Reflection on TEL2 session 4

Reflecting on the session last night, I have been thinking about Dave’s comment on the reading.

One analogy came to mind : while constructing a building one would have to take in account the Newtonian laws.


Study of quatummechanics on the other hand reveils a totally other paradigm. For instance Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states that when observing a particle it’s possible to know the position or the momentum, but not both at the same time. Furthermore the simple act of looking at it would change it’s behaviour.

“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.” Niels Bohr


These are no problem in a Newtonian way.

So, working in one field, one needs one set of rules, in another field another set of rules. And like in the example above, the rules can be quite contradictory and even not make any sense in the other field.

Another quote that came to mind is something I read this week, Henry Ford, the builder of the first car said : “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. My interpretation is that you have to “think outside the box” sometimes.


Critical reading : Mixing humans and non-humans together : The sociology of a door-closer. Bruno Latour

Quite tongue-in-cheek, I had a hunch from “Walla Walla University” :).

I fairly suspect Richard and Guy of making some covert advertisement for the reunion of Monty Python.


Some sort of analog deconstruction of the thought proces


Do androids dream of hitchhiking?

The paper reminds me of a book I read when i was pre-teen : “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick”.

do-androids-dream-of-electric-sheep kopie

This book was the inspiration for the famous movie “Blade Runner”.
In the story robots are becoming almost human, the only difference is that the androids have less of an emotional response. So here a machine becomes a real social actor.

The statement that an nonhuman acts as an actor also evokes images of “The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”, another absurd story where people transform in objects during a space travel/jump. In this paper the stage seems to be set for the reverse to take place.


Definition of sociology

After reading a bunch of them, this one made the most sense to me :

“Sociology is the systematic scientific study of human life in groups-which is to say, virtually all of human life. We study everything from the small, transitory interactions of two strangers passing on the street to the incredibly complex and persistent patterns of interactions among individuals in large organizations and even entire societies. We study families, neighborhoods, work groups, sports teams, bureaucracies, religions, governments, and every other kind of group-large or small-that humans have ever created.”

Dr. Gerry Grzyb, Chair – Dept. of Sociology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Becoming social

Becoming social is a learning experience in which one can consciously choose. Some examples in the text are not quite correct, e.g. disciplining the door closer : to discipline someone means that the person can choose either way. A door closer cannot consciously choose, it works, or it is broken. It can not interprete and learn new things. It can’t reflect on his own actions. Configured would be a more accurate word.


Connecting this paper with TEL2 content

I think the question here is : what is the sociology of current technology in learning ?

The statement that the disciplining of humans is more difficult than using a technological solution actually equates to more disciplining for humans on how to use the technology (in complexer solutions than a door-closer). Teachers/students using the latest technology must have a much greater technological understanding of their equipment than only necessary for the normal use of it, which in itself is quite substantial. Also, just making sure the technology works can be quite time consuming and not a layman’s job.

In which way does technology add to the social becoming of men vs. how much does mankind have to take in account the workings of technology ? Or, are we becoming feeders to the machine, to the technological way of working ? Technology is becoming more human like while humans are becoming more machine like. (Haraway’s Cyborg-Manifesto)


Social becoming vs. becoming technological

Currently technology is positioned on a scale going for being an aid in teaching to being the teacher itself, e.g. tutorials on webdesign or a youtube movie about gardening.

Will technology eventually come to a point that the use of technology (to become social) will be totally transparent ? What about technology that becomes part of a person ? An optical eye, pacemaker, implanted hearing aid ? Further down the line, with growing interconnectedness become a step to accepting AI forms as a life form? If an AI form is inside a box or inside a human-like form, is there a difference ? When is a AI system (almost) human like ? When it is intelligent enough to have a conversation ? Or when it can read micro signs and changes in a human face to interpret emotions ? When the programmed routines are intelligent enough to make calculated choices ? When the programming routines can change themselves ? When there is an “I” consciousness ? Or does it need a soul ?

Benefits of technology

I choose here to speak only of the positive, yet I am very aware of other sides.

Luckily the days of carrying a heavy backpack with old stuffy books is over. The only thing the teacher has to do nowadays is to have his computer with him, ok, maybe a backup computer in the occasion that the former one breaks down. Maybe make sure the overhead projector is working and check the backup lamp. Helping students who bring their own laptop – with a range of operating systems and all kinds of funny system altering software-  at the beginning of each class with their small problems is just a small challenge and a good way to wake up the cognitive brain. Maybe some backup in the most unlikely case a students computer breaks down, the internet fails or the learning platform with all the course’s material breaks down. But hey, can’t you print the material ?


