Sunday, December 10, 2017

Innovating pedagogy - new report

CC BY Some rights reserved by Open University (Photo Chris Valentine)
In case you haven't already found it, I'd like to point you in the direction of the latest edition of the Open University's excellent report, Innovating pedagogy 2017. This is the sixth edition of the report and the aim is to provide a pedagogical balance to the annual NMC Horizon reports on trends in educational technology. Each year they identify and describe ten emerging pedagogies that are of course influenced by technology but are relevant to all forms of teaching and learning. Each trend is described with theoretical background and practical examples and, as in the NMC Horizon reports, there are numerous links to reports, articles and examples of these ideas in practice.

This year's report raises the following phenomena:
  • Spaced learning - dividing class time into short modules of input, recall and application with social activity breaks in between. 
  • Learners making science - citizen science activities gathering data and actively analysing.
  • Open textbooks - teachers, and even students, writing and continuously updating course literature openly on the net.
  • Navigating post-truth societies - strategies for dealing with false news, biased reporting and propaganda.
  • Intergroup empathy - methods for fostering inter-cultural understanding and diversity.
  • Immersive learning - using simulations, virtual and augmented reality in education to provide realistic practical experience of situations that are hard to replicate physically.
  • Student-led analytics - letting students access their own data to help them set objectives for and monitor their studies.
  • Big-data inquiry - learning to harness the power of big data and applying it to solve real problems.
  • Learning with internal values - greater freedom for learners to choose own focus areas within the wider curriculum, thus adding internal motivation.
  • Humanistic knowledge-building communities - combining the need for learner autonomy, creativity and self-direction with the the need to build the collective knowledge of the community.
What all of these have in common is developing a more rounded and holistic view of education and trying to integrate the sometimes conflicting perspectives of learning for employment, learning for personal development and learning to be an active citizen and part of a wider community. Today there is an increasing focus, especially from governments and industry, on learning for employment and many of the most popular uses of technology in education have been related to this. We use technology to monitor learner progress, test, set grades and facilitate knowledge transfer through recorded lectures and online resources.

The trends in this report offer a human balance to the the current obsession with tangible results and league tables. They stress participation, internal motivation, balance and active involvement. Instead of looking at how universities and schools can use big data and learning analytics to monitor students we should see how students can make use of this data to help them learn. We all need to learn how to harness the power of the data revolution instead of being passive victims. We need to learn to question and filter the information torrent in an informed and scientific way instead of feeling helpless and overwhelmed. Basically we all (teachers and students) need to relearn how to learn in today's new media landscape.

The report is fascinating reading but, like all such reports, is simply an indication of possible future developments. In a year's time things could look very different and who knows what new phenomenon can come out of the blue. What the last few years have taught us all is that predicting the future has never been so difficult. If you want to read more about this report have a look at these two: Martin Weller's blog post, Innovating Pedagogy 2017 and an article in 
Times Higher Education, Post-truth teaching: coming to a lecture theatre near you?

Ferguson, R., Barzilai, S., Ben-Zvi, D., Chinn, C.A., Herodotou, C., Hod, Y., Kali, Y., Kukulska-Hulme, A., Kupermintz, H., McAndrew, P., Rienties, B., Sagy, O., Scanlon, E., Sharples, M., Weller, M., & Whitelock, D. (2017). Innovating Pedagogy 2017: Open University Innovation Report 6. Milton Keynes: The Open University, UK.

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