This is what I tweeted at the end of 2011 Australian Moodle Moot 2011:
It was truly wonderful. Great ideas, great people, great venue, great organisation, great community vibe. It was a three day Moodle love-in.
Highlights – meeting soooo many people I have net-known for a while but we have never crossed paths in person (Mary Cooch, Helen Foster, Geoff Young, Nigel Mitchell, Shannon Johnston, Nathan Hutchings, Michael Woods, Claire Brooks, Jon Powles … to name just a few!!!), working collaboratively with the one and only Sarah Thorneycroft on the game-based learning stuff, sitting in some very cool sessions and speakers, watching Martin strut his stuff on the dance floor, toughing it out with four fellow moodlers at the inaugural MoodleMoot jog on a wet, cold and windy morning, doing the Baywatch slo-mo impersonations with the indomitable Louisa ‘Buzz’ Wright … and so much more!
Mark Drechsler has posted a few reflective posts day by day and I invite to you to head over for a great rundown with added personal reflection of a team member who has worked very hard to make this moot such a success.
But it made me a bit … sad, too.
Sad because ideas like:
- Give students a course to create and demonstrate what they can do and care about.
- Give students the power (and associated responsibility!) to edit and become co-creators in a course/parts of you run.
- In staff PD, get reluctant teachers to come up with examples of use of a tool as a buy-in before they learn how to set it up.
- Pique curiosity with quest(ions), interesting challenges for staff or students to complete and build-in some feedback as they go along (game-based learning).
- Don’t spoonfeed – teach how to think not how to do the new tool.
- “You never know more than the people you train.” – be humble and listen, value, adjust.
- Get the audience to contribute their ideas via real-time editable doc and use, build on those.
- Instead of building new ‘portals’ for content to hoard and lock down – open up and build networks instead with a few simple, existing tools and invest in people instead.
- Make your assessment match the conditions of the ‘real world’, make it as authentic and relevant as possible.
- Go for a jog in driving rain (<- proof ).
- and more …
were met with ‘wow’ and gushing tweets how ‘fantastic’ and ‘innovative’ that was to hear and see. Yeah sure, these are all great things. But why aren’t they as common as dirt? They are hardly new or revolutionary – arguably, they have been around for millennia in different contexts.
It is truly sad to see ‘tighter submission of assignments’, ‘improved procedures for protecting content’, ‘better tracking capabilities’, ‘faster delivery of content’ (whatever that means …), ‘building content portals’ etc. becoming so pressing yet normalised concerns and ideas.
It is equally, if not more, sad that things that we as species are so intuitively damn good at, such as ‘working out a problem’ and ‘challenging ourselves’ and ‘being curios’ and ‘wanting to be involved’ and ‘valuing listening’ seen as some incredibly smart, ‘progressive’, bleeding-edge notions?
Hey, some folks are making a mozza on speaking circuit peddling the obvious…if we took a second to think for ourselves. But I do wonder how and why have these rudimentary human strivings become so counterintuitive to ask, wonder about, and try to stimulate for learning?
I know schools and universities aren’t going to disappear or change in a hurry. And they shouldn’t, for my money. But if education is/were a business, what is its currency? What do you/we want it to be?
I know I’m using broad brush strokes here. I know the minutiae of our professional lives prevents the odd navel-gaze and wonder. But it is important to see the forrest from the trees sometimes.
Once again – thank you organisers of 2011 Australian Moodlemoot. I hope to see you next year on the Gold Coast, weather (aka $$$) permitting.