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The Digital Practitioner (Workshop 0201)


16:20 - 17:20 on Tuesday, 6 September 2011 in 8.90
0201 The digital practitioner: practice and attitudes in a challenging future Nigel Ecclesfield, Fred Garnett, Naomi Grew
0201 The digital practitioner: practice and attitudes in a challenging future Nigel Ecclesfield, Fred Garnett, Naomi Grew

While there has been an increasing focus on digital literacy for learners e.g. work by JISC in the UK and Wesch in the USA, other strands of work including work on self-organised learning by Mitra, Open Scholarship by Anderson and the development of collaborative networks by Haythornthwaite, look at the collaborative nature of learning and teaching. Luckin’s use of the Russian term “obuchenie” where learning and teaching are happening simultaneously, characterises these approaches. These positions are challenged by Donald Clark and others seeking a replacement of lecturing by instructional technology based on the experience of learndirect in the UK and of corporate training, most widely developed in the USA e.g. Rossett, Lewis and others.

Within the present political and economic climate in the UK and overseas, the focus on digital skills has become linked to focus on the economics of learning and the unfulfilled promise of using technology in ways that reduce the cost of learning by reducing staffing and estates.

Technology, from this perspective, is seen as increasing outputs while reducing costs. These approaches follow the analyses in the Leitch Report and, more recently, the RSA/LSIS report on further education at 2020 in the UK and reports from the OECD and other international sources that see educational outputs as aggregates of individual performance and achievement set against the cost of provision.

We propose to explore the tensions in these positions by contrasting digital practice in the context of instructional technologies and corporate training with those approaches owing more to Mitra’s SOMEs (self-organised mediating environments), Laurillard’s dialogic learning, and others, where the focus is on learning relationships. This will be illustrated by reference to Cochrane’s use of technology stewards.

Drawing on work in Wales and recent research conducted by LSIS, we will engage participants in an activity which explores their attitudes to technology and how these attitudes shape their responses to both the technology and its use in their practice. Starting from this point, we will explore how these attitudes and practices will influence and be influenced by, the changes envisaged in technology and post-compulsory education by 2020.