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Towers of technology

Reda Sadki #DigitalScholar, Learning strategy

This came up in one of the Live Learning Moments in the first week of the Geneva Learning Foundation’s #DigitalScholar course: This is for Reda: I’m very used to the Coursera/EdX kind of LMS and I’m finding it difficult to follow the course related postings and schedules on the digital learning community currently. I just feel that we are missing some structure. This comment calls for reflection on the knowledge architecture of Scholar in relation to other technologies. In the first week of #Digital Scholar, we examined the architecture of the lecture and the classroom. I understand the yearning and the preference for a container view of knowledge, even though I believe the time has come to autopsy the discipline known as knowledge management. This view is reassuring because it is familiar. It mirrors the experience of mass industrial-age education that has shaped most of us. But does it correspond to …

Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab (1950-1951) (ORAU.com)

MOOCs for teachers, then and now

Reda Sadki Quotes

In February, Daniel Seaton and his colleagues shared data about the very high level of teacher participation (28% identified as past or present teachers) and engagement (over four times more active in discussion forums than non-teachers) in a series of MITx MOOCs.  Very interesting article when thinking of teachers as multipliers, mediators and facilitators of learning (and not just transmitters). Unlike earlier MOOC research that has been criticized for being ahistorical, Seaton shares the following example of pre-MOOC massive, open online education: One of the earliest precursors to modern MOOCs targeted high school teachers in the United States. In 1958, a post-war interpretation of introductory physics called “Atomic-Age Physics” debuted at 6:30 a.m. on the National Broadcasting Company’s (NBC) Continental Classroom. Daily viewership was estimated at roughly 250,000 people, and over 300 institutions partnered to offer varying levels of accreditation for the course. Roughly 5,000 participants were certified in the first year. Teachers were …

Estádio Nacional de Brasilia

Scaling corporate learning

Reda Sadki Events

If you are interested in the strategic significance of educational technology for workplace learning, make sure that you do not miss the open, online symposium happening 18-19 June 2014. The event is organized by George Siemens and hosted by Corp U. I will be facilitating sessions with the World Bank and OECD, as well as presenting on partnerships between corporate and non-profit learning leaders to scale up humanitarian education. You’ll find more information on George Siemens’s post about the event and (later this week) on this blog. Photo: Estádio Nacional de Brasilia. Imagery courtesy of Castro Mello Arquitetos.

Quick Q&A with George Siemens on corporate MOOCs

Reda Sadki Events, Interviews

Here is an unedited chat with George Siemens about corporate MOOCs. He is preparing an open, online symposium on scaling up corporate learning, to be announced soon. The World Bank and OECD are two international organizations that will be contributing to the conversation. Here are some of the questions we briefly discussed: What is a “corporate MOOC” and why should organizations outside higher education care? By Big Data or Big Corporate standards, hundreds of thousands of learners (or customers) is not massive. Corporate spending on training is massive and growing. Why is this “ground zero” for scaling up corporate learning? How does educational technology change the learning function in organizations? What opportunities are being created? University engagement in MOOCs has led to public debate, taking place on the web, recorded by the Chronicle of Higher Education, and spilling over into the New York Times. So where is the debate on corporate MOOCs going to …

There is no spoon

There is no scale

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud

So, you are unhappy with a five percent completion rate. Hire tutors (lots of them, if it is massive). Try to get machines to tutor. Use learners as tutors (never mind the pedagogical affordances, you only care about scale and completion). Set up automated phone calls to remind people to turn in their homework. Ring the (behaviorist) bell. Or not. Google’s Coursebuilder team has an interesting take on completion rates. Let’s start by asking learners what they want to achieve. Then examine their behavior against their own expectations, rather than against fixed criteria. Surprise, surprise: take learner agency into consideration, and it turns out that most folks finish… what they wanted to. Bill Cope has an interesting take on scale. He says: there is no scale. It is not only that face-to-face/online is a false dichotomy. The intimacy of learning can be recreated, irregardless of how many people are learning. …

Meet Barbara Moser-Mercer, the lady who did MOOCs in a refugee camp

Reda Sadki Interviews, Video, Writing

I first heard her described as the “lady who did MOOCs in a refugee camp”. It was completely ambiguous what that meant, but certainly sparked my curiosity. Barbara Moser-Mercer is a professor at the University of Geneva and a  cognitive psychologist who has practiced and researched education in emergencies. I finally caught up with her at the Second European MOOC Summit.  

The MOOC Tornado

European MOOC Summit: What looks tasty – for organizations thinking about transforming how they learn

Reda Sadki Events, Writing

This is a quick overview of what I found of interest for international and non-governmental organizations in the program of the Second European MOOC Summit – possibly the largest and probably the most interesting MOOC-related event on the Old Continent – that opens tomorrow at Switzerland’s MIT-by-the-Lake, EPFL. The first interesting thing I found in the program is that it includes an instructional session, titled “All you need to know about MOOCs”. Indeed, the more I meet and talk to people across a variety of international and non-governmental organizations, the more it is obvious that the so-called “hype” has remained circumscribed to a fairly narrow, academic circle – despite international media coverage and a few million registered users. That makes it both smart and relevant to offer a primer for anyone attending the conference who is discovering MOOCs, before they get plunged into the labyrinth of myth, paradox and possibility that …

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

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud

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 …

George Siemens at TEDxNYED (3 June 2010)

A few of my favorite excerpts from George Siemens’s Knowing Knowledge (2006)

Reda Sadki Theory

My own practice (and no doubt yours) has been shaped by many different learning theorists. George Siemens, for me, stands out articulating what I felt but did not know how to express about the changing nature of knowledge in the Digital Age. Below I’ve compiled a few of my favorite excerpts from his book Knowing Knowledge, published in 2006, two years before he taught the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) with Alec Couros and Stephen Downes. Learning has many dimensions. No one model or definition will fit every situation. CONTEXT IS CENTRAL. Learning is a peer to knowledge. To learn is to come to know. To know is to have learned. We seek knowledge so that we can make sense. Knowledge today requires a shift from cognitive processing to pattern recognition. Construction, while a useful metaphor, fails to align with our growing understanding that our mind is a connection-creating structure. We do not always …