2017 EDUCON Conference, Athens

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It was rather crowded in the Plato room where I was presenting today, yet only one more architect was present. This is indicative of how involved architectural schools are with online education. Nevertheless, the audience was great and I am glad I was there to share our work. (More on this paper will be published shortly).

Another interesting aspect for me was realizing that most people present were discussing centralized systems of content sharing, monitoring and control. Seems to me the condition of the current educational online practices in engineering education is much more influenced by the core principles of xMOOCs and the intensification of student performance rather than simply enjoying the benefits of having a much larger playground to experiment with in terms of teaching and learning.

I think what I mean is that people were too tight when discussing their projects. They were also very eager to prove that technology has helped them significantly in increasing student interest. Somewhere between colored charts and impressive diagrams I missed their stand and their passion. I don’t think this should be a competition of who does it better or more efficiently. I’d rather see people trying things out and struggling with new ideas -even failing at times- rather than finished products.

Overall, I am glad Athens has hosted such an event, I hope there will be more conferences like that to follow and with substantially more architects present!

*In the photo, Demetrios G. Sampson from Curtin University in Perth Australia, is showing how learning analytics can be retrieved through moodle plug ins. 

That’s all FOLC!

 

FOLC

The Fully Online Learning Community (FOLC) is a reduced social-constructivist learning model based on communities of inquiry model (CoI). FOLC particularly responds to four problems related to the transformation of higher education in an increasingly globalized and digitalized knowledge society:

  • the limitations of distance learning and MOOCs
  • the call for greater development of 21st century competencies desired by influential organizations such as the World Economic Forum and the Conference Board of Canada
  • the needs of transformative and emancipatory learning as conceptualized by Human Rights Education
  • the requests from some international partners for new models of learning aligned with democratic and socio-economic reforms

FOLC is based on the following concepts:

  • Social Presence: The ability of learners to project themselves socially and emotionally in a community of inquiry
  • Cognitive Presence: Four-phase procedural model, considered a generalization of scientific method, begins with a triggering event, and subsequently moves through phases of exploration, integration, and resolution
  • Teaching Presence: is here eliminated in favour of a more democratized approach to learning, one which places much greater emphasis on the community and learner empowerment.
  • Digital Space: FOLC recognizes four fundamental dimensions of human-computer-human interaction (technical, informational, social, and epistemological/computational) and their accompanying competencies as prerequisite layers supporting SP, CP, and collaborative learning. It offers well-established practices for the selection and use of digital affordances to foster fully online community learning.
  • Democratized learning: as a term, it is a loose, boundary construct with scattered presence in the literature: A. it deals with processes of learning not about democracy/ B. it addresses the fact that at the microlevel education tends to be authoritarian/ C. it emphasises on the deepening democracy/ D. it gains strength through digital technologies

Key themes emerge in relation to FOLC educational environments, including:

  • collective identity and responsibility: to build interpersonal relationships; to promote distributed responsibility for refining knowledge through challenging feedback that triggers cognitive dissonance; to encourage divergent thinking.
  • freedom and flexibility: adults share both structure and control of the digital space, respecting diverse personal learning needs, and working together to improve performance; individuals bring a variety of digital tools and skills to the FOLC
  • authenticity: an authentic context; authentic tasks and activities; access to expert performances; multiple perspectives; collaboration; reflection; articulation; coaching; authentic assessment
  • community and criticality: FOLC represents a joint enterprise understood and continually renegotiated by its members; fosters relationships of mutual engagement; establishes a shared repertoire of resources that members enthusiastically share

 

References

Todd J. B. BlayoneRoland vanOostveenWendy BarberMaurice DiGiuseppe and Elizabeth Childs, Democratizing digital learning: theorizing the fully online learning community model, in International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education201714:13, DOI: 10.1186/s41239-017-0051-4, available here

Image available here

Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation by Ikujiro Nonaka (Part II)

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First and foremost, knowledge creation is primarily dependent on the individual. Its quality depends on the variety of the individual’s experience and the knowledge of experience; thus ‘the embodiment (body and mind brought together) of knowledge through a deep personal commitment into bodily experience.

To bring personal knowledge into a social context within which it can be amplified, it is necessary to have a “field” that provides a place in which individual perspectives are articulated, and conflicts are resolved in the formation of higher-level concepts.

