I watched Stephen Downes’s beautiful slides (99 MB) about “The Future of Learning Technology”, and here is what I noted.
“What we learn depends on why we learn“. I think curriculum makers still don’t ask why stuff is still required to memorize which can be looked up.
“We can think of this as the attractor as opposed to a driver.” Ha, pull rather than push. Great.
“Agency – […], for better or worse – is impacted by technology.” That is exactly my fear: that patronization by prosthesis technologies will become even worse.
“7. Creative Experiences”
“The dialogue and interactivity that takes place sets the work into context and enables learners to see it as a process rather than an artifact.” I like the link between activity and context. The limitations of “knowledge transfer — reading, lectures, videos” (slide 45) cannot be overcome just by alternating between reading and subsequent writing of responses to the questions, nor by creating an isolated artefact. Only by mixing passive and active modes.
This is what “allow[s] us to redefine what we mean by ‘textbooks’ and even ‘learning objects.’” (slide 17). And I don’t think just of high-tech solutions like Jupyter textbooks in the cloud (slide 17), but also of simple things like annotation and rearranging that is enabled by externalizing to the ‘extended mind‘.
“Apprenticeships” (slide 47) — this might sound as if it was limited to vocational training or practical tasks. But it could also be scientific apprenticeships — if only the ‘masters’, too, started to leverage the digital affordances of ‘extended mind’ externalizations (just mentioned), instead of insisting that what comes between literature review and the paper outline must be done entirely in their big head.
“In a democracy, many of these decisions are made through some form of majority rule.” Probably I haven’t yet fully grasped the importance of ‘Consensus algorithms’. For me, majority is not a poor surrogate of what the consensus of the wisest big heads would achieve. I think majority is often about economic vs. political power. Ecomomic power (of the few) is mostly derived from the very fact that they are few who are controlling some scarce resources. And this is just because, for an economic transaction between two subjects to take place, each one has the ‘veto’ right to refrain from the interaction, so, consensus about the price etc. must be achieved. Unlike economic power, political power is the power of the many, who could override and confine the former (at least in a democracy). So, consensus does not seem only positive to me (let alone the one needed by the veto right in the Security Council).
And economic power is what hampers many of our hopes for the future of ed tech, such as “Open Data” (slide 10), or IMHO also the great idea that “The credential of the future will be a job offer” (slide 54), or the whole idea of decentralisation against the monopolies.