Education in the Age of the Technologist

This video presentation was originally given at Bar Camp Orlando 2015 on April 18, 2015. Why do some technology solutions seem to work in education while others don’t? Where are MOOCs missing the mark?

Education in the Age of the Technologist
by Joe Bustillos

Written, Presented & Edited by Joe Bustillos
“NASDAQ” from Smartsound Music (smartsound.com)
Young Girl at School Holding a Computer Mouse — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
Bored Kid, http://winnersdrinkmilk.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/mp900439553.jpg
Mrs. Wormwood, http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_b0OxpQN4CMQ/S80C2qQ1T_I/AAAAAAAAAZs/JloT1s0fX8g/s1600/wormwood.jpg
France in the Year 2000, Imagined by Illustrators in 1900, http://cdn.openculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/kidsimaginedatschool-e1343712476118.jpeg
edX (screen grab), https://www.edx.org/
Lynda.com (screen grab), http://www.lynda.com/Education-training-tutorials/1792-0.html?bnr=NMHP_blocks
Kahn Academy (screen grab), https://www.khanacademy.org/welcome
Long Beach desktop panorama © 2007 by joe bustillos
Synch-Session Run Thru with Henry Price © 2001 by Joe Bustillos, 08-15-2001
Lev Vygotsky, http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lev_Vygotsky
Frank Smith, http://www.greatthoughtstreasury.com/author/frank-smith
Etienne Wenger, http://wenger-trayner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/EW-green-full.jpg
CSCL – OMAET Conference OMAET Saturday-200 © 2002 by Joe Bustillos, 01-12-2002
Computer Lab Joe © 2002 by Joe Bustillos, 06-04-2002
Wall of Screens Lifestyle © 2012 by Joe Bustillos 02-09-2012
Little Boy Playing with Cell Phone in Class — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis, http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=classroom%20technology&ctt=1#ai:MP900422528|mt:2|

References/Resources:

Transcript:

  • (Slide 1)
  • Hi, my name is Joe Bustillos,
  • This video is based on a presentation that I shared at BarCamp Orlando 2015, which is fitting because some of the inspiration for this presentation came from talks with folks connected to Code School, one of the local start-ups interested in teaching coding the best ways possible.
  • So, Education in the Age of the Technologist, and when I’m referring to education I’m referring mostly to K-12 Public ed, but my observations apply across the board, public or private, K-12 and higher-ed
  • (Slide 2)
  • The consensus is pretty much universal when we look at the state of education today: it’s broke.
  • I love this kid, I was this kid and when I was a classroom instructor I remembered what it was like to be this kid and tried to work with my students so that we could all avoid this state of boredom in the classroom
  • Let’s face it, Education, as it’s practiced today, is a vestigial institution that’s completely out of sync with how the world actually works
  • So, what do we do to fix this?
  • (Slide 3)
  • Thing is, public education is a bit like puberty, a coming of age thing that everyone had to go through & most weren’t entirely pleased with the process or end results.
  • So everyone has an opinion about what to do based on their own experiences…
  • And when we think about it, many seem to come to the conclusion, though they might not say it out right, that what we need to do is:
  • Get the human out of the loop
    • Reflecting back on the typical classroom experiences one tends to hear:
    • “I didn’t learn anything”
    • “I hate waiting for others”
    • “The teacher never gave me the help I needed”
  • Thus, many have concluded that we could fix a lot of problems if we could just Get the human out of the loop
  • Education, instead of being stuck in the past, could be something where every individual learner would get the support and attention that fits their learning style.
  • This is a dream that’s been thought about for a very long time…
  • (Slide 4)
  • This is a somewhat famous illustration that was published over a hundred years ago, thinking about what the classroom would be like in the year 2000!
  • Automate Education
    • Wouldn’t that be perfect?
      • No more waiting for the slowest person in the classroom
      • Assignments tailored to the needs of the learner,
      • Meaningful grading/assessments designed to help further the learning
      • And no waiting for a damn teacher to get back to you on how you did on that last assignment.
  • It’d be like the perfect video game:
    • Easy to get started, you have a good idea what the objective is
    • Anything you do has a direct connection to your status in the game:
      • If you get things done without errors you move forward
      • If you make a mistake, you wake up in the graveyard and get a chance to learn from your mistake, until you master the level
    • Everything you learn contributes to your chances of success moving forward
  • Automate Education
  • (Slide 5)
  • We actually kind of have that available today with things like Kahn Academy, Lynda.com and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) like EdX or Coursera, and Orlando’s own “Code School.”
  • So, how is this working out? What’s the data?
  • (Slide 6)
  • Video tutorial courses, like Kahn Academy or Lynda.com appear to be very viable (especially when you consider that Lynda.com was just bought by LinkedIn for a reported $1.5 billion).
  • MOOCs appears to be a different story – Though one should approach assessing the effectiveness of MOOCs cautiously because they haven’t been around for very long and the definitions for “success” aren’t entirely clear
  • That said, let’s look at one example of one of MOOCs problems: student completion rate (how many students register verses the number that participates in the class versus the number that successfully completes the course): Duke University course called “Bioelectricity” (Fall 2012):
    • 12,725 students enrolled
    • 7,761 watching a video
    • 3,658 attempted to complete a quiz
    • 345 did the final exam
    • only 313 passed the final exam and got their certificate for the course (Catropa 2013, Jordan 2013).

