I had a down trip to Wales today (from rural Oxfordshire), visiting the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), part of the University of Glamorgan. I was invited to talk with the Blended Learning course, following a presentation I gave to the ESIS group last year in Cardiff. It's always flattering when somebody who's seen you talk provides a further invitation - and often tricky to fit into the diary. But, with six months notice, we found mutually agreeable dates, and I found myself standing in front of 40 academic staff from universities across south Wales, talking on the subject of "Transformed Education".
At this point, you might wonder why I might be doing this. After all, what right have I (we) got to tell others what Transformed Education looks like? And me especially, as I never made it through to the august institutions of higher learning. But the theme of 'transformed education' isn't about me telling others the way it is going to be, but instead it's a story about how the world of learning is being changed by new technologies, new student skills and attitudes, and new approaches to institutional structure, and what the implications of all of these things could be.
If you want to see what we covered, the presentation files are all available:
|Shift Happens |
- the UK version
|More info available here|
- CELT version
- the movie
|Try it yourself on the Popfly website|
- the trailer
|More info, and longer videos available here|
One of the questions at the end was (and if I summarise this badly, I'm sure the person who asked the original question will correct me!):
If the students are relying more heavily on ICT to support their learning, and using ICT much more to find information, will it lead to a shallower level of learning and understanding? Won't it mean the end of "deep learning?
Which stimulated an interesting debate about whether the issue was that the students needed to learn differently, or whether they needed a deeper skill set to be able to learn in a new way. I think I learnt from the debate that there is a wide gap between the assumed skills of "digital natives" and the actual skills. They may be able to use all of the new web-world technologies at a surface level, but do they have the skills to be able to use them at the deeper level that will enhance their knowledge (eg do we all know how to properly search the web).
I also learnt that some of my learning is shallow - most of the time I don't go to page two of a search engine, but instead redefine my search. This was the same for half of the room - but what are we missing by not looking beyond that first page?