The social influences of technology and social networks

So as humans are becoming more machine like, spend more time on machines, act social on soulless hardware, does technology and digital social networks actually make us more unsocial ? Is facebook making us lonely ?

anti social technology

anti social technology

Some interesting links

The Future of Social Interaction & How Technology Plays its Part (Prezi)

Study day at CVOHZ 22-11-2013 : competency-based training

We had a whole day on this subject. This is a small summary of things that happened and were discussed.

studiedag competentiegericht opleiden

Compentence : the ability to integrate knowledge, know-how and attitudes in acting in social activities


We had 2 sessions on how to debate: 1 theoretical and 1 through competence training.

Differences our group identified :

Knowledge comes from the outside – knowledge comes from experience and live observation
More time is spend on theory – more time on experiencing
Less easy to remember – integrated practical knowledge
textbook knowledge – real life knowledge
theory – acting
evaluating by teacher – evaluation by peers
passive role – active role
teacher knowledge transfer – teacher is coach
teaching – role play

Theoretical explanation and competences are complementary, skills have to be practiced.

More time is needed to prepare lessons and to do the practical excersises.

Can be big turnaround for students who are used to traditional way of schooling.

Involvement of student needs to be augmented.

Balance between structured and chaos.

Self evaluation is verry valuable.

Differentiation at a level of one student.

Webex session with Jeroen Caubergs from IBM


Thomas Moore school Mechelen
Senior learning consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers
Competence based learning

New learning paradigm
Taxonomy of expertise definition (30000)
Allocation of expertise metadata to employers
Definitions of goals in skills and expertise to succesfully do job and rolls
Yearly assesment of skill and expertise level
Gap analyse on personal and group level
Learning activities to work on the gaps :
Course : classroom based, live virtual, self paced, immersive
Experimental : shadowing, mentoring, job rotation, ‘blue opportunity’

(Shadowing : Observation and following of a person with the necessary skills)

Ibm competencies
Client Focus
Creative Problem Solving
Taking ownership
Teamwork and collaboration
Passion for the business
Drive to achieve

Afternoon work session

Attitude (most important)
Context(e.g. Safety, hygiene, …)

Principles :
Competences are known
Practical worksituations are defining
Authentic settings
Evaluation of competence development, before, during, after learning proces
Knowledge ability and attitude are integrated in learning/evaluation proces
Self responsibility and reflection
Teachers expert/coach in balance

Exercise : define a competence from a course currently given

Critical reading : Teaching, as Learning, in Practice – Jean Lave

In one sentence : Learning, which is more than acquiring knowledge in a classroom,  is fundamentally a social process and we learn by changing identities and changing practices.

This was quite a hard critical reading. The language and constructions needed more than a few reads. I still don’t have the feeling that i fully grasp the whole content.


Initially Lave does a comparison of social practice theory and traditional psychological learning. The first by a study on the Vai and Gola tailors from Liberia and a mosque school Law practitioners in Egypt. Some keywords :

Social practice
informal learning
in context
demonstration, observation, mimesis
embeded in everyday activities
no general understanding
literal, context-bound understanding
given negative value
strong sense of worth, self respect, realistic take on live

Traditional psychological learning
individual, psychological, cognitivist
formal learning
out of context
abstraction, generalization
general understanding
broad learning transfer
given positive value
distance, perspective, and disengagement from immediately relevant practical concerns in order for powerful,knowledge-producing learning to occur

Research on apprenticeship

  • The generally accepted high value/low value given to the 2 systems is actually upside down.
  • Focus should be on learners, not teachers.
  • Learning is a socially situated activity

From Apprenticeship to Social Practice Theory

What is a theory of learning about ?
traditional : individuals’ psychological processes : knowing, acquiring knowledge, beliefs, skills, changing the mind, moving from intuitions to rules, or the reverse.

What does a theory of learning  consist of ?
– Telos: that is, a direction of movement or change of learning
– Subject-world relation: a general specification of relations between subjects and the social world (not necessarily to be construed as learners and things to-be-learned),
– Learning mechanisms: ways by which learning comes about, diminishe in importance, people are becoming kinds of persons

What would happen if we took the collective social nature of our existence so seriously that we put it first ?
“Knowing” is a relation among communities of practice, participation in practice, and the generation of identities as part of becoming part of ongoing practice.

Teaching in Schools

Teaching is neither necessary nor sufficient to produce learning.

Supposed Identity change by bodies, trajectories, timetables, daily practices, and changing careers.
Actual identity formers : racialization, social class divisions, gender, sexual orientation.

What constitutes a great tacher ?
They should assume the identity, learn from their students and the proces, and also take part in the learning proces.


Why decontextualised learning  could be useful :
Vygotsky believed that “the ideal of knowledge is not only universal but abstract and decontextualised” (Piaget, &Vygotsky) It is when the person can transfer the newly learned skill to a different context, which may require abstract thought, that learning has become “decontextualised.” The skills and knowledge initially gained as a result of learning being scaffolded are an example of intermental learning, whereas, when the individual internalises the learning and can generalise and therefore decontextualise the learning they have accomplished intramental learning.

Being creative is an asset that many jobs require. This is a training that can do great with abstraction and can even flourish better with practices that are totally outside of the work to be fulfilled.

