Who Gets to be the Boss? Human Values and Technological Disruption

 

Since our April presentation at The Pacific Region LSAC Conference, Cecil Klassen,  Learning Centre Faculty at Douglas College and I revisited the idea of developing dialogue around the impact of technology on our work. Really this is the work of a 21st-century educator (and citizen/human!). We facilitated a participatory workshop at Douglas College on October 1 where we explored contemporary learning environments and the pros and cons of technological affordances. We lightly touched on the philosophical and “futurism” concerns re: technological disruption. For those of us that are interested in deeper dives into the theoretical implications, we recommended starting with the reading provided by Yuval Noah Harari, a leading public intellectual exploring the future of our species in a biotechnical world. The workshop engages educators who perceive a need for balance between pedagogy and technology. We are continuing the conversation with participants and others in our networks.  Watch for an upcoming “solutions” workshop in the new year. This will not be  prescriptive, rather a presentation of solutions people in our various educational circles have discovered or developed to address the wicked questions re: how to best retain our human values in the face of technological disruption. We can then further develop our own local solutions and strategies.

Notes collected during the Oct 1 workshop….

Continue reading “Who Gets to be the Boss? Human Values and Technological Disruption”

My Experience at the Digital Pedagogy Lab

I’d like to express gratitude to Douglas College people for supporting, encouraging, or otherwise showing interest in my participation in the July 30-August 3 Digital Pedagogies Lab at the UMW in Fredericksburg, Virginia. DPL is a unique international event that brings faculty, instructional designers, technical and pedagogical researchers, and other educators together to discuss and learn about navigating modern learning environments, with focus on social and human issues. I am determined to share what I learned at this summer institute for the benefit Douglas College faculty, staff, and students.

Here are a few takeaways gathered from the 5-day Digital Pedagogy Lab I participated in this year:

  • There are a lot of dedicated, passionate people involved in researching, developing frameworks and solutions, and practice of teaching and learning skills in the modern digital environment.
  • “Digital” includes questions concerning modern literacies, citizenship, social justice, agency, and creativity (and is not a synonym for technology or EdTech)
  • There are important distinctions between digital skills and digital literacies
  • There are open, sharable resources on creating and implementing a digital fluency framework for a PSE (more on this later…)
  • A deep dive by educators into how to inform and protect students in online learning environments is necessary
  • There are tools to help faculty self-identify how they use the LMS, and this can help get more value for instructors and students.
  • There are open, sharable resources to encourage and support digital citizenship, and critical and thoughtful inquiry into academic integrity ( Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers)

I was in the Digital Literacies track, and we engaged in collaborative work under the guidance of Jade E. Davis, PhD, a Columbia University scholar and Director of Digital Project Management for Columbia University Libraries

What is the Digital Pedagogy Lab?

Digital Pedagogy Lab is an annual learning and teaching event that provides an “in-depth dialogue and practical experience to educators working in under-theorized digital learning spaces.” Themes include:

  • The facility of online and digital learning
  • The ways that educational technology and instructional design make space for, or do not make space for, student agency
  • Accessibility, disability, equity, student rights, teacher agency, and the representation of unheard and silenced voices in education
  • Pedagogies, policies, and critical practices that support agency, creativity, and inquiry

For more detail, please visit Digital Pedagogy Lab

Continue reading “My Experience at the Digital Pedagogy Lab”

Podcast! Encourage your students’ voice

 

Lisa Smith and Steven Bishop facilitated a workshop at Douglas College that opened up discussions about listening and encouraging student voice, examined Lisa’s process of developing a podcasting assignment in her Gender and Youth Cultures class, and provided some basic audio recording information. The workshop included:

  • Listening as practice (activity)
  • A case study of the development, implementation, and showcasing of a classroom podcast assignment
  • Examples of student and expert podcasts
  • Skills inventory (activity)
  • Technical overview of audio recording, editing, and producing
  • Live recording demo with Audacity software and Yeti microphone
  • Full group discussion of how to bring this approach into the class

Link to the PODcast! Presentation

Link to Podcast Workshop Resources (Google Document)

Podcast Pedagogies – Episode III

In this final podcast of the series, Steven Bishop and Lisa Smith, sit down with Kelsey Huebchen, a Douglas College student who was enrolled in GSWS 2101 and completed a podcast as part of her course work. From an instructor perspective, Lisa discusses some of the benefits of exploring podcasting as a pedagogical and evaluative tool. Kelsey reflects on some of the differences between producing a podcast and writing a research paper.

Listen to the podcast

Lisa recommends instructors keep in mind the following if considering podcasting as an assignment:

1) Introduce the idea early on in the course.

In my class, I discussed the podcast assignment in-depth on the first day of class and had printed copies of the assignment guideline. I took time to go through this with students to ensure that they understood that this was a part of the course and that they would have time to acquire the skills / knowledge required to complete this assignment. 

2) Identify student skills and concerns early on.

In the second course of the semester, I had students work in groups to complete a questionnaire that identified concerns about the podcasting assignment, as well as any existing skills that they already had that would be helpful for this project (for example, do you know how to use the voice recorder on your phone). Following this, we conducted a “skills inventory” of the class as whole. This was really helpful for identifying the different skills that students already had, but also which students might be able to provide assistance to others.

3) Keep podcasting as a subtle, but constant theme throughout the course

Each week, we would listen to a podcast in class. This allowed us to use podcasts as a way to get further into topics we were reading about, but also allowed me to share different kinds of podcasts with students to demonstrate that there were different ways to approach this assignment. Students enjoyed discussing the subject matter in the podcasts, as well as the various elements of production. 

4) Focus evaluation on the planning / organization / research for the podcast.

For this assignment, only a portion of the total grade was based on the actual finished product. Further, students were not graded on the technical quality of the podcast. 

5) Establish a reasonable time limit for the final podcast product.

As an instructor, keep in mind that you will need to listen to ALL the podcasts. Be sure to consider how much time is reasonable for you to spend listening to podcasts at the end of term.

What does that have to do with technology?

By Steven Bishop

I am getting better at answering the question, “What you are talking about is important, but what does that have to do with technology?” This question is probably more implied, and probably more personal and internal, than one I am asked by others directly. My job title is Online Learning Designer, a role that involves:

  • supporting faculty with their use of the college’s Learning Management System (LMS)
  • collaborating with educational and informational technology staff to ensure currency and quality of online learning environments
  • instructing faculty in the design and production of online learning objects
  • providing “exceptional client-centered service on a consistent basis to all stakeholder groups”

Depending on what one thinks technology means, there is lots of room for interpretation of the above functions. Because the environment is technological (e.g. digital, computer-based, online), there can be an assumption that the primary work is within prescribed technologies. Ursula Franklin, defines a prescriptive technology as that which “Each step is carried out by a separate worker, or group of workers, who need to be familiar only with the skills of performing that one step. This is what is normally meant by division of labour.” (Franklin, 1990)

Franklin also identifies holistic technology as “…associated with the notion of craft” and involving decisions that can only be made while the work is in process, by the artisan themselves. Holistic technology is endangered in our modern, compliance-based, and prescriptive technological environment, where one misplaced character in a line of code causes failure, and where algorithms decide what information we are fed on our smart phones and computers.

There are a number of reasons why I think a holistic approach to Educational Technology is needed, Continue reading “What does that have to do with technology?”