(Written by Pamela McLean)
Dadamacademy is an area of dadamac.net which is available for thoughts, ideas, research and analysis. I set it up initially as a potential archiving space for my own theoretical work. My involvement with Dadamac initiatives forms much of my field work.
Practice and theory
I expect Dadamacademy to demonstrate close links between practice and theory. It will also illustrate the potential of the Internet for accelerating our individual and shared learning journeys. I hope it will be a celebration of new opportunities to learn.
Approach to learning
The lessons I'm learning, that I will gradually share here, tend to begin with a specific practical problem - building out from specifics to generalisations and patterns. I appreciate being involved in collaborative online learning of many kinds - from a single tweet to long term online collaborations.
I learn by being part of various networks, intreest groups and such like, as well as doing my own practical work.. These connections and online "conversations" of many kinds provide new knowledge and opportunities for reflection. They help me to relate theory with my own practice, and to learn from others who have overlapping expertise and concerns.
Not speaking for others
I don't pretend to speak for other people, I can only speak for myself, but I can gradually invite others to come and join me here to speak for themselves. I can also make links between the Dadamacademy online space and the online spaces of others as we learn together.
I think that Dadmacademy will sometimes be considering the process (of how we learn together using the Internet) and sometiems considering the product (what we are actually learning.
An ICT4Ed&D project
In many ways Dadamacademy is itself an ICT4Ed&D project (Information and Communication Technology for Education and Development) - and (as is to be expected of a Dadamacademy project) it is emergent and is both practical and theoretical. It starts with small specific practical issues. Through experience of tackling those issues it builds practical and theoretical knowledge. It then develops generalisations, patterns and theories, through careful refection and additional online information - and then returns to more practical work, and reality checks, feeding into more theory.
Learning By Doing
I've been using the Internet to support my own learning in a serious way since 2001. One of the questions I ask myself is "What If the way that I learn, using the Internet, became the normal way of doing post-graduate study?" What would this "virtual academia" look like?
I also wonder - "Who else is already part of this experiment?" and "Where does my exploration fit in?"
What kind of learners?
In January 2011 I started using the term "Dadamac Learner" for people like me who :
- learn in a self-directed kind on way
- are learning about things relevant to Dadamac
I introduced the term Dadamac learner on Dadamac's posterous - and found I already had various self-selected (and very welcome) Dadamac learners:
- Are you a Dadamac Learner? http://dadamac.posterous.com/are-you-a-dadamac-learner http://dadamac.posterous.com/are-you-a-dadamac-learner"> http://dadamac.posterous.com/are-you-a-dadamac-learner
- Another possible Dadamac Learner http://dadamac.posterous.com/another-possible-dadamac-learner
- Kofi - from Ghana - the latest Dadamac Learner http://dadamac.posterous.com/kofi-from-ghana-the-latest-dadamac-learner
I'm currently exploring the idea of virtual academia for a chapter in Routledge / Taylor Francis' - 'Teaching and Learning Online 2nd Edition' co-edited by Dr Anthony 'Skip' Basiel and Dr. Brian Sutton.
What kind of teachers?
Little has been written here so far about the teachers, although my ideas about teachers are clarifying.
Many people who are acting as teachers in the Dadamacademy have no idea they are fulfilling that role. They just think they are offering odd bits of help, advice and information. In fact they are supporting learning journeys.
Dadamac learners define their own learning so, to date, they are finding their own teachers and mentors. The line between teachers and learners is very blurred with people often flipping between the two roles.
Teachers fulfll various functions within Dadamacadamy - co-creators of knowledge, mentors. "guides on the side", facilitators of group meetings, finders of additional resources, and so on.
What kinds of content?
At the time of writing (March 2012) much of the content (i.e. the things that interest me and other Dadamac learners) is to do with education, sustainable development, the world of work, and our rapidly changing world.
The emphasis in Dadamacademy is on knowledge creation through a mixture of practical work, studying the work of others through resources available online (blogs, videos, TED talks, RSAnimates, etc) and peer-to-peer discussions.
What kind of assessment?
Assessment is not currently of great importance to Dadamac learners - because we define our own learning needs and we recognise when we have met a learning objective. We aren't usually looking for validation from anyone else. However validation seems likely to come from peers, from creating a series of digital footprints, and perhaps through wikiquals.
