Bringing on the Learning Revolution

Please take some time to have another look at this link if you have not already done so: Bring on the Learning Revolution

A very interesting talk given by Sir Ken Robinson at TED symposium. It makes us, as educators, think in an entirely different perspective…thinking of Education as an “organic” process, as he describes it rather than as a “linear” concept. He also explores the issue of our ‘one size fits all‘ education perspective. Sometimes it’s so much easier to think of the audience in front of you as a class, rather than as a collection of individuals with individual needs and aspirations.
Hence his expression, that we are delivering Education as a “fast food” concept, rather than as a personalized experience for the individuals who, we are indeed, responsible for.
And indeed he does mention our responsibility as Educators, in the way we deliver what we know… he mentions passion, he mentions enjoying what one does. I have in the past, often been accused of involving myself too much in my teachings, that I should attend “passion management” courses 🙂 maybe it’s true – all I can say is that I love what I do, and that all I have done so far, all the work I have built was aimed at leading me where I am… I will never stop learning, learning from all those who surround me in whatever role they might play… but further to the comment above, I would also like to personally add another comment. I believe that we, as persons, as individuals, facing our audience, whether in a class setting or otherwise, are like mirrors – we reflect what we transpire. If we transpire passion, enthusiasm, and interest then our students, our children, and our audience will reflect that back.

PS. Do comment back on what you think of that and if you have some experiences to share with all of us about the extent to which your students can be motivated into enjoying themselves in their learning experiences.

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47 thoughts on “Bringing on the Learning Revolution

  1. >When you hear creative speakers like this one, you start realising how the BTEC system has practically destroyed our students` creativity and also ours as well. Rigid outcomes have reduced our students and ourselves to unimaginative beings satisfied with seeing through assignments as if it was a train on fixed rails. This year we have tried the new BTEC system where creativity is encouraged but the students have resisted it and this can be attributed to their education background. In this situation I am doing my best to be creative and am exposing my students to different ideas on the same topic. Only a minority seem interested but its encouraging and I will definitely not give up. What are your experiences in this regard?

  2. >I agree with Tonio on this point. I myself am one of the few lecturers at MCAST who does not teach BTEC. However, one of the problems I encountered when trying to introduce creative thinking into my lectures is that the students blocked my efforts. They were astonished that I would even propose a system where it was not simply 'teach and learn', but rather involving the students themselves in the process. However, as time went by, and with a little persistence on my part, the pupils began to warm up to the idea and started enjoying creative learning. Moreover, we can't simply blame the students for their resistance. Having been brought up in a system where the teacher teaches and the student learns, proposing a new system on them at this stage in their education is bound to bewilder them. Before we try creative learning we should set guidelines for the students, and assure them that whatever contribution they give is valid. After all I believe that the thing they fear the most is ridiculing themselves in front of their peers! Regarding Ms.Camilleri's comment on enthusiasm, I fully agree . If the students feel that their teacher is enthusiastic on the topic they will pick up on that and are more inclined to pay attention. I know I did! We must make an effort to enjoy our subject both for the students' sake and ourselves.

  3. >One should keep in mind that although e-learning helps the students to be more motivated in the way they learn not all of the students are computer literate. I have students that they still do not use computer in the year 2010. I think we should be aware of these and more initiatives should be done to tackle this situation.

  4. >We all learned from the pgc that whatever the state a teacher is in he/she should always show enthusiasm. Even if we are feeling sad or in a bad mood. Emotions and attitudes are transmittable as much as words and body language. Human beings communicate in speech , writing , body language and emotions. So always keep an enthusiastic and motivated attitude which will be transmitted to the class. It is VERY IMPORTANT that a teacher should be able to spot enthusiasm in a student and not misinterpret it as something else!! This can be VERY DEMOTIVATING not only for the particular student but even for the rest of the class.

  5. >If then human beings communicate by many things , how is this going to be done in elearning? On the computer , we cannot see the other person, we cannot see how he is sitting , or did he smile when he made a comment , which can mean some kind of humour. This may result in the getting the wrong message. People sometimes say the opposite of what they actually mean. This is a great disadvantage in elearning." Yes I have understood everything " can be said in various tones. One tone can imply that yes I have understood. Say it in another tone and it means I have understood nothing at all.

  6. >TED ideas worth spreading,very interesting .That schools kill creativity. This is so. Creativity is killed when the syllabus is inflexible, when not enough time is given to the teacher to develop the subject. But we teachers must be careful. Getting angry ,threatening, accusing and prejudging blindly , using demeaning comments on a student kills all his enthusiasm , motivation and creativity. Such feelings will spread to other students.