    • Even after you factor in the difference in engagement one might expect with courses that are free versus when one is paying high tuition… it does seem like something is clearly not working. And we’re talking about making high quality education available to anyone with an Internet connection. This is especially concerning when considering how many institutions (higher ed and K-12) are investigating the possibility of going online and using MOOCs as a model to follow.

  • (Slide 7)
  • My Own Online Experiences (both doctoral studies and MA & teaching in undergrad and grad university program) didn’t suffer from the same level of attrition reported by many MOOCs
    • Again, there’s a big difference in commitment and engagement when comparing programs with huge tuitions versus free course,
    • But there’s an even more fundamental difference…
  • (Slide 8)
  • Let me introduce you to Three Scholars who contributed to our understanding of the learning process that has direct bearing on why some programs seem to work better than others.
    • Etienne Wenger
      • Originally interested in computer science and got his PhD in artificial intelligence
      • But the initial research that pertains to our question, was research he did with Jean Lave, studying the learning practices and the learning processes used by apprentices to African tailors.
        • And what he uncovered was that learning was more than the acquisition of the basic skills or knowledge needed to be a competent tailor. Yes, one needed these skills and knowledge, but there was also a sociological transformation that the learner underwent when going from being someone literally outside of the tailor shop, to being an apprentice to being a competent practitioner to maybe becoming a master of the trade.
        • The success of the apprentices seem to involve much more interaction amongst the apprentices than direction/contact with the master tailor
        • The group of apprentices and the group of the master tailors need to welcome and recognize the learner as being part of the community for the learner to progress successfully
    • Lev Vygotsky
      • Soviet psychologist (1896–1934), his research centered on the role of the instructor resulting in something called ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development), which later researchers used to formulate something called Instructional Scaffolding
      • The idea is that we learn when we connect the new information/data/skill with previous understanding or skills
      • The learning is most powerful/effective when it’s based on previous understanding & experiences.
      • The role of the instructor according to Vygotsky is to guide the learner, to bring them from where they are to where they need to be.
    • Frank Smith
      • Wrote a book called The Book of Learning and Forgetting,
      • He wrote that there’s a dichotomy between what he called the “Official Theory of Learning” and what he called the “Classical view.”
        • The Official Theory is based on early Ed psychologists’ theory that we cannot tell if we’re being effective in our instruction unless we strip out all prior knowledge and see if students retain information when later tested. This philosophy was modeled after successes that were noted in how the Prussian Military trained their soldiers and later when the US Military in World War II needed to train massive numbers of soldiers in a way that was almost 100% consistent across several theaters of war. Rote memorization and constant drilling was the center of the Official Theory.
        • The problem with the Official Theory as it’s become translated into practice is that it’s reduced to studying for an exam, taking the exam and then forgetting everything after the exam. There’s no continued development and there’s no real building on prior knowledge or experience. It’s not connected to any prior learning and devoid of any sociological aspects of learning
        • The Classical View begins with the idea that we learn from those around us with whom we identify with. And then we do what they do until we’re proficient. The African tailors, the kids mastering MMORPGs, rookie technicians working for the phone company… we’re motivated to learn and over time we learn. Surprise, it’s a sociological process that couples doing with being identified with other doers.
