Alternative Title: Net Pedagogy, Teacher Role, teacher/student centeredness & whether or not I’ve become a hard-@$$
Attended Elluminate session facilitated by Frances Bell: Transparent Teaching and Learning: what remains when the teacher disappears?
Struck by a couple things:
- the skillful way Frances created interactive opportunities for participants (which she attributes to Dave Cormier in the session blurb). This is kind of an aside, but awesome for me. One thing I’m working on right now is developing training for Elluminate moderators at my institution to do exactly this – consider ways of going beyond ppt+lecturing (which the s/w begs you to do) in these types of online sessions. A couple effective strategies: 1. setting up “my talk”/”you talk” parts at the beginning, and getting us to throw ideas on the white board vs. in the text chat. So kudos and thanks there.
- how much my views about the teacher role and the classroom community have apparently changed…and i’m not sure when or how that happened! I think I’ve become kind of a hard-ass! Hmph. Ah well, I’ll get back to that…
Anyway, I think we agree that the teacher doesn’t disappear, but perhaps adapts in the “net” environment where there is SO much info and opportunity for learner expression. Frances notes that Network Teachers should make their own learning transparent; they should model their own technology-enabled learning. And she notes that a key skill is knowing when (and perhaps, how/in what ways) to disappear and re-appear in the network.
I agree. In cck09, we see George and Stephen (The Teachers) blogging, tweeting, Elluminating, being at conferences and generally “out there”, both showing us how they do it, and drawing our attention to issues and resources. And I like that. Appreciate that. Learn from it. And we all (The Students) do it too. And we learn from each other.
But…this underlying idea of Net Pedagogy + Teacher Role feels familiar…it feels like we’re discussing teacher-centered vs. student-centered approaches. This idea (being student-centered) was “revolutionary” at one point, but has become part of the standard vocabulary/things we assume are “good”.
How’s that going for us?
Maybe here we have another instance where technology throws a mirror up and forces us to re/examine our practice and underlying assumptions. Maybe revisiting this idea by way of considering “Net Pedagogy”, we can explore what/more can be done about “being student-centered”. Can we come up with new (perhaps technology-supported) ways to go further than things like “letting” students choose their own topics or groups, doing their own research, inviting students to make learning personal, or to participate in assessment, and so on. Could they be even more “in charge” of their own learning (and assessment)? How?
Professionally, I grew up in the belly of the beast, spending several years studying, teaching and working in a Faculty of Education and in its Teacher Education Program. There were lots of hugs and warm fuzzies and concern about community-building and “teaching people not curriculum” and honouring individual differences, and well, you get the idea. I’m not saying it was fluff and no substance – far from it. I’m saying that the culture was generally one (lead by teachers) of caring a lot about people and their human/social needs (first?). It had attributes of the “group” as Downes has described it.
Fast forward a decade plus, and I find myself now more relating – and wanting – to be part of a “network” than a “group” in my professional life (recall: Groups meet our need to belong and to survive, while networks meet our need to connect and learn and to know). If I’m involved in a working or learning thing (project, course, whatever), I want to, ya know, work and learn. Get stuff done. I see the other stuff as a means to and end, not so much the end in itself. (*crickets*)
When/did I become a hard-ass?
I guess it’s always somewhere in the middle (this is me hoping I’ve not become a Machiavellian cyborg). We’ve discussed this earlier in cck09. We need and want to be kind, respectful and encouraging of each other. Genuinely. So we can take risks (share). And have fun. But the end-goal is the learning/knowing, isn’t it? Making friends along the way is a bonus. Did I just say that? But, but…I’m a people person!
In a practical sense, I have noticed, for example, in (smaller group) Elluminate sessions I moderate lately, that it pays off greatly to invest the first 15 minutes (even on an hour session) to get everyone in the room sharing (talking about) something that humanizes us at the other end of the mic. But that’s done in service of the connecting/learning/knowing. Not especially for its own sake.