  7. >When it comes to our institute it is really not the case. Creative thinking and taking a creative approach is very much encouraged and it is well accepted by the students. What I do find a problem is that students are so used to being spoon fed that they hardly ever look further into a subject, and design being so vast, it is impossible to teach them everything. With the tutorials and one on one feedback we currently give them it is not much of a problem, but the promised increase in students will mean less individual attention.

  8. >The course units that I lecture do not follow the BTEC guidelines either; so I guess that, like Leanne, I can count myself as lucky. I form part of Tonio 's class and when I hear him and other colleagues comment about the way things are being managed, I thank God that I am only a part-timer. From what I can gather, the problem lies not so much in whether a particular course is BTEC-based or otherwise. Rather it is the flexibility allowed to lecturers to motivate students in ways which may not necessarily conform to strict regulations (as Ted rightly mentions). Indeed, certain motivating strategies may appear unorthodox at first glance. Once the teacher's motivation is hampered then how can s/he transmit passion and enthusiasm to others? I envy the IAD team; their free-spirit seems to know no bounds!Sir Ken 's words certainly gave me food for thought – no pun intended wrt the "fast food concept" – especially the part where he talks of a revolution in education. So, KURAGG! Where there is a will there is a way! And, as both Tonio and Leanne have written: we will continue making the effort and never give up!

  9. >I perfectly agree with Ken Robinson's statement that education, in most countries, even those which are well-developed, need not to be just reformed but revolutionised.Although, in my case, students do welcome creative and innovative ways of teaching, it is generally found to be hard to inject such new concepts. Sometimes, even a simple group work is indirectly rejected and hard to apply within the lecturing structure. This gets even worse when the lecturer comes to the assessing of such different teaching techniques. The current educational systems need to be transformed into something different and somehow special. A new educational system has to give credit and reward to different students' talents, and this will not be possible without a change in mentality. I do not mean to lose the traditional methods of teaching, or discrediting the learning of important syllabuses, but to incentivise creativity and encourage the students' specific abilities.

  10. >As educators we cannot let any syllabus or institute demotivate us. Ted is right when he said that time is restricting our creativity but we need to learn to manage our available time and fully utilize it. As Haber commented we are still spoon feeding our students. In fact we are treating them as if they are still in secondary school. One idea is that after introducing a new topic, instead of handing them detailed notes, they have to prepare some reseach work. This work will be part of their subject portfolio. In order to motivate them, their portfolio will be formally assessed as part of their assignment.

  11. >I think that the 'system' is leading us to lose all the passion in teaching and its vocational aspect. We are beooming similar to robots, feeding pre-packed minced meet to our students and making sausage sut of them ready for industry! It is also very sad to see massive numbers of students joining courses in which they are not the least interested, just because of the political promotion or family pressure in pursuing a career in a particular area, such as ICT. We all know though that the market is already almost saturated and most of them would do much better if they were to explore and develop their true potential aspirations!I consider teaching not to be like any other job, for which you just get a salary at the end of the month. Rather it is an experience requiring time, patience, sacrifice, communication and respect for others. What is so frustrating is that Malta's education system, particularly at MCAST, just focuses on the 'product' rather than the person…and the worse part of it all is that even students have become entangled in this false idea; that they only count if they are certified. That's why they resist anything which contributes towards their growing as persons, but which is not necessarily formally assessed!!!I feel that we must go back to the roots of teaching. But for this to happen there must be a collective effort with all parties involved, including administration, to re-instate a healthy environment where the teacher is allowed enough flexibility, in time and resources, to build a proper relationship with the students and provide a holistic education.

  12. >My intention in my first post was to provoke arguments from everyone on this important topic.It is not my intention to criticise the system just for criticism sake. That would be an easy way out of the problem. It is my intention to explore how each of us can find creative methods of teaching which can be used throughout MCAST.I believe that so far each of us has been left practically alone and had to find his/her way through the syllabus as best as possible. Lack of resources has not helped and each of us had to buy his own lap top ( I have already bought two and these have both died already!!). This has certainly not helped our motivation, let alone our creativity.But I believe that each and everyone of us is creative in his/her own field and can contribute immensely in this field. I shall start suggesting what can be done at IBAC and invite you all to come out with suggestions regarding your institute. Those who already use creative methods can try to find ways how to improve them.What I have been trying out at IBAC is a group discussion on Outcomes that lend themselves to this. I put forward the points to be discussed and invite the students to form their own groups and come out with solutions. There are no rules to be followed – just how far their imagination can take them. The students are provoked by me to take different routes, even absurd ones and their reactions at times give rise to new ideas on the topic and different possible solutions. I then make them carry out research on them to substantiate them with theory. I consider this creative enough but wish to go further.I believe that using a blog would help my students immensely in their studies as this is a medium they are familiar to.Let`s be positive and come out with more solutions.

