Sunday, November 22, 2009

Power in the classroom

I've been reading Stephen Brookfield "The Power of Critical Theory for Adult Learning…" which is not to be confused with critical thinking. The section I was reading was looking at Foucault's analysis of the social interaction in the classroom in terms of the power structures present and the micro managed control exercised by the teacher in managing class discussions, and enforcing classroom norms of behavior. The analysis seemed to imply that in some sense the role of the teacher as a constructor of the norms of civilized behavior is at the very least questionable in principle.

In teaching early school leavers I was very aware that in assessing their work "you are no good at multiplication" you were also projecting a message "you are no good". For students at the margins of society self worth may be the only thing they have so it was important to try and validate any other interests (self generated culture in Ziehe's(Ch.13) ) terms.

This led on to the thought of the importance of separating a class's educational goals and performance from the personal goals of its participants. Relating this to eLearning, we want to place ourselves within a person's domain of self value so that they personally take ownership of their learning. This may be a significant difference between F2F learning and classic eLearning.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You’ve got to start somewhere

Thoughts on the design process for developing educational software.

Starting out one has an image of the user, an educational model for the learning, (which may or may not be enunciated) and an idea for the content, that is what is to be learnt.


We build by analogy, using what we have encountered before either as a model to be improved upon, or as an example of that which should be avoided.

It may be usefull to identify a number of exemplars of good and bad practice.


Most software development is iterative so we should think about the space within which our software/website will evolve.

What limitations are defined by our initial choices as to what and how to build?

We should think about what inputs will drive that iteration and what will shape its course.

Student feedback/Validation are good shaping factors, organic growth is probably not the best model for expansion.