scott HJ


Posts referring to articles by scott HJ

Slow Learning with Clark Quinn
scott HJ, 328 - EduTechLand, Jan 05, 2012. Ben,

Great posting and an important question. I too really enjoy the MOOC experience, the responding to blogs that fires up my own thinking and the digging deeper into into subjects introduced here. Self-directed learning suits my sense of independence but it just occurred to me this afternoon (while loading a quiz into a course on our LMS) that the image of the hearty individual alone and so cleverly self-actualized learning their way through the MOOC jungle is a really very shallow approach to both the material and the presence of so many interesting people.

I too would like to take my MOOCing past the level of mere interest. My engagement here is real and the experience is intellectually fulfilling but there still remains a detachment that's a bit like Alice being able to step back through the mirror into the "real world" with its real accountability.

If virtual worlds are going to be places where many people get much of their education then it seems we need to build in the perception of consequence. That what we do here matters not just here but also "outside" where we all actually live. To my mind, education already suffers from being only actual unto itself. Why create a world online that further detaches us from our learning?

What sort of project were you thinking of? A number of the more active bloggers have posed questions throughout and I can think of some, but rather than get bogged down in selecting "the significant question", I'm willing to take a run at almost anything.

Scott Johnson

Re: Imagination before thinking
scott HJ, , Dec 22, 2011. Most of our older teachers don't see any value in online learning. Part of it is age, some comes from our isolated place and some of it is genuine concern for their students, many who have minimal experience in "school" and struggle with the whole idea of learning being transferred by strangers who speak of things as abstractions with no attempt to tie the material the student's daily experience (or openly devalue the learner's culture, or worse, over compensate by answering the learner's questions before they are formed).

I wonder if by physically separating us by distance learning, we can become conscious of the distance between our understandings? We can certainly reach more people with technology, those who may not have come to us, those who couldn't. But it seems a larger challenge to connect and stay connected without their willing participation. The old model of forcing students into school, barking at them for years and then releasing them can't work when all the learner need do is click the red x and be done with you. Along with central control losing its grip the easy assumptions that come from dominance become useless. Institutions are going to have to give up bossing people and learn some social skills--like learning to listen. That will be a big improvement all by itself.


Re: Imagination before thinking
scott HJ, , Dec 22, 2011. These are exciting times for teaching. What I experienced was a teacher alone in a class with 30 to 40 children carrying out orders from above. The pedagogy of the time separated the teacher from the student and both from the "content" (which seemed to come from a different planet). To teach was probably as frustrating as being a learner.

The best teachers, the one's I remember most, were able close the distance created by their institutional role of authority and the unfamiliar content "foreign" to our little brains. They weren't our friends or partners, more like respected guides.

Theories have changed with students and teachers not having to stand so far apart. The student/teacher relationship seems less restricted by expectations from above.

I wonder if the physical distance in attending school online has forced us to reflect on the imaginary distances we created in the old classroom setting? Or maybe it has to do with loss of position as the only source of wisdom in the room when information is so freely available? Technology has allowed us to change how we know each others "place" in a system. A system that seems to have lost its centre and the hierarchy that goes along with it.

Have a great holiday!


Re: Imagination before thinking
scott HJ, , Dec 21, 2011. Thanks Teresa,

I don't blog anymore because I prefer the surprise of reading other people's blogs and responding to them with the new thoughts their blog has brought into my mind. Blogging itself can be very valuable too. Blogging is almost like watching yourself writing. Being the reader and writer at the same time. Or thinking out loud with someone listening.

Very different than the structure of schooling I grew up with. Who you were and what you thought were not considered part of "education." A bit like a parrot learning words except not funny when the "wrong" word came out. I never really understood the point of being in school when all I did was mess up the orderliness of whatever it was they were going on about. Why did they keep inviting me back, year after year.

Be glad to participate.


Re: Imagination before thinking
scott HJ, , Dec 21, 2011. I understand imagination to first be how a person speaks to themselves about the world. Thinking with the fewest barriers. Imagination may be distorted by ignorance or misinterpreting. It can also lead to great creativity.

