Chris' public learning, week 7

Monday 15th of April

I've been doing too much reading and not enough writing or thinking our loud. I have been distracted by Nassim Nicholas Taleb's1 recent book2. My initial take is that trying to imagine an antifragile school is seriously difficult. Systems like schools are designed to smooth things out, to quash disruption, to maintain a linear flow. All of which works against students experiencing all but the most gentle and always engineered disruptions, leading to little learning. Not for this course but perhaps for another, this might be an interesting motif to explore.

The readings for this week have jogged my memory about wanting to try a modest bit of gamification in this and other courses.

Thursday 18th of April

There is the inevitable lull after assignment submission. I have to keep reminding myself that with only the slightest bit of structure that can bring the group together that the rhythms of each student are different. In courses which offer face-to-face lectures, students turn up, out of habit, partly because they don't want to miss something or… We don't have enough good research to answer that and I suspect the patterns of motivation change as different cohorts of students come into the system. I keep worrying that folk come to a course like this and assume we will study digital culture just like we study maths education or educational disadvantage. Natalie's reflections on the course in her introduction capture something of the disquiet that most of the group probably feel.

In one sense the course is of course mapping digital culture and its intersection with things educational. But rather than studying a stuffed exhibit in a museum (the conventional kind of course) it is like trying to study a moving animal. Bits of it probably look familiar. We may have some sense of where it came from but it is really tricky to get a handle on where it is going, why and the path it may take to get there.

I posted a link to a long piece which is part book promotion but also a good snapshot and analysis of where journalism and newspapers are at this point in time. I find the case of journalism fascinating. It's not about using what has happened there as some kind of predictive model for education but I think it offers insights that can be instructive. Education does not have a NiemanLab equivalent. It should.

Sunday the 21st of April

I've been thinking about the next phase and where folk are at. All of the things folk will build will be persuasive devices of some sort. I'd like to gently introduce them to some of the simpler ideas that derive from behavioural economics3.