A thought was sparked when I saw the article “Why the next big thing in computing is conversation” and wondered where conversation might fit into learning and perhaps specifically in the use of technology in learning, how the metaphor of conversation might affect how we think about the use education technology. For a start, the 10 features of conversations listed in this article give some interesting food for thought.
User persona, user affinity, user goals and user environment (PAGE) – the 4 contextual dimensions of conversations. How do these apply to how we perceive the learner? In the typical classroom, perhaps each of these dimensions is fairly fixed and assumed to be aligned by the structure of schooling. As technology enters the equation, this consistency could be disrupted. For instance, in the case of an online lesson, how might the physical environment of the learner affect the learning? If students could adopt different virtual persona, what potential for learning could be explored?
It is often our hope that a learner would continue to mull over and extend their learning even after they leave the classroom and no matter where else they might be next. In this way, like a conversation, learning should have continuity, ubiquity and authenticity. With the introduction of technology in learning, especially mobile technology, these three aspects can take shape not just conceptually but, almost ironically, in concrete form. Technology enables the learner to continue with the learning process beyond the classroom through access to information and more importantly to fellow learners, and they could be literally anywhere when doing so, and could quite easily include authentic inputs from the “real world outside the class room” into their learning.
This is just my initial musings on this idea of learning as conversation, and would love it most if I am able to continue this chat with anyone reading this.
On another note, this marks my 52nd post. When I started, I have challenged myself to maintain a weekly post for at least a year. Looking back, I have found this to be a really rewarding exercise in noting down my own learning and ventures as well as trying to sharpen my thoughts and words.