the 186 other National Societies worldwide. These Societies share the same fundamental principles and work together to build resilient communities by reducing risks associated with disasters and, most important, by leveraging a community’s strengths into a long-term, sustainable future. The only distinguishing feature from one country to the next is the emblem in an otherwise secular movement: Muslim countries use a red crescent and Israel’s Magen David Adom uses the red “crystal” (offically recognized as an emblem) inside the star of David. Learning is a fundamental driver for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. People become volunteers, very often in their youth, to develop life-saving skills through extremely social forms of …