Posted by: MandyS | March 5, 2014

Innovative Pedagogies

Sharples et al. (2013) looks at ‘how innovations in pedagogy could change education over the next 5 years’. The 10 pedagogies identified are:

  1. MOOC’s
  2. Badges
  3. Learning analytics
  4. Seamless learning
  5. Crowd learning
  6. Digital scholarship
  7. Geo-learning
  8. Learning from gaming
  9. Maker-culture
  10. Citizen inquiry

Needless to say, all of these ‘new’ pedagogies mirror the four theories i.e. behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism and connectivism to some extent or other. For example, the idea of badges is clearly associated with behaviourism and Crowd learning is clearly aligned to connectivism. Am I surprised by this? No, as I said previously, legal principle governs legal practice so it follows that educational theory will drive pedagogical innovation. What I do find interesting is the fact that some of these innovative pedagogies seek to integrate more than one theory as a means of developing learning e.g. the use of badges to recognise achievements (behaviourism) is integrated with the connectivism of Crowd learning. I like this because it demonstrates that no one theory takes precedence over the others, instead there is an interplay between the theories to provide a cohesive learning experience.

What I would question however, is the ‘innovativeness’ of some of these pedagogies. The report gives the following example for ‘seamless learning’:

as part of a project on healthy eating, a teacher might ask each child to take photos of meals over two days. The children use an application on a smartphone or tablet to log the contents of each meal (e.g. ‘pepperoni pizza’, ‘apple juice’) and the software produces a bar chart showing their nutritional intake for the day, compared to the recommended nutrients for children of their age. Back in class, the children can compare data and create group presentations of their shared results.

In the good old days when I studied ‘O’ Level Biology, the class had to keep a diary for a week detailing what we ate, which included weighing all ingredients so that we could eventually determine things like calorific value, fat etc. In class we converted our data into graphs etc. and then shared our findings via a chart on the, dare I say it, blackboard. Sound familiar? Was this not seamless learning? Likewise ‘maker-culture’, have learners not been engaged in making artefacts to develop their understanding of how something works for a good number of years? I can certainly remember making the ‘electric-connection’ in class. Arguably, in both instances, it is not the pedagogy which is ‘new or different’ and therefore ‘innovative’, rather it is the introduction of technology which expands the capabilities of the pedagogy and transforms it to an ‘innovative pedagogy’.

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