Tuesday, April 17

Get to know Lucinda Roy

How many of you knew Lucinda Roy? (I didn’t). How many of you know her now? Probably a lot more.

Our educational institutions were already in a deep crisis and didn’t need a mass killing to help sort things out. But in the midst of a senseless, heart-breaking and deeply troubling tragedy, Lucinda Roy, black, British and a successful writer is the “professor” who out of concern volunteered to handle Cho Seung-Hui face to face in an attempt to penetrate his shell.

Her heroism, which unfortunately took her only as far as the system would allow (raising major questions and boding ill for the future) is matched by her wisdom concerning the use of technology. I refer all of you to this delightful interview about technology in education:

Here are just a few of the key points:

One thing I've learned from this online interaction is that the ways in which we speak to each other [online] are very different from the way we would speak if we were face to face. Students working online are often much more informal early in the semester. Most teachers who love tutorials really love online interaction if it's designed well. You can have the kinds of dialogue you would not normally have in a public space.

We can all draw our own conclusions (and probably already have) about the value of informality!

You cannot learn to write unless you write. When the only channel of communication you have is the online channel, it is amazing how much people will write.

Expression and output are the principal means of learning, not listening and taking notes.

If you have a class of 300 to 400, you cannot teach well using all this interactive technology unless you are also going to build in some personal support behind it. You cannot imagine that you can answer all those queries well and improve the quality of education if you're the only person doing it. It's very frustrating. We do need to think about how anyone experimenting with this new environment has the kind of personnel support that they need. I don't think we do very well at it.

It’s all about organization and responsibility in encouraging and orientating dialogue.

I throw in the next point because I thought it culturally significant and worth reflecting on. Why doesn’t education help us to see what we ingest?

One of the things I see is people selecting from this menu in the cafeteria and making a plate that's so ugly, you really wouldn't want to eat it.

The last one I think no one has any trouble recognizing.

It's confusing also because there are a lot of people suddenly involved in the education process who have their own agendas. Some are from the corporate world and really want to push a particular kind of software as the answer to everything.

Read the interview. And be like me: try to find out more about this amazing woman!

P.S. The interview dates from 1998. She was a pioneer.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

This morning I watched an AP news video of Ms. Roy following the VT massacre. She sounds very intelligent and thoughtful. I could not help but feel incredible sympathy for her and would love to email her my support. Unfortunately, this blog site was where I ended up--not being tech savy enough to find her actual email address. From her story, I would say she went above and beyond what most would attempt for that troubled student. Although I am sure difficult, I would encourage her to not have any regrets about how she handled her situation with this young man. My thoughts and prayers go out to her and the whole VT community affected by this tragedy.

Michele said...

Thanks for the link to Ms. Roy's interview. Her passion for learning (and teaching) comes through in this 1998 interview as well as what I've read about her over the last couple of days.

This interview got me thinking about training & development in the corporate world and how often businesses jump to the newest and greatest without anticipating the outcomes and the quality. Her look to the past for wisdom for the future is a good reminder for all things. I also thought the three things every student needs was insightful and also has application for all of us.

It's with tremendous sadness I think about what happened at VT. All are in my thoughts and prayers too.

michele said...

As I read through my post, I realized I left off a thought about businesses wanting to jump too quickly to the newest and greatest... As training professionals, we have a responsibility to analyze our past and anticipate our future so that business decisions: what forum, what software, what learning environment, which vendor, etc. are based on a thoughtful process and not a flavor of the day approach to learning.

Dave Lee said...

Peter:
Thank you for your link to this interview and your analysis in your post.

It's sad that it wasn't until this tragedy that we here her voice. She's got a great perspective on technology and learning. Maybe our tribute to her and all of those in the VT community would be to assure that her thoughts in our arena have impact and change the way online education happens.

As Michelle points out. That's our job?

Peter Isackson said...

Dave,
What's extraordinary is that the interview dates from 1998, just about the time Jay was inventing the term e-learning.

But what really struck me was the link between what she says about online communication and what she tried to do with Cho face to face. Learning can only take place when there's a sense of relationship and personality, as Ms Roy insists. Unfortunately it appears that Cho was something of an autist (if I may use that metaphor, which everyone seems to have avoided, possibly out of a concern for political correctness). As a result getting him to learn (i.e. about himself) through social interaction proved impossible.

I'm left wondering whether our educational system, with its emphasis on isolating and judging each individual (the whole purpose of grades), doesn't actually encourage asocial behavior. It certainly discourages learning, as that very loose cannon Gore Vidal points out in an interview just published by Newsweek:

"One thing our educational system does is eliminate all sense of curiosity. Students will condescend to read only about those things they think they already know; they don't want new things. The students end up with a few myths about society and that's about it."

Perde said...

Thanks for the link to Ms. Roy's interview. Her passion for learning (and teaching) comes through in this 1998 interview as well as what I've read about her over the last couple of days.

süleyman said...

Dave,
What's extraordinary is that the interview dates from 1998, just about the time Jay was inventing the term e-learning.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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