This post has been brewing for a while.
I’m sick to death of people ‘recommending’ products, services, applications and utilities based on, essentially, zero real-world testing and feedback. Why? They can’t help with the heuristics.
What are heuristics?
Heuristic is an adjective for experience-based techniques that help in problem solving, learning and discovery. A heuristic method is particularly used to rapidly come to a solution that is hoped to be close to the best possible answer, or ‘optimal solution’. Heuristics are “rules of thumb”, educated guesses, intuitive judgments or simply common sense. Heuristics as a noun is another name for heuristic methods.
Why are heuristics important?
As I argued in my SHP Conference workshop Raising achievement in History at KS4 using e-learning, it can actually be damaging to:
- launch into using educational technologies without thinking it through properly (the how not just the what).
- attempt to replicate what someone has done elsewhere without thinking about the context.
People like Andrew Churches (of Educational Origami fame) deal with heuristics. They show how educational technologies can be used, things to think about, and issues that may arise.
What I’d like to see
Think about new users of educational technologies. Let’s say that someone wants to show parents what’s happening on a school trip in the following country. They ask for advice. Which of these would be the most useful response?
- I’d use a blog if I were you.
- Have you seen Posterous?
- I used Posterous successfully. Here’s how to set it up and here’s an example of how I’ve used it before. Ask me if you get stuck.
Obviously 3. I really don’t want any more of 1 and 2 thank you very much. :-p