  13. >"we reflect what we transpire. If we transpire passion, enthusiasm, and interest then our students, our children, and our audience will reflect that back."I fully agree with this statement, and therefore also believe that if we're going to keep complaining about BTEC instead of finding ways around the units, it's only going to reflect badly on our students.I find that even though BTEC briefs are set in a certain way and come with specific criterias, the educator is still free to come up with creative ideas whilst at the same time, sticking to the brief. At least that's the case with Art & Design briefs.

  14. >I agree with Tonio's methods. Allowing students to think critically and to reach their own conclusion after a series of evaluations, would help encourage them to act on the situation in question. On the contrary, giving instructions or directions and imposing on the students what they should do, may not be as effective. In addition, encouraging such thinking and analysis by the students themselves, would allow students to consider a matter from different perspectives and would therefore also teach them to analyze different options and determine what the best solution would be. With regards to Ms. Camilleri's comment, student knowledge and skills may vary from one class to another and as a result, what works with one class might not necessarily work with another. It is therefore essential to adapt accordingly and design different ways of delivering the taught content. This could be very frustrating and stressful but the dedication shown can be immediately picked up by the students. In addition, although their success is already a reward in itself, the gratitude and respect won from students in return for help extended to them in achieving their success, is by far more rewarding.

  15. >Along my years of experience in education I learnt that education is something alive, it shapes society and individuals because of the transmission of knowledge. However, education itself is in turn shaped by society. Education is there for society. Consequently, educators have to be flexible enough to change their classroom methods according to the culture of their students. In communication we learn that for communication to be effective, the sender has to use the same language as the receiver so that there will be no misunderstanding. Similary, in the classroom, the educator has to speak the language of the students. This will lead to students' motivation. Nowadays, our students are living in a world of technology and virtual reality. They are interested in all sorts of gadgets… So to enter in their world and share knowledge, we need to use their language, that is, computers and technology. E-learning gives this opportunity to educators. Education has to be in line with new trends…. E-learning helps us to do so!!

  16. >I also am a lecturer on the BTEC system. As you can note in my previous comment I strongly believe that education should reflect modern trends. However, not all the systems in education are flexible. BTEC is one of them. Not only it comes with a rigid syllabus but the system is such that that even in the assignments the student cannot express himself, otherwise he/she will have a good chance of not meeting the grading criteria. BTEC is destroying the creativity and the urge to look for new things of our students. That's why I strongly recommend e-learning. At least the e-learning can make the BTEC syllabus a bit more interesting and challenging to students.

  17. >Sir Ken said that we are using 'one size fits all' education. He claimed that with elearning everyone can move at his own pace. I have used elearning in the Aviation Maintenance course for four years. It is true that each student can move with his own pace but this has not made elearning more successful. On the contrary students will do worse becaus esome of them are not mature or determined enough to go by their own. We teachers cannot adapt those who want to learn learn those who dont wont. Some of thos ewho dont my be recovered. With elearning these are lost.

  18. >The one size fits all . Well Sir Ken thinks that everyone has the means and money to buy computer and laptops. He is very wrong or he does not care for the less privileged.Our education system may have many flaws but it still caters for everyone, it is universal , all inclusive. Even the disabled and the weak and the poor can use use our education system. Elearning should only be one tool , and not be the revolution to do away with the education system as is.Perhaps this Sir Ken has some kind of computer business which he wants to profit from?

  19. >Sir Ken, at one point, speaks about being disenthralled with education, because we take a lot of things about it for granted. As he continues to say, it is difficult to know which are the things we take for granted because we take them for granted, and he gave the wristwatch example to illustrate his point.I think, frankly, that he's right. Like, I assume that, to teach math, you need a classroom with a whiteboard and a whiteboard marker, because, hey, that's the way it should be done because it was always done like that (except maybe replacing the blackboard with the white version!). Why should math be taught differently?Now that I think about it, the subject of Math education has huge eLearning opportunities. It's such an abstract subject and it's difficult to comprehend unless you see some animations, for instance, which a whiteboard simply cannot do. Bingo.I'll be sure to apply some eLearning concepts in my Youtube presentation. :)Oh, and, to those who didn't get it yet, I'm a math lecturer. 😮

  20. >Elearning or rather computer based traing is good even for engineering subjects where we have to teach technology. The Lufthansa cbt , called the eJAMF is like this. BUT , BUT .. I am stillthere nest to the students, they can still turn and ask questions to me, I still do traditional classroom lecturing because many still would not have understood. Or not understood. The teacher is still needed close by. Human contact is tsill required. Teaching , as we have learned in the PGC , is not just a question of passing information.

