The use of digital technologies for learning and teaching, doesn’t just happen. Staff don’t always instinctively pick up the skills and capabilities to utilise the range of digital tools and services available to them. In a similar manner the application of pedagogy to mobile, remote and online delivery is not as simple as translating in-person pedagogical practices.
When it comes to digital transformation in education, I wonder if we can look at what happened to the music retail industry and the impact of digital over the last few decades.
I looked at how the retail music industry had moved from vinyl to CD, to mp3 and onto streaming services. So, what does this mean for education? Well don’t make the mistake of equating music tracks with something like a lecture. Digital transformation of education is not about the Napsterfication of lectures or creating an education version of Spotify. What we can learn from digital music is reflecting on the differences between the digitisation of education, the digitalisation of education and then the digital transformation of education.
I participated in the LTHEChat and Advance HE tweetchat about wellbeing in higher education.
So to remind us, when we look at digital transformation, it becomes obvious that focusing on the hardware or technology is actually quite limiting. So when looking at the digital transformation of education, we really want to focus on the transformation of education and how digital can enable and enhance that transformation.
On Friday I attended Wonkhe and Adobe’s Education Espresso event on Pedagogy and playfulness.
When it comes to digital transformation in education, I wonder if we can look at what happened to the music retail industry and the impact of digital over the last few decades.
Of course you can’t directly compare and map what happened to music with education, but there are parallels and similarities, which can help us to reflect on what might and could happen in education.
Originally retail music was analogue, firstly with vinyl and then the audio cassette.
Bands and musicians would make music and then (usually through a record company) would cut a record, which would then be sold in record shops.
As a teenager I remember my local record shop, Andy’s Records in Cambridge and flipping though the singles and albums on sale.
In the 1980s we saw the digitisation of music with the release of the CD or compact disc in 1982. CDs were designed to hold up to 74 minutes of uncompressed stereo digital audio.
When I was at University in the late 1980s I would buy music on CD. The experience was very much as it was before when buying vinyl and cassettes, though this time I was frequenting Our Price records. The albums that were available on vinyl were then released on CD. Though the 74 minute limit did result in some changes to some albums.
What the CD did do though was start to change the way in which people listened to music. It was now easier to skip tracks, repeat tracks or just go straight to the track you wanted to listen to.
This can be seen as very much as digitisation of an analogue experience.
In the 1990s using our home computers we were able to rip our CD collections and put the files on our local hard drives. The uncompressed digital audio files were so large, a CD would take up 650MB of data, that we would use compression technology to reduce the size of the files to (usually) 10% of their original file size. So that ripped CD would take up just 65MB on your hard drive.
Ripping CDs meant you could rip just the songs you wanted from an album, or even create your own albums through the creation of playlists.
The concept of listening to an entire album, though entirely possible to do using mp3s in the same way as you could with vinyl was starting to be replaced by people choosing how they wanted to listen to music.
The late 1990s saw people using the internet to start sharing their mp3s, which was epitomised with the Napster peer-to-peer file sharing service.. Now you could share your music with others and listen to their music (ignoring the illegalities of this whole process). Napster ceased operations in 2001 after losing a wave of lawsuits and filed for bankruptcy in June 2002.
The music industry responded to Napster with not just lawsuits, but also licensing digital music through services such as Apple’s iTunes. Now you could buy not just albums, but you could also just buy a single track from an album. You could buy playlists of music as well, not just from music publishers, but also the lists of other music enthusiasts.
The release of the iPod (and other mp3 players) also changed not just how people listened to music, but also where they listened to music. Though the same could be said about the Sony Walkman twenty years before.
The move to digital music files can be seen as digitalisation of music.
The concept though was still there of an individual buying music which you then owned. You bought vinyl, you bought a CD and now you bought digital music files.
Where we really saw digital transformation of music was in the emergence and growth of subscription streaming services such as Spotify, Amazon Music, and Pandora.
We can think of music streaming as something relatively new, well the concept is a little older than that. Beginning in 1881, Théâtrophone enabled subscribers to listen to opera and theatre performances over telephone lines. This operated until 1932. However this was analogue, these new services are digital streaming services. You could stream music however you wanted, single tracks, albums, playlists, genres of music, or styles of music. Now you no longer bought music tracks or albums, you subscribed a service that allowed you to listen whatever tracks and albums you wanted, whenever you wanted. The only downside, was that when you stopped subscribing, you no longer had access.
I do see this very much as digital transformation. Music was no longer seen as a physical media, or something you owned. Streaming changed not just the way you listened music, but also the kinds of music you could listen to. Sometimes it constrained, and for others it liberated their listening.
So what does this mean for education?
