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attending to the shadow of living and learning on the web

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Learning about the intersection between education and technology

Do situational factors trump ethics in open education?

diglit

Open education tends to put much emphasis on digital literacy (or literacies) development as a way to benefit from internet use. Some authors boldly state that: “Digital literacy skills are essential for today’s citizens. These skills are expected for everyday personal use, learning and effective performance at work.” JISC defines digital literacies as, “the capabilities which fit someone for living, learning and working in a digital society” and The Oxford English dictionary defines a capability as the ‘power or ability to do something’. Digital Literacy research locates ‘success’ within individual self improvement, as seen by the use of terms like skill and capabilities. The estimated size of the US self-improvement market was $9.62 billion in 2014 (source: MarketDataEnterprises); and yet, some suggest, with little evidence of success when success is defined as effective functioning in a given situation rather than people accessing the self-improvement market.

Whilst open education practitioners have spent, and continue to spend, time defining and re-defining the kind of skill or capability the individual may need to learn to be effective in digital engagement, little attention is paid to psychological findings that clearly show capabilities, and other internal dispositions of the individual such as personality traits, are a very weak predictor of behaviour. Many studies since the publication of ‘Studies in the nature of deceit’ in 1928 show that a better predictor of how we act in the world is the situation we are in and its characteristics.

People do learn, but what we know or believe in is not the only factor that determines how we behave in a situation.

This post offers a counterpoint to the mainstream idea of self-improvement as a road to effective action by reviewing a classic psychology study on the role of situational factors in the way we act. It concludes that given the results of these studies and many that both followed it and preceded it, open education would do well to look beyond self improvement as a road for addressing shortcomings and learn to ask more often: What are the characteristics of an online situation likely to lead to effective action?

Continue reading “Do situational factors trump ethics in open education?”

Creating an ethical commons

[originally published on another site in July 2015]

My response to Viv’s plea for an ethical commons and a 6th R of Open – Responsibly!

I am having to add another book to my already large pile! I love the distinction matter and manner of education. We spend so much time on the matter of education and so little in the manner of education.

Continue reading “Creating an ethical commons”

410 Gone

mark

The presence of absence. How do we get to choose to leave online life and leave behind a clean screen if not a clean slate? Jenny Mackness has been writing about absence as an essential element of presence from many interesting perspectives – art and metaphor, for example. I am also interested in silence as part of dialogue, disconnection as part of connection. It is so easy to forget the background in favour of the foreground of the moment.

“As we bring to the foreground new structures, we focus on them to understand them or destroy them…as we assimilate the new structure without sight of the whole but just those aspects that attract or repel us it becomes ‘normal’. What was figure becomes the ground, the way things are around here. New figures come to the fore including the seeing of the old as obsolete and to be shedded. What can our actions be in that interface of figure and ground almost instant and certainly not stable shapeshifting?” McLuhan

This post seeks to bring to the foreground resonances I found when reading Jenny’s posts.

Continue reading “410 Gone”

Openness in education – plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

In my new look blog, I have also worked on blog categories to help reframe my involvement in open online education. I put the blog on hold for a while as I reflected on my own motivations and my discomfort with some of what I have observed in the relational dynamics of the people I have come to know since starting to explore open online education 3 years ago.

I want to participate and I have to participate in a way where I am free to say what I notice without fear – this has not been the case of late. Closing comments here is intended to help me say what I want to say.

I also have decided to do a Humpty Dumpty and redefine words a bit. This post is about that.

Continue reading “Openness in education – plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”

Design by @mdvfunes based on content by J. Mackness and F. Bell
Design by @mdvfunes based on content by J. Mackness and F. Bell

All images licensed CC BY. Sources:

I am helping Frances and Jenny with their next research paper on a Rhizomatic Learning course which ran in 2014. I made a graphic for the paper based on their words in Canva.

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