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Pedagogical innovations in new ICT-facilitated learning communities

Summary of the IPTS review on ICT and informal learning

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Gráinne Conole
31 March 2009

A website for this IPTS review is available here with the draft report and an overview presentation on the work to date.

The aim of this study is to review and assess the new social and pedagogical approaches to learning that are emerging in new ICT-facilitated learning communities.  In addition to formal education, such communities are increasingly emerging in informal and non-formal lifelong learning environments where learning is happening in a freely organised manner, bring together learners, experts, and other parties.  This study aims to examine these new learning communities in order to find innovative pedagogical and organisational practices that support lifelong learning in different settings and foster innovations in the interaction of teachers, learners and organisations.

Description: Through desk research, in-depth case studies and expert workshops, the study aims to:

  • Provide an overview and understanding of new learning communities that are characterised as socially and pedagogically innovative and identify what is the innovative dimension;
  • Provide an overview and analysis of novel learning and teaching approaches and strategies based on active learning approaches in the communities (such as creative problem solving, discovery, learning by doing, experiential learning, critical thinking and creativity);
  • Investigate the specific role and contribution of ICT in developing and enabling new collaboration models bridging various learning settings (formal, non-formal and informal);
  • Analyse the relationship between ICT, learning and innovation in view of organisational changes in the delivery of learning;
  • Propose avenues for further research and policy-making.

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Thomas Ryberg
8:21am 31 March 2009

The reports being discussed can be downloaded from here:

Gráinne Conole
8:53am 31 March 2009

Thanks Thomas - it's an excellent report I think raises alot of very interesting issues.

Thomas Ryberg
12:10pm 31 March 2009

Questions – comments from the floor after session - these are not my questions or comments but what I picked up - have not attributed them to particular people, as I might have gotten it / their opinion wrong:

How can we tap into existing communities or how can we engage students in productive learning communities

We should be careful in assuming that a lot of young people would be interested or have the competences to engage with productive communities

We’re living in a ‘Because we can world’ – missing in the report: it addresses what a well-rounded person can do – but does not address what less competent people can do.

Schools – people go there to be socialized – can we think of places that can take over that role – what about digital divide and digital fluency – how do we ensure all kids are fluent?

Teachers at the moment think mostly about how can we make them pass the tests (multiple choice) – teachers and students' learnign objectives  – 'what is on test'!

Online Communities good for developing  skills – negotiation, working together  - re-creation of the villages (working for the common good)

Sharing or plagiarism. ‘Because we can’ sometimes we jump in without thinking, planning or reflecting afterwards

We need to work hard on getting our concepts straight  - network like a community but more loosely connected. Distinction between pre and post initial education – question of motivation – difference between students and professionals. World of Warcraft  vs. linear algebra

Learning as training vs. learning as teaching people to think – what is the difference between learning and thinking. What do we mean by participation – most people ‘read’ blogs – they do not write Implicit assumption that people want to share – but what if people are marked

Be aware not only of the positive sides but also the downsides – changing from a speaking community to a writing community – changing power relations but also what people might want to share.

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