Well don’t make the mistake of equating music tracks with something like a lecture. Digital transformation of education is not about the Napsterfication of lectures or creating an education version of Spotify.
What we can learn from digital music is reflecting on the differences between the digitisation of education, the digitalisation of education and then the digital transformation of education. Recognising where you are, but also thinking about where you wantto be and how you will get there.
This year I have written only 17 blog posts, in 2017 it was 21 blog posts, in 2016 it was 43 blog posts, in 2015 I wrote 24 blog posts. In 2014 I wrote 11 and in 2013 I wrote 64 blog posts and over a hundred in 2012. In 2011 I thought 150 was a quiet year!
The tenth most popular blog post in 2018 was asking So do signs work? This article from 2013 described some of the challenges and issues with using signage to change behaviours. So do signs work? Well yes they do, but often they don’t.
The post at number nine was my podcast workflow, published in 2011, this article outlines how and what equipment I use to record the e-Learning Stuff Podcast. This is only one way in which to record a remote panel based podcast, and I am sure there are numerous other ways in which to do this. I have also changed how I have recorded over the two years I have been publishing the podcast due to changes in equipment and software. It’s probably time to update it, though I am not doing as much podcasting as I use to.
Dropping three places to eighth was 100 ways to use a VLE – #89 Embedding a Comic Strip. This was a post from July 2011, that looked at the different comic tools out there on the web, which can be used to create comic strips that can then be embedded into the VLE. It included information on the many free online services such as Strip Creator and Toonlet out there. It is quite a long post and goes into some detail about the tools you can use and how comics can be used within the VLE.
The post at number seven, climbing one place, was Comic Life – iPad App of the Week. Though I have been using Comic Life on the Mac for a few years now I realised I hadn’t written much about the iPad app that I had bought back when the iPad was released. It’s a great app for creating comics and works really well with the touch interface and iPad camera.
Sixth most popular was a post from 2018, called “I don’t know how to use the VLE!” This blog post described a model of VLE embedding and development. This post was an update to the model I had published in 2010.
Holding at fourth, is Can I legally download a movie trailer? One of the many copyright articles that I posted some years back, this one was in 2008, I am still a little behind in much of what is happening within copyright and education, one of things I do need to update myself on, as things have changed.
Once again, for the sixth year running, the number one post for 2018 was the The iPad Pedagogy Wheel.
I re-posted the iPad Pedagogy Wheel as I was getting asked a fair bit, “how can I use this nice shiny iPad that you have given me to support teaching and learning?”. It’s a really simple nice graphic that explores the different apps available and where they fit within Bloom’s Taxonomy. What I like about it is that you can start where you like, if you have an iPad app you like you can see how it fits into the pedagogy. Or you can work out which iPads apps fit into a pedagogical problem.
One of the key messagesI took away form the Donna Lanclos and Dave White keynote at ALT-C this year was that we need to remember that there is no such thing as “the university” as we are “the university”.
When someone says “the university” won’t let us do something, what they are actually saying is that a person in the university won’t let them do something.
We have to remember that policies, procedures and processes are not set in concrete and can be changed. I do realise that there are some legal aspects that mean some illegal activities are still illegal and that’s why you can’t do it!
The other key message for me was that tech and digital are not solutions, but people are. They may use digital for those solutions, but digital in itself is merely a tool to provide a solution. Without adequate training and support, digital tools are just tools.
I also liked their message that models can hinder development, the use of hierarchical models that imply that this is a ladder to climb, when in reality you can often jump in at any point, and move between different sections, without necessarily needing to move on a linear journey upwards!
I made a couple of sketch notes from the keynote and as rightly pointed out to me, there isn’t much in them, but I did them more for me, than for other people.
These were done using Paper by 53 on an iPad pro with an Apple pencil.
The FE sector is going through some difficult and challenging times at the moment. One of the key aspects they need to work on are the Area Based Reviews.
One aspect of the area based reviews is that they must “embrace technology”.
Great, let’s embrace technology…
I can do that…
I can embrace technology…
Well, I think I know how to embrace technology…
Well, what does that actually mean, I am sure it means more than just hugging your laptop.
Okay let’s delve a little deeper into this.
The actual line from the government document says:
A willingness to embrace the possibilities provided by technology via blended, independent and online delivery and assessment, which can increase the quality and scope of provision and improve efficiency.
Hopefully embrace means more than just a passing hug…
What would an FE College (or whatever comes out of the Area Based Reviews) look like once it had embraced technology?
How could you describe an FE College that has embraced technology?
What would the learner experience be like from the learner’s perspective? From a member of the teaching staff and their perspective? From the perspective of someone from learner support or business support?
Most use of learning technologies that I have seen, read about in conference papers, news items, listened to at events, and personally experiences when working in FE, is less about embracing technology, much more about holding hands or giving a peck on the cheek to technology. Not much holistic embracing of technology by the whole organisation.
