Wednesday, December 9, 2009

General: Thoughts on Ascilite and research in educational technologies

Ascilite 09 finished yesterday. It was an excellent event, great to catch up with colleagues past and present. My own invited address, though purposefully provocative, seemed to be well-received; I spoke on the phenomenon of groupthink and its dangers in a connected world.

In the last day of the event, reflecting after my attendance of several presentations, it occured to me that some were emphasising reflection on practice over informed practice. In other words, some of the lessons presenters drew from their experiences were actually highly predictable and already known, based on literature already available.

In other words, instead of the expected
Informed practice to intervention to post-reflection
I was encountering
Intervention to post-reflection to (pre-existing) informed practice.
I wonder... do we in e-learning circles tend to do more than we actually read?


jennylu said...

I'm very interested in the presentation you delivered at Ascilite. It certainly sparked a flurry of discussion. I was watching (so to speak) from what I assume you refer to as the blahblahblathosphere and would love to see a recording of the presentation if one exists. I agree with you in part; there is a danger of being part of 'groupthink' and not hearing or taking note of the dissenting voice. What I love about the blogosphere (if indeed, that is what you were referring to) is that there are people who are willing to put their efforts into exploring new ideas and put them into practice in their classrooms. The sharing of these experiences via blog entries, twitter updates etc are informing the practice of others out there who are looking for ways to try new things and potentially change our approaches to teaching and learning. Maybe your question at the end of your talk about whether enthusiasm is matched by evidence needs to be tested in the classrooms of those very teachers who are pushing boundaries.

Nichthus said...

Hi there Jennylu,

Thanks for your comments. I, too, like the blogosphere - but I am wary of the nature of the conversations that take place in it. Inevitably, online discourse in small chunks like this leaves alot unsaid and assumed, making truly critical and in-depth discourse somewhat difficult. I'm not anti-innovation, not for a moment; I am more cautious than anything else!

Re your last point, "about whether enthusiasm is matched by evidence needs to be tested in the classrooms of those very teachers who are pushing boundaries" - yep, I agree. Such studies are being - have been - done, and the results are not as revolutionary as some advocates would like. Research IS being done, and one of my bugbears is that not enough take the time to consider it.

Apologies re the session not being recorded. It made its point, and my fear is that releasing it might open it for a level of critique it was not prepared to withstand. If you're interested I can send you the transcript - email me at nichthus at gmail dot com.

Warm regards,