Thursday, November 04, 2010

George Siemens - "Questions I’m no Longer Asking"

I have been reading and following George Siemens (now of Athabasca University) for many many years and find that in addition to having plenty to say, he more often than not hits the nail on the head for me. My first ever conversation using Skype was with him back in 2004 - in fact I had to set up my Skype account just to do this. He is a most interesting and knowledgeable person who is well respected in the e-Learning community. 

George Siemens
(Photo from elearnspace).
So - when George writes in his latest blog post Questions I’m no Longer Asking, it's time to sit up and take notice. First - George is convinced (among many other things) that:
  • Learners should be in control of their own learning
  • Learners need to experience confusion and chaos in the learning process
  • Learning is network formation. Knowledge is distributed

He then poses some simple, but very much thought provoking questions - here's a selection of his questions (with his answers, my emphasis):
  • Is online learning more or less effective than learning in a classroom? Who cares.
  • Does technology use vary by age? Nonsensical
  • What role do blogs or microblogging [insert tool in question] play classroom or online learning? Any role you want
  • How can educators implement [whatever tool] into their teaching? Simple: do it.
A lot of research has been going on over the past few years in an effort to answer these questions. For example, the effectiveness of online learning vs classroom learning is a popular research topic for many of my MSc in Learning Technologies students. Siemens now finds these questions "boring" and that they "no longer interest" him. I too find many of the questions "boring" because they have been asked many times over the past few years and I have listened to many conference presentations on this theme. However, they still interest me - but I will keep George's thoughts in mind as I continue on my own journey through technology in education.

Finally, George finishes his post with two questions (what are your answers to these questions?):

Which questions are you no longer asking about the role of technology in learning?

and…

Which questions about technology and learning are still relevant for educators to consider?


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