  21. >I do agree with the above comments stating the the BTEC provides a lot of restrictions. However in my case, being mainly a mathematics teacher, the BTEC system gives a good guidline of what must be taught, and in this way it ensures that all the math teachers give (or try to give) the same basic skills to all the students; which will be necessary for our students in the applied/technical subjects. I also think that although the BTEC is very strict on what is to taught, and how the assignments should be constructed, it does not define how the subjects should be taught. So the lecturer could be creative in the way he/she delivers the lesson.

  22. >It is very easy for the teacher to fall in a rut especially if the same units are being taught year after year. E-learning could be a very interesting way to spark the students' attention and interest. However, I know that other lecturers have tried using e-learning (as mentioned above)for aircraft subjects, and it turned out to have a negative effect on some of the students. Some students still prefare the traditional way of teaching where they can interact with the lecturer face to face. Perhaps it is easier for them to ask for the lecturer's help rather than work on their own!!

  23. >The first post makes an interesting reference to being passionate about what one does and about benfitting/conveying enthusiasm. This argument sounds very appealing at face value but there's more to it than meets the eye. Recent research in the field of psychology is indicating that resonance is desirable for effective performance – resonance in the sense that one seeks and pursues a career which matches one strengths, personality and interests. When this is the case, the person will actually draw energy from conducting such an activity and this would tend to lead to a better performance in the task itself. On the other hand, when a person persists in performing a task which does not resonate with one's own strengths/personality/interests, the task would actually lead to a drain of one's energy. All this implies that before looking outwards, we should first take a lok inwards and make sure that the decisions which we are abou to take are based on a good self-understanding and awareness.

  24. >E-learning tools do not develop emotional intelligenceWith management subjects, I think that e-learning is a good support tool that is useful to reinforce concepts. However, human skills and emotional skills cannot be transmitted through any e-learning tool although some might argue that this will be possible in the future with more advanced artificial intelligence models.In any case, three basic assumptions are being made if we are to integrate e-learning to our teaching strategies:1. Students have access to ICT as pointed out by several colleagues above2. Students know how to read (and have the necessary time and motivation to read): Skimming is one type of reading that people with limited time and possibly lack of motivation revert to that leaves people with many generalisations, doubts and ambiguities. In reality, very few people have the time to read material posted on the web thoroughly.3. Students know how to categorise, analyse and link information: While I have never conducted any scientific research, I think that most of my students have not mastered this skill well yet.Quality design can improve e-learning!Another area that is frequently neglected, is the positive or negative effects that design have on reading, retention and therefore learning. Many studies have been conducted in order to determine how people read on the web, and usually such studies always lead to the same conclusions. On the web, people read in F patterns, they read the title, read the first line and if this first line does not capture their attention, they will simply move on to “read” the first word in each line. They will then focus again on any sub-titles or text which is in bold, italics or is bulleted. A lot of research has been conducted by web usability experts such as Nielsen Norman. Unfortunately, such studies are usually try to identify a correlation between web design and online sales. Of course, education is less profitable than the fast food industry.So, while I cannot trace any studies that correlate the design of e-learning tools to education, I am still inclined to believe that embracing such design details can make a difference for our students, even those who are not so tech-savvy or are not fluent readers. Any content must be written for the web, the font and font-size should be purposely selected to enhance readability, design considerations need to be made for people who have visual or other motor impairments, error messages need to provide a clear action plan rather than being cryptic, etc. Such considerations are usually neglected and yet, all the difference can be made through details. Maybe after all, an eye for detail and a drive for quality is a way how a teacher's enthusiasm can be passed on through impersonal channels such as the web!

  25. >Thanks everyone for your interesting contributions. I find Ken Robinson very inspirational and his argument 'that children starting school today will be retiring in 2065' provides ample food for thought. I was particularly intrigued by Rachel's post particularly because I teach in Art and Design where emotional engagement (one-to-one teaching-learning, discussion, transmission of passion from teacher to student or whatever name you may choose to give it) overides anything that BTec or such systems dictate. Would appeciate if other lecturers from different Institutes share their ideas about this e-learning/emotional engagement dichotomy.Recently I was watching a documentary about the intrnet and the way it has effected our being and was struck by results presented in this program claiming that babies born to people my age (20s-30s)have a different neurological structure where the 'brain wiring' has adapted to the advancements in technology (in these last twenty or so years). Throughout the pogramme the argument was that children today have access to a broader array of knowledge but there is little depth in what they do (they read less books, have shorter focus time and hence they have difficulties arguing in a structured manner).As a teacher I ask: Does this mean that this generation of internauts are not able to formulate an informed opinion? How can we use the internet and other new teaching tools to counter this difficulty (if it exists)?

