Research Panel – Day 1

October 30, 2007

Research Panel:

Toru Liyoshi, M.S.. Vijay Kumar, Andy Lane, Diana Laurillard and Stuart Lee

Toru stands up first and describes a book that the panel have all had a hand in creating. Diana stands up next and suggests that Open Education might act as a catalyst for educational reform. She suggests that this might help teachers and lecturers learn how to improve education. The thing is, at Handheld Learning a couple of weeks ago, this same point was made. However many of the HL2007 delegates were teachers and they were rather dismayed at being labelled technologically behind. Diana talks about enabling teachers to act as researchers through technology enabled collaboration. I’d like to hear a response from a teacher because at HL2007 the teachers did respond to these challenges and made some very good points. Perhaps the ones who went to HL2007 were already quite technology advanced and maybe not representative of the teaching population at large. However it certainly made me question people’s sweeping suggestions that we need to change teachers, or support them in changing. The teachers who spoke up at HL2007 interpreted this as implying that they were seen as passive recipients of the wisdom of academics.

She’s now describing how we can design the pedagogic form of collaborative learning. This “template” should be transferrable between subjects and disciplines. Enabling teachers to share their ideas and build on what they’ve created.

It all sounds plausible. Combining learning objects and designs. I’m not totally convinced. Learning objects have been around for a while but I didn’t think there had been much takeup. Perhaps the pedagogical design was missing.

Stuart Lane now stands up. Makes the point that although Openlearning is a good idea, but unless we overcome the barriers at both micro and micro levels, it won’t progress.

“We are in danger of sleepwalking into closed learning”

Talks about how the VLE pigeon-holes you into the role of tutor, learner or sys admin. Tyranny of the SIS.  I think he’s making the point that the OpenLearn content cannot get through the organisational rules of the Oxford course management system because of licensing issues. The reason for this is because control = money.


Better tool quality

Open source (not the be all and end all as it is very possible to create a dogs breakfast out of OS)

remove licence restrictions

VLEs without fixed roles

He’s not too worried about the technical restrictions and moves onto what he calls the cultural gates.

  • Need active engagement of teaching workforce
  • Institutional competitiveness
  • CLA?? Digital licence. Lecturers are worried about getting copyright problems.
  • Not everything is in a fit state to share.
  • Not everyone wants to share their materials

It’s now 5pm and there is another 45 minutes to go. I think I’m all blogged out.


2 Responses to “Research Panel – Day 1”

  1. James Says:

    All blogged out? Well, well done on making it this far anyway…
    I’m not sure I understand why “enabling teachers to act as researchers through technology enabled collaboration” might be seen as portraying teachers as passive, technologically backward or as a problem to be fixed. And surely a discourse of “improving education” doesn’t imply these portrayals either? But it’s an interesting reflection. Could you expand on this?

  2. Gill Says:

    I was reacting to what I saw as assumptions are sometimes embedded in the discourses of educational research. I wonder how a teacher would react to the suggestion that we need to support them and help them act more like researchers. Research is important, but do researchers make better teachers?

    I didn’t quote a great deal from the talk, just my reactions to it, so there isn’t alot in my blog entry to explain or justify my reaction. It might be interesting to listen back to the audio recording.

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