Landing : Athabascau University

The Classroom-less society: slides from Ed Tech Summit 2016 (Toronto)

Slides from my presentation for the 6th Annual Education Technology Summit in Toronto. In brief, I make the case that classroom teaching is inherently demotivating thanks to physical boundaries that cannot ever be fully surmounted. Mainly, this is due to the inevitable dynamic of control, which means the best that can be hoped for is that teachers let learners have control (which is not really control at all, and can always be taken back). E-learning has its own boundaries, but the are fuzzy, permeable, metaphorical, algorithmic, and they make it fundamentally impossible for teachers to exert the same kind of control. None-the-less, bizarrely, we try to apply behaviourist rewards and punishments (notably through grades) in a vain attempt to replicate the pedagogies of physical classrooms that are not needed any more (and that are counter-productive). Meanwhile, e-learning flourishes outside the institution - Wikipedia and Google Search, for example, result in orders of magnitude more learning than conventional institutions bring about.

Most educators have to fit in with institutional and societal demands, so it is hard to get around the boundaries and constraints of physically constrained pedagogies and, anyway, there are a few benefits to traditional institutions that are well worth keeping. The slides thus conclude with some ways to reach Web 1.5 - not quite as motivating as it could be, but better than what we typically have, and sustainable within a traditional institutional environment.



  • Gerald Ardito April 7, 2016 - 3:47am


    Thanks for sharing the presentation. I wish I had been able to attend the conference.

    I really enjoyed and appreciated your notion of Web 1.5.