Reflections on Indie Ed-Tech
I’m an unapologetic fan of professional gatherings.
I like them less for the formal presentations than I do for the informal conversations that follow. Case in point: it was one of those conversations at the dLRN conference in October that led to last weekend’s Indie Ed-Tech Data Jam at Davidson College. You can read more about that in Adam Croom’s first reflection on a weekend that turned out to be one of the most intense, rewarding, and promising gatherings I’ve been part of in a long time.
This year was my second visit to SXSWEdu. As much as I love Austin, I am not sure I want to return. The event should be a great opportunity for higher education and Silicon Valley to come together and design interesting partnerships from opposing world views about the role of education. With the exception of one unofficial gathering, the conversations I saw unfortunately never quite got there. The gathering that did was the brainchild of Dale Stephens (UnCollege) and Allison Dulin Salisbury (Davidson College), appropriately titled:
“UnCollege + College = ?“
Bringing Students Into Our Liminal Space
My Twitter tagline reads: “lover of liminal spaces”. I can claim that as part of my anthropology background, but it’s as much a reflection of my professional life as it is my intellectual interests. Academic technologists have existed in liminal spaces from the beginning. We’re not purely IT, or library, or Center for Teaching and Learning. We move between these spaces in a constant state of formative transition. Liminal spaces by definition reveal intersections and foster knowledge acquisition through collaboration, but in our case, that collaboration is typically limited to instructional support.
Education is more than instruction, however. It is a two-way street. Ultimately, learning happens because students want to learn. Dave Cormier sums up this sentiment nicely in his post on the first principle of learning:
“All kinds of pedagogy happens after this… but it doesn’t happen until this happens.”
…or are we working for MOOCs?
Jason B. Jones pointed out the humorous accidental slug for my post on Inside Higher Ed: www.insidehighered.com/blogs/higher-ed-beta/are-moocs-working-us. Funny, but are they working us? We’ll have some thoughts on this once we sift through the data in early spring, 2015. Stay tuned…
As an introduction, formal research is not something most instructional technologists have the time or the expertise to execute. As technology increasingly forces residential education to question our traditional value proposition, we owe it to our students and faculty to make sure it is an intentional part of any major technology investment that touches teaching and learning. And I admit, it’s fun and informative work! We will submit four posts on our rationale, process, results and recommendations around the DavidsonX MOOC experiment, and would love to collaborate with others. I am interested in a network of liberal arts researchers dedicated to lifting our powerful, thoughtful student voices in conversation with faculty about the future of residential higher education.