Steve Walker

Some less or more well-organised thoughts

Networked Learning 2012

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Before Easter, I was at the Networked Learning 2012 conference in Maastricht. I’ve been to a few education and technology conference, but always find the Networked Learning conference particularly stimulating and enjoyable. The proceedings of the conference are now available. With colleages, I presented two papers, both of which are now available in ORO, the OU’s open research repository.

The first, “What have the Romans Ever Done for Us?”, with OU colleague Elaine Thomas and Paul Richardson (Swansea/JISC and an OU Science Associate Lecturer) came out of the IBZL project, itself part of the OU’s eSTEeM initiative to explore novel approaches to teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. In one of the IBZL workshops the three of us considered how superfast broadband networks, in combination with other technologies, might enable the design of new types of ‘hybrid’ digital/material networked learning resources. Rather than students linking to blogs and wikis and so on, they might link to devices that interact with the material world directly. We considered 3d scanners and printers in teaching archaeology and the example of the SenseBoard used in our OU technology module TU100. As Sarah Davies pointed out, though, our colleagues in  the Science Faculty are already getting students to collaborate in the remote control of x-ray scattering machines and astronomic telescopes (the latter via the Pilate project).

The second paper, ‘Towards an Ontology of Networked Learning’ with Linda Creanor (Glasgow Caledonian University) was part of a symposium with Martin Oliver (Institute of Education) and Chris Jones (OU IET and symposium chair) looking at ways of thinking about technology in networked learning. Our paper suggested a way of thinking about networked learning technologies drawing on critical realist views of the relationship between people, society and technology. We tried to link such an approach to Rob Kling’s ‘sociotechnical interaction networks’.

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Written by Steve

May 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm

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