Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Code Red As Brand-New Pedagogical Model

"It’s not about matching traditional models with existing tools anymore; It’s about developing a brand-new pedagogical model and implementing the Next generation Web environment upon it." Antonio Fumero

Fumero, A. (2006). EDUWEB 2.0 - ICAMP & N-GEN Educational Web.  In proceeding of: WEBIST 2006, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies: Society, e-Business and e-Government / e-Learning, Setúbal, Portugal, April 11-13, 2006.
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One can feel the pressure to leap into a fully formed new something and the global need for new pedagogical models is not immune. Many see that new facts have been and can be further arranged in new ways for fascinating purposes. Why? Why is such possibility in the air and does it require an antidote, scaffolding or simply the freedom to roll?

Everyone's doing it.

The university scene is excited about MOOCS. Educators unsatisfied with the results from lecture halls of hundreds are pushing for massive online courses of tens of thousands.

Public schools in the United States are close to the tipping point for a massive rollout of 1 digital device per student and North Carolina is an active leader in this effort.

The Federal planners also saw opportunity and planned the roll-out of a new online health care system of education, registration and management.

And with that last thought, we have an educational case study. The resulting national crisis of the health care Web site, its failure and its 6 week resurrection, is instructive. This story is told in some detail in Steven Brill's insightful article, Code Red (Time Magazine, March 10, 2014, pp. 26-36). Some of our cultural leaders have gained sufficient knowledge to talk the talk and dream and envision, but too often lack the operational knowledge and systems to walk the walk, and that's just part of the problem. Is there anyone familiar with IT who cannot tell similar stories just on a more local scale? There is aspirational;  there is functional, and then there is useful. Or as has been quoted many times, the future is here, it's just not widely distributed.

An underlying cause of the vision of opportunity is a disturbingly silent and tragically invisible character, the explosion of knowledge (chapter length), giving us a smorgasbord of options (multiple textbooks). This invisible character may be THE cause. From this overloaded table of goodies of constantly new facts and new tools, inventive minds will create new forms and start to use them. Enter, stage left, invisible character  two,  chaos and self-organizational theory; better understand the former before attempting to understand the latter.  It is important to understand that this is only going to accelerate, not settle out, level off or whatever hopeful term one might invent for the world reaching a point that it might be comprehendible, predictable and controllable. Code Red is the demonstrated new pedagogical model.

A further underlying cause is an educational system that has yet to face to facts of this new world and its new systems of communication and thinking. It is not about the haves and have-nots of hardware. It is about education. University systems have been marinating in a deep pool of the hardware stuff for 20 years and still seek to match traditional models with cyberspace. Such systems appear to continue to pass on the question of defining the actual elements of digital literacy. It is a debatable as to whether MOOCs are the tip of the old system or the tip of the new. Next up are public schools, which have been starved for full-scale digital funding. It is only with the rapid price drops of recent years that they have started taking steps for massive participation in the near future. Which continues to beg the question, participate in what?

It is hard to imagine what it will take for long standing institutions to recognize let alone accept the implications of what is standing in front of them in the digital era. There is a way out. Use models that are working. Edupunk, personal learning networks, social networks and makerspaces are the current most representative role models of the global cyberspace educational system. They form as seemingly the anti-particles of post-industrial culture. Physics appears to have made peace with the anti-particle conundrum; can our current institutions?  A deeper examination than Brill's piece of the training, education and philosophies of the cast of characters that quickly saved the heath care site from cardiac arrest would be informative.

The first national Web catharsis provided some national lessons. I surmise there is no going back. There is no antidote to the knowledge explosion and its role as the fuel injector for ever more intense nonlinear chaos and self-organization, fundamental late 20th century concepts still greatly misunderstood. Green lighting new digital projects will only lead to endless Code Red unless the Geeks get further into the wheel house. They'd like to help and they are a little disappointed at their reception. If a crisis loop of Code Red in digital thinking continues, at some point that might provide just enough incentive for them to all drop out and form their own movement and systems. That may be the long term outcome.

Even as Code Red thinking has now reached recognition on a national political scale, let's stamp it out with the new models that are working. If it has become impossible to get our arms around the future, then what?  Iterate. A revolution, with scaffolding and scaling, can become self-educating for those that will listen.

Twitter "find your tribe" hashtags: #edupunk #makerspace #pedagogy #pln

Updated with links, March 6.

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