  26. >Creative speakers often tend to elicit the following of their audience. I cannot say that I was an exception to this, as I agree with much of what Ted said. With so much around I wonder how our educational gurus dont open their mind's eye to such developments and new ideas.When asked by students what paths they should take in their future. I normally reply that one should do what he (she) does best, or loves doing best. Unfortunately our educational system does not help. It seems to be a sieve, where people who dont make it to Uni are filtered off, till they arrive at MCASTI find Ted's comments agreeable, but many a time they are hard to put into practice.

  27. >One of the most things that I find useful to motivate students is to try to relate to their own experiences. At times students tend to feel that since they do not have work experience, or not enough, they do not have any experience.on the contrary our students do have life experiences, and at times they would have had very interesting and powerful experiences. One should try to make students realise the wealth of experiences they already posses. Having said this one should also be inspirational for students so that they engage in as many experiences as possible. One comment which struck me in the speech by Sir Robinson, was the story about the student who wanted to become a fireman.At times one has a tendency to assume that our reality is the only and right reality. One has to be careful not to impose one's own opinions, ambitions and beliefs on students. We need to be fuel for student's aspirations and not fire extinguishers. It is at times very easy that as a teacher one assumes the role of a parent with his/her students, whereby one feels obliged to counsil and dictate what should and should not be done (and I am not talking about class rules here). Most of out students are by law considered as adults and one should treat them as such. This would reduce the number of situations were we extinguish students' hopes and aspirations just because they do not conform with what 'our' system deems as being right.

  28. >I agree with Sir Ken Robinson that schools are killing human creativity. I believe that this is happening due to the inflation in academic requirements. Compared to 25 years ago the systems of education together with work force requirements have become more demanding. I remember my parents saying that having two or three O’ levels were a guarantee to find a good job. Nowadays, a degree has the same effect of an O’ level obtained 25 years ago. One must even add that nowadays not even degrees are considered to be so valid. This situation is inhibiting creativity as students are more alienated in obtaining academic qualifications and thus are not developing their creative part.

  29. >With regards to the reasons why creativity is "diminishing", I do not quite agree with Charlene who is attributing this to inflated academic requirements and expectations. I think everyone is creative in their own way, but we are expecting all students to be creative in the same way, which is a cliche in itself. To this effect, Sir Robinson has another interesting speech that is available from:

    . Throughout his talk he mentions that we are forcing all students to study Maths, and languages and not other subjects such as drama or music because this is what the industry requires. Furthermore, this phenomenon seems to be happening in all countries, at least in the Western world.As Gilbert argued, while it is probably true that today's children have less ability to argue in a structured manner about any topic, we are putting all the students in the same box and expecting them to behave in the same way. We are not recognising that previously farmers who found ingenious systems to irrigate their fields were also creative in their own way, even though they did not demonstrate their creativity by writing an essay. While I do complain about my student's lack of creativity as well, sometimes it is us who can't see through each unique student!

  30. >Schools are also killing human creativity leading to the lack of time that our students have in order to develop their creative part due to the amount of work given in our courses – and here we're not talking about students who are aiming to obtain their O levels. I m actually talking about our Foundation Students most of whom did not manage to obtain any O levels – then they enroll into a foundation course at MCAST and are faced with 24 major assignments (and if they do not manage to get a pass in these there would be the second attempts) plus .. the internal assignments which are approximately another 3 assignments and a test for each subjects per term.If these students failed in their secondary education (for a number of reasons) are we really giving these students a second chance?? especially with giving them all this written work – which is certainly killing their creativity …

  31. >Basically that is what I was referring to. Education has become too demanding. This is because in order to succeed and go up the hierarchical ladder students are being alienated on academic subjects and are not focusing on creative subjects. I agree that everyone is born creative however there are those who develop their gift and others who just forget about it or let it die. Once again this is due to societal influences and pressures i.e. pressures from the family, from friends, teachers and the educational system etc.

