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Jon Dron

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  • Jon Dron bookmarked Unintelligent machines August 15, 2018 - 1:27pm
    In 2012 there were roughly 100 million lines of code in an average car, a number that has been rapidly increasing for decades, and is no doubt significantly higher now. If you printed out 100 million lines of code, it would consume approximately 1.8...
  • Jon Dron commented on a bookmark You Can Learn Everything Online Except for the Things You Can't August 11, 2018 - 1:20pm
    The biggest problem with the classroom is not so much the lecture per se (although that's a truly terrible way to impart most kinds of knowledge), but that we make students attend it. Even when we teach using smarter techniques (see my recent talk...
  • A Wired magazine article from Rhett Allain that is big on metaphor (courses are the chocolate chips, the cookie is the on-campus experience) but very small on critical thinking. What it does highlight, though, is the failure of imagination lurking...
    Comments
    • Jon, to suggest  an analogy, perhaps viewing a play live in a theatre vs. watching a live stream of the same play from your couch.

      Perhaps a music concert is an even better comparison. Say being at a live concert vs. watching a DVD (or live stream) of the exact same concert at home.

      In the live venu, you can watch what/who you want to watch. If you want to focus on the drummer, or the bass player, or a backup singer, you can. You can spend the entire concert watching what you want to watch.

      On a DVD/stream, you can only watch what some other person has decided you will watch. Be that a producer or editor, you see what everyone who watches that stream/DVD sees. If they spend most of the concert on the "star", then that's all you get.

      What is odd  however, is that when you toss this analogy at education, you get the direct opposite effect - real classroom vs. ideal on-line learning.

      As you've so often pointed out, the best on-line learning experience puts the learner in control of the situation. They decide what to view, how often, where to go next, etc.

      Contrast the classroom. You sit, bum in seat, for X minutes, listening to an educator drone on about whatever THEY think is the important thing in the lesson guide. Again, in a perfect world the lecturer would be captivating and engaging, even interacting with the class to create a unique experience. But reality is that most classroom sessions are pure stodge.

       

      Richard Huntrods August 9, 2018 - 2:30pm

    • The biggest problem with the classroom is not so much the lecture per se (although that's a truly terrible way to impart most kinds of knowledge), but that we make students attend it. Even when we teach using smarter techniques (see my recent talk at https://jondron.ca/dtl2018-spotlight-presentation-the-teaching-gestalt/ for a list of examples) the external regulation remains a vicious hobble.  It would be like being forced to attend a concert by the same singer every week, with the threat looming over you that, once the series of concerts was over, if you couldn't repeat which songs had been played and which witty asides had been made in every week, you would be made to suffer for the rest of your life. Even if it were not so life-changing, how would it affect your experience of the concert if you knew there were a test at the end?

      My point, though, was not so much that a single event is better or worse than another single event, but that the person viewing a movie at home has (as you suggest) a vast amount more control, and a vastly greater range of choices, in a host of different ways, at a host of different times, than the person sitting in a cinema seat (or theatre, concert venue, whatever). Among those choices are ones that very closely resemble the experience of the cinema-goer, but they are a tiny subset of the whole. Among the whole, many would be highly superior. It's about comparing ways of learning, not instances of teaching.

      On the whole I'd still often like to attend a live concert performance from time to time because there are many ways it can be very meaningful, at a deep, tribal, visceral level. The rituals of attendance are powerful. The simple acts of making arrangements to be there and paying exorbitant ticket prices add great salience. Even the fact that it is difficult to be somewhere at a specific place and time, no matter how you feel or what the conditions might be, makes it matter more. And, even when Paul McCartney is a speck in the distance seen from behind with big-hatted people standing in front of you blocking most of the view and farting, it's still Paul McCartney and, wow, he was a Beatle, and that's much bigger than just the music.  But I love the Beatles because of radio, TV, cinema, books, magazines, and repeated playing of records, tapes, CDs, and, now, the web, online video and audio streaming. And, though I would kill to go back in time and attend an actual Beatles concert, their movies were really great and could not be replicated in person. Inverting your analogy, would you rather see Yellow Submarine as the original movie, or performed live on stage?

