Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mining the Data

One of the things that struck me in the Teacher Tube Master Class presented by Jason Smith (a good few weeks back now) was if we think in limited or old ways about learning and teaching the use of technology won't transform the learning . Jason started with an idea he wanted us to grapple with; agree, disagree, and well, just not sure. 'All student learning can be captured online.' It certainly got the discussion going and the questions coming. Initially I was intrigued, I was thinking about the many ways students could (are) demonstrate their learning and how students' understandings could be assessed and their thinking made visible and the many digital forms that could be used to capture the learning online. However as the session progressed the language he used wasn't matching the possibilities I imagined. Words like, testing, standards, mining data, activities, homework, delivering education; it wasn't the language that inspired me to think of the possibilities of capturing learning online. I began to feel that the scope of how the online spaces could be used was narrowing. While the idea of capturing student learning online has immense potential to transform learning, teaching and education more broadly, I felt that the technology he was suggesting may only offer sophisticated ways to 'mine data' that already existed or create more data that captured the same learning. Education will be transformed when we think differently about learning and teaching and seek new and innovative ways to capture learning. Technology will not only enable this but will also lead us to be innovative in this endeavor.