  32. >I have been noting your comments with enthusiasm and many of them do raise a number of valid issues. I think that the most important thing we need to keep in mind is that with all the challenges and limitations, here we aim to explore possible new ways in which we can interact with the students. In our case we might have limitations about computer usage, but I think that we can safely assume that the majority of people are literate these days, and even though they might not possess a computer, there are distinct facilities which will somehow bring forward the possibility they might have in voicing their opinions.I think that what we are trying to conceive here, is to give everyone the same opportunity. I noticed one particular comment which seemed to indicate that the use of technology within the classroom might exclude rather than include students. The digital divide is a very valid research issue, but I believe there are ways and means of overcoming the digital divide. Ironically, e-learning 2.0 was coined in an attempt to overcome the digital divide. Here we are talking about giving everybody the same possibilities of learning. What we have nowadays is, I feel, a very exclusive education system. The people who are motivated into studying, through a series of circumstances or factors, make it through the learning steep. The people who on the other hand, lack the motivation, because most often then not they fail to identify the real value in learning, fall behind. What I would like to say is, if we can make use of some resources, which might have a positive influence on someone's life… then why not? Why persist in saying cause this is it, it's the way it's always been and the way it should stay? Humans are noted for their abilities in adapting and changing according to the environment around us. It's what makes us stand out in the evolution scale. So if the world is shifting towards technology, shouldn't Education shift as well..? and who steers Education, if not Educators themselves?

  33. >I agree with Rachel when she said that we need to encourage our students to be creative. I for one teach the students about the numerous discoveries and inventions made in the Industrial Revolution. Now this was in the 1800's when scientists were not even recognized for their work! Look at the progress that we have made today! Children, from a very young age, are computer literate. I for one am astounded when my 6 year old cousin uses the pc as he knows how to use it more than me! I'm sure that if we give the students a chance to be creative they will amaze us with how creative they can be. We simply need to foster their abilities and encourage them more! Looking at my students in particular I know that most of them spend hours on end on their computer either chatting on facebook, watching online movies etc… We simply need to find a way to 'manipulate' (if it is the correct terminology to use) their knowledge of technology and fuse it into our learning systems to try and improve their education. Nevertheless, as Analisa pointed out, sometimes this is easier said than done as the students are very busy with assignments and school work. Hence even though we must be the ones to push for this to occur we need to have backing not only from our superiors but also from the education board.

  34. >At our institute (ICT) students are spoilt for choice; every student has access to a pc and internet all day long (this is not even the case at university because we had to share pc’s!) The majority of the students appreciate these resources and use them well but there are other students who simply waste time surfing on the internet. In my opinion students at our institute have equal opportunities to learn; there are modules that elicit their creativity through technology such as building and designing a website, creating a software project etc.. My concern is why students still fail such modules. Are they not interested or is it us who are not adjusting the creative tasks to their lifestyle?

  35. >The difficulties of finding appropriate ways for educating students has always been around us and will always be present. E-learning is another tool at our disposal. The success of e-learning is how best we utilize it. E-learning systems will not do the job for us and educate our students it is us lecturers that need to find the appropriate manner of making adapting these tools to our needs according to our students.E-learning is offering us the tools, it is making these tools much more easily available. During this semester I was teaching Web Management with a number of lecturers and we needed to teach the importance of colours in web design. Instead of using the slides to explain the various colours and techniques I proposed the use of an online application: colorschemedesigner.com which was much more helpful in explaining web design techniques.We can have all the tools in the world at our disposal but in the end it is us who need to take the trouble of learning these tools and making the best use of them.The educational revolution should come from us lecturers, management will always focus on statistics, on quantity. We should not stop at complaining but act by caring for our students and transmit to them the passion we have to our subjects. We are the ones to focus on quality.

  36. >I came across a reference to “school reform” in Professor Martin Covington’s book, The Will to Learn (1997), in which he argues that it is not reform that is needed (note the similarity with Sir Ken). Reform, to Covington, means more of the old way of doing things – when people talk of the need for “more academic courses, more hours in school, more homework, more tests, more hurdles for prospective teachers, more units for graduation” (from Russell 1988, see Covington 1997), they are talking of a strategy of intensification (or tinkering) which DOES NOT WORK because it is dealing with the symptoms, not the root causes, of what inhibits effective learning. Tinkering with the system is simply playing around with the old system, making minor cosmetic changes which in the end fail, simply because the causes have never been addressed. I quote from Covington (1997:17): “This strategy of intensification assumes that the present mode of schooling is fundamentally sound, and that no basic changes are needed. However, if taken by themselves these approaches are insufficient, if not too tame, and at worst counterproductive.”Does this sound familiar to anyone on this blog? Is our system fundamentally sound?Do we need reform – as in tinkering – or do we need revolution? I am not envisaging anything overnight or drastic. Rome was not built in a day.One of the things I liked was the use of the quote by Abraham Lincoln. He was the President who had to deal with the deadliest war on American soil, the Civil War of the 1960s (note that he leaves it to his American audience to figure it), and the country was in shambles.“The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”We must rise with the challenge, not to it, as in tinkering. The dogmas of the past (traditional past solutions) are inadequate to our current educational system, and so we must "think anew and act anew". So here we have a person talking about innovation before it became the buzzword of the current age we live in. And innovation is the key to survival here, and this includes our educational systems which are fundamental to the functioning and evolution of society.

