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Not a data projector in sight

October 12th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Before travelling to Portugal I helped run a two day workshop on policies and practice in the training of teachers and trainers. The workshop, sponsored by the European Commission brought togther researchers and practitgioners form five different countries. And we ran it as a real workshop. The participants themselves produced the materials. And not a powerpoint in site. It was like a breath of fresh air to be talking, working, developing and sharing ideas. Sometimes I wonder if the ease of use of tools such as Powerpoint have made us lazy and worse has stifled creativity and particpation.

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One Response to “Not a data projector in sight”

  1. jen hughes says:

    I agree with Graham on this one.

    (Mind you he forgot to say that when we arrived, pre-workshop, to set it all up, neither of us could work out how to use the fully automated console that looked like the star ship Enterprise, we failed to find out how the projector worked and we couldn’t find the button that dropped the screen from the ceiling…so any Powerpoint we may have thought about using was a bit doomed!)

    That said, the feedback from the participants was all about how much they had enjoyed the process – which was great! Depressingly, I’m now getting grief because “the format will not work with another group.” Er…no. Funnily enough. Dare I say it, it will have to be adapted for different groups. With different learning needs.

    Seems like the Commission wanted me to design a standardised process so that this workshop could be replicated exactly, irrespective of the learners’ language, cultural background, previous experiences or expectations. Less a format, more a formula. A painting-by-numbers kit for learning.

    This came straight after another Commission supported project meeting when I sat through two days of discussion on SCORM compliant learning objects – which, from my technologically inept point of view, sound as if they should be the responsibility of the Weights and Measures Departments of local authorities not teachers. I must admit, the thought that kept going through my brain was that it all seemed like that quote by Dylan Thomas in Under Milkwood….”I must keep my pyjamas in a drawer marked pyjamas.”

    [Like the reality TV show, I think I’m having a bit of an “I’m a trainer – get me out of here” moment]

    Trying to be more constructive, maybe we should rethink our strategy of searching for standardised learning objects, standardised processes, standardised competences and the rest. The really neat solution would be to have SCORM compliant learners instead. This would make much more sense and one I feel we should propose. In fact, it is such an obvious idea I don’t know why we haven’t explored its potentil before. So I am launching a Pontydysgu competition for a design for a scorm compliant learner that complies with all the appropriate standards. Entries in any media.

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