Creating and sharing knowledge
Dadamacademy is a small starting point of a big vision. It's my personal practical investigation into an open educational system enabled by the Internet. I hope it will gradually help to create and share knowledge and to support independent learning through the Internet.
Without the Internet - nothing
Dadamacademy has emerged from the Dadamac community.
Dadamac could not have come into being without the Internet. For the Dadamac community the Internet is not an addition to an existing organisational structure. It is our "sine qua non" - the essential condition; the thing that is absolutely necessary. That reality informs the development of the Dadamacademy
In Dadamac we know, with a deep practical knowlege, that the global information infratructure makes this century radically different to any century that has gone before. That is not just some theoretical idea to us, it is something deep in our consciousness, it is part of our organisational life experience, essential to our being here at all. Dadamacademy will serve as a repository for related observations and reflections. The patterns that are emerging, and the many interwoven threads of the Internet as a diruptive technology mean that Dadamacademy has interests in many aspects of 21st century life and the interplays between individuals, groups, information, knowledge and the Internet.
To get involved
Contact - firstname.lastname@example.org
Evidence of foundational work of the Dadamacademy is scattered around the Internet. It includes facts and overviews, contributions to debates, opinion pieces, and theory. Look out for references to books, papers, articles, blog posts, tweets, emails etc bearing the names of John Dada, or Pamela (Pam) McLean (previously Fiddy), see too posts (mixed in with other things) in Dadamac's Posterous, the blog Learn by Doing and http://www.dadamac.net/projects/research-and-development and some of my published work at http://www.dadamac.net/about/pam
Examples of Dadamacademy thinking include:
- Dadamacademy - Don't share an idea - show a prototype http://www.dadamac.net/blog/20110411/dont-share-idea-show-prototype
- Dadamacademy - dream or reality - an action research project http://www.dadamac.net/blog/20110423/dadamacadamy-dream-or-reality-action-research-project
- ICTD2010- Let's Bridge Those Divides by Pamela McLean http://dadamac.posterous.com/ictd2010-lets-bridge-those-divides-by-pamela
- Dadamac Days - 6 years of UK-Nigeria collaboration online. http://dadamac.posterous.com/dadamac-days-6-years-of-uk-nigeria-collaborat
- Dadamac goes Glocal, OK, and Collaboration is key http://dadamac.posterous.com/dadamac-goes-glocal-ok-and-collaboration-is-k
- Dadamac and Coalition of the Willing - how we fit http://dadamac.posterous.com/dadamac-and-coalition-of-the-willing-how-we-f
- KRC Improving the Learner Experience and Education We Deserve http://dadamac.posterous.com/krc-improving-the-learner-experience-and-educ
- Coalition of the Willing - Earth date zero +20 http://www.coalitionblog.org/2010/11/the-future-we-got-%E2%80%93-earth-date-zero-plus-twenty/
- Dadamac - the Internet-enabled alternative to top-down development http://dadamac.posterous.com/dadamac-the-internet-enabled-alternative-to-t
- Marketing to the bottom of the pyramid and Dadamac http://dadamac.posterous.com/marketing-to-the-bottom-of-the-pyramid-and-da
- The Future we Deserve - The Education we Deserve http://www.appropedia.org/TheFWD_pamela_mclean_The_Education_We_Deserve
- Some Thoughts on Reseach as an Element in Telecentre/Community Informatics Practice - comments and discussions with Mike Gurnstein following his blog post. http://gurstein.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/some-thoughts-on-research-as-an-element-in-telecentrecommunity-informatics-practice/
- Tom, Ricardo and life saving learning through the Internet (also published in "Designing Social Interfaces - Principles, Patterns, and Practices for Improing the User Experience" by Christian Crumlish and Erin Malone 2009) http://learnbydoinguk.blogspot.com/2009/01/tom-ricardo-and-life-saving-learning.html
- Pam - we want street lights http://www.dadamac.net/blog/20091015/pam-we-want-street-lights
Gradually I hope to bring everything related to Dadamacademy over to dadamac.net, as has already been done in some detail with Dadamac's practical work on the ground in Nigeria (list of initiatves).