  37. >I do agree that change is healthy, and we should always try to adapt to the continously changing world around us. Richard Clark, 1994, compares classroom teaching vs e-learning. He comments that part of the difficulty when using e-learning is that there exists a strong desire to duplicate classrooms online. He states that e-learning is still considered to be a second-rate method when compared to classroom teaching. 'It is not wheter we can meet the same learning outcomes with technology, but how do we use technology to enrick the experience, to go beyong what can be done in the face-to-face or other delivery environment'.

  38. >Two factors are crucial in e-learning. The first being that teachers should be continuously educated in order to gain knowledge and skill to be able to use technology and keep up to date with frequent changes in technology. The second deals with resources like software, hardware and other tools necessary to carry out the task. My question is, will we be provided with these key components? Being that a significant amount of funds are required i personally have my doubts.

  39. >I would like to share my thoughts about Ken Robinson's speech "Bring on the learning revolution". I feel that Education has the responsibility to assist students to develop their capacities and talents outside their academic curriculum. I feel that schools/colleges should provide opportunity for self-development through sports and other extra-curricular activities. I believe in the concept of a supportive school community that creates an environment for students’ potential to flourish. Unfortunately, I do not feel that we are succeeding enough in doing this. On the contrary, I feel that we are overloading our students with assignments and exams, thus leaving them little time and energy to explore and nurture other talents and activities. I also feel that personally I was a victim of this educational system and looking back I wish I had more time to develop my talents outside curriculum requirements. I feel that sometimes we are alienating students from this by focusing too much on curriculum constraints, thus overlooking other extra-curricular activities that are also fundamental in the development of their personality. This can result in what Ken Robinson defined as human resources depletion in our societies.

  40. >‘Children, from a very young age, are computer literate.’This is very true however, I would weigh 'literate' against 'having a broad educational knowledge of how that technology can be used'.Children and young adults are learning the other way round to what we were traditionally used to. I feel that young adults are finding themselves unknowingly catapulted to the top of the ‘ladder of information’ and at times they need to be guided to climb down, rather than climb up the information steps. It is also very true that many students know how to OPERATE a computer however they do not know how to BENEFIT from using it and its technological possibilities. That is what I think is the difference between educational and non educational creativity. Students know how to access games (as well as many other illicit sites), chat and view each other’s funny antics on face book and youtube (nothing wrong with that after all we were all teenagers:) ) but they hardly access the internet to surf for educational purposes.Having Foundation certificate as one of my classes:-I strongly believe that written work and creativity need to go hand in hand. One should support the other.-I feel that we are definitely giving the foundation students a second chance. And proof of this is the difference we are seeing in the foundation students when we compare their behavior and level of education as well as creativity in the beginning of the year and compare it with that of now. I am happy to note a huge positive difference. True that some of these students have entered the institute with perhaps the thought that they are 'failures' (since they failed their o levels). Others however enter the institute (especially ours – the Art and Design) because they LOVE creativity! So they specifically want to learn how to be creative, and they understand that written work and creative work can form two sides of the same coin.Regarding using technology in class I have found this very beneficial especially with the Foundation classes. I dedicate one hour a week in a room with computer and internet facilities, and I show them how to do proper research, which sites to access, which are the reliable sites and which are not. In addition I support this with books, because in my area of teaching (art and design) especially in art. is very important – images can be very misleading on the screen (especially colour and resolution) so I teach them to research the net as well as juxtapose what they find against the books available in the library.

  41. >I have to agree with Sir Robinson that each of us is talented in something, in a certain way, however up to definite extend. But I would like to demystify that story about talents. Talent is something very nice but far from being sufficient. A lot of talents were lost just because the hard work did not follow. In order to achieve success one need 10% talent and the rest i.e. 90% is a hard work. So, having people knowing that they are talented and then to wait for those to come out with the brilliant solutions to solve all problems would not really work. So, I think that is much better to imprint in the children that without hard and smart work, no further progress in the society is possible, as well in their private life. But the problem is that what the children perceive out of the school is something complete different. So, as long as the whole society would strive to Learning Revolution, no e-learning or any other latest technology would bring such a revolution, in full sense of that word.