  • (Slide 9)
  • So, why does Lynda.com seem to work while MOOCs are struggling:
    • First, what’s the learning objective, what are you trying to accomplish?
      • There’s a huge difference between trying to learn a single thing, like the Basics of using iBooks Author versus much larger learning goal, like becoming an online publishing expert or earning a college degree
    • The kind of instruction offered by well-produced video tutorials is sufficient for the task, but something that’s going to take longer to accomplish is going to require more than nice videos.
  • (Slide 10)
  • What did we learn from the three scholars:
    • Wenger said we learn best in groups
    • Vygotsky identified the best role of the instructor as being the bridge connecting the learner in a way works for the learner
    • Frank Smith wrote that we learn when we’re motivated by those we want to be like.
  • (Slide 11)
  • When I did my masters and doctorate online, we were studying educational technology so we naturally used technology, like IM and group chat, to make stronger connections with one another, beyond what was required. This was almost 15-years ago so our online class sessions were entirely text based, with all interaction flowing across the screen. Several of us added secondary chat rooms where only a few of us hung out during the class session and it had the effect of giving us a sense of feeling like we were all together in the same room and those of us in the secondary chat room were like the kids whispering in the back of the room.
  • There was also powerful aspect to having one’s study buddies always available for assistance or camaraderie via always-on IM sessions – it made learning ubiquitous. I wasn’t waiting for the weekly class sessions or assignments to interact with my friends, and with the interaction came more learning.
  • (Slide 12)
  • In a way, we actually put more humans into the loop, but in a way that worked and didn’t slow us or waste our time.
  • (Slide 13)
  • What we have to do is to recognize that we cannot use a technological solution on a problem that is essentially a sociological problem.
  • Just like everyone one having Word Processing applications didn’t make everyone into a writer, throwing technology at this problem won’t accomplish what we’re hoping for
  • (Slide 14)
  • The Challenge is how do we keep the things that work well with technology, self-paced instruction with instantaneous assessment, but also works with the social part of learning and being part of a learning community. What I love is that the introduction of technology is causing us or allowing us to really look at what works and how different methods work across different populations. We have a real opportunity to reimagine learning.
  • (Slide 15)
  • I’m Joe Bustillos, thank you for watching “Education in the Age of the Technologist”
  • My contact information is listed below and I will have links to my resources also listed below. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions in the discussion area.

Diving into the Past without Drowning: Day Trip to Laguna Beach (1973)

Diving into the Past without Drowning: Day Trip to Laguna Beach (1973)

Original 8mm Film by Joe Bustillos
Edited by Joe Bustillos & Random Chance
Music by Smartsound Music, “Visions 22K”
Filmed on location in Laguna Canyon & Laguna Beach CA in 1973
Featuring Lynn Tschirgi & cute white puppy

I just spent the last hour watching an 8mm film that I and several others shot in the early 1970s. The film is a collection of footage that I’d gotten from Creagan’s family, the western we’d done in junior high and several other reels that I had lying around and converted to VHS when I did the 1994 “Looking for Creagan McConnell” documentary. I recently had the 8mm film converted again, this time to DVD/digital format. I’d remembered the stuff from Creagan’s childhood and our “Come Against the Rain” footage, but I’d forgotten about all the rest of the stuff.

