Too much scaffolding?

One of the repeated themes this week, both in the forum and in the colloquium, is the idea that scaffolding too much can interfere with student learning. Simon Keily (in the forum here) in particular is a strong advocate of this viewpoint. Bruce Dixon agreed, and certainly authors like Rheingold form our required reading would agree that a student-led, Socratic approach that allows students to both struggle and occasionally fail can be useful for building necessary learning skills

Rheingold, H. (2011, July 22). Learning reimagined: Participator, peer, global, online [Blog post] retrieved from

Teacher Beliefs as critical for changing Learning Design

Another theme that I’ve been looking at has been teacher beliefs – again I expressed this on the forums as follows:

Beliefs are hard to pin down, and often even harder to change. Plus, as was mentioned in the Colloquium last night, beliefs may be held by teachers, but are not always (perhaps even rarely) translated into action.

What we really need is for tacit beliefs not only to become known and concrete – but also to lead to significant actions and practices.

When the topic of beliefs comes up I often think of Bigum (2012) – Just love his name (and not just because he’s also a Chris)- who said that “despite the oft-cited schools + computers = improvement claim, what computers are used for in schools is always constrained by dominant beliefs about how schools should work”(Bigum, 2012, p.11) – he talks about how educators often want to “domesticate” technology” to fit within what they believe school should look like and to bend to existing systems and practices.

As you say Simon, “what is knowledge” – an essential question that we need to bring out into the light and make some decisions about. There’s definitely some uphill work there – but without the dialogue there’ll be no progress.

Bigum, C. (2012). Schools and computers: Tales of a digital romance. in Transformative approaches to new technologies and student diversity in futures oriented classrooms. Springer Netherlands: 15-28. Retrieved from 

Participatory learning and the Issues concerning Reflective blogging and forums

brain-swich on.jpg

I very much enjoyed reading and nodding along with much of what Rheingold (2011) was saying. I loved his commitment to handing over control in so many instances, and to being an explicit ‘co-learner’ in his teaching and learning environment. His clear and stated goal of creating a learning community first and foremost; of encouraging and supporting students in being active participants and of developing a ‘collective intelligence’, was something I resonated with for sure. As Simon mentioned in an earlier post, his reference to ‘Socratic method’ was interesting too, leading to re-examine my understanding of this, helped by the 1.2 resource in the learning module (I had forgotten that twitter is so often referred to in these terms).  In terms of developing participatory learning environment, there was much to think about there (as well as some practical tools for further investigation later I think- anyone ever use ‘social media classroom’?)

Ross (2012) was an interesting read too, and very thought provoking. How many of us perked up at her suggestions about online reflective journals being hampered by the knowledge that we were being ‘judged’ not only by our peers (scary enough surely!) but also by our tutor. Nobody likes to say something dumb, everyone wants to ‘look’ smart: how much of our reflection is authentic and actual, and, further, how much useful, true reflection do we hold back for fear of criticism? Sadly, I’m constantly saying dumb things and wishing I could go back and censor myself- I tend to type first and think later! Anyone else feel like that?

I can certainly sympathise and understand the strain online reflection could put on some of my students, and I think Ross’ suggestions to harness the ‘webness’ and multimodality of the online forum, and to promote creativity is well taken.

Ross, J. (2012). The spectacle and the placeholder: Digital futures for reflective practices in higher education. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Networked Learning (pp. 227–244). Retrieved from


Rheingold, H. (2011, July 22). Learning reimagined: Participator, peer, global, online [Blog post] retrieved from