Digital scratchbook

Some fragments, thoughts and ideas. My digital scratchbook.

Times change, learning theories too?

There was a time people learned to write with a fountain pen. By using blotting paper they have to prevent the paper becoming smeared with spots of ink. At that time it was useful to learn to write with a fountain pen, because ball pens didn’t exist. I practically don’t write anymore. By the presence of an iPhone, laptop and iPad I always have the opportunity to make digital notes, mails and  course materials. Were all these years of learning to write useless? I don’t think so. I learned many many things at school. I learned all the capitals of the countries of the world, math terminology and the list of chemical elements. Okay, I learned many tricks how to remember stuff. But I have some questions. First of all, the list of capitals has changed. Second, I don’t remember the chemical elements anymore (I’m mostly confronted by this during quizzes). Third, I don’t even need to now math terminology anymore. And fourth, couldn’t we have spend all that time in secondary school more useful? When I teach my class, I can repeat how to design a template for Drupal for 10 times, without results. My students repeat but don’t remember the steps to be taken, a week later. So when I ask them to try it themselves, they remember the steps better.

You got to start with the customers experience and work backwards for the technology (Steve Jobs, 1997). I’m not a Jobs addict. Not even an Apple addict, although I have to admit I mainly work on iDevices. I believe we don’t have to implement iPads and then think what to do with it in the classroom. We have to use it to present better solutions to current problems. iPads can help create, brainstorm, present, collaborate and seek information.

At my time I got a list of capitals and tried to remember them by using mnemonic devices. It would helped a lot if I was presented a list of capitals accompanied with pictures of the buildings, countries and people. More even with some anecdotes. More if we got the chance to find information about them. To save time the tutor could have made groups per continent (I would have chosen Antarctica). The teacher get’s more of a coach which guides the students.

Don’t buy fish to poor people. Learn them to fish.
Don’t limit education to putting information in children’s heads. Learn them how to find information. Ok, let’s not be too radical. People have to possess general knowledge. A perfect introduction to life long learning.

Teaching is neither necessary nor sufficient to produce learning. This quote from Lave was an eye opener. So… how to replace teaching? Is this the same question as “How to replace a teacher”? By iPads? By social constructivism? By connectivism? By PLN’s? By TELEs? By tutorials? By a combination of all theses?

Is assessment needed?

Is assessment needed? Probably not. But how to decide whether people are ready for a new school year? I once taught a class in secondary school. Only one year. Because it wasn’t a very rich school, there was one computer available every three students. And they had to learn Access. Not really the most sexy computer program. Afterwards I got a full time in Adult education. I had two very different classes. They had one thing in common. They didn’t want to learn. Would that be different when I would have to teach them nowadays? Would that school invest in tablets? I doubt it. Do they still have to learn Access? I pretty sure they do. What about collaboration in a class without the mandatory infrastructure hopelessly outdated and compelling learning objectives?

I got an email from SHU. The students have to remove their smart watches during the exams. Sounds reasonable. But, how about plagiarism in a connectivist world? Is it allowed to read each others papers and use ideas? Copy parts of each others blogs? No worries, I’m not planning to do this, but isn’t there a very thin line of collaboration and being a copycat?



Googles Ingress makes people collaborate to improve Google Maps by using a game. An example of good game design? Yes! In the whole world people are choosing one of two sides and enjoy this addictive game. Can games make education addictive?

According to Marc Prensky (2001), our students today have little tolerance for our carefully scripted lectures and “tell-test” instruction. They prefer image-based learning and receiving data quickly, and perform better in an environment of rewards (Prensky, 2001). In short, they desire games.

  1. Multi-tasking
  2. Graphics
  3. Fast or Random Access
  4. Frequent Rewards

Incidental learning versus intentional learning


Latour’s ANT to TELEs: tbc


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *