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Discussion Paper; The Beatles & the Open Context Model of Learning

Discussion Paper; The Beatles & the Open Context Model of Learning

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Published by fred garnett
Paper produced for the Learning Futures Festival Online 2010. You can comment on it here; http://fred6368.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/beatles-the-open-context-model-of-learning/
Paper produced for the Learning Futures Festival Online 2010. You can comment on it here; http://fred6368.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/beatles-the-open-context-model-of-learning/

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Published by: fred garnett on Jan 10, 2010
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The Beatles and the Open Context Model of LearningTo The Future;
 To build the future requires transformation. The future is not the same as the pastonly more intense, the answer will not be found in the tramline pedagogy we wereraised on. Transformation means qualitative change. A key element of that changehowever lies within the affordances of new technologies and the interactivity andsocial participation that they enable.Social participation is not a phrase that readily springs to mind when talking abouteducation. Education relies on the old certainties of subject disciplines, expertsand traditional institutions, none of which are “fit for context” in a participativeKnowledge Economy. And education rewards those that follow the old ways of doing things, like learning by rote, and getting A* grades; academics are A-levelstudents on steroids not change agents; but they could be.A lot of my stories reflect the coercive forces always at play in education and howI responded to them. I have been both caned and awarded a year subject prize formy schoolwork. A lot of my practice as an educator was concerned with brokeringlearning opportunities out of the education system. The key moment in my life istold in the story Glad All Over and occurred shortly after the BBC TV began Top of the Pops to capitalize on the Beatles phenomenal success. It reflects an argumentwith a friend who said the Beatles weren’t the best because they weren’t at thetop of the charts. After much reflection I realised it was up to me decide what hasvalue, and that wasn’t a chart, or even a qualification. Consequently I have beenthrown out of a few educational institutions as a result. But they were wrong!I believe that my understanding of learning and education derives from my ownexperiences, my reflection on that experience and from discussing thatexperience with others. As a founder member of the Learner-Generated Contexts Iwas involved in the original two meetings when we both arrived at our formulationof the future of education, "a coincidence of motivations leading to agileconfigurations" and in doing so shared the guilty secrets of our personal historiesof learning.It turned out that despite our eventual collective educational success we had allexperienced pretty bleak learning “failures” from which we had mapped our ownways forward. I notice that this quality is now being actively promoted as"resilience" and we are a resilient group. In fact the back story of the Group, withits dark Dickensian overtones, is possibly more interesting than its theoreticalformulations, if perhaps less useful educationally.
 The Learner-Generated Contexts Research Group has a back story. Originally anumber of us were part of the technical group advising the DfES on the Cybrarianproject which produced a prototype social media tool in 2003. This was aFacebook for learning produced a whole year before Facebook. The DfES rejectedit, partly because the term social networking site didn’t exist but also becausenobody in government knows anything about technology. We were outraged andshocked and eventually formed
(named in tribute to Smart Mobs)as a pressure group concerned with identifying criteria which would help
government select useful public ICT projects; they need to be
was an interesting mix of researchers, social entrepreneurs, policymakers and new media gurus but after a couple of years of being ignored RoseLuckin said that if we refocussed she knew how to make a Research Group work.
A Coincidence of Motivations leading to Agile Configurations
 The Learner-Generated Contexts Research Group started with a number of assumptions having evolved from this social media group. Education needed to becreative, interactive and participative and it would be occurring in a post-web 2.0world with all the tools that provides. User-Generated Content we took as a given,and our work in social inclusion indicated that “access” was just a starting pointwhat mattered was interest and appropriate content. Consequently we decidedthat what we were interested in was context appropriate learning, what we calleda “Coincidence of Motivations leading to Agile Configurations;” a
learner-generated context.
Actually what we are interested in is probably learning-generated contexts.
