Various things of late have got me thinking again about the nature of learning and the value of different terminology to guide behavior. Some quick notes, for my reference, below.
This address by Bill Clinton highlights some useful examples of education schemes from around the globe, with the focus being on the impact of education upon poverty and opportunity. A key thread in his argument is the need for young people to be exposed to at least one ‘great teacher’. This grates slightly due to my dislike of the idea of ‘teaching’ in a connected environment where there are many kinds of learning event. Does the facilitator’s title have to be driven by the nature of the learning event and, as such, ‘teacher’ may be perfectly valid in a remote African classroom?
Thinking back to the variety of event types that now exist, as discussed on a previous blog, we are seeing more and more formats emerge, often based around what a specific tool (such as Google Hangouts) can do. One term I did not list was ‘Festival’ but the once-upon-a-time JISC Conference (which I attended a number of times) is now the JISC Digital Festival (although they do host an online conference too). How can we best leverage subtle changes such as naming conventions, room design, catering, etc. to engage attendees of all types to develop a better formal/informal learning experience? Can we best label ‘delegates’ and ‘teachers’ to maintain a sense of respect (where needed) but also shift the responsibility for (all) learning toward the learner and their network? I personally do not think we should see this is as age related where we expect the young to respect their ‘teachers’ but the name for the role being less important in other age groups.
In the above I am seeing conferences and other events as learning opportunities, perhaps one trick is to have conference delegates agree to certain expectations in the same way you may have a student, in a formal education environment, sign up to a ‘charter’ or other form of learning contract?
Overall, I would like to see different names for facilitators of learning based on the nature of the event, this would help people be clear on the expectations. For example, a webinar presenter is one thing whereas a classroom facilitator does something very different.