Part of this is because we really don’t know what is meant by “embrace technology” and we have no real idea of what it could look like.
A vision of how the learner experience should be, with references to how this experience would embrace technology is a good place to start.
The entire learner journey from where they are interested in undertaking a programme of study, from enquiry, enrolment to induction. The programme of study, schemes of work, lesson planning, resources, content, activities. How technology would be used to enhance and enrich the formal and informal learning. How will the learner use technology to find information, media and manipulate data? How will the learner use digital creation tools to support their learning? How will technology impact on research and scholarship? What role does innovation play in embracing technology? As part of their learning journey, what digital tools will a learner use for group and peer communication, how will they work together using online collaborative tools? What will be the role of digital social networking tools?
What will be the role of technology in supporting that learner experience? The use of data, analytics, online resources, digital content all need to be considered and integrated into the learner experience. The learner experience does not exist in isolation, the business support processes that lie behind that experience also need to be sure they don’t frustrate or block the use of technology that is being used to enhance and enrich.
How will the use of technology support the learner once the course has been finished?
The next stage will be look a potentially different experiences, ones that would not be possible without technology, or ones that take advantage of the affordances of digital technology. This is where online learning comes into play, flipped learning and providing a more personalised and flexible approach.
Embracing technology is easy to say, easy to write down. Ensuring that you actually holistically embrace technology across the whole organisation, as part of a wider review is challenging and difficult. We haven’t really done this before, so I don’t think we can assume it will just happen now.
This forum will explore methods for categorising learners approach to online platforms and how this can influence edtech/pedagogic strategies. It will focus on Marc Prensky’s famous ‘Digital Native & Digital Immigrants’ trope and the more recent ‘Visitors & Residents’ idea proposed by David White.
Questions the forum will consider:
Which of these systems is a more effective guide when attempting to provide appropriate technologies in configurations which encourage participation?
Is it possible to see ‘generational’ or age based trends in approaches to the web or is this an over simplification?
Does categorising learners along these lines act as a useful guide for edtechs/learning techs or are they just conceptual toys?
The two systems will be promoted by members of the panel after which the discussion will be opened to the audience.
The forum panel will be Tara Alexander (Lecturer, Health and Social Work, University of Plymouth), David White (Manager/Researcher, University of Oxford) and Steve Wheeler (Senior Lecturer in Education and Information Technology, University of Plymouth).
I have the task of chairing this session. There are some great speakers and the topic is controversial, people have many varied views on it. Should be both fun and stimulating.
When I was at FOTE 09 a few weeks ago I stayed overnight and went out for a meal at a terrible Italian restaurant; one of the problems I have visiting different parts of London is that I am merely a visitor and unlike the local residents do not know the best places to eat. I remember visiting London a few years ago and my sister-in-law who lived in London at the time (a resident) took me to a wonderful local pub with fantastic food. The more I visit London the more confident I get with getting about (on foot and on the tube) and knowing which places to avoid and when and which places to seek out and try. First time visitors to London know it differently to those that visit more often and likewise people who live in London will know some places better than others. Visitors and residents know London in different ways and the same can be said for those who use digital and online tools and services. I really don’t want to use the term digital world as I don’t think it is a useful term.
Last year we discussed the concept coined by Dave White of Visitors and Residents and how this relates to how people interact and use the online and digital tools and services out there.
Dave has made a video of the presentation he gave at ALT-C 2009 and it makes for interesting viewing.
Most people should by now realise that the age demarcation of the digital native and digital immigrant is a flawed concept and should not be relied upon. Projects and research have again shown that young learners are not digital natives and often have issues with digital and online technologies.
The experiences of several MoLeNET projects suggests that not all young people are the “digital natives”…
“We came to this project with an unspoken belief that young learners would innately understand how these devices worked, we quickly came to understand that, while they can use them well on a superficial level, more demanding tasks stretched their knowledge of the technology”.
The key lessons to remember is that you can’t assume that younger learners will be confident in how to use new technologies, likewise also don’t assume that older learners will not know how to use technologies.
If you are an online resident it can sometimes be difficult to remember that a lot of people are merely visitors and that they may not fully undertstand the local customs, practices or best places to go.
Digital Literacy Debate – The purpose of the debate is to try and move forward on issues surrounding Digital Literacy. The focus of the debate will be the UK education sector, but international attendees and contributors are more than welcome. Recently, Digital Literacy has gained a lot of traction within academic and educational technology discussion within the UK, and is generally thought of as A Good Thing. However, some important questions have yet to be addressed.
James, Shri, Kev and Lisa all use Twitter, but some of us prefer Jaiku.