I started writing yet another rant about just how difficult it is to develop appreciation and practice of networked teaching and research in higher education. At a pause between repetitive paragraphs I noticed George's tweet to his post Teaching in Social and Technological Networks.
George's post is somewhat repetitive also (if you've been following him for a while) and so I felt a little more at ease with my own broken record. As always though, George is concise and thought provoking/reminding, and yet - while he works in a tertiary education institution himself, I can't help thinking that not enough consideration is given to just how strong and deeply embedded our culture of institutionalised education is.
Perhaps George looks 30-50 years out (if so, I think some indication of time is needed in his writings), but in my own time span of 5-10 years, I see claims by many including my own, going on about how this technology has changed society (clearly it has) and so it follows (does it?) That education, teaching and research practices will change also.., but I see very little evidence of any REAL change at all!
Most teachers (with the exception of what might be the 1%) just flat out lack the time/motivation or incentive to engage in these new practices. Their work place computing environments can't even operate the media sufficiently, some local networks going so far as to block or censor it, most others just "not supporting it". And above all is the software that is provided by their institutions. Those LMS, SMS, CMS, recording lecturns, email, and single-sign-ons, that encourage the business as usual practices, or "innovation" in a direction completely the opposite to the networked learning future George, others and myself see: IMS common cartridge, copyright, access management and restricted journal publishing scams.
I see little evidence of change in the 4 tertiary education institutions I have worked at, including one that took so called giant strides in the direction of open education using social media. In that one most hopeful case, in reality it was a very small minority of teachers who were willing to attempt the new practices against all odds. Those who did eventually work out a networked teaching/learning/research approach were seen as subversive, and either left or were made part time as an indirect result of their subversive work. Oh,but the rhetoric of openness, access, equity and networked futures was adopted, and sure enough some people have worked out how to profit using that rhetoric, but at the expense of real change.
Perhaps I am just too impatient, too intolerant, too bigoted as one person called me recently. Probably.
There are good conceptual ideas in George's post for the remaining 1% a little late to the garage party. George pointed to an interesting looking paper too: University knowledge in an age of supercomplexity. The abstract reads great, so I'm going home to read it through. Hopefully I'll re find my faith that has been slowly melting away over the past 12 months. Another one that looks like it might be worth a read is Thwarted Innovation, by Zemsky and Massy 2004.