Vicki Suter

Discovering the power of good questions

Should tech tools (like LMSs) help make learning more sprawling & playful or managed & contained?

Hmmm. Question from @hybridped, #digiped troubles me, doesn’t feel quite right. Somehow sounds like an OR when there may be an AND. Somehow it sounds like an argument about free verse . . .Frost about writing in free verse: “I’d just as soon play tennis with the net down” . . . Sandburg: “If it jells into free verse, all right. If it jells into rhyme, all right.”

I know in my own poetry, the best work I’ve done is when I’ve operated within the constraint of a form. The best blog posts (and paragraphs) I ever wrote were when I limited the number of words to describe the four dimensions of sense of presence construct I developed for my dissertation (which I then wrote another 333 pages about).

My sense is that sometimes some learners want (and need structure), and some learners don’t. Sometimes the same learner wants structure, and sometimes they don’t.  More meaningful to me is a more generative question, “How can we create a learning environment (with teaching practice, opportunities for collaboration and community building, and technology) that offers both structure and the opportunity to play in a sprawling sort of way.”

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One comment on “Should tech tools (like LMSs) help make learning more sprawling & playful or managed & contained?

  1. Absolutely agree. My instinct when asking that question (while playing the role of @HybridPed) was to incite this exact sort of response. I think it does need to be both. Like you, some of my best work has been done when its form was “constrained”; perhaps I see educational technologies like the LMS (in its more standard variations) as erring too often on the side of “management” and “constraint,” which is why I find myself advocating more often for play. It’s not that I think we should only have play, but that there are already too many people (and tools) arguing for constraint.

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This entry was posted on June 22, 2012 by in Learning, Technology and tagged .
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