The ‘University Networks’ project by George Siemens

Networks

It involves working with a small number of universities, or specific faculties and departments, that are committed to rethinking and redesigning how they operate. 30 universities over a period of 4 years will rethink and redesign university operations to align with the modern information and knowledge ecosystem. The intention is to offer innovative teaching and learning opportunities, utilizing effective learning analytics models, integrating learning across all spaces of life, and creating a digital and networked mindset to organization operations

  • cohort model where universities learn from each other
  • centralized consultancy
  • universities working with a fraction of the investment needed in working with a traditional corporation or consultancy firm
  • serve the advancement of science through modern universities while actively researching systemic transformation in higher education

Full text available here/ Image available here

OEB Mid-Summit_Donald Clark’s 10 recommendations

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  1. HE must lower its costs and scale
  2. Develop different and digital HE model for developing world
  3. Stop talking past each other, talk to each other: Higher Ed has a widespread and deep anti-corporate culture
  4. Don’t lecture me!: ognitive psychology and educational research showed the redundancy of the lecture as a core pedagogic principle (…) we learn through the correction of errors, yet teaching methods fail to recognize this core cognitive fact
  5. Research is not a necessary condition for teaching – break the link: Research skills require systematic thinking, attention to detail, understanding of methods and analysis. Teaching skills require social skills, communication skills, the ability to hold an audience, keep to the right level, avoid cognitive overload, good pedagogic skills and the ability to deliver constructive feedback
  6. Build less. Balance out the capital budget with a substantial digital budget: It is perhaps time to consider, what John Daniel called, a ‘default to digital’ for some courses.
  7. Open up to outside, not just with technology but culturally: there’s some good and real change happening within HE but they tend to be, and remain, outliers; the core system is in stasis
  8. Embrace transformative technology: the complexity of the problems we face and the need for smart, technological solutions in education
  9. Strategic, costed initiatives with change management: recognizing the issues and taking a strategic approach to solutions
  10. Rebalance academic and vocational: pleas for more learning by doing and more apprenticeship

Full article available here/ Image available here

On the importance of social learning in architectural studies

SOCIAL LEARNING

  • Cuff, 1991/Nicol-Pilling, 2000: rich social dynamic and socialized learning in a learning setting form a central plank of the studio-based pedagogy for arch design. Although studio learning has historically utilized the cohort, peer interaction has further potential to alleviate the detrimental effects of power that can manifest themselves in tutor-student relationships.
  • Parnell, 2001: The social dimensions of the studio and the opportunity for collaboration and sharing act as stimulants to learning
  • Fisher, 1991: fraternity culture, it is the culture of the studio that acquires lasting significance for students
  • Costa-Kallick, 1991: critical friend_it enables a form of peer to peer dialogue that directly parallels the kinds of conversation that occur between students in the learning process
  • Dutton, 1991: peer to peer relationships are relatively free from the symptoms of power asymmetries
  • Schaffer, 2003: learning takes place through the internalization of social processes of evaluation and that the norms of the community become a framework for individual thinking and individual identity
  • Boud, 2001: peer learning promotes other facets of learning such as team working, the management of personal learning and judgment and the ability to critique both self and others
  • Anthony, 1991: informal dialogue and formalized learning offers the students the possibility to obtain multiple perspectives and opportunity for continuous discourse. The nature of the studio means that students are exposed to numerous, frequently conflicting perspectives which can present challenges, especially during the early stages of study.
  • Klebesadel-Kornetsky, 2009: critique, as a mode of offering structured and unstructured feedback is a mode that is shared by all the creative arts
  • Bruffee, 1999: constructive conversation as a means to harness peer interaction, socialization and critical dialogue
  • Piaget, 1985: co-operation as central to the development of reflection, discourse and critical abilities
  • Vygotsky, 1986: zone of proximal development term that described how social interaction constitutes a necessary component for full cognitive development to be achieved
  • Flavell, 1985-Stahl, 1992: cognitive and meta-cognitive processes of knowledge construction contradict the common assumption that knowledge is effectively conveyed from tutor to student in feedback processes. Student learning  was found to be conditioned by the individuals’ existing knowledge and understanding, against which new information is aligned creating either a deepening of knowledge or leading to previous knowledge being revised. 
  • Askew, 2000: power has a profound relationship to feedback, whether formative or summative
  • Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006: peer interaction occurs where student progress generates dialogue and criticism
  • Mezirow, 1997: there are instances when students actively seek the authority of the tutor and points where power can be constructively channelled to challenge and stretch students through shifting their frames of reference in ways that peer dialogue is unlikely to achieve
  • Rowntree, 1977: feedback is fundamental to effective learning

 

References

David McClean & Neasa Hourigan, 2013. Critical Dialogue in Architecture Studio: Peer
Interaction and Feedback. In Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 8:1, 35-57

Image of Macquarie University Social Learning Space / Bennett and Trimble is available here

Design Studio Education in the Online Paradigm: Introducing Online Educational Tools and Practices to an Undergraduate Design Studio Course

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Abstract— the architectural design studio, the prevailing form of design education, has resisted opening up to online educational tools and practices. Yet its affinities to the newest theories of learning such as connectivism are many. This paper describes an experimental configuration of multiple learning environments in diverse mediums for an undergraduate design studio at the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens. The aim of the studio’s layout transformation has been to explore its physical boundaries and to create a collaborative milieu between peers that facilitated communication and thus, the exchange of information and knowledge.