  42. >Typical of our life cycle, other than growing older, is gaining new experiences while adapting to new situations. Advances in technology move at fast relative pass. ‘E-learning’ is one form of learning; it is one effective tool to ease learning. E-learning is not the revolution itself but a contributor to the learning revolution. Affective education needs a structured system and a strong educational frame. The more liberal are the methods, the more is the demand to navigate through the pedagogy and maintain effective teaching, and to be more self-disciplined to master your own learning.As mentioned by Ted previously, I had his same experience when involved in classes using the eJAMF computer based training system. Although it is a self-teaching system the students need regular assistance, they learn in a vacuum, and easily misinterpret concepts. The students tend to focus on single detail, and have an incomplete concept. I classify CBT systems as self-teaching systems and not self-learning systems, because the latter is a factor of whether the student comprehends what he is following from screen shot to another.From this experience I learnt that evolving e-learning methods are not yet the ultimate replacement of the educator, but they are teaching enhancing tools. A combined holistic approach is still necessary, to redirect the student on the right track.

  43. >Sir Ken Robinson compared education to a one fit for all system and insisted that the education system now a day’s need to be more organic and linear, to fit the current society.Affective education needs a structured system and a strong educational frame. The more liberal are the methods, the more is the demand to navigate through the pedagogy and maintain effective teaching, and to be more self-disciplined to master your own learning.I compare the teaching methods and learning described by Sir Ken Robinson “one fit for all” as a train moving guided on fixed rails from one destination to another, progressively one station after another. It is rigid, measurable, conventional but disciplined and in a pre-set order. The learning revolution I am visualising compares to motor traffic, driving through different routes, along the road without fixed rails. It is more versatile, but requires order and more self-discipline. Without order, the risk involved is that the driver (student) selects only the destinations of his particular interest. This probably will need further regulation otherwise it leads to a non-self sustainable society, having specialists without the basic essentials to coop with life. In the ideal learning revolution it is essential to maintain a learning relationship, interactive and social belonging, involving student and the lecturer. The revolution is adaptation (getting acquainted to new technologies, the integration of the new technologies in teaching, enhancing learning by application of new technologies, a ‘cannot do without’ necessity. The learning revolution being discussed is more an evolution rather than a revolution, because it is an “organic” off spring, of former forms of education. The process is progressive and irreversible.

  44. >Watching this talk really struck me because of the fresh breath of air surrounding Sir Ken’s thoughts around education. Indeed it is not just refreshing, but overwhelming due to the revolutionary aspect of his suggestions.It was the first time I had heard someone suggesting that we move forward to an agricultural model – because agriculture has infinitely been used as an example of ‘old’ or ‘obsolete’ or ‘traditional’ things. In actual fact I never had such a negative or snobbish view of agriculture or traditional things. This probably comes from my upbringing.Designing an agricultural model means applying general methods whilst taking good care of every individual crop. This can easily be translated to education and I believe we badly need it in Malta.Every farmer has every interest to take care of every crop because the sum of all crops directly influences the livelihood of his family. In Malta we should pay similar attention to every student – firstly because our students have a much higher value than the value of crops – and most importantly because they constitute the only type of natural resource we have – the human resource. This is the reason why our success as a nation, as an economy, as a society rests upon the successful ‘student yield’ across the years.

  45. >My question is: what has driven educators to the fast food learning methods? The same answer always crops up… money. It is cheaper, it is more profitable, it is easier, etc…Personalizing education is like a father teaching a skill or craft to his son. The son has been observing his father work passionately on his works of art since he was a baby and in growth he has been transmitted the same passion, curios of all tricks and techniques.But can this be done in a public educational system? Can the government afford such education? How expensive would this be? How rich should a country be in order to achieve such quality? In a film named “The Guardian” the educational system of U.S. Coast Guard life savers is revolutionized by Kevin Costner in order to transform the students into real coast guards. He was a coast guard himself for plenty of years before he coached them and therefore could clearly identify the differences between what the soldiers were learning and what they will actually face. (I advise you rent the film for the weekend. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0406816/) I have another important question. Do you feel trapped in this system? Would anyone care if you make a suggestion? Do you anyone to suggest to? Does the ministry of education even see these videos? And if it does, is it ready to change? There are only some things you can do:• If you open up your own school, adapt an organic learning system (expensive as it may be).• If you intend to train your children for headship, let their position be education and make sure you influence their ideas!• Write letters. Write letters in continuation to the ministry of education and to media newspapers with suggestions and ideas. After years, someone might take you in consideration.But now that we know school is not the ideal place for our children to discover their talents and work upon them, who or what can? Can anyone tell me how can I help my children discover what they are good at? And when I do discover, what next? Is the school a waste of time?I think that we are teaching our children too many things. We are so overwhelmed with knowledge that we think everything is important and we teach them all that is important losing real learning.

  46. >@Aarondoes passion, enthusiasm and love for what you do cost money?Whether we like it or not we are part of a system – accept it. It is then up to us as individual teachers to choose whether the system (and its values) suits the message I want to get across to my students.

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