ICT integration in Education:
Whether we draw analogies from tipping point, phase transitions, paradigm shift, disruptive innovation,points of inflection, singularities, metamorphosis, emergence in complex systems, or a quantum jump, we cannot help drawing the inference that because of the influence of ICT, education in the future is likely to be very different from the educational models of the past.
The recent and predicted advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence ( see video ‘humans need not apply :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU ) clearly point towards developing creativity and higher order thinking abilities which are at the top levels of Bloom’s taxonomy as opposed to the base levels of remembering, understanding and applying that is the focus today, but will be done by software and robots in the future. See also the Economist May 9th-15th 2015 issue articles on pages 11 and 18.
The big challenge of the present is how can we rapidly, at massive scale and at affordable costs train in the desirable new skills and build the new expertise. Teachers are central to this, because while an expert may demonstrate an expertise, it is the teacher who through a series of steps progresses the ignorant person into an expert. That is why the role of the teacher will be more important in the future, than it has ever been before. To develop our model, we have invoked ideas presented by Sir John Daniel in 2009 at an ICET conference keynote ” How do we recruit and train 10 million teachers?”.
I think we have to collectively re-define the role of the teacher/educator as moving forward from merely the transactor of the syllabus/curriculum prescribed by the regulators to a set of passive learners, to designing and managing the learning experience of each learner as an active self-directed learner, who will no longer be seated for hours on neat rows of desks. Google “sitting is the new smoking”. Further a group of Scientists at Stanford have done research to support that walking enhances creativity: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/april/walking-vs-sitting-042414.html
The term in vogue for self-directed learning is ‘Heutagogy ‘. The educator of the future therefore will be a practitioner of ‘heutagogy’. And most frequently will work as an ‘ independent’ professional rather than a low level employee of a public system, at the mercy of the powers that be. The disintermediation that is driven by the Internet will disruptively transform the existing model.
The key technology for this mission will be access with mobile and handheld devices(and wearables soon )with mobile Internet for connectivity, which is very effective for creating and sharing bite-sized content or ‘nano-learning’ objects that fosters social learning and custom made learning pathways based on learner analytics.
Educators will have to leverage existing technologies for a more effective personalised learning experience. While one view is that better efficiencies occur when the learners are told the principles/facts, which they ought to know, the other view is that technology enables learners to find information and construct their knowledge, and acquire ‘ deeper learning’. The metaphor of ‘giving a fish or teaching how to fish’. So the pursuit for quality content is not the main task. Content can be priceless or content can be worthless; it depends upon how the content is transacted, and how and what knowledge is constructed?
The most important task is therefore capacity building, both for the learners as well as the organisers of the learning experience. It is often assumed that the young learners who are digital natives can respond well to the new technological age. They may be good at navigating the devices, but seeking the right resources and constructing learning requires guidance for most. And organisers of learning have greater challenges, because of their additional responsibilities.
Learning from MAAM is now about learning from Mobile Apps and MOOCs. Learning a language with Duolingo or Maths from Khan Academy and preparation for the IELTS exam from FutureLearn are examples of events that happened very very recently. Organisers of learning have to respond to them and benefit by their presence.
The new pedagogies of Flipped learning, Personalised learning and Social learning are able to integrate OERs, MOOCs and Mobile Apps readily in the learning experience.
What have we done:
We are great believers that individuals and small groups of committed persons and communities can make a big difference. We are inspired by Margaret Mead < http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/margaretme100502.html > and Elinor Ostrom < http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/elinor_ostrom.html> in this approach.
As a group of committed individuals and sometime with support of external agencies, we have delivered the following:
1. A MOOC about OERs run on the Wiziq platform.
2. A 4 week course using only e-mail and WhatsApp on ” Becoming an UberSmart Autonomous Self-directed learner”
3. A 4 week course on thinking using only WhatsApp with title ” An Open mind”. Even the registration was by sending a WhatsApp message. So even a feature phone with built in WhatsApp is good enough. Need not be a Smartphone
What are we doing ?
Addressing 4 categories :
1: Young Learners typically in grades 6 and above
2: Grown up life-long learners ( aged 40+)
3: Committed, progressive, aspiring teachers who want to make a difference
4: Parents who want to take part in the educational journey their children
For each of these categories, we are designing about 3-5 modules, each delivered over 4 weeks entirely on e-mail and with WhatsApp that can be transacted entirely with mobiles and handhelds across the 3 major platforms in a BYOD mode.
Opportunities will exist for Meetups in person occasionally but will not be a mandatory requirement. Compressed and intensive versions would be available for those who want it.
Participants will then become part of a mentoring-coaching program that will cater to their individual needs.
The domains of interest are:
* Learning to learn: making all learners more self-directed learners
* Learning to think: New Thinking for the new Millennium
* Overcoming Maths Phobia
* Coping with a VUCA ( Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) future
The happy conclusion is that the answers to the challenges of the new technologies including ‘ machine intelligence’ which has got some illustrious persons like Stephen Hawkings, Elon Musk and Bill Gates extremely worried lies in our responses of learning to harness the enormous powers of these emerging technologies, to make a better world, through knowledge and a higher purpose to serve humanity, rather than a few corporates or Governments.