Teaching with technology (mini conference)

UCT (18 November), hosted by Glenda Cox (Centre for Educational Technology)

Academic greybeards and the Net Generation

Derek Smith

Presenter starts off with the mistaken idea that the “net generation” is about age. It's not. It's about digital proficiency.

We need to focus on learning spaces (rather than “teaching” spaces). This will require a mindshift, from both teachers and students.

Communities of Practice will create opportunities for everyone. In what way?

Who is the Net Generation (from Oblinger, 2005)? They are:

  • digital, connected, experiential, immediate, social
  • work in teams, peer to peer
  • they engage and experience
  • are visual
  • just need the essentials, not whatever is on the periphery

Knowledge disappears when academics retire? But others will take their place, who will do things more efficiently, and will be better academics. Academics have been retiring for centuries, yet knowledge continues to grow. I'm struggling to see the connection the speaker is trying to make between the experience of academics (“greybeards”) and the Net Generation?

New academcs need different competencies:

  • Advisor
  • Facilitator
  • Mentor
  • Knowledge manager
  • Administrator

What is a personal learning space? What are the tools that can build that space? How will a personal learning space be changed through interaction with others?

Speaker talks about crowd-sourcing (my words, he talks about working together to write a book) book reviews (but it's through a mailing list! There are better collaborative platforms). I wonder if we can crowd-source academic publications? Now that's peer review (provided you get the right crowd).

Why do CoP fail (Dube et al, 2005)?

  • Low facilitator involvement
  • Irrelevant topics for participants
  • No organisational support (what kind of person would make a good facilitator?)

So far a lot of rambling about groups, but where is this going? What's tying all of these disparate ideas together? Talking about CoP, but examples given are not really CoP. He's talking about TED being a CoP. Does he mean social networks? He has a poor perception of what social networks are. Facebook is bad, but LinkedIn is good? They can be the same thing. I think that both can be bad and good. Both serve specific purposes. It depends on what your needs are.

Here we go, the big plan: Build a CoP for ICT academics to share courseware and research, where experts give advice to new academics and students → talking about web portals!

He's trying to position older academics as leaders in CoP. But there's no reason that anyone can't lead a CoP…is there?

CoP require technical and social architecture. Must have a purpose, which can be a mixture of several things (generate new knowledge, share information, etc).

Using retirees and current alumni to build the social architecture (i.e. a social network), with the university offering the technical platform. Wants to carry on working at/for UCT after he is retired i.e. older academics supporting the Net Generation.

teaching_with_technology_mini-conference.txt · Last modified: 2009/11/18 18:37 by Michael Rowe