sábado, 29 de septiembre de 2012

Disciplines are different but complementary

This fall I am also taking a course on Engineering Education with Dr. Aditya Johri. I decided to take this course because I want to learn more about how learning happens in engineering and scientific careers.

I have a major in Education, and I am now pursuing a master's degree in Instructional Design and Technology. As an instructional designer, I have always felt that I need a combination of both frameworks: engineering and education. I need to be sensitive to how people learn and how they learn best (education, psychology, sociology, anthropology) to be able to design materials and scenarios that effectively allow teachers and learners to make successful learning happen (engineering).

I teach at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and from the interaction with my engineering colleagues and the entrepreneurship workshop I conducted with engineering students some years ago, I have learned how important it is that engineers learn about logic processes, problem solving and design, but also about communication and how people people learn (education, psychology, sociology, anthropology) to make their designs more human-centered (video of Jocelynn Wyatt from IDEO).

Multidisciplinary teams allow for different perspectives to shape a design, but I also think that beyond the specific know-how of each career, we as professionals, need a holistic education that includes the scientific and humanities frameworks to develop broader perspectives and multiple skills to interact better with each other and do our jobs much more efficiently, creatively, and human centered.

To me, curricula that evidence integration of multiple disciplines may be stronger and could prepare professionals better to contribute effectively to society. Team work across disciplines among faculty members in higher education can help us understand each other, and get the best of every discipline's perspective to give the best education to our students.

Why do we talk about diversity?

This fall I am taking the course Diversity for a Global Society with Dr. Karen DePauw. I decided to enroll in the course because as an online teacher and instructional designer for elearning, I can see how diverse the population in the courses are becoming.

Through online learning, people from many different places and cultural backgrounds are taking the courses they are interested in. They bring their expertise with them, along with their particular way of seeing things because of the way they were raised and the mental models they have built through observation and interactions in the groups they participate (social learning theory).

As it has been said, the web is making the world so much smaller. We now have many open and common spaces which bring plenty of opportunities to meet different people from different backgrounds and still share common goals. Online social networks, open courses, and even listservs do this.

Learning can be seen as a way of understanding other people's frameworks. But to be able to learn from diversity we need to give it high value. We need to learn to respect others ways of being and thinking by understanding their frameworks. We need to communicate effectively and listen carefully to understand deeply. We need to give ourselves time to allow for extended interactions to comprehend. In that sharing and understanding, meaning is negotiated and agreements start to arise. Human beings are diverse, but even among that diversity we still have values in common that we can use to build fruitful relations and create even bigger common frameworks.

Furthermore, we need to talk about diversity to be more aware of it. We sometimes take for granted that everyone thinks the same way as we do, and what is more dangerous, that everyone should think the same way that we do. Bringing diversity to the conversation can allow us to recognize that everyone has his or her own lense to see and make meaning of things. Each one of us has his or her own framework to refer to when making decisions, and it is such variety of perspectives that builds richness into a society and supports freedom. 

martes, 11 de septiembre de 2012

Primer Congreso de Innovación Educativa 2012

Lirio por Luis de Jesús Alvarez
Incluyo el enlace al material que preparé para la videoconferencia titulada "¿Éxito con la tecnología educativa? Todo depende del diseño de la experiencia de aprendizaje" que tuve la oportunidad de impartir desde el Virginia Tech en Blacksburg, VA donde estoy cursando una maestría en Diseño Instruccional y Tecnología.

Fue muy agradable sentirme en Guatemala compartiendo con colegas aunque fuera sólo virtualmente.

Siempre he creído que la tecnología debe liberarnos de lo que las "máquinas pueden hacer" para dejarnos tiempo para hacer lo que sólo los seres humanos podemos hacer. Aprovechemos la tecnología educativa para enseñar menos y ayudar a aprender más.

Saludos virtuales,