Monday, July 16, 2007

Introduction to my thinking......

School as it is presently constituted has simply become irrelevant to the upcoming generation of students (Prensky, 2007) who now attend at the k-12 level. Electronic communication has changed the transactional distance of learning and redefined space and time. Michael Moore, the originator of transactional theory, writes: "Even though there are now means of communicating with learners besides having a class, the class is still the main way that students are organized. This is partly because teachers and administrators can think of no other way of organizing students, and partly because in the short term--though not in the long term--it is the cheapest way of delivering the teaching acts of stimulation, presnetation, application, evaluation, and student support. (Moore, 1996, p 122)

Zane Berge, a professor at UMBC, has investigated barriers to the implimentation of e-learning at K-12 schools and found that the largest barrier is faculty and administrative resistance to change. He made several suggestions for improvements but they all dealt with training and equipment for the teachers to operate within the present paradigm. He made no attempt to explore the struture of the paradigm and the lack of electronic networking and teaching. (Berge, 2002). A signifcant problem that Berge fails to investigate is the separation of intellectual vision between the students who attend the schools and the teachers and administrators who organize the school. Pensky describes these two generations as "digital natives" (the kids in school) and "digital imigrants" (school decision makers). E-learning demands a different form of learning institution than the structure of school and its emphasis on control and curriculum.

It is my intention to suggest a new paradigm of learning that utilizes the ideas of Marc Prensky and James Paul Gee in the area of gaming and digital communication. In what follows I will draw a blueprint of a just in time electronic learning environment based on the video game paradigm. I hope to demonstrate how this paradigm, combined with simulation learning, , will create a new networked learning enviorment that will approach the web of learning proposed by Ivan Illich and the dialogic ideas of Paulo Freire.

More to come...........

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A Blueprint for change...

"A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known. Such a system would require the application of constitutional guarantees to education. Learners should not be forced to submit to an obligatory curriculum, or to discrimination based on whether they possess a certificate or a diploma. Nor should the public be forced to support, through regressive taxation, a huge professional apparatus of educators and buildings which in fact restricts the public's chances for learning to the services the profession is willing to put on the market. It should use modern technology to make free speech, free assembly, and a free press truly universal and, therefore, fully educational"

-Ivan Illich