defriending and mathetics

Starting a new year with ending friendships?

It is 2010 since four days. Receiving many good wishes in all formats (digital, snail mail, live) from dear friends we hear that having less friends is the trend for this year. It is called defriending.

Until recent it was a sign of popularity if you had more than 200 friends in Hyves, Facebook or other popular social software. Gradually many users discover that having so many friends is impossible. Maybe you can say that this people know you and the more people knowing you, the higher your digital status.

However a real friendship is only possible with a (very) limited amount of people. The word friend has been used in an improper way. Discovering this, people start defriending, dropping many persons with whom they do not have real friendship.
That things go too fast, superficial and therefore loose part of their meaning is something also visible in the blogging world. The tendency of slow blogging illustrates this.

Both processes illustrate very well stages in Mathetical learning. In the beginning people think in terms of quantity, speed, because the media are pushing us in this direction. Going that way a lot of people follow the exhaustive method (going on until you cannot hold it any longer).
After a protest of our brain we turn back to basic needs. Some educational movements also use this method, when children or students have to adapt to a new educational environment.

Labels: , ,


Mathetics and school development

For those able to read German, an interesting new book was published this month. It describes how school development can be accelarated by using eLearning.

Taking mathetics as a learning approach and grounding everything in a solid educational theory a succesfull design is possible. As leading theories the so called "reform education" (Dewey, Dalton, Freinet, Petersen, Montessori) is used.
New theories and research findings show that there are golden chances when we know how to combine the right educational and technical elements. However many times politicians don't know anything about it and choose other directions. That causes improductive processes and costs a lot of money.

The book offers some examples of succesfull approaches in Europe, making use of the theories mentioned before.

Labels: , ,


Growing interest in mathetics

Since 2004 more people are looking for the meaning of mathetics on Internet. The graphic below shows this tendency.

Much of the growth comes from Australia, United Kingdom and United States.

A year ago (2008) the picture of searching countries shows differences.

Labels: ,


German price for innovative language program

The European project Viseus is grounded on theories of Reform education, New literacies and latest research regarding language education. It also emphasized mathetical learning, as an aspect of the learning process.

On september 23th the Viseus project received a German price, the European Language Seal 2009.Barbara Sommer, minister of Education from Nordrhein-Westfalen, handed out the prices in Bonn.

On November 11 and 12 the project has its final meeting in Osnabrück. If you would like to attend this meeting look at the website.

Labels: , ,


E-learning, face to face learning or both?

In May 2009 the U.S. Department of education released a meta-analysis and review of online learning studies.
From 1996 through July 2008 more than thousand empirical studies were identified online.
Screening took place, using the following criteria:

* constrasting online learning with face to face learning
* measuring student learning outcomes
* using a rigourous research design
* providing enough information to calculate an effect size.

The study covered primary education, secondary and higher education.
Some general conclusions of the report:

* students in online learning conditions perform better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.
* the positive effects are even higher in a blended learning situation
* however: research suggests that the positive findings should not be attributed to the media, per se. In many studies there was more learning time, different instructional elements or another educational philosophy.
* unexpected was the finding that there are just a very small number of studies (just five!), meeting the criteria, for the K-12 area.
* elements such as online quizzes and video do not appear to influence the amount that students learn in online classes. It looks as if having more media in an online application does not enhance learning.
* tools that help students to reflect on their learning are effective in improving the outcomes

For many people the outcome that the amount of media are not an important factor will be surprising. Research from Mayer and others showed different results.

Many more details in the report are revealing and interesting. As the focus was directed towards K-12, the results however are disappointing. Much more research evidence is needed to see wether the claims and expectances from so many users are really showing an effect size.

Labels: ,


Multimedia, modalities and middle ages...

In the medieval society the church saw as her task to disseminate the bible to as much people as possible. However reading was the privilege of a small group . To serve the illiterates, bibles with pictures were constructed, almost similar to cartoon books.

When building churches the principles of pictures were practiced by using paintings, statues and stained glass. Music was used to arouse the emotions of people and let them participate more actively in the celebrations. For that reason organs were used, already from the early middle ages.
Using smells, like incense, completed a holistic approach to store the cognitions and emotions aroused by the celebrations. This approach was also called biblia pauperum: the bible for the poor people.

From recent neuropsychological research we know that the use of pictures, sound and smell is an enormous powerful tool to store learning events successfully. Everybody knows to recall a specific smell that reminds him/her suddenly to a lot of detailed events and emotions. When hearing favourite music, our brains produce dopamine, that makes us feel comfortable. The use of these multimodal aspects in the middle ages was, although intuitive, so powerful that modern multimedia developers still can learn a lot from it. Recent findings regarding (new)literacy confirms this.

During a visit to Braga (Portugal), guest lecturing at the Universidade do Minho, we discussed this phenomenon with Prof. Maria José Machado. She arranged a visit to the famous organs of the cathedral (Sé de Braga). Sitting high above the people, immersed in the technology of a three hundred years old instrument, knowing the neuropsychological impact of music on the learning of people, we felt humble and looked with relativism to our modern technological inventions regarding multimedia. Once again it demonstrated that our brains did not change significantly for 40.000 years….. enabling us to learn either open and free by ourselves (mathetic learning) or learn in a well prepared learning environment guided by teachers (as offered by the churches).

Labels: , , ,


Literacies and new media

New media skills.

What skills do we need in today's media culture? Researchers from the Project New Media Literacies (MIT) give their opinion.

Labels: ,

Craftsmen needed!?

In the eyes of Richard Sennett, professor at the London school of Economics, our society has become rather superficial. Since the eighties of the past century, management has been seen as a neutral and universal proces. It is not necessary to know what products a manager is selling. Management is like an entity in itself.

Those who like the construction of the products they make, the real craftsmen, were disappearing gradually. These craftsmen were, in the eyes of the management, not flexible enough. A craftsmen is not driven by financial stimuli, but by the motivation to make a product as good as possible.

New, young, dynamic, flexible are the buzzwords of that managerial culture. A craftsman is a problem in this thinking, having questions about the need to change and the real quality of the product. Questions regarding the underlying philosophy are not popular to a manager from the eighties. That takes too much time and besides the philosophy of the manager as entity is merely directed by fast money making or enlarging influence and feelings of importance.

Schools, hospitals and other public institutions were also put in the hands of these managers. Having the power, during the boom in the eighties and nineties, the managers found themselves capable to talk about everything: social, moral and political questions. Driven by money making and enjoying their power they reformed society to that model.

Being rich and having influence was associated by the managers with having competences. The international crisis now reveils some painful facts: you can be very succesful economically, having influences and networks and at the same time being very incompetent.

Sennett's opinion has great possible consequences for a lot of schools. They should pay attention to the primary process: learning, by didactical and mathetical means. Only craftsmen are able to hand this over to the new generation. And seeing a hospital, school or other public institution as a place to make money is one of the largest mistakes of the last decades for Sennett. Managers should be replaced by leaders, knowing the primary process and being craftsmen themselves.

Labels: , ,