flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

I was recently asked by a colleague about my ‘vision’ for eLearning and 21st century learning. Inspired in part by Gary Stager educational philosophy in 100 words, as well as my work with with DET exploring the EDUSTAR planning tool, this is the list of attributes that I came up with:

eLearning …

Is Transformative: More than just redefined, learning is purposeful and involves wider implications.

Is More Doable: Makes things like critical thinking and collaboration more possible.

Enables Student Voice: Technology provides a voice for students to take ownership over their work and ideas.

Involves Modelling Digital Citizenship: More than a sole lesson, eLearning should be about foster competencies throughout the curriculum.

I supported this with a list of readings to clarify where my thoughts had come from. Although as I have stated time and time again, it takes a village and recognising everyone in the village can be a futile act.

My concern with this whole process though is two-fold. Firstly, a vision is not created by one person, however compelling that may be. A point that George Couros makes in his book Innovator’s Mindset. This is a problem I had with the DET EDUSTAR training where a few random representatives were expect to be the voice of a whole school. While secondly, an eLearning vision needs to marry with the school’s wider vision for ‘learning’. The question then remains as to how we make a vision for learning and technology which supports the whole school with a common goal?

So what about you, what is your eLearning vision? How is it integrated within the wider school vision? As always comments are welcome.


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Vision for eLearning by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

9 thoughts on “Vision for eLearning

  1. Earlier today, @mesterman prompted me to read another blog post by the continually inspiring @mrkrndvs: Vision for eLearning. A confident and provocative post, there is a lot to take from Aaron’s work. However, there was a point I felt I had to make to Aaron on Twitter and the resulting discussion involving @rgesthuizen, @ozjuliancox, @rhonimcfarlane prompted this blog post.

    Basically, the issue is:

    “it has to be student action …not voice. I prefer to label it as having students active in integrating tech“

    My current slog through a PhD, researching Improvements to Technology Integrated Pedagogy: The Role of K-12 Students, has this description:

    “Personal experience in the field of involving students as an active element in the technology integration process indicates to me that their involvement could greatly influence its success. In a variety of capacities, students can take an active role in how technology is used in classrooms, how and what their peers should learn, sharing their existing knowledge and the best approaches in using technology to meeting the needs of learning exercises and students (Mullen, 2015). The role does not need to be confined to classroom practice, however. It can be seen in physical design of learning spaces (Classrooms of the Future, 2003) and in decision-making around the enhancement of technology enabled learning, advising on policy and curriculum matters (State Government Victoria Dept of Education and Training, 2014).

    Describing students as having an active role, in this research, is intended to highlight where they are empowered and given responsibilities involving the use of technology in school. Inactive, or for want of better terminology, indirect action by students exists in most schools. Examples of these range from self-organised online study groups to personal use of technology in learning such as choosing digital methods for presenting work. I also see active roles as those that are sanctioned by the school and a component of the learning process. These do no cover non-sanctioned ways such as having a mobile text conversation with a friend as a distraction from classroom activities.”

    In Aaron’s blog post, he cited work by @PeterMDeWitt: Without Student Voice, Technology Just Fosters Another Type of Compliance and, to my mind, much of what he talks about in this post concurs with my views. Terms such as ‘fostering’, ‘amplifying’ and ‘working collaboratively with students’ are the essential ingredients to student voice being action. They are the foundations for active involvement of students in technology enhanced education.

    In many ways, @rhonimcfarlane is right to argue that these are merely labels and it is what we do that really matters. What I think is important, however, is that we distinguish in two ways for this context:

    between those in education who think they have done enough to ‘modernise’ and empower their school by letting students have a voice, for example in a student council but there only real power is at such a low level as changing the quality of the toilet paper as opposed to those who are willing to let their students get involved in education decision-making from top to bottom, real projects that they own, learn from and learn with the staff in the school and communities beyond
    that technology continues to revolutionise education, to upset the traditional relationships and roles that have existed for centuries. I love this as an explanation:

    “We now face a situation in which the teachers and experts, who know more than the learners about the ‘stuff’ we want people to learn, may well not know as much as the learners about the technologies that could act as learning tools. There is now a real opportunity for reciprocal teaching and learning.” (Luckin, 2008)

    Thus, the language does matter because in some ways, student voice could be argued to have been tainted by weak, low-level empowerment of students and because we are now facing power shifts on a completely different level due to technology. Whether you agree or not, I will keep banging the action NOT voice drum

  2. Thank you Aaron. This reading list is excellent, and is familiar to me. Defining and describing learning environments and learning experiences is a challenge because interpretations are so varied. This is why the blog posts, comments, and conversations are essential; to develop some common language, coherence, and as you mention, vision. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to arrive at consensus without these conversations. Have all stakeholders perspectives been invited and considered? Have school goals been clearly communicated? Are opportunities provided for self-evaluation and reflection? My appreciation and understanding of learning is growing through web interactions. My eLearning vision has the e “embedded” in my everyday learning activities.


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