Some other Underpinning Ideas (for reference)
Learner-Generated Contexts Group ideas didnt come out of nowhere, our ideaswere shaped by our earlier work. Between us we have developed or worked onthe following ideas and concepts; Social networking, Ecology of Resources andparticipatory design, Community Development Model of Learning, ParticipativeMedia Literacy, An Information Architecture for Civil Society, developmental e-maturity, Metadata for Community Content, the Social Shaping of Technology, theNeworks, Services, Users model of technology change.
Open Context Model of Learning
We arrived at the formulation that we now call the Open Context Model of Learning online using a pbworks wiki collaboratively, and you can see the draftversion and its evolution online. We realized that we needed a learner-centredpedagogy and prepared it for the first Open Learn Conference at the OU in 2007as a way of showing that community how you could apply LGC principles to theirwork. John Seeley Brown was the keynote speaker at that Conference and I dragged himalong to our workshop. He called our presentation "the most exciting thinghappening in England!" Yanks, hey; don't you just love them; it is “the mostexciting thing happening in Britain” John! But thanks anyway…Another LGC back story is that we had each typically worked in more than oneeducational sector and collectively had worked across all education sectors, so ourview of the Open Context Model of Learning is that is an approach to learning thatcan be applied in multiple contexts.But the point of this exercise comes from the belief that understanding learninginvolves a narrative and I have tried to present a narrative that is about mylearning and which also reflects The Open Context Model of Learning. I have triedto select stories that capture something that I learnt at the time, often inspired by The Beatles who presented an alternative narrative of learning to me (see the“Learning…With The Beatles entries on 9 after 909 for more on this).
 The Open Context Model argues that learning is a combination of subjectunderstanding, collaboration, social processes and creativity and that part of theprocess of implementation involves addressing what we call the PAH Continuum.
The PAH ContinuumPedagogyAndragogyHeutagogy
Locus of Controlteacherteacher/learnerLearnerEducational sectorschoolsadult educationdoctoral researchCognition LevelcognitiveMetacognitiveEpistemicKnowledgeProduction ContextSubjectunderstandingProcessnegotiationKnowledgeProduction ContextWe argue that teaching to the PAH Continuum means that Pedagogic, Andragogicand Heutagogic issues need to be covered in the learning process. Pedagogy isteacher-lead and designed to inculcate subject understanding. Andragogy, usuallyassociated with adult education, is about developing collaborative learning skillsin learners, which is the critical factor in learning to learn. And don’t forget thateveryone does want to learn, but perhaps not your subject and perhaps not inyour way. Heutagogy is about being creative, about understanding form (orsubject discipline) and then learning how to play with it, to create innovation.Normally we only allow artists and post-doctoral research fellows to this and thenonly a little, but we could all learn
to do this, even if we
.Perhaps teach a history of of technology with a focus on the innovation process?Maybe require your students to contribute to wikipedia, or spot an error, andsubstantiate their post.
The Beatles and the Open Context Model of Learning
When I started writing the posts called Learning…With The Beatles I used to thinkthat “all you need is heutagogy,” but in fact I realized that all we need isandragogy, and the heutagogy will follow. We need more collaboration-drivenlearning, we need co-creation and co-design strategies, we need new professionalskills in educators and we need to enable learning and creativity in our learners.
The past isn’t linear; the future hasn’t been built
I am interested in understanding the disrupted narratives of our own learningaswe turn the past into an arrow and see the present in a predictable arc from thepast. It isn’t and it never was. But when we think that way we then see and expectthe future to be built in a linear and predictable fashion, yet we study the greatdisruptions in history, Sarajevo (twice), 9/11, the English Civil War, the Americanrevolution, 9/11 and so on and smooth over the historical tapestry. So is the futureabout One Laptop per Child or One Laptop per Village, embedded or distributed,augmented or virtual, industrial or ecological, nation-state or bio-region, man-made or natural, Examined or Trusted, political parties or mafia driven, peacefulor terrorist, financial or post-financial models of exchange, global or local,representative or participative? If your pedagogy doesn’t provide answers then Isuggest you might need to start using the Open Context Model of Learning,reconceptualising education and becoming more collaborative.

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