Thoughts on Learning and Knowledge Analytics in Open Education

Reading seminar

Review n. 2, ISKM57 Reading Seminar: Educational Technology and Learning Society

This week reading was focused on exploring the options of learning and knowledge analytics in open education. I have read two chapters of the collection: the first one, Social Media: An Integration Guideline for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education provided research findings on use of social media of faculty members and introduced a guideline on implementing social media in the process of learning in higher education, and the second one, Utopian and Dystopian Futures for Learning Technologies set the future prognosis on use of learning technologies.

Social Media: An Integration Guideline for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

I have chosen this chapter because I am personally very interested in the use of social media in education. I believe that social media can be an enriching learning tool, if used thoughtfully and carefully. I plan to experiment with it in my thesis, so I was particularly excited to read this one! 🙂

First part of the chapter introduces the research conducted on faculty members of Purdue University. It examines their personal, professional and academic use of social media. The most used social media tools are listed with the differences described among the demographics. Second part is devoted to discussing the external and internal barriers in integrating social media in teaching and learning, such as lack of time, awareness and support, resistance to change or concerns about privacy. In order to address these worries, the guideline for social media integration is developed and introduced by the authors.

The guideline presents specific instructions about how to deal with issues like copyright, harassment online, technical barriers like slow wi-fi or appropriate structure of educational programmes in this field.

What caught my eye? 🙂

Here are moments I found interesting, worth mentioning or thinking about:

  • The use of Pinterest is the highest among 45-54 years old. It is also significantly higher among women. Why is it so?
  • The teachers prefer to hear about tool-use from another faculty member. In my opinion, this indicates that peer-to-peer learning can be a meaningful concept not only for students, as it is often used, but also for teachers. What are the possibilites of peer-to-peer learning of teachers?
  • The most mentioned problem among the asked faculty members was the lack of time – “takes too much time to learn or use”, they marked in the survey. How can we compensate the time teachers invest in learning how to use the technology for their teaching, and in supporting students in using it? If this time is not appreciated appropriately, there is no wonder some teachers hesitate to involve more technologies in their teaching.

In my opinion, this study serves as a pragmatical set of instructions more than an inspiring reasoning on why to use social media in higher education. It is mainly focused on ovecoming problems and barriers, which are for sure recognized very carefully. For me it just lacks some spark of inspiration and excitement! 🙂 I would welcome examples of good practice, successful and meaningful use of social media in higher education, creative and inspiring use etc. I am sure authors know plenty of these, they just did not share it with us. 😉

Utopian and Dystopian Futures for Learning Technologies

What is the future of educational technologies? I am pumped to know! 🙂 That is why it is no surprise I chose to read the about utopian and dystopian views of their future.

The chapter starts with explaining the key terms. Utopia, is an imaginary place where everything is perfect – government, laws, social conditions, relationships – everything. Dystopia is quite the contrary – everything is unpleasant and bad, the system is typically totalitarian and the environment is degraded. Some typical examples of utopia and dystopia are mentioned, such as Star Wars, Brave New World, heaven or Plato’s Republic (Can you guess, which is which? 😉 ).

The body of text focuses on presenting utopian model of the future of learning technologies based on multiple reports from specialized institutions. It recognizes key factors of change, forces likely to affect education, key shifts and their influences on learning organizations, technologies and learners. The dystopian view is introduced very briefly in the end of the chapter.

The key factors of change in the future of education are personalisation, collaboration and informalisation. Simply put, learning is becoming learner-centred, peer-learning and collaborating is significantly involved, and learning is becoming more and more informal, in terms of being anywhere, anytime and blending real and virtual experience (or on-life, if you prefer so 😉 ).

The character of education is shifting from firmly arranged institutions to learning flow. What does it mean? The education no longer takes place exclusively in the school desk, rather it is more fluid, happening in different environments and continuously. The rapidly changing world makes us so to say “eternal students”.

The most interesting part to me was the one introducing “future stories” – themes which will shape the future discussion about education. Which are these? 🙂

  1. Content Commons – on the Internet, there can be found wide range of open digital resources, such as text, simulations, audio, video, images and other learning sources. How do we use them in our learning process?
  2. Embedded and Embodied Learning – information we learn is not bound to the classroom, it is embedded into our everyday world, everyday experiences. What does this change in the way we learn?
  3. Human-Software Symbiosis – thanks to smart machines and software we can accomplish tasks, we could not previously. How does this change our goals?
  4. Socialstructed Work – platforms like Wikipedia, Hit-hit or others are based on microcontributions of thousands of people to create a greater whole. What projects does this allow us to achieve?
  5. Global Learning Arbitrage – learning providers all around the globe, mentors, tutors and teachers create new ways how to obtain certificated education. How does this change the way we are thinking about formal learning?

How do we approach this future stories? Where will they lead us? How do we feel about them? So much to talk about, so much to discuss! 🙂

Lai, F., Lehman, J. (Eds.) (2017). Learning and Knowledge Analytics in Open Education. Springer.

One thought on “Thoughts on Learning and Knowledge Analytics in Open Education

  1. Hello Anna, thank you for your review, I enjoyed reading it 🙂 I made a mind map trying to follow your thoughts if you are interested.

    I especially appreciate the part “What caught my eye” and the fact that your area of interest covers one of the chapters. I would like to read your thesis once it is finished. It seems hard for me to suggest a book for you, as you appear to be much more informed than me, but perhaps you did not come across this book:
    concerning social media in education, and this book:

    although the second one is not primarily connected to education and teaching.

    Liked by 1 person

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