The forgotten part consisted of footage I’d taken in 1973 during a rare family vacation to Olympia, WA with water-skiing clips, a day trip to Laguna Beach with my girlfriend, Lynn Tschirgi and her little white powder-puff puppy (see the embedded video below), and ended with life-on-campus footage my older sister, Michaela, took at Mission Viejo High School.

The cars, the hair, the clothing, dudes on choppers, hippies with fishing poles walking on the rocks; It only seemed fitting that, particularly the Laguna Beach scenes, were slightly out of focus and blown out. These are moving images that come from an era over 40-years ago. Oh my god, we were so young and that was such another time. But after watching the whole thing, in silence, I feel very lucky to have these reminders of the journey I’ve been on.

With all of scanning of photos and papers that I’ve been doing these past months, I’ve been warned more than a few times that one can overdose on too much nostalgia. That’s obviously true and if I were looking at these things wishing I was back there, that’d be a problem. And this isn’t something limited to the regretful memories of us old folks. Hell, I’ve known a few in their thirties who talked about the “good ol’ days” before they were married, like it’s already all downhill for them. But, for me, this is not the case. I’ve been forced into a transitional mode where I have no idea what lies ahead for me. I simply can’t say that the past was any better than what might follow. In fact, I consider myself fortunate to have so much access to so much of the journey I’ve been on.

The day-to-day grind that I’ve been on, especially the level of concentration and effort for much of my teaching career, tends to afford one very little connection with past accomplishments in the rush to get all the stuff on ones priority list done. And over the past six-months of looking and not finding the next job, one can easily allow ones sense of accomplishment diminish. I mean, if no one seems interested in ones services, after a while one can begin to believe that there’s nothing there of value. That transition can happen really quickly. But I’ve been lucky enough to find scores of articles, recordings and projects that I did as a writer, as a journalist, as a researcher and as an educator, enough to remind me that there’s more here than the need for a wage. Add to all of this, I’ve been fortunate enough to have shared this journey with some amazing family, friends and lovers. I may have no idea where I’ll be in another year, but I’m really glad that I left digital breadcrumbs of the paths I’ve taken along the way.

Looking for Creagan McConnell: The Man and The Myths [1994 documentary]

Looking for Creagan McConnell: The Man and The Myths [1994 documentary]

1994 Looking For Creagan McConnell-VHS coverIn 1994 my best friend, Creagan McConnell, announced that he was going to move to Arizona to help his folks build their home. I produced the following video, with the help of many others, to share at his going away party. A second video (posted at the bottom of the page) was also created featuring comments from friends and family who attended the going away party. As should be evident from the content and spirit of the videos, over the years we had a lot of fun together. Rest-in-Peace, my friend, you will never be forgotten.

Filmed on location in Tustin, Mission Viejo, Fashion Island & Anaheim, California in 1994 Video cameras supplied by Tim Booth & Paul Quinby; Additional video equipment by Ben & Josie Bustillos background music: Andy Summers “The Golden Wire” Level 42 “Running in the Family” and James Taylor “Fire and Rain” from the “James Taylor (LIVE)” Theme music: “Island Party” courtesy Smartsound Music at http://smartsound.com

The Producer also wishes to thank: Jennifer Jackson, Don & Margie McConnell, Mich & Paul Quinby, Matt Bustillos, Ben & Josie Bustillos, The Eggers family, Merrilee Harper, Kathie Glassmeyer, Denise Valverde, Kay Streppone & Marie Jones for subjecting themselves to the camera’s gaze and the interviewer’s probing questions; and, of course, Creagan Edward Charles “Rufus” McConnell for leaving his doors unlocked and for living such an “interesting” life. Written, Produced and Edited by Joe Bustillos

Come Against The Rain

This video began as a 8mm film, originally consisting of mostly “dying” scenes Creagan and I filmed in 1971. Over the course of two years it became a Western about two reluctant pioneers, Chuck & Rufus, heading to San Francisco in the years after the Civil War.

