It has been a long time since I’ve written here but I think about it all of the time. This blog was born of eventedness and it seem that I struggle to write without an event (note of self-reflection). Still, I’m often here, in my head, struggling to pull all the threads together.
Digital Pedagogy Lab has been a staple gathering for me for several years and one that I’ve come to look forward to – where others I go to out of obligation.
So, if there was ever an event to blow the dust off this blog and get it going again I think this would be it.
I’m in the Education, Agency, and Change course led by Elena Riva and Naomi De La Tour and one of the first things we were asked to do is to gather beautiful things around us to create a learning environment for ourselves. I think this was meant to focus more on our physical space but the digital space of this blog has long been a learning space for me and it was in need of some beautification – so, besides a fresh post for the blog I’m trying on a new theme.
Models, Styles, and Taxonomies; Oh My
There are three keynotes for DPL this year and the first is from Jesse Stommel – Not Taking Bad Advice: a Pedagogical Model.
This keynote intersected for me with a little tweet conversation that I got caught up in this week. Did you see the whole – “I have a joke but” thing?
Like – “I have a statistics joke but the average person would think it is mean”
Well, a bunch of us started doing educational ones and
I came up with “I have an instruction joke. I’ll tell the joke and you will then laugh” – Note: I’m breaking convention here a tiny bit because mine does not have a ‘but’ in it. I didn’t give it a lot of thought when I tweeted it – I was just tying to be funny.
As Jesse’s keynote brought in and critiqued all of the models and best practices I couldn’t help but come back to this little joke and start to feel like it was doing a little more work than I had originally intended.
I’ve often thought that instruction is but one kind of pedagogy. I think it has its place but it can only do so much. As Jesse talked about how all of these models have their limitations and how they never seem to get at the human side of education I couldn’t help but think about my joke.
There is nothing quite like an honest laugh. The kind that sneaks up on you and just comes as a reaction. Giving someone instructions on how to respond to a joke makes about as much sense as some of these models that Jesse critiques.
I suppose it works – to some extent. We are being very clear in what we are expecting and if we tied external rewards to the outcome we are seeking (the laugh) we could further incentivise it. If we felt that the laughs we were getting were not authentic enough we could create a rubric to further clarify.
Unacceptable – not laughing or just going ha ha sardonically – 0pts
Good – a chuckle with a smile – 3pts
Excellent – full on belly laugh with tears in eyes – 10pts
Of course this is ridiculous. If we are really trying to get at authentic human laughter – instruction is not the tool.
What kind of education do you want to create?
Jesse is clear in his talk that “None of this is to say Bloom’s taxonomy or the Quality Matters rubric have never ever been used to support good pedagogy.” and I would argue that instruction is not always such a lackluster tool.
If I’ve bought a new shelving unit that needs to be assembled by all means give me good instruction. Please don’t let me discover how to build this on my own through a human process of trial and error.
So, for me, this comes back to a question of what kind of education we are shooting for and what education is for in the first place. And that brings me back to my track around Education, Agency, and Change.
I’m hopeful to have a few blog posts this week but I’m not sure how much I’ll get out. I’m also leading up a workshop with Nathan Schneider around Ethical EdTech which starts tomorrow which I’m sure will give me lots to think about.