This interpretation may not translate? I don't know.

Our students are left out of the internet too in a way. They use it for Facebook and game playing and though they speak English, the culture tied to English is not for them. Difficult problem.

Re: Imagination before thinking
scott HJ, , Dec 18, 2011. Like your idea of extending the connections of the students. Working from the familiarity of what they imagine we can help them build enquiry skills to expand the breadth and power of who they are becoming. Why do we insist on brining them into our world as an example of who they could be? An imaginary world we insist is the world where all their learning can be tested against the reality as we perceive it to be. It certainly isn't to teach them the value of diversity when the first thing we do is force them into sameness. What reality defined by whom is never discussed beyond it being an exemplar neutrality "undistorted by interest" or bias. Or was it "distorted by being uninteresting"?


Re: Measuring the Wrong Things - Has the Scientific Method Been Compromised By Careerism?
scott HJ, , Dec 18, 2011. A quotation:

"The fourth stage, the question chain, sustains science as a coherent process, erecting continuous, coherent bodies of knowledge. Thus science itself, rather than the will of scientists or the judgements of patrons and great givers, directs its organization, along with providing automatic and continual self-renewal. New questions turning up in the question chain, especially if they are a surprise, return the entire process to its first stage: again, the time is ripe to pose a salient and fruitful question.
If a body of inquiry becomes disconnected from the scientific state of mind, that unfortunate segment of knowledge is no longer scientific. It stagnates. Intellectually, it is poisonous, because thereafter almost everything the stagnated and warped knowledge and warped knowledge touches is harmed by it. Nazi ideologies of race, Marxist ideologies of economics and social utopias, capitalist confusion of commercial competition with Dawrinism, along with the elimination of cooperation from understanding of evolution, are all examples of inquiries claiming scientific validity that were disconnected from the scientific state of mind and sank into dogma." (68 – 69)

Jane Jacobs, "Dark Age Ahead" Random House 2004 ISBN 0-679-31309-5

The surprise that returns the process to its first stage (and spoils your grant).

Re: Engagement and Motivation in MOOCs
scott HJ, , Nov 24, 2011. It's a cop-out but I'm not sure that participating in a MOOC needs explaining. Cop-out because I'm beyond caring about what my CV looks like and prefer to engage based on interest and not badges. Is it something about being a post-grad student that everything needs to be tied to a system of credit? What if MOOCS simply existed as independent phenomenon associated with education but no necessarily of or for education?

Being in a MOOC gives me access to a constant flow of interesting people and ideas that leave my mind in a tangle of possibilities. By my experience with education this is an outcome that runs contrary to the clockwork progression of learning offered in school. Is it not useful in itself to balance the thoughtfulness poured into the certainty of organized education with a thoughtful and equally determined pursuit of uncertainty? To engage in something I can't easily explain but find value in feels a better use of my time than pulling the same old wagon of things I'm 3rd party certified to claim knowledge of around the block day after day.


Re: The nature of technologies
scott HJ, , Nov 21, 2011. Hard and soft seem like great ways to distinguish the characteristics of technology. A while back I was tasked with researching professional development programs directed towards transitioning staff from 100% F2F delivery to to blended and eventually to fully online coursework. As expected there were thousands of best-practice out there to "tell" the instructor how to succeed but nothing (ironically) that spoke to the long time teacher as if they were a student learning a new skill. Prior to my completing the research, a PD strategy was implemented that had all the hard-edge, decided-in-advance, best-practice presentation model that hasn't worked for years and doesn't work now.

Is it correct to label PD presentations made by others in the form of a generalized set of skills as "hard"? The presentations are offered with good intentions and, having voluntary attendance, are certainly not being forced on anyone. Yet they go unattended as if they were top-down edicts forced on staff. Is there a way to soften these things (they aren't all useless)? I can see allowing instructors into the decision making to soften the process but how is that done without looking like just one more phoney "we appreciate your input" exercise? The only thought that comes to mind at this end is to stop attaching the word "technology" to every teaching moment as if no one dare enter a classroom (real or virtual) without some sort of electronic enhancement. Is it only the use of technology that creates hard situations?