No guarantees…

The 7 Principles of Good Practice have become a “go to” frame of reference for me when I think about using and adopting digital technologies for learning. For me, the principles represent a useful lens for thinking about my practice and whether a particular use of technology will be able to support or embody them. It’s not an all or nothing deal, but if I can address multiple principles through the use of a technology then I tend to see the combination as a potential learning benefit.

We’ve been having a similar conversation in GRAD 602, and asking whether we find the 7 Principles to be a meaningful set of guidelines for selecting digital technologies as well as informing teaching practice.

Reviews have been mixed.

Some see the Principles in a positive light,  having immediate application in their current context, or recognize the obvious value, of say, communication between teachers and students.  Others have expanded them to include a few additional principles, and even lamented their absence as part of the professional education of PhD students.

Some regard the Principles with a bit more skepticism, at least with their regard to their being used as a heuristic for teaching. Some urge caution at the use of technology to facilitate contact & communication. Others acknowledge experiences where they have employed the Principles, but did not get the “buy-in” from students. Still others viewed the Principles as an idealized vision for education, and questioned whether faculty teaching practices would ultimately align with them unless they were valued throughout the institution…from the top to the bottom.

Clearly there are no guarantees here. Good teaching practice alone does not lead to enhanced learning, indeed learning can and does occur even in the absence of good teaching.

So, does good teaching practice matter? I guess it depends…

If you care about an answer to that question I encourage you to watch this TED Talk from Sugatra Mitra, and see where it leaves you…

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3 thoughts on “No guarantees…

  1. I think you are right. These seven principles are general guidelines for teachers..They cannot be applied in every class or in all settings. It is something like what we do to have a good quality of life or to live longer, we have all these instructions or general rules such as eat lots of fruits and vegetables, don’t smoke, exercise, etc. Do they guarantee that you will not die early or you will not get sick? I think the answer is NO..Same for the 7 principles 🙂

  2. I like your analogy here with the idea that we have general rules to live by…like eating fruits and vegetables, exercise, etc. A crucial point that I think underscores this notion is that the general rules are based in research about what we know contributes – in this example – to good health. We ignore this at our own peril. The case I’m making with the 7 Principles is that the practice of teaching should be informed by research. That is, we should strive to engage in evidence-based practices within education.

  3. Pingback: Sorta Like the Sky | Learning In a Flat World

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