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Its a beautiful day outside. I’m spending it building a wardrobe in the bedroom. And while I wait for the batteries on the cordless drill to recharge, I’m finally catching up on my long neglected bloglines.
I highly value Stephen Downes’ recent critique the Cape Town Declaration. I started reading the declaration yesterday, but quickly lost interest in it for reasons I was not entirely sure of at the time. Stephen’s critique, the comments that follow, and the links out to other ideas about it offer up so much more food for thought than the declaration itself. I think I will spend more time following the critiques and responses before I actually read the declaration – maybe that way I will find the thing more interesting as I read through it and consider the critiques and conversations I have already read. At this point in time I intuitively share Stephen’s concerns and I think the general points he is trying to make should extend right accross the Open Educational Resources movement. There is too much standard thinking about the ‘delivery’ of education, and the near neurotic obsessing over copyright seemingly at the expense of more important issues to do with learning. Nuf said on that for now.. more to follow after I’ve had more time reading.
Speaking of reading, making the time to read really helps me to listen. Since working at the Polytech my time for reading has been slowly eaten away. While in discussions about workload I try hard to defend the time I need to read, and reckon that people in my role need to allocate at least 30% of their time to it.. for me this would be at least 40 hrs per month reading my bloglines and adding notes to my blog. I need this to remain current and to sustain my connections. Funny how a fulltime job with all its inefficiencies can eat away at that. Over the past 2 years I have been reduced to less than 20hrs reading and writing time. I am starting to appreciate the familiar chorus from people when I encourage blogging and RSS, that chorus that says, “but who has the time!” In my own loss of the time I need, I really have only myself to blame. I must defend that time, and where possible extend it. Reading other blogs, comments and general points of view are extremely helpful to my own listening abilities and the things I can bring back into my local context. The trouble is, that that amount of time impacts on my abilities to listen in on the local channels. Those face to face meetings, discussions, and other things. At the moment, there is a communication disconnect between the speed and depth of the online communication and the slowness and superficiality of the face to face…
Stephen also recently posted the transcript of the talk he made in Wellington back in 2006 on Groups and Networks – the class struggle continues. I have blogged extensively my support once again for Stephen’s thoughts here, especially through that time soon after his talk where the debate about Groups and Networks became quite controversial, ending in a wide scale dismissal of its importance. I still think it is centrally the most important issue not just limited to online learning, and this recent transcript helps keep it alive in my mind.
I don’t know what to say to a statement like that. I don’t want to discourage their attempt to show how progressive a thinker they are… but I also don’t want people thinking that Educational Development equates to anti lecture!
For the record, I think lectures are great, and I like the readings/lecture/tutorial model for teaching and learning.. when done well. But I do agree that there could be more to a lecture than the usual 1 hour in a theatre, blink and you miss it type affair..
Apart from those flippent and strangely self concious remarks we get from the occasional visitor, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of teachers I have ever worked with prodominantly use some variation of the lecture tutorial model. So while we do challenge people to reconsider their lectures a bit (ideas such as breaking the usual 1 hour lecture into a series of 6 x 10 minute lectures, webcast lectures, audio/video recorded lectures, well produced movies that say the same things, guest lectures and student lectures, and just simply improving the use of slide presentations… in all these instances we are sticking with simple variations lecture format.
Below are some links to concepts for new ways of presenting the lecture, some are good, some are terrible, some are a good idea with room for improvement:
Here’s a diagram of some thinking we have developed around curriculum for sustainability:
It attempts to meet our internal staff development needs, while at the same time engaging in wider community action as well. It is hoped that by holding a regular event that is open to community participation that we will become aware of and involved in various community actions that will ultimately compliment or staff development objectives, as well as our community engagement.
Also, we have a webconference coming up with Michigan State University on Dec 11, 930am NZ time.
And a gradually developing course for sustainability change management – that will be one of many offerings in the interpret and create fields of the chart above.