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Participatory Culture

Participatory culture

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I zoomed in to Catherine Cronin’s talk on “If open is the answer, what is the question?” at the recent OER16 conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. This thought resonated with me, as it’s something I’ve learning in my journey with Visual Thinkery: our contibutions matter. With a sideways glance at school, I think there’s a massive difference between enforced participation and a culture of participation…

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Changing your world view

Changing your world view

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This looks all wrong, doesn’t it? The thing is, it’s not at all easy to change your current world view. In fact, we actively look for things that will confirm our existing world view. This, I now know, is called confirmation bias, which always reminds me of the Simon & Garfunkel line “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest, hmm hmm hmm…”. I find the world a much more complicated place to live in being open to different world views, for to be open to other ideas we must also be open to our position being a bit wrong too. Feelings of doubt, uncertainty, and not being clever enough…

However inconvenient, this humility surely forms an essential ingredient of learning?

Learning to Credential

Learning to credential

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It was my pleasure this week to give a talk at the Bett Show this week alongside Dr Doug Belshaw of Digital Literacies & Open Badges fame. One of Doug’s points was that in Education, we’d like to think that the starting point for learning is the learning itself. Not so. Due to the nature of the system, we start with the Credential and work backwards. Ah. This is further illustrated by this graphic, highlighting the massive difference between prescriptive and descriptive pathways.

This resonates with my wapisasa journey too. Having set out to chart our Rookies (young people) on a path to surefire digital greatness, we prescriptively created a bunch of badges. However, after 6 months we sat down with our first Rookies and reviewed what had been the most valuable learning – which became a very different set of descriptive badges…

Digital Skills Sandwich

Digital Skills Sandwich

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Sandwich anyone? I do love a good sandwich. If potatoes are the king of carbs, then surely bread is its queen? As an Irishman, I am of course very biased. Anyway, I digress…
The Digital Skills Sandwich is an idea that’s been rumbling around in my head for a while now. It’s seed germinates from the fact that it can often take a number of years to craft a vocational qualification. Great. Now, when it comes to Digital Skills, this poses a massive problem as the digital domain is evolving much faster than the qualification can be created. Not great. However, by shifting our focus from long journeys (like qualifications) to small steps of achievement, we can think in terms of a fluid collection of small achievements that are mapped on to a fixed generic standard framework, which could be given a wrapper of “meaning” by a third party such as an Awarding body. The Open Badge standard makes this possible. It’s new endorsement feature would also allow the small steps to be created by anyone, and included as part of a dynamic Sandwich filling. Crazy? Maybe. Hungry? You bet…

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Ideation and thinkery…

Ideation

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Oh, the need for a creative process in order to ideate and innovate! In my experience, people have different strengths when it comes to thinking, and without a recognition of this (and a process), one person’s sideways idea is discounted as silly, or even worse, seen as a threat. Tom Barrett’s blog entitled “The ebb and flow between divergent and convergent thinking” caught my eye, and before long I found myself pruning trees…

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What next for Open Badges?

What next for Open Badges?

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Blockchain, the underlying technology used by Bitcoin, is cool. At least, I think it is, if I could only get my head around it. A group of thinkers (including Serge Ravet) from the Open Badges Community got together to start thinking about how the Open Badge standard could be used inside the Blockchain. What would it gain, and more importantly to me, what would that look like?

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The Confidence Gap

At the Digital Leaders recent conference, I took part in a discussion about young people and Digital Skills. As you might expect, there was lots of talk about “the skills gap”, which is already here (check out programmers salaries in London) and predicted to result in many thousands of unfilled jobs. In my experience, the mini-journeys that people undertake have more do to with their confidence. In particular, I’m thinking of young people leaving school blind to the world of opportunity out there or their place in it, but clutching a grades slip which essentially reads “not good enough”. The biggest travesty of all is that most believe it…

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