The Cognitive Apprentice must die to save the princess.

Introducing more technology at any price does not predict pedagogical change. Adoption of new theories, methods and tool sets are needed. Going from cognitive apprenticeship (the dominant school model) to project based learning changes the use and purpose of technology by changing the pattern of learning. If you haven’t noticed the pattern – its the social move from formal learning to informal learning. You are unlikely to come across Seth Godin for example in a Masters of Education course, but as an educator online you will – I’ve just told you, and that changes a pattern.

“how will using technology narrow the transactional distance the internet is creating between teacher and students?”

The learning pattern isn’t a  theory, as you can be a constructivist in both. The problem is that informal learning is a pattern that is being denied and blockaded from formal learning – Those running the bubble are busy crowing about the size and investment of their digital Maginot Line. They are unable to conceptualise the power of informal networks because even their advisors can’t predict (but try) what comes next. Bubble-people like the status-quo, so tend to build scenarios for the future that support one ideology, hierarchy and process.  Bubbles can be joined or burst. I’m working on the former.

The last 20 years has seen an explosion in multimedia and graphic design applications. Design studios had almost no access to the internet in 1990 – yet the studio-system was still revolutionised. I say revolution; as there was conflict and socio-economic change inside the bubble.

Typesetter’s we’re given the Macintosh in the late 80s, but saw it the same way they have saw their Varityper (yep, it had a keyboard and a screen too). They used it to do what they had always done – set type for printing presses. They did not see the bigger pattern. The demise of print media itself.

The Macintosh began killing photo-typesetting  roles and methods almost immediately and in under 5 years had decimated the repro-graphics industry too – as there is chain reaction.

By the beginning of the 90s, as software evolved, designers were increasingly able to set their own type, bastardise it and play with layout at speeds and ways impossible only a few years before. Typesetters were ejected, and desktop-publishing was born. By 2000, designers were all over the internet, and spilling into new roles as illustrators, animators, software developers and game designers – no one remembers the typesetters, but the smart ones are now still working – but not as typesetters – they are building virtual worlds. We still print things and print didn’t die. It changed how we want to use it. Personal cards, books, magazines, short runs on colour copies. What died was the revenue streams and incumbent media structure that saw people as ‘our readers’ and not ‘our publishing partners’. Whenever this happens; what replaces it does not support the structures and salaries of those that came before. Internet advertising doesn’t even come close to replacing newspaper revenues lost.

But is society worse or better? Are we more distant or closer to better learning? I’m sure these questions will be debated endlessly inside bubblecon 09/10/11 – but by 2012 … I suspect uncon2012 will be dominant and education will have been transformed. [optimism is great huh?]

At the top of the post is the question I ask all the time. “how will using technology narrow the transactional distance the internet is creating between teacher and students?” – My belief is that we have to unlock cognitive apprenticeships – not destroy schools or libraries – but you can be damn sure it will change their purpose and will re-define not just the roles of teachers, but the role of formal education.

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