On Friday, 12 August 2016, Sean Michael Morris gave one of two closing keynotes at the Digital Pedagogy Lab Institute held at the University of Mary Washington. The title of the talk was Not Enough Voices and can be found at – http://www.digitalpedagogylab.com/hybridped/not-enough-voices/ .
There are a number of thoughts that Mr. Morris shared that intrigued me, including his insistence that we need to get away from the idea that learning is about one person standing at a podium telling the students what they need to learn. It is instead much more about each person in the class, including the instructor, learning to listen to the many voices and how by listening, we can start to create real knowledge.
As he said, “I do my best to stay quiet because when I’m quiet, I can hear you. And it’s you I’m interested in. Your stories. Your efforts. Your insights.”
And this learning to listen also pertains to online instructors, instructional designers, and educators as a whole. He laments the emphasis that is placed on quantifying, measuring, and structuring learning. As he says, “…quantifying learning — that thing that administrations want us to do and for which so many functions of the LMS exist — depends on right answers. And right answers are based on recall of content.”
It is recall of content from the instructor, or material the instructor provides, that earns the approval of administrators. Students regurgitating the facts and numbers and ideas. Not creating ideas on their own.
According to Morris, it is the listening to multiple voices where true learning occurs.
“The answer doesn’t lie in turn-taking, but in changing what it means to speak. Make speaking a collaborative event. Join your voice with the voice of students. Join your voice with the voice of other teachers. Join your voice — and this one is really essential if we’re to make any headway — join your voice with the voices of educational technology”.
As an Instructional Designer and an Educational Technologist, it is incumbent upon me to find ways to share the voices in the class. Measuring is appropriate in it’s place, but I must not make measurements the goal of the class. Instead, I need to identify when and where real education occurs, and make those learning moments my goal.