      Jon Dron August 11, 2018 - 1:20pm

    • would you rather see Yellow Submarine as the original movie, or performed live on stage?


      Easy one. YS was an animated (99.99%) movie that defined psychedelia (almost) for a generation.

      Performed live, it's some deriviative P.O.S. "written" by some hack who usually thinks they know better than the original creators.

      I'd take the "real deal" (movie) over some interpretation every time.

      Of course, then there's the original Monty Python Skits, or even the move "... Holy Grail", vs. "Spamalot". Now there's a more difficult choice, as the creators had a hand in all of the above. ;-)

       

      Richard Huntrods August 11, 2018 - 5:49pm

  • Jon Dron commented on the file DT&L2018: The Teaching Gestalt August 8, 2018 - 11:01am
    ps - I will try to remember to record it. It can be followed online 11:30am-12:20pm PDT today (8th August 2018) at https://tinyurl.com/jondronwebinar
  • Jon Dron commented on the file DT&L2018: The Teaching Gestalt August 8, 2018 - 10:59am
    Thanks Gerald Part of my point is exactly that - in both physical and online classrooms we can and do find ways to largely restore that lost autonomy (especially) and we try to cater for different levels and needs for competence.  Maybe not...
  • Jon Dron uploaded the file DT&L2018: The Teaching Gestalt August 7, 2018 - 6:44pm
    My presentation slides for my Spotlight Session at the 34th Distance Teaching & Learning Conference, at Wisconsin Madison, August 2018. Appropriately enough, I won't be there in person, but will be presenting online to a mixed in-person and...
    Comments
    • Thanks Gerald

      Part of my point is exactly that - in both physical and online classrooms we can and do find ways to largely restore that lost autonomy (especially) and we try to cater for different levels and needs for competence.  Maybe not totally, but in a very large part, that's pretty much what we mean by 'good pedagogy'. I guess my really big question is really whether such pedagogies are necessary, sufficient, or appropriate when we take the hobbles away. They solve problems that we shouldn't actually have any more, but that we recreate for ourselves when we replicate the form and dynamics of traditional in-person teaching online. It's really hard to shake off that mindset completely!

      Jon

      Jon Dron August 8, 2018 - 10:59am

    • ps - I will try to remember to record it. It can be followed online 11:30am-12:20pm PDT today (8th August 2018) at https://tinyurl.com/jondronwebinar

      Jon Dron August 8, 2018 - 11:01am

    • Jon,

      Thanks for sharing the information about the webinar. I will try to attend.

      And, I agree that there is something inherently problematic about trying to work around conditions that are remnants of an old, out of date model.

      Gerald Ardito August 8, 2018 - 11:40am

  • An article for Aeon by Jon Tennant on the heinous state of affairs that gives unscrupulous publishers profit margins that put Apple to shame while hiding publicly funded research from the public that pays for it. It is a shamefully broken system...
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  • Jon Dron commented on the blog Office 365 June 23, 2018 - 11:25am
    I totally agree, Mike, both about O365 and the Landing. I'm not so worried about the bugginess and annoying features of O365 as I am about its cavalier attitude to standards and the fact that we are locked in, totally beholden to whatever Microsoft...
  • Sadly published behind a paywall (but, happily, also available at SciHub) this is a fascinating sequence of studies from Hafenbrack & Voh that, firstly, appears to demonstrate that mindfulness (meditative practice) actively reduces...
    Comments
    • Joh,

      I really appreciated your detailed response to this paper,especially your comments on this study employing a behaviorist model, as well your discussion the experiences connected with mindfulness.

      Thanks.

      Gerald

      Gerald Ardito July 4, 2018 - 11:32pm

  • The BBC's Shipping Forecast is one of the great binding traditions of British culture that has been many a Brit's lullaby since time immemorial (ie. long before I was born). Though I never once paid attention to its content in all the decades I...
    Comments