The self-organizing team triggers organizational knowledge creation through two processes:

  • it facilitates the building of trust; this occurs through sharing the individual original experience
  • the shared implicit perspective is conceptualized through continuous dialogues; dialogue in the form of face-to-face communication between persons is a process in which one builds concepts in cooperation with others and test hypotheses; interaction rhythms are both of of simultaneity and sequence

The team’s findings become crystallized through being double checked with other departments; justification comes nest as a process of final convergence; finally, the concept crystallized and justified is integrated into the org knowledge base with the aim to reorganize it.


the three enabling conditions for individual commitment:

  • creative chaos: perceived in its interaction with cosmos in a circular process and then becomes a cosmos; creative chaos is generated in crisis or intentionally by proposing challenging goals; chaos creates tension; tension is followed by reflection;
  • redundancy of information: conscious overlapping of info; it provides a vehicle for problem generation; helps individuals to recognize their location in the org which in turn increases their sense of control and direction;
  • requisite variety: the constructing of information process channels
    that match the information load imposed by the environment; an organization can maximize efficiency by creating within itself the same degree of diversity as the diversity it must process.

 

References

Nonaka, I., 1994, A Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation, Organization Science, Vol. 5, No. 1. (Feb., 1994), pp. 14-37.

Images available here 

Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation, by Ikujiro Nonaka (Part I)

NONAKA

as in a continuous dialogue between tacit and explicit knowledge: the distinction represents the epistemological dimension to organizational knowledge creation; while individuals produce develop new knowledge*, organizations still play a critical role in articulating and amplifying that knowledge. communities of interaction (pe informal) contribute to this through social interaction,  (ontological dimension of knowledge creation)

*the role of the individuals: they are committed to recreating the world in their own perspectives through

  • intention: any consciousness is a consciousness of sth; it creates the possibility of meaning and limits its form
  • autonomy: by allowing people to act autonomously the org may increase the possibility if introducing unexpected opportunities; connected to higher motivation; it gives individuals the freedom to absorb knowledge
  • fluctuation: as in the continuous interaction with the external world; chaos or discontinuity can generate new patterns of interaction; order without recursiveness; periodic break downs are triggered by env fluctuation;

the dominant organization paradigm: a system that ‘processes’ information or ‘solves’ problems, its task being making decisions in an uncertain environment. the input-process-output sequence, however, leaves out the important part of what is created by the organization in the process of problem-solving. the view of knowledge in traditional epistemology is absolute, static, and non human expressed in propositional forms of logic. in the theory of knowledge creation knowledge is a dynamic human process of justifying personal beliefs.

  • information: commodity capable of yielding knowledge; a flow of messages; information, seen from the semantic standpoint, literally
    means that it contains new meaning; information consists of differences
    that make a difference
  • knowledge: information produced belief that the information a person receives is relative to what he or she already knows about the possibilities at the source; it is created and organized by the flow of info; explicit or codified is knowledge that is transmittable on formal, systematic language,it is discreet or digital; tacit is when knowledge has a personal quality which makes it hard to communicate, it is rooted in action, it involves both cognitive (mental models) and technical (concrete know-how) elements.

NONAKA SPIRAL

four patterns of interaction between tacit and explicit knowledge_knowledge conversion

  • tacit to tacit: otherwise referred to as socialization; happens through interaction between individuals, no language required but observation, imitation, practice; the key to acquiring it is experience, in fact it is the shared experience
  • explicit to explicit: otherwise referred to as combination; use of social processes to reconfigure existing information  (aka modern computer systems)
  • tacit to explicit: otherwise referred to as externalization; by recognizing contraddictions or by resolving them through analogy
  • explicit to tacit: otherwise referred to as internalization;

The interactions between tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge will tend to become larger in scale and faster in speed as more actors in and around the organization become involved. Thus, organizational knowledge creation can be viewed as an upward spiral process, starting at the individual level moving up to the collective (group) level, and then to the organizational level, sometimes reaching out to the inter-organizational level.

References

Nonaka, I., 1994, A Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation, Organization Science, Vol. 5, No. 1. (Feb., 1994), pp. 14-37.

Images available here 

On the schism between architecture and technology, by S. Giedion

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1806 Napoleon founded Ecole des Beaux Arts (…) the program maintained the unity of arch with the other arts as in the baroque period (..) bad administration caused an increasing isolation of the arts from the conditions of ordinary life

the Ecole Polytechnique had been founded during the French Revolution in 1794 as an ecole speciale (…) it offered a uniform scientific preparation for the higher technical schools (…) it combined theoretical and practical science and it directly influenced industry (…) the school set itself the task to establish a connection between science and life (…)

the gap was between science and its techniques and arts (…) the separate existence of Ecole des Beaux Arts and Ecole Polytechnique point to the schism of architectural and construction. the schism revolved around two questions: a. along what lines should the arch training proceed at the time and b. what was the relation between engineer and architect.

