The writings of philosopher and anthropologist Pierre Bourdieu focus predominantly upon the power structures and dynamics of society, and highlight the importance of cultural capital. Cultural capital can be described as the human assets each of us owns, including our intellect, our personal navigation of society and its artefacts, our cultural awareness and even our sense of style and the manner in which we present ourselves in public. Whereas capital (in a monetary sense) is the accumulation of the fruits of labour, cultural capital is the accretion of all that has been learnt through immersion within a specific culture. Education has been described as the social transmission of this learning to younger generations.

Hawaiin educator Amy Burvall is well known for her series of videos in the History Teachers series. They are well worth a view, even if you are not that much into history.

Her recent keynote speech in Texas was entitled 'Leveraging for legacy and cultivating new literacies' and was replete with great, and some might claim, radical ideas. One slide in particular resonated with me, and that was her notes on vlogging.

Could AI spell disaster? No, not without a few other letters. Joking apart, we need to acknowledge that we are increasingly reliant on technology to conduct our every day lives. Usually, technology performs very well, and we hardly notice it is there, making our lives easier, giving us more time to do other things while it gets on with the mundane stuff that used to be so tedious. Sometimes though, it fails or creates problems we didn't anticipate, and then we notice it.
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This week I gave my first year education students a new project. In pairs they were asked to produce a short video - without words - to tell the story of a part of the history of Plymouth. They were given two days to complete the project, and the first day involved a 6 hour history walk around the city, where they were given opportunities to capture still and moving images and do some research.

I have always believed that assessment should be primarily for the benefit of the student, not the teacher. I concede that teachers need to know how their students are progressing, and this is very much a part of the assessment process. However, assessment of learning is not as important as assessment for learning. When it comes to supporting a student's progress, showing them what they can do to improve, or perform better is the key.
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In a formal sense, distance learning has been a familiar concept since at least 1837, when Sir Isaac Pitman began teaching his shorthand system using typed instruction cards mailed through the universal Penny Postal service to his students across England. Students returned the cards containing their answers for marking via the same affordable postal system in what eventually became known as correspondence courses.
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I've had several conversations with my students in the past few weeks about how Vygotskiian theory informs our understanding of learning. But social constructivist theory, particularly Vygotsky's socio-cultural focus, extends greatly beyond the concept of ZPD - the zone of proximal development - that most people are familar with. While ZPD is an important explanation of how we learn, we limit our understanding if we focus exclusively on this aspect of the theory.

What is freedom? Many have asked, and there are many answers. Some would define freedom as a human right - to speak, to act or to think as you wish - and see this exemplified in a truly democratic society. Others would be content to see freedom as a state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. Former US president Ronald Reagan once remarked: 'Freedom is never more than one generation away. We didn't pass it on to our children in the bloodstream.
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