The countered assumption that apprenticeship can’t produce new creativity and knowledge is not sufficient supported. The knowledge that is learned from a direct consequence of the job is not entirely new knowledge.

For me, in my experience as a student, the social collaboration of students in classrooms is evident and much more wide and visible than in the example of the US students.

Social identification, power relations, interpersonal struggles, and other non-academic processes take place at the same time as academic activities in the classroom (e.g., Cazden, John, & Hymes, 1972; Luke & Freebody, 1997; Mehan, Villanueva, Hubbard, Lintz, & Okamoto, 1996; Varenne & McDermott, 1998)

Predisposition or talent for some manner of learning is more important than finding a universal method of teaching. Again the student is the main object here.

In what way does social pratice relate to social learning online and to social media ?

Reflections in own job

In my own experience in teaching elderly students informatics, they really ask for instruction based learning, often not seeing a greater whole.

In the web designer course i stimulate unofficial group work and teaching each other. Questions about websites that the students have found and are curious about how they work are treated as a group exercise in probing the underlaying principles.

Computer programming languages are usually learned as an abstract language first. This understanding can be transfered to different actual languages.

Connecting critical reading 1 and 2

Students should be able to take part and determine what and how they learn/teach in a social practice (co-design)

The identity people take on is part of the learning proces (identity).

Social interactions between people are strategies on learning (skills as strategies).

The two examples in the article have a very clear and – most important – a limited set of educational source material.
If i would project this on my webdesign students, the resources would be found on the internet and would be plenty. But it’s not so evident to find the right information with adequate significance. (Well-ordered Problems)
Yet this in itself could be a part of the learning process.

Abstraction can create a fish tank / sandbox environment to experiment in.

Real learning from games : Assassin’s creed IV – Black Flag is historically correct

This new episode of the series has made quite some efforts to be historically correct.


Research has been done on the people of the era, objects that were used then, locations – sea forts and cities – , clothes and even the language that was used. Authentic shanties of the pirates have been recorded.

So, great way to combine gaming and learning.

Learning by design – James Paul Gee

Thoughts on the Critical Reading 1 :


Something i don’t find in this article is the co-operation that some games offer. Multiplayer games in the form of teams that are formed to overcome some obstacle. The members of the team all have different powers and abilities. And only together they can succeed.

This could be applied to the classroom where students have to work together on a project. And where each student can bring in the abilities he has.

This week I gave an hour of collaboration in Google Docs to the elderly students of my internet2 class. They found it the most interesting and fun lesson of this year so far. It has never been so quiet in the classroom 😉

I’m also looking into which has a “Collaboration” ability in beta. This could be an option for the webdesigner courses i give. I would like to test if it is a good idea to let the students work in teams. Problem could be the evaluation, who did what and how much did someone contribute.

An example of the principle “Co-design” in learning

Students at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons become actors as they make the digital textbook/manual on Anatomy Dissection themselves.

Link :

An example of the principle “Customize” in games

The shooter game “Sunset Overdrive” promises online updates of the game world according to feedback from the users.


Future Learning Short Documentary

This video is about how learning will be in the future.

A part of the video is about video games. Relevance is stressed here. Students have to solve problems separate from the context in which they will be used. This is why they are disengaged. (System thinking)

The reason why people learn will be different. Nowadays it is forced. Future learning will be because of interest and passion.

The experiment of Sugata Mitra is very interesting : a computer was installed in a slum wall in a way that children from outside could use the trackpad and keyboard. The children were without any knowledge of computers, the internet or English. In a few hours time they were able to surf the internet. The conclusion he makes is that children can teach themselves almost anything,  given the internet, permission to interact with each other and the absence of the teacher… Again, collaboration is an important factor here.

Technology for the sake of technology is not a good reason to use it.

James Paul Gee on learning with video games

Some links

pdf : Good games and good learning 

link :

link :

link : 7 good examples of gamification in education

Is twitter a learning environment ?

This questions was brought up in session 1 of TEL2. To be able to answer this one has to able to refer to a definition of a learning environment.

One broad definition is : “A learning environment is all of the physical surroundings, psychological or emotional conditions, and social or cultural influences affecting the growth and development of an adult engaged in an educational enterprise.”
Source : Aspects of Effective Learning Environments p8 :

I suppose the physical surroundings can be expanded to virtual surroundings. Twitter can affect the growth and development of an adult. The term educational enterprise is not broad enough in my opinion since it assumes that you have to be in one to learn. In this definition twitter can be viewed as a learning environment.

Another definition is : “Conceptually speaking, the Learning Environment refers to the whole range of components and activities within which learning happens.”
Source :

I’ll use Sandberg’s definition :


Parts that are not present in twitter, even in broad view : teacher, monitor.
Parts that are present : school, information sources, learning material, fellow learners, tools

So in this view twitter is not a learning environment.