Happy Steve

Innovation and Learning

Start with clarity of intent.

Now build it out with an evocative vision. Improvise progress by tinkering: with lots of trial and lots of error. The not knowing is the best bit: the mysteries the surprises, and from time to time the windfalls! 

Hello there, I'm Steve Collis! 

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ES4A Conference Presentation Notes: Technology as a Game-Changer


Technology as a Game-Changer

(presentation at the ES4A conference)

I videoed this presentation and broadcast it live. The quality is likely to be quite poor, but if you're interested, here it is: 


Technology is space.

                        Space mediates relationships.

By this measure, school space alienates.

New technologies have created new spaces. New genres. New rules. Game-changers.

Game-changing spaces:

  1. 1.      Feral Space / Lord of the Flies

Students should not have to explore the new spaces alone. When they do, they go feral.

  1. 2.      Information-space.

Get rid of presentations or teacher-talk. Someone, somewhere, has done a better job.

‘Flip’ the classroom – i.e. you meet face to face to collaborate, debrief, trouble-shoot.

Douchy’s Biology Podcast: http://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/douchys-biology-podcast/id112457795 (Andrew Douche podcasts his entire biology course.

Khan Academy: http://www.khanacademy.org/ and http://www.khanacademy.org/about. Interesting criticism here: http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/khan-academy-and-the-effectiveness-of-science-videos/.

Salman Khan explores the site here, and talks pure sense: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C7FH7El35w

He captures the sheer absurdity of current educational structures. “Why does a 300 person lecture even exist anymore?” I would ask the same about teacher talk at school.

Free MBA from London School of Business & Finance https://www.facebook.com/LSBFGlobalMBA?v=app_4949752878

So what role does the teacher have? A relational, mentor role, offering life-wisdom and expertise on the process of learning, but not source of information.

  1. 3.      Collaboration Space.

In the industrial era, we worked for money, which is an extrinsic reward. Now we’re rich enough to work for the joy, interest, fascination and desire to contribute. These are intrinsic rewards.

If you think we’re not rich, check www.globalrichlist.com No one has to work if they don’t want to.

Obviously, Wikipedia. Something more novel: http://www.lolcatbible.com/index.php?title=Main_Page

Our virtual worlds:

Second Life: http://www.youtube.com/lestep

Open Sim (cheaper but buggy): http://youtu.be/IXKjN19D1nY

Minecraft: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txXJbUJP9tU

Interview with student.

Collaboration space for teachers: twitter, the blogosphere, infinite online conferences and collaboration tools. A hive-mind of teachers, buzzing with creative thoughts about how to transform education.

Teachers on Twitter collaborate and contribute for the joy and meaning of it, not to please their boss or pass registration.

  1. 4.      Game Space

Intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards: climbing a mountain to see the view or to get name in the paper.

‘Gamification’ is controversial, but it is just a new word for extrinsic rewards.

Behavioural psychology will tell you there is nothing wrong with extrinsic reward mechanisms.

School is already game space. Competition for marks and for teacher praise.

Winning at the school game does not equal winning at the game of life.

If you haven’t played a MMORPG such as World of Warcraft, or a Facebook game like Farmville, then unfortunately you’re ignorant about a learning revolution that has happened under our feet.

Khan Academy badges: http://www.khanacademy.org/badges/view

A Google Tech Talk on Gamification: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O1gNVeaE4g

This is scary. Fast forward to the last 10 minutes if you want a shock: http://www.g4tv.com/videos/44277/dice-2010-design-outside-the-box-presentation/

Another aspect to all this is that our world is far more ‘entertaining’ than it was. Teachers aren’t interesting enough to compete. Don’t bother trying!

  1. 5.      Performance Space

www.realaudienceproject.com – create a central website linking to all your school publishing projects. This creates momentum. We have over 30 publishing projects, from Kindy or Year 1 http://learningin10.wordpress.com/ to older students: http://nbcsnews.wordpress.com/

www.makeavoice.com to launch your own internet radio station.

Or school podcast. Ours is: http://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/booraliefm/id389724084

Students can publish print books with: www.lulu.com/

Our school version of Amazon is: http://stores.lulu.com/realaudienceproject

  1. Physical space.

The configuration of physical learning spaces is just as much technological as any Web 2.0 tool or computing device.

We’re reconfiguring our school space in a ‘learning village’ model. http://imaginelearning.tumblr.com/ and Channel 9 news: http://youtu.be/ohnC3sURgKU

          No walls.

-          Lots of nooks and crannies.

-          Lounge room furniture.

-          Excellent sound boarding.

-          Students working on groups on bean bags, the floor, steps, tables, lounges.

We base many of our spaces on these mythic concepts:

-          the water hole, where we feed on expertise.

-          the camp fire, where we discuss, explore, collaborate.

-          the cave, where we bunker down as individuals.

Most of our school walls are now giant paper napkins, covered with ‘Idea Paint’ that turns them into whiteboards.

The Future: A Learning Village:

No bells, no discrete lessons, no 9am to 3pm.

No clear distinction between teachers and students.

No clear distinction between ‘school’ and ‘real life’.

No set timetable. Various experts available.

No year groups. Students cluster together to achieve projects and progress through a very wide array of learning paths.

Teachers as mentors, students as entrepreneurs.

Various physical locations for learning, becoming a new key community space for people of all ages. A new neighbourhood watering hole. A centre-of-gravity for young people and adults alike.