Tuesday, 12 April 2011

M4T-A: An Open Letter to Educators

The young man in the video “An Open Letter to Educators” claims that he left university not because he was no longer interested in learning, but because he felt institutional education was interfering with his education.

He points out that information is no longer in the hands of a few. It is now accessible to everyone and, therefore, education can no longer be centered on simply imparting facts (which are now just a click away), and expecting students to memorize and then regurgitate them when testing time comes.

I believe he is right. This information era calls for new literacies. With the information overload we are exposed to, it is essential that students be taught how to look for, filter, analyse, evaluate, organise and apply information.  This involves higher order thinking skills that go beyond just storing, remembering and recalling facts.

So what’s the role of educators in view of this paradigm shift? Incorporating technology in our classrooms is not enough if it does not serve a meaningful purpose and is supported by a sound pedagogy. Rather than spoon-feeding our students, we should seek to empower them to make the most of the tools and resources at their disposal. As Albin Toffler puts it, we must prepare them “to learn, unlearn and relearn”, to think creatively so that they can keep abreast in a fast changing world. But how can we prepare them for that if we are not ready to embrace change ourselves?

M4T-A: reflections on the first chapter of "Using Moodle"

In the first chapter of their book “Using Moodle”, Jason Colen and Helen Foster clearly outline the factors that make Moodle special:
  • It’s open source, thus allowing for peer review and knowledge sharing.
  • It’s free, and as such, free from market pressures, which can sometimes result in detriment to quality.
  • It’s based on the educational philosophy of social constructionism which views learning as a reconstruction rather than a transmission of knowledge, emphasizing the role of creative experimentation and meaning negotiation. While CMSs are tool centered, Moodle is learning centered and aims at the construction of knowledge through exploration, discovery, sharing and collaboration rather than at the mere delivery of information.
  • It’s nurtured by a large and active community of users and developers who, through their feedback and suggestions, ensure quality and constant development.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

M4T-A: my Moodling so far

I started this series of Moodle workshops with Integrating Technology back in December last year and it's been a most enriching experience.

Right from the Orientation Workshop, I started exploring the philosophy underpinning Moodle, one with which I feel completely identified. And then were the practical aspects of using Moodle. The hands-on work in the sandboxes has helped me learn the ropes - well, sort of... I feel quite confident now using many of the activities and resources, though there are still a few that I need to continue working on.

Along the Beginners' workshop, team work became central, providing first-hand experience of the constructivist and social constructionist approach of this learning environment. I can truly say I've learned a lot from my partners all along.

Now I'm getting ready for the Advanced workshop. I hope I can manage to meet the course objectives but, in any event, I'm sure I'll continue learning a lot from my facilitators and partners.