Starring Creagan McConnell as Rufus Joe Bustillos as Chuck Matt Bustillos as Clarence Hush Dave Thompson as Street Fighter Pepuce as the killer dog Filmed on 8mm by Creagan McConnell, Joe Bustillos and Dave Thompson Written, Produced and Directed by Creagan McConnell and Joe Bustillos 1971/1972, 1994 & 2015 versions Edited by Joe Bustillos 1994 version Written by Joe Bustillos Filmed on Location in Mission Viejo, CA 1971/1972 Video soundtrack: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, “Woodstock,” “Country Girl,” & “Deja Vu” from “Deja Vu” Theme music: “Copelandesque” courtesy SmartSound Music at http://smartsound.com

The Producers wish to thank: Don McConnell & Ben Bustillos for letting us transform their backyards into the Post-Civil War American frontier, Don McConnell for original use of the camera and “building supplies,” Margie McConnell & Josie Bustillos for looking the other way while we jumped off their roofs and through their plants.

Looking for Creagan McConnell: The McConnell Send-Off Interviews, March 19, 1994

Trying to Remember What’s My Mission?

I’ve been back from California for a few weeks, dove right back into work, getting out of the house and keeping tabs on my health. Today actually marked the first time since my illness that I did what I said I would do when I began treatment in September of 2012, that in a year’s time I’d do a 5K. I’m a few month overdue with the original plan but it marked a new beginning nonetheless. That’s a good thing, but I really don’t feel like I’m anywhere near firing on all cylinders. It’s like I’m almost up to full capacity as far as doing the job and keeping busy, but there’s still something missing.

A lot has happened in the last year. Around this time last year I was beginning to get around a lot better with the aid of the new 4-wheel walker that I bought myself that Christmas. I moved back to my townhouse and had to re-acquaint myself with being independent. It was nice to be able to fend for myself, but bittersweet in that it also marked the departure of Tricia and her family from my life. My department at work got a new boss and then they began to change some of the focus of the program for a less K-12-centric audience and most recently I was moved to an earlier course. Since its inception the degree program has generally had major changes each year, except for the last couple years, so we were overdue. I’m still adjusting. Then, most recently my very-talented eldest sister, Kathie, died.

One of the things that I wanted to do when I first moved out to Florida in 2008 was get back into playing my music and going out and sharing it, like in real public venues. Over the course of the first four years I plugged into some really great live jam sessions, but only once really participated. So, newly independent last Spring, I decided that I really needed to just do it. That took more than a few month and the one venue where I did participate in their open mic night, I never quite seemed to fit in. Granted I probably spent a hell of a lot more time at the dive down the street from me, Holly and Dolly’s, where I never did get up the courage to bring my guitar, but it felt a lot more comfortable than the place where I finally trudged out my Beatles covers, etc. In a word, it didn’t go as planned. But I’ve made enough connections to realize that I’m not quite done yet.

It’s weird. I guess I’m going through the adjustments after everything that’s happened, and it’s really not enough just to go through the motions. I’ve nearly recovered my strength, but that’s not enough. Back before I got sick, back when I was firing on all cylinders, I was busy, working nearly around the clock and only in the year or so before the illness, I did slow down just a little to enjoy the company and companionship of my best-friend and lover. Then that all went away and one-year later I’m left trying to remember what was most important to me, what my mission is in this life.

A tune by my friend, Neva, popped up on my playlist the other day and a friend asked who that was. I don’t know if I adequately answered her question, but over the past day I’ve been finding myself thinking about the music. And even though I’m way overdue finishing my grades, I’ve spent this evening re-editing the following video and writing these words. Neva posted the first part of the video as a demo of a song in progress and much later posted the official music video. I put the two together because I like how the first one showed her personality and the second highlights her amazing talent. Grades still need to get done, but I’m probably a bit closer to remembering why I’m here and what should be the priorities in my life.

