Light Offerings

Digital influenced Shifts in Learning Reponsibilities

Posted by jturner56 on August 22, 2016

How should one respond to this request:

How do I organise my email inbox so that emails starred as important stay at the top of the inbox?

Traditionally a help desk might send instructions or arrange a visit (if a demanding request). I have also seen a ‘get back to you’ response (usually code for I have no idea so will need some time get my act together). Some might help a colleague (but can become wary of repeats that don’t seem to show any learning.) Putting the barriers up serves no-one.

Interestingly, I just googled How do I organise my email inbox so that emails starred as important stay at the top of the inbox? (note – changed e to g as we’re dealing with gmail) and received this as first up. Case closed.

So should the response be “google it!”?

This points to some interesting issues, apart from any expectation that workers should google as a prime problem solving strategy (Level 3 in my Digital Literacy rubric).

Gmail in many organisations is a systemic choice because of cost, alignment to the many with personal gmail accounts, and interconnected access to other services. So what responsibility lies with the organisation to solve workers questions? What responsibility to provide professional development for those who don’t meet Prensky’s Digital Natives expectations? What’s the role of a Help Desk?

Where do people fit into this mix? In my case we have increasingly focused on team pro-active development as increasingly expertise lies within the team. But this is challenging as teams change quicker than ever before. We have flattened approaches that make productive use of student expertise. We take every opportunity to demonstrate to individuals by example. We share problems encountered and solutions and strategies arising.

But this simple case highlights that as always, Digital with its inherent rates of change and personal choice remains a challenge to education based on the latter’s systemic controls that can carry over into intransigence (as seen in checkbox learning), up against personal expectations that the organisation bears problem solving responsibilities to meet individual needs. Systemic Expectations v Individual Capability and Interest. How best to empower in such an environment remains a mystery.

BTW, when I google learning personal v systemic I find three of the top 5 are from my contributions. Superficial at best.

There is much still to be done, although John Seely-Brown (2000) was talking about this many digital generations ago when he identified:

“knowledge can be produced wherever serious problems are being attacked and followed to their root. Furthermore, with the Web it is easier for various experts to interact casually—in the academy or in the firm—and to mentor or advise students of any age.” (John Seely Brown 2000)

The problem of the changing nature of knowledge between personal and systemic demands within a Digital Age is surely one of these. If only I could google it.





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