Steve Wheeler - September 17, Riyadh - Notes

The Mayflower Steps. When we talk about the future, we step out into the unknown.

Macy's, in New York. Immigrants couldn't imagine so many people, buildings so large. They wondered what the machine was in the wall that changed people. It was like magic.

We look at technology and we glorify it. But we shouldn't; it's just another tool. We highlight the technology, but it should be invisible. We make it magic, and it's just another tool.

A telephone. Can you imagine someone seeing a telephone for the first time? Bell said, "I imagine a day when every town in America will have a telephone." Now we have them in our pocket. Bell could not imagine minituaization, and satellites.

When we predict the future, we can only see through the narrow vision of today.

Charging stations for mobile phones. These are things Bell could not have imagined.

The 'Learning in 2000' picture - turning the crank and pumping knowledge straight into the minds of the students. So - again - predictions we make may be very different in 20 or 30 years time.

We need to think of disruptive technology. Kaku: It is impossible to predict the future with great accuracy.

Laptop development. In 25 years we've come along way.

Three things in the future:

- learning will become increasingly mobile
- technology and learning will become more personal
- also, they will become more social

Where have we come from? 1840 - the introduction of the penny postal system in the UK, and also started the first distance education, a shorthand course.

1968 - Stanford Instructional TV network - one of the first nation-wide systems.

1970 - Eindhoven - the Phillips (something) - a museum for technology. There: the first closed circuit TV system. The first demonstration of videoconferencing. Now we can use Facetime.

1976: reel-to-reel tape recorder, hand-cranked duplicator (we called them Gestetners - SD). Films. VCR tapes.

We will use our technology to take our learning back into the world again.

1982. Dot matrix printer. Space Invaders. Ceefax. Finally - touch-screen, gesture based computing, satellites, etc. It's a common sight to see people using hand held devices at conferences.

Tim Berners-Lee: "This is for everyone." The internet is a truly democratic system.

LMSs: BB, D2L, Sharepoint, Moodle.

But we're in danger if we follow the old pathways. There is no point using technology if we use old practices. Illich: we should turn our funnels into learnin webs. They are connected in multiple directions. It is no longer possible, expedient, to simply give a lecture to rows and rows of people. The lecture has its place, but there must be more. Students want to converse with them, and each other.

Personal learning environments. (PLE diagram)

MOOC. cMOOC, xMOOC. I want to introduce 'embedded MOOC'. Traditional classes - MOOCs are founded and recommended. (aka 'wrapped MOOC' - SD).

Where are we going?
1989 - the future is multimedia
1999 - the future is the web - turned out to be correct.

Larry Downes: everything technology touches grows exponentially.

5 generations of mobile technology: from the book (required literacy, was very rare, then became commonplace) to laptop to Kindle Reader etc.

(Failed mobile phone joke. ;) )

What happens in an internet minute? (Diagram from Intel) - 61K hours of music, etc.

Personal Learning Networks - exponential growth of connections. Theories derived from the idea of connectivity. "I store my knowledge in my friends". Knowledge is changing; it is no longer immutable. It is new all the time. I just need to know where to find it when I need it.

Paragogy - the idea that we teach each other. And distributed cognition and the 'hive mind'.

Barak Obama just before being elected, in Berlin. There's a sea of people. They're there because they know it's historic. They're all capturing the moment, with phones, even a laptop. They're live-streaming. This is the future of education. They take notes now by grabbing and capturing images.

Seymour Papert: the best learning takes place when the learner takes charge. They learn by doing. Piaget, 1950. Picture of two students learning in Doha. We hearn by making (constructionism) - Papert, 1960. Picture of students making a video. They blog and they tweet.

A family in 1950, in America, watching a B&W TV program. It's like a tribe, around a fire. There were only 1 or 2 channels. They were all in th same place; it was a common experience. 2000s; Wii are family. Same common experience, but with a device in our hands.

Gsmes-based learning will be important. Csikszentmihaluyi - the idea of flow - raising the level of challenge as skills increase, to avoid boredom and anxiety. Vygotsky - zone of proximal development (what I can learn on my own). But in addition to 'knowledgable others' we should add 'technology and tools'. Put these together and it may be possible to expand that flow channel.

David Jonassen - computers as mind tools - engaging ourselves in critical thinking. Learning 2.0 - architecture of participation. Learners are more self-directed, more equipped to participate.

Learning 3.0 - four key elements:
- distributed (cloud) computing

(big graph comparing 1.0, 2.0, 3.0)
3.0 - active,social,community; rhizoonomy; connectivist; community is the curriculum; user and machine-generated content; etc.

Future learning topology: distributed computing system; inside it will be 3D visualization and interaction, smart mobile technology, collaborative intelligent filtering. (Infrastructure, interface, tools, interaction)

Nova Spivak: graph, degree of social connectivity, degree of information connectivity. High social, high information = Web x.0 - the metaweb.

John W. Gardner - "All too often we are giving people cut flowers when we should be teachning them how to grow plants."



  1. Thanks for the summary. Small point but I don't think that Vigotsky's ZPD was about what we learn on our own but rather with/from slightly more knowledgeable peer.

  2. Not a small point at all - obviously Wheeler represented Vygotsky correctly, but my summary misrepresented what he said here (blame it on a brain cloud).


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