Keywords—design studio; design research; collaborative design; online education; complexity theory; connectivism

Embodied Action & Enaction

ENACTION

  • embodied action

embodied: cognition depends upon the kinds of experience that come from having a body with various sensorimotor capacities and that these individual sensorimotor capacities are themselves embedded in a more encompassing biological, psychological and cultural context/ action: sensory and motor processes, perception and action, are fundamentally inseparable in lived cognition.

  • enaction

it consists of two points: a. perception consists in perceptually guided action (how the perceiver can can guide his actions in his local situation) and b. cognitive structures emerge from the recurrent sensorimotor patterns that enable action to be perceptually guided (since the situations an individual is found in constantly change, the reference point for understanding perception is no longer a pregiven, but the sensorimotor structure of the perceiver-the way in which the nervous system links sensory and motor surfaces). The overall concern for the enactive approach to perception is to determine the common principles or lawful linkages between sensory and motor systems.

Merleau-Ponty:

The properties of the object and the intentions of the subject . . . are not only intermingled; they also constitute a new whole (…) Since all the movements of the organism are always conditioned by external influences, one can, if one wishes, readily treat behavior as an effect of the milieu. But in the same way, since all the stimulations which the organism receives have in tum been possible only by its preceding movements which have culminated in exposing the receptor organ to external influences, one could also say that behavior is the first cause of all the stimulations.

Piaget:

The laws of cognitive gevelopment, even at the sensorimotor stage, are an assimilation of and an accommodation to that pregiven world.

One of the most fundamental cognitive activities that all organisms perform is categorization. By this means the uniqueness of each experience is transformed into the more limited set of learned, meaningful categories to which humans and other organisms respond (…) In the enactive view, although mind and world arise together in enaction, their manner of arising in any particular situation is not arbitrary (…) The basic level of categorization appears to be the point at which cognition and environment become simultaneously enacted.

Johnson:

kinesthetic image schemas: for example, the container schema, the part-whole schema, and the source-path-goal schema

 

References

Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson and Eleanor Rosch, 1993. The embodied mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience, MIT Press, pp. 172-180

Image available here

Activity Theory and Expansive Learning

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Cultural-historical activity theory was initiated by Lev Vygotsky (1978) in the 1920s and early 1930s. It was further developed by Vygotsky’s colleague and disciple Alexei Leont’ev (1978, 1981). In my reading, activity theory has evolved through three generations of research (Engeström, 1996).

  • The first generation, centered around Vygotsky, created the idea of mediation (…) Vygotsky’s idea of cultural mediation of actions is commonly expressed as the triad of subject, object, and mediating artifact (…) Objects became cultural entities and the object-orientedness of action became the key to understanding human psyche (…) The limitation of the first generation was that the unit of analysis remained individually focused.
  • The second generation, centered around Leont’ev (…) Leont’ev explicated the crucial difference between an individual action and a collective activity (…) object-oriented actions are always, explicitly or implicitly, characterized by ambiguity, surprise, interpretation, sense-making, and potential for change. The concept of activity took the paradigm a huge step forward in that it turned the focus on complex interrelations between the individual subject and his or her community.
  • The third generation of activity theory needs to develop conceptual tools to understand dialogue, multiple perspectives, and networks of interacting activity systems (…) Wertsch (1991) introduced Bakhtin’s (1981) ideas on dialogicality as a way to expand the Vygotskian framework. Ritva Engeström (1995) went a step further by pulling together Bakhtin’s ideas and Leont’ev’s concept of activity, and others have developed notions of activity networks, discussed Latour’s actor-network theory, and elaborated the concept of boundary crossing within activity theory.

In its current shape, activity theory may be summarized with the help of five principles:

  • a collective, artifact-mediated and object-oriented activity system, seen in its network relations to other activity systems, is taken as the prime unit of analysis
  • the multi-voicedness of activity systems
  • historicity as activity systems take shape and get transformed over lengthy periods of time
  • central role of contradictions as sources of change and development
  • possibility of expansive transformations in activity systems

Expansion is a form of learning that transcends linear and socio-spatial dimensions of individual and short-lived actions (…) learning is understood in the broader and temporally much longer perspective of a third dimension, that is, the dimension of the development of the activity (…) Expansion is the result of a transition process from actions currently performed by individuals to a new collective activity (…) A transition from action to activity is considered expansive when it involves the objective transformation of the actions themselves and when subjects become aware of the contradictions in their current activity in the perspective of a new form of activity.

 

References

Cambridge University Press. Learning and Expanding with Activity Theory. Edited by Annalisa Sannino, Harry Daniels and Kris D. Gutierrez Frontmatter, 978-0-521-76075-1.

Yrjö Engeström. Expansive learning: Toward an activity-theoretical reconceptualization.

Image available here (Engeström, Y. (2001). Expansive learning at work: Toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of education and work, 14(1), 133–156. Taylor & Francis)

Zone of Proximal Development

The-Zone-of-Proximal-Development

The zone of proximal development, often abbreviated as ZPD, is the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can do with help. It is a concept introduced, yet not fully developed, by Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934) during the last ten years of his life (…) Vygotsky stated that we can’t just look at what students are capable of doing on their own; we have to look at what they are capable of doing in a social setting. In many cases students are able to complete a task within a group before they are able to complete it on their own.

Image available here/ Source Wikipedia