Landing : Athabascau University

Educational machines and how they work

These are my presentation slides from a talk I gave today for the AU Research Centre, on the nature of technologies and why that is really interesting from a learning perspective. A clear understanding of the nature of technologies, especially the ways that we coparticipate in them in the highly distributed teaching that occurs in educational systems, helps to explain why bad teaching or even no teaching at all can sometimes work better than good teaching (depending on what we mean by 'bad', 'good', and 'works'), the origins of the no-significant-difference phenomenon, why Bloom's 2-sigma challenge can never be met, why learning styles research makes zero sense, and why we might need to rethink the value and purpose of reductive research in education (all it can ever tell us is whether the machine is working as intentended, and it is not and cannot be generalizable beyond that).

A video capture of the talk itself is available at (link).

Self-referentially, I should note that I didn't realize that, in this capture, the video of me would appear in the bottom corner of the screen, roughly the size of a very small postage stamp, nor that the chat alongside the presentation would not be captured. Those who were there hopefully got to see me gesticulating and showing off things to do with chopsticks a bit better than this, and they definitely got to see and participate in the chat. Basically, in many ways, they got a different technology altogether than what you will see in the video, and not just because they were there and able to interact. This relates closely to one of the big points that I am making: Microsoft Teams is only part of a whole, and the ways it works within that whole both affect and are affected by the rest of the parts. The whole, how the parts relate to the whole, and how the whole relates to the parts are what matters, not any of the parts in isolation.


These comments are moderated. Your comment will not be visible unless accepted by the content owner.

Only simple HTML formatting is allowed and any hyperlinks will be stripped away. If you need to include a URL then please simply type it so that users can copy and paste it if needed.