Rondelet was the first to insist that scientific techniques had an important role to play in arch and that constructional methods had to be allowed much more influence upon the character of a building design (…) Van de Velde recognized that the engineer promised the regeneration and not the destruction of architecture (…) LeCorbusier in 1924 marked the solution between the two by saying that the century of the machine had awakened the architect…

Even before Le Corbusier, Henri Labrouste, born in Paris in 1801, was the first to have united the abilities of both the eng and the arch. In 1830 he objected to the curriculum of the Ecole des Beaux Arts and thus he opened his own atelier. The Ecole, isolated Labrouste until 12 years later when he was finally commissioned to design the Library of S. Genevieve in Paris in cast- and wrought-iron and the National Library just after that.

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Markets: Hall of the Madeleine 1824, Hungerfort Fish Market (London) 1835, The Grandes Halles 1853 by Baltard (rejected 1:Horeau rejected 2:Flachat)

Department Stores: Bon Marche (by Eiffel and Boileau)

The great exhibitions: A’ period 1798-1849_National/B; Period 1849-1900_International (…) They represent the history of iron construction and the important changes in aesthetic response (…) it became all the more difficult to differentiate between load and support (…) the vaulting problem has always brought forth the greatest architectural expressions of every epoch (…) Crystal Palace in 1851 and the Galerie des Machines of 1889 represented the two most prominent buildings of the great exhibitions (…) Crystal Palace in particular was an application of mass serial production (…) Paxton used the ridge and furrow system (…) The design of the building was planned around the largest standard sheet of glass (four feet long) (…) The CP realizes the intention to dematerialize landscape and dissolve it into infinity. 

 

References

Giedion, S., 1982 (1941), Space, Time and Architecture, Fifth Revised and Enlarged Edition, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, pp. 146-191

  • Image of Ecole Polytechnique available here
  • Image of Library Reading Room available here

On “The Rise of Educational Technology as a Sociocultural and Ideological Phenomenon”

EDTECH

Edtech is:

  • a response to increasing price of higher education: check ASU with edX collaboration, the Minerva Project or the Georgia tech (…) Over the past 30 years, the cost of attending college in the United States has risen by more than 225 percent, while the number of students attending degree-seeking college programs has more than doubled (…) The Thiel Fellowship offers youth $100,000 to pursue a pathway other than college
  • caused by a shift in political thought from government oversight to free-market oversight of education: Reducing governmental involvement and increasing emphasis on market forces in education has provided a space and an opportunity for the edtech industry to flourish (…) If we view higher education as an economic marketplace, the reduced state support could be seen as an attempt to address the negative effects of government intervention on that marketplace, enabling the private sector to respond to market imperfections.
  • symptomatic of the belief that education, like training, is a product to be packaged, automated, and delivered: Despite a lack of empirical proof of efficacy, the quest for technologies to deliver training and education at scale has continued through successive waves of technological innovations, including radio and television (…) Personalized learning software — which tailors instruction to individual learners’ needs, skills, and interests — is another example of efforts to automate and deliver education (…) ts very idea is predicated on defining discrete learning objectives; identifying content to address those objectives; packaging content into discrete chunks; delivering it to individual learners according to various behavioral, emotional, or cognitive measures; and automating the process so that it can be repeated for many different learners in many different contexts.
  • symptomatic of the technocentric belief that technology is a solution to the perils facing educationtechno-determinism, which holds that technology shapes its emerging society and techno-solutionism, which holds that technology will solve societal problems

According to the authors (Veletsianos & Moe): edtech is neutral, ahistorical, and apolitical. It assumes positive impacts and is positioned as the answer to the strains and consternations of administrators, faculty, students, teachers, and learning institutions.

 

References

Veletsianos, G., Moe, R., 2017, “The Rise of Educational Technology as a Sociocultural and Ideological Phenomenon“, EDUCAUSE Review

Image available here

Global Freshman Academy

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This is an Arizona State University (ASU) initiative in collaboration with edX to offer a full year of freshmen courses as MOOCs (for more click here) Students of these courses can buy their credit unit only if and when they are happy with their grade. The cost of a GFA class is 600 USD.

References

Image available here