Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Next Generation Environments Conference

So I am at this conference discussing issues arising from the Users and Innovation programme. The headlines for me so far surround Eric Hamilton's keynote on future learning environments. He was talking about enabling learners to begin to model systems rather than remember facts. His 8 principles for learning design really struck a chord.
  1. Enable contexts with clear sightlines between tutor and learners, and learners and tasks/content.
  2. Enable learners to model systems.
  3. Enable connectedness - open pathways up.
  4. Enable personalisation, to avoid alienation.
  5. Enable generative and creative thinking and acting. Is this play?
  6. Enable self-regulating, individual competency.
  7. Enable fluid learning contexts, that allow learners to switch environments, to switch between solitude and association, to switch between virtual and real, where they n examine and become objects of enquiry.
  8. Enable interactional bandwidth, where there is an increased capacity and capability for interaction.
In this the role of the tutor and the role of information in shaping learning tasks critical. Moreover, we see played out issues of power, relationships and the development of a cyborg-self. Ethical choices, self-efficacy, agency, agile learning, collaborative modelling and "group flow" are also matters arising.

Some of these issues were again raised by Dave White from the OpenHabitat project. In discussing the use of MMPOGs, VR and SecondLife, he made me think about environments that are structured for tasks and task-oriented play. The nature of informal, social interaction, immersion and frameworks/tasks that legtimise action-as-play or play-as-action needs more evaluation. As does its impact on self-efficacy and critical literacies.

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