I am in the opening stages of an online experiment by Autumm, who is facilitating a book study group across multiple media platforms, as well as some live interaction time with colleagues at her university. She’s experimenting as part of an extension of Rhizomatic Learning, of putting theory into practice. Educator/Writer (now president of Goucher College) Jose Antonio Bowen would probably call this push of juggling tech/no-tech as “naked learning.” He is the writer of the book we are reading, entitled Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning.
I’m through the first section (The New Digital Landscape) and am participating in the book group mostly via Twitter, and I guess my blog here, and in my own little world on Goodreads, where I am using the comment section to make notes as I go along in the book. I’m a bit mixed on the book so far. I think the title and his labeling of “naked learning” — the face-to-face time between instructor and learner that is enhanced by technology that students are already using and knowledgeable about in their non-school lives — is purposefully provocative and geared for search engines. Hey, I may be wrong about that, but I think that thought every time I see his naked phrase.
On the other hand, Bowen’s push for university professors to make the shift into technology as a way to engage students is right on the mark (even if he often couches his push on professors with the call of using “graduate assistants” to monitor the media flow).
… technology has shifted the nature of the classroom. Learning now happens in more mobile, customized, and varied ways. We need to consider how we can advance student learning by thinking equally about learning environments inside and outside the classroom.” (Bowen, p. xiii)
I am not far enough into the book to give an in-depth analysis, nor am I teaching at the college level. So I am not the ideal audience, but there are plenty of ideas that are already resonating with me as a teacher and as a professional development facilitator.
But I like that Bowen acknowledges and validates the lives of learners outside the institution itself, and provides handy and accessible “Implementation” guides that walk the reader through ways to use Skype, Facebook and Twitter or setting up a virtual seminar, or even the nuts and bolts of establishing a protocol for communicating with students in various social media spaces.
I’m moving into the section section of the book — Designing 21st-Century Courses — and it will be interesting to see if he explores the tension between closed LMS systems that most universities require, and which are about as unauthentic spaces as you can image, versus open learning system, like Rhizomatic Learning or CLMOOC. I was telling Autumm that I looked in the index and there is no reference to MOOCs at all. Which is odd. (Note: the book came out in 2012 and Autumm think she saw a reference to MOOCs in the book itself)
More to come …
Peace (says the Emperor),