exploring e-ffective & accessible learning design

Are We There Yet?

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Photo credit: socialmediasimplify.com

A newcomer to Twitter, I’ve been dabbling in the fascinating world of hashtags and sound bites. Two recent readings fueled this fire. The first was a GOOD piece focused on Douglas Rushkoff’s new  MA in Media Studies program at CUNY-Queens. What caught my attention wasn’t so much the program itself as Rushkoff’s wonderful call “for people to come study and make good trouble with me…” How could I resist the idea of #makegoodtrouble? This was followed a day later by Shannon Tipton’s confessional of reasons she is a learning design geek and my introduction to the concept positive deviance. Turns out #positivedeviance is more than another cool hashtag, though. It’s a movement of its own built on the idea that “in every community there are certain individuals or groups whose uncommon behaviors and strategies enable them to find better solutions to problems than their peers, while having access to the same resources and facing similar or worse challenges.”

This rabbit hole is how I ended up in hot pursuit of ed-tech disruption (okay, six years later isn’t exactly hot-on-the-heels but you catch my drift). The term sounds to compelling – simultaneously serious and irreverent. How did I miss this initial ed-tech disruption call to arms?!? Surfing back through the results of Google searches took me to Michael Horn and Curtis Johnson’s 2008 book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. A quick glance at the Amazon summary of the book reads as a call to arms in applying “disruptive change” to the classroom through new technology to customize learning in order to help student succeed, bring about school reform, and regain our footing in the global market.


image of head and represntations of learning devices

Photo credit: avatargeneration.com

Terry Heick, in a 2012 post on te@chthought, describes disruption in this way: “Disruption is about shifting power. Eroding patterns. Breaking the system.” His top 5 for the year, in a list of 25 with the power to disrupt, are the internet, new learning models, informal and self-directed learning platforms, BYOD (bring your own device)/smartphone integration, and MOOCs.

For Khan Academy founder Sal Khan in 2011 it was about moving away from a one-size-fits all approach in the classroom and tailoring learning to the learner. It’s about encouraging experimentation and setting the standard at mastery. Far from a dehumanizing element, ed-tech disruption has the power to infuse the classroom with more time for teachers-to-student and peer-to-peer connection.

That same year, the EdTech Digest Awards exclaimed that “There has never been so much activity in this emerging ed-tech sector, and there’s never been a more exciting time. Thousands of companies are hard at work every day transforming education through technology. These people are the doers. They care deeply and passionately about moving education forward and they’re not wondering if education might reform itself—they’re getting smart, disrupting old models, shifting paradigms and making change happen now.”

So what are these technologies to #makegoodtrouble in the realm of learning in 2014? Where are the paths of #positivedeviance in instructional design? For all the excitement, apps, MOOCs, and LMS’ launched in 2011 and beyond I can’t help but ask—in my most plaintive voice from my backseat perch—are we there yet? And if not, why not?!? Stay tuned as this blog explores these questions over the coming weeks.

image of students around a map

Photo credit: mpaigekelly http://mrg.bz/ox6bnb



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This entry was posted on September 19, 2014 by and tagged .


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