Everyday 2011 Thru 2013

I’ve been using this app, Everyday, since May 2011 taking a single selfie and converting the collection of images to video. So, this video covers when I was ill in the summer and fall of 2012… Only thing I notice was the length of hair/haircuts and when the beard got a little long… Enjoy.

A Month of Rainy Afternoons

07-27 Another Rainy Afternoon in Paradise2

I recently had my one month anniversary of my move to Florida. First thing that I learned was that it rains every afternoon/evening at this time of year. Being from Southern California I feel like I need to explain what I mean by the phrase “it rains every afternoon/evening.” Let’s just say that one single afternoon/evening of rain here in Orlando equals the rainfall for a whole year in So Cal. Holly asked the other day how I’m adjusting. I guess because the rain is so regular that I just figured to go with it. I mean, Orlando in July equals rain every afternoon, just like living in some place like Corona (CA) equals a one-hour 10-mile commute home if you leave the office after 4pm. You either go with it, or figure out a way around it. Besides, there was a time when being in the rain used to mean “indoor fun” for me, but those stories belong in a different section of this blog.

So, after a month of rainy afternoons I’m still adjusting to the concept of living in more than one room and still moving the furniture about. But then I never quit moving the furniture after living 13-year in my one-room studio in Long Beach, so …

I shouldn’t be too surprised that my mind is so easily occupied with books and bookshelves and the like. Fortunately my friends from work have been there to pull me away from my preoccupation with interior design and I’ve probably seen more movies in the last month than I saw in the year before moving here. Add to that, unlike the last few years in So Cal, I’ve seen far more movies with my friends than solo. That’s a good sign and a good start.

07-06 Chicago in O-TownBesides movies I’ve found a couple pubs where I feel very much at home. That’s another good start. But as I knew in my former favorite place (Taco Beach), it’s great to have a special place to go to throw back a few but I need to have deeper, more meaningful connections than I’m likely to find occasionally warming a stool at a bar. So, that’s the challenge in the coming months, to not let the furniture or TV lull me into a busy, but unfulfilling routine. Onward and upward. I’m not gonna let a little rain keep me indoors (well, not alone at least…). jbb

Music: Michelle Branch – Hotel Paper

Adios Taco Beach *video*

One last night hanging out with the crazies at Taco Beach, Long Beach CA and as luck would have it, one last Neva Concert. Love that girl. Love this place. Life is good. jbb

Music: Neva – “The Things I’ll Never Be”

Adios Taco Beach - by Joe Bustillos

Adios Taco Beach – by Joe Bustillos

neva rocks taco beach! *video*

I wasn’t living in Long Beach when Melissa Etheridge made her breakthrough playing locally at a club called Que Sera on 7th Street (funny that her wikipedia article doesn’t mention Que Sera), but every time I come out and watch Neva I think I’m seeing the beginning of the same thing. I’ve been posting pictures from previous Neva shows for some time, but obviously that doesn’t begin to share the experience. So when she came to Taco Beach this past Friday I decided to shoot more video than stills. Now this is obviously not studio quality video and the audio is pretty damn funny with all of the noisy Taco Beach revelers shouting and singing and playing along on silly plastic maracas provided by Dos Equis thanks Dos Equis). Some might think that the audience is being rude. I’ve seen audiences in the OC sit on their hands like a bunch of dead mannequins during a Fabulous Thunderbirds show. Obviously folks at Taco Beach are all about the participation. The thing that kills me is that neva doesn’t resort to tricks, just an acoustic guitar and tremendous voice. This girl can rock! Go to her website. She should have a CD out soon. ‘love the girl. jbb

Music:

Video Essays on Ed-Tech: Labs vs. Classrooms (Video Resumes)

I created these video essays in 2005 when I was looking for another ed-tech job. Enjoy.
Uploaded to YouTube on July 19, 2006. “Labs Versus Classrooms” is a video essay about the most effective ways to implement technology on a school site.

The Four Video Resumes:

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