This week’s readings focused on how education can put students in control of their own learning through means of production pedagogy, constructionism, serious play, and being new amateurs. I found the video by New Media Modules and Suzanne de Castell intriguing with this idea of production pedagogy since this is a new term/concept to me. The main argument of the video is to explore and explain production pedagogy. From what I gather, production pedagogy is based on learning through purposeful making, learning by doing rather than by being taught (by a teacher or textbook for instance), and by engaging with what the learners needs, values, and conditions are. The combination of these pieces results in a learner that is engaged because they have agency and are connected and doing things that they find valuable.
Blikstein’s article while referring to Papert and Piaget, reiterates similar ideas to de Castell stating that students are “active agents interacting with the world”. Specifically, the idea that children learn much more efficiently if they can see a tangible result for what they are working on, in this case computing. Moreover, Blikstein reveals that Papert was extremely influential because of his awareness that children think and learn differently than adults and ideas about inverting the world of curriculum-driven instruction. The article reveals that a main take-away concept from Papert is that there is power and value within the process of learning, of asking if something is fixable and working on it, rather than focusing only on the end goal.
Thumlert explores Prior’s new amateur figure and Ranciere’s equality concept as a way to implore readers to question what educational theory might learn from this new amateur, the emerging media that these new amateurs are using, and the production literacies they enact. The new amateur has “creative agency that actively challenges traditional boundaries between specialists and nonexperts” or, essentially, challenges the traditional role-relations of teacher and student in schools. Relatedly, Ranciere’s work suggests that students when given the opportunity, experience learning agency and self-efficacy, particularly when an equality of intelligence is understood between the teacher and student (2015, p. 118). Thumlert urges readers to consider how pedagogies and role-relations can be challenged when learners take on maker roles and when education expands beyond a pedagogy of explication.
Critical Response and Take Away Points
In many ways, the readings for this week articulated my goals and thoughts for my ideal education environment. I envision an education system that values students in a way that is more than the teacher as a guide and where students are creative producers. I think that the act of creating and being in control of your learning is incredibly empowering for students. I also think that play is powerful for education and learning, regardless of age. There seems to be this idea that play simply does not have a place in education because it is silly or because it is not “actual learning”. But, I think that students become empowered when they are able to express themselves without pressure. I think that education is sometimes too focused on the end goal rather than the journey so to speak, and production pedagogy and serious play explicitly suggest that the journey is equally as important.
While these ideas are ones that I want to see incorporated into the education system, it has not slipped my mind that this is not the reality in many classrooms. What I find absolutely fascinating about the education system is that after so many years of criticism, research, and new ideas, schooling is still completed in largely the same way that it has always been completed. While some classrooms, schools, boards, and perhaps even countries are embracing some of these ideas, Ontario still largely uses the same ideas that it always has. To be completely honest, I am not sure how to enact this type of change into classrooms and I am eager to learn more about implementation and projects.
As we have talked about in previous classes and through other readings, I think that there is power and possibility embedded in student agency within education. VRs and MUVEs, deep learning, and now production pedagogy and serious play all place students as the ones with agency in their education experiences. A reoccurring theme such as this one should invoke a sense of serious consideration from educators about the role of learners and teachers in the classroom and I am curious to explore this topic further.
“What Caillois suggested, and what de Castell directly argued in relation to new media, is that serious play, as a situated mode of experimental/exploratory and mimetic learning—that up to recently has been relegated to the very young (Lillard, Pinkham, & Smith, 2002)—might be fruitfully reconfigured as a significant mode of educational experience for all (de Castell et al., 2014)” (Thumlert, 2015, p. 120)
“For example, why is it that half a century after these ideas were formulated, still we do not have robust forms of assessment by which to evaluate this vision?” (Blikstein)
This is and probably will always be my main question for education. How is it that there are all of these ideas, theories, and research and yet we still have the (largely) same schooling system as we started with?
Media Tools - Piktochart
I have been meaning to start using some type of graphic design tools in order to create infographics for teaching purposes, so when this class implored me to use media tools I decided to finally start this project and two weeks ago I decided to use Piktochart. Although I know there are other options for creating infographics, I wanted to start with simple software – something that was mostly click and drag so that I could get the hang of it. So far I have created a simple infographic and I am currently working on my second one. I have really enjoyed it because I can see the benefits of using it in terms of the final results and because of the skills that I am gaining from it. I am excited to continue using it and continue producing infographics.
This media tools project certainly connects to the theme this week for the learner as the maker and having creative agency. I think that the ability for a leaner to have power over their learning and results is amazing and creates so many possibilities. For me, when completing my first media tools exploration, I felt that I had so much freedom with my learning, something that is not always common in education, particularly university classes. There is something empowering about being able to decide what you learn, how you learn it, and how you will show your results. As the readings iterate, there is something enticing about seeing that what you are doing and learning is real in some way and I agree because I feel proud when I see my first infographic completed. Moreover, as I already mentioned, it is important to feel that the journey was equally as important as the end goal and I definitely felt that when I was working on my infographic.