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Learning theory and innovative pedagogy

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Edited by Anna Greathead, Thursday, 7 Mar 2019, 22:22

A few reflections about the 2019 Innovating Pedagogy Report. 

Playful learning - I think there may be some behaviourism underpinning this pedagogy. Play is, by definition fun, and behaviouism rewards the learner with something they enjoy or desire. I can imagine the gamification which playful learning seems closely linked to could easily be analysed as conditioning. 

Action learning - this seems very closely linked to connectivism and the idea that collectively we can be and know more than an arithmetic sum of our parts. 

Place based learning - I would put this idea mostly under the umbrella of constructivism. If I were to study the Roman Empire at length I would know quite a lot and a visit to Rome to see to Colosseum would be meaningful to me in a way in would not be to someone with no knowledge of the Roman Empire. Both of us would learn from our trip to Rome but we would be constructing a little more knowledge on to our existing knowledge. 

Some of the innovative pedagogies in the 2019 paper seem, to me, to be technologies rather than pedagogies. Drone based learning isn't a new way to learn - it's a new technology which will enable better, easier, more rounded or more engaging versions of existing lessons to be taught. 

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Connectivism - my thoughts

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The internet has changed things. It's changed things very rapidly and by things I mean all things including people. Knowledge, prior to the internet, was solid and dependable. Generally things were known and remained static. Even when changes in knowledge happened it too a long time to disseminate the new approach, idea, information so changes were slow. 

Now 'knowledge' does exist as before - like a mountain range subject to small and gradual changes but essentially fixed - but as a flower bed with weeds sprouting every few days and a constant cycle of growth and change. 

Knowing things became less important compared to knowing how to find out things. Why memorise the world's highest mountains when the information is stored and accessible within seconds on any smartphone? I need not learn something if I can easily and immediately collaborate with someone who already knows it. This was we both can get a deeper and more detailed knowledge of our own respective areas rather than duplicating a more shallow knowledge on each other's areas. 

It seems obvious that a new theory of learning is necessary as the nature of knowledge is so changed. 

Previously my knowledge was mine. I accrued and collected it. In connectivism the network of people and technology enables all of us to share a much greater and deeper collection of knowledge than the sum of the knowledge we would have amassed under the old way. 

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Block 2 and this gets real-er

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We are now a week and a bit into Block 2 and it feels different. I had my doubts in Block 1 but I did, at least, feel like I was understanding the material. I may have been interpreting it wrongly but I was understanding it on a level! 

Block 2 has started in a very different manner! Firstly I have not yet received a mark for my first TMA and am feeling mildly insecure about that. I really want a mark.... but I really don't want a bad mark! 

Our first few activities were to do with Learning Design (which I think means lesson planning!) and I have been confused! It took me a while to realize that all eight lesson plans were for the same lesson and it was the actual lesson planning design template which we were assessing. This, once it became clear, was actually interesting. I have asked my Facebook friends (loads of teachers there!) how they plan lessons. I have had a number of responses but they've mainly been to do with sticking to the curriculum than with the template they use. I need to find a way of asking the same question in a less ambiguous way. I can see that a good lesson plan may make the process of teaching, and learning, more satisfying even if the essential elements of the lesson were unchanged. 

I've also decided to go back to basics and become a bit more familiar with some of the basic theories of learning. The words 'behaviourist' and 'constructivist' are being used as if we should know what they mean... so maybe I should! Early on in H800 someone linked to a marvelous website which gives concise and easy to understand definitions so I plan to read them, blog about them and refer to them as I move forward. 

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