Structured Dialogue Embedded within Emerging Technologies: Chapt 8 of Veletsianos

September 11, 2010

Chapter 8 of the Veletsianos (ed) book is titled:

Structured Dialogue Embedded within Emerging Technologies
and is written by
Yiannis Laouris, Gayle Underwood, Romina Laouri, and Aleco Christakis.

This chapter looks at collaborative learning through wikis via the Structured Dialogic Design (SDD) process. It’s about collectively creating knowledge, and the instructor must be “willing to step out of his/her role as ‘keeper of the knowledge’ and step into the role of learning along with the students, while still supervising, monitoring and imposing structure”. (p. 158)

Learner-centred ideas developing in depth (the nautilus spiral is used as a graphic description of the process) and the concept of learners being self-driven and enthusiastic are at the heart of this idea.

Some obstacles to the process are also described — the idea is based on cooperation and does not play out well in a competitive, individualist context. To reference one of my favourite sayings, the idea of this chapter is about “the rising tide lifting all the boats,” or as the authors of the chapter say, “no one can succeed unless everyone succeeds.” I’ve heard cautions against wikis for learning based on cultural reasons (e.g. see but I’d suggest that it will be those who embrace collaboration who will ultimately find themselves in a community of engaged, motivated learners.

And, here’s a TED talk by Sugata Mitra that (to me) truly inspires in the self-directed, collaborative direction and can be seen as a great companion to this (and most other) chapters in the Veletsianos book.

Note that I’m blogging somewhat sporadically these days but hope to get back to it on a more frequent basis soon…

This is from the “Elizabeth Tweets” series of chapter-by-chapter blog posts related to the new book “Emerging Technologies in Distance Education“, edited by George Veletsianos and published by Athabasca University Press (including a freely available e-book version).