Pedagogies for Change… and Martin Buber

I want to give a “shout out” to an online resource I refer to from time to time in my own research on things educational -

They describe themselves as “millions of users and hundreds of pages exploring education, learning and community. We specialize in the theory and practice of informal education, social pedagogy, lifelong learning, social action, and community learning and development.”

I find infed particularly useful for readable pieces on educational researchers and educational ideas.

It is the type of site that is non-threatening to the person not trained in research and also useful to the researcher who needs some insight into an aspect of education.

Have a look at their full list of “Thinkers and Innovators” here.

I rather like the one on Martin Buber and the acknowledgement of his focus on relationship and the dialogical nature of existence. I wonder what Buber would have made of social-media?

I like to think though that he too might have used

Photo: The picture of the Martin Buber stamp is taken from from Flickr and is reproduced under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Creative Commons licence. The photostream is listed as ‘On Being’. photos/speakingoffaith/4970374742/

Stepping back and Returning…

My last posting on eLearningIsland was on June 7th, rather a long time ago in the digital scheme of time.

I have been abroad in Spain and Austria and have also changed my job, with a move from Portmarnock Community School and the classroom to the Junior Cycle Team and the implementation of whole-school Continuing Professional Development.

I will write about that move shortly.

Being away presents a dilemma for some bloggers – some suggest recycling old posts and scheduling them on say a weekly basis. I think not!

I was just reading an editorial by Diana G. Oblinger in the May/June issue of the Educause Review Online. It is entitled “The Post-Digital Potential of Man and Machine” (here) and is an interesting short piece on the digital-humanities.

Oblinger writes “The human and the digital are increasingly inseparable“. And yet we need to make decisions about the inseparable and the separable and times when we must act on both.

Stepping back from the weekly blog is healthy and educative – it allows me to re-imagine ideas without a rush to write them for the next posting.

Yet there is now an anxiousness to blog again on a regular basis – someplace within that anxiousness are Oblinger’s ideas about man controlling the machine and the machine controlling man!

Time to take control again!

Image credit: The Image above is entitle Man and Machine and is in the public domain (details here).

The New Learning Outcomes…

I was reviewing Jenny Luca’s  excellent presentation to EduTech2014 (here and embedded at the bottom of this post) when I came  across a reference to a recent paper that made me sit up!

It is called A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning (here PDF 99 pages) and is written by Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy.

Fullan is well known for his work on whole system reform and on advocating technology as a support to creative pedagogy. He wrote elsewhere that pedagogy has to be in the driving seat where technology is concerned. Langworthy is a major researcher in the educational space and writes on the future of learning.

Well, what made me sit up! There is a section entitled The New Learning Outcomes (p.64) which makes some very profound claims.


“…the “average impact” of the new pedagogies’ strategies in terms of a student’s additional months of progress beyond the average, is over seven months Such high-yield teaching strategies result in significantly more learning per year for the same investment. Over the course of a student’s schooling, the cumulative impact could be quite dramatic.

The challenging bit for teachers and students is that the new pedagogies require teachers and students to work side by side …Throughout the process, teachers and students continuously monitor the learning process, analysing what moves the learning forward most effectively, then refining or changing strategies to find what works best

This requires very hard work in redefining learning and in giving visible examples to those who may be skeptical. Fullan and  Langworthy do this.

Indeed, there is an example of good practice from Ireland. It is from Kate Murray, a teaching principal at Clontuskert, National School. Murray is quoted “When teachers and students connect the learning, it makes learners feel less like cogs in machines, and more like learning is something that is natural, instinctive and embedded in their aspirations and their world”(p.16).