Open versus Closed

The focus of the learning this week is on PLE, which are considered “open” and Learning Management Systems (LMS) which are considered “closed.” Examples of LMS include Blackboard, Moodle and other content delivery resources.  They are considered “closed” because someone (a teacher) controls the content and the activities, unlike a PLE in which the learner personalizes their learning using the tools and content that suits them.

I hadn’t really thought of LMS as being closed before reading the PLENK resources this week, and in particular this transcript of an interview with several leaders in teaching and learning with technology.  I have been particularly interested in online learning for a few years and within the last two have begun to design online courses.  One of the things I have done is to incorporate elements of a PLE into those courses - encouraging the creation of delicious and Diigo accounts, using Adobe Connect to have the participants meet and interact with one another in real time, create blogs and wikis, etc. etc.  In that manner - I hadn’t considered the courses closed but realize now that if I am providing the learning opportunities - it really isn’t personalized. They are still completing the activities as a matter of completing the course, but I am not sure that it extends beyond that.

What is interesting about online learning is that it hasn't really reached our region yet.  I have tried to provide opportunities for teachers and administrators to engage in online learning because I think that they need to experience how different it really it in order to understand how to use it with students. Participation in those is low but loyal.  With students, it is mostly being used for credit recovery and I have found in reviewing much of the courses that the activities and assessments are "Google-able."  No critical thinking, no collaboration, no creativity.

Which makes me realized that most of our teaching right now is pretty closed - in fact, there are few classrooms (let alone buildings or districts) where I see networked teachers who have all you see in this model*:

The Networked Teacher (Couros, 2008) 

I am pondering how do we help the teacher become more networked so that they can develop a networked classroom?  And not networked for the sake of being networked, but because they can't imagine operating any other way?

1 comment:

Mrs. Tenkely said...

I agree with your assessment that the majority of teaching is closed. The structure and model of the educational system lends itself to this. I feel like this is changing rapidly but I have a feeling that has more to do with my perceptions than reality. These teachers do exist, they interact on a regular basis in all these ways. But this is far from the norm. I think the key is that it can't be you said, networked for the sake of networked. It has to come from a place of authentic passion. I'm not sure how you introduce this into the model other than to let that passion rub off on others.