Social Learning ‘push’ and ‘pull’, and building platforms for collaborative thinking
If I’m thinking correctly, and I do like how this chapter addresses the change, particularly in education, that collaboration is building while curriculum for curriculums sake is waning. I can testify that the variety of learning now available via platforms has taken us from the physical classroom or workroom to worldwide resources, events, and situations. As this particular chapter notes, the end user is ‘pulling’ the information that is necessary for a particular study, class, or research project.
I have been using all of the technologies as discussed without really considering that shift, until reading about the changes. What has been created in technology helps someone get to what they need while putting them in communication with a multitude of resources to include texts, settings and people for that particular need. As a simple example, I just thought of Irish weaving because I’m Irish and I do sew here and there and I do have an interest in woven goods. I search the term, ‘Irish weaving’ and immediately I am give choices of what direction I want to go. Do I want…
Or, do I want to know any of the above? If so, I follow the link and lose myself in the realm of Irish weaving.
I understand in layman’s terms what our authors, Lankshear and Knobel are explaining about the shift, but I have a much more simplistic and definitely visual understanding. The thinking of platform design comes back to authentic learning which has been in practice before technology, but very different and more narrow by virtue of where one lived. For example, me, from Iowa back in the day discovered about other people and nations from library books and National Geographic Magazine. I recall Mr. Bell, world traveler, coming to our elementary school yearly and bringing artifacts and movies (the reel kind) to take us around the world. Now, the physical boundaries dissolve and virtually every content can be found. We are connecting with others as our passions intersect although we only meet virtually. The ‘push’ effect of giving us what has been constructed, i.e. Mr. Bell, has dramatically shifted. This as a simplistic example helps me understand what is given or shared or required is so different than my desire to study ‘x’ and doing so. Or as a collaborative team of people we will do ‘x’ and we may meet or we may be asynchronous or we may meet through an online host. The changes are exponential.
Lankshear and Knobel (2011) say the following: Rather than seeking to dictate the actions that people must take, pull models seek to provide people on the periphery with the tools and resources (including connections to other people) required to take initiative and creatively addresses opportunities as they arise… Pull models treat people as networked creators (even when they are customers purchasing goods and services) who are uniquely positioned to transform uncertainty from a problem into an opportunity. Pull models are ultimately designed to accelerate capability building by participants, helping them to learn as well as innovate, by pursuing trajectories of learning that are tailored to their specific needs. (p.228-229).
To be the devil’s advocate, here are some of my observations for what also has transpired with the amazing technological advances. There are platforms created to monitor online behavior. I can only imagine is is prevalent in the corporate work place, as in education, is that what I do, you do, or for that matter what any of us do can now be even more scrutinized. Smile at the camera as you walk by, and if you are at your computer you most likely are being scrutinized. When is someone online? What work have been done? What period of the day were you not in class? Why can’t I speak with a person vs. only accessing a chat or leaving a voicemail to a recording? Can I only record my child’s absence with an insensitive rote recording? Why doesn’t Survey Monkey allow me to flesh out my thoughts? Why can I only choose between the range of ‘never’ to ‘always’? There will most likely always be ‘the good’, ‘the bad’ and ‘the ugly’ with advancements made.
The flip side of progressing and using technology for marvelous advancements and creations is also a weight, a burden a ‘big brother is watching you’, and that is not just a feeling, it is in fact a reality. I am advancing…look at me….ILT CU Denver…but I hope to have a footing of caution as I proceed not just here but anywhere.