Wednesday 20 July 2011

Cyber-systemic Thinking in educational Technology (a tribute to Gary Boyd)

I was very sad to discover that Professor Gary Boyd of Concordia University died in May.

I met Gary at the 2010 American Cybernetics Society conference, and was very struck by his remarkable intellect, breadth of reading, gentleness and a common-sense attitude to educational technology which is rare.

Gary was very supportive of my idea to write a book on "Educational Cybernetics" (he was the only other person outside Bolton who described himself as an 'Educational Cybernetician"). He sent me some wonderful slides, which I've posted here. I think they give a sense of his intellectual curiosity and precision of thought.

Gary's summarised his thoughts on educational cybernetics as:
"MY take on it is that basic cybernetic principles are applicable at many levels from micro i.e.instructional design on  up through course and programme design and development to whole institutional and countrywide viable systems development."
And this is how he saw Cyber-Systemic Modelling

He sent me some PDFs of his presentations on Cybernetics and Educational Cybernetics which I've attached below.

I also noted that he wrote a marvellous review for a book on Educational Technology by Lars Qvortrup (who applied Luhmann's thinking to technology, which I am very interested in). Although not a Luhmannite (he said he found it "unpleasant"... but I didn't get a chance to probe him about this!) I think this review gives a sense of what we have just lost: (I've grateful to Terry Anderson for highlighting this)

One of the strange things (and I'm sure Gary would be amused by this) is that when people die, the impetus to re-examine their work and carefully consider their arguments seems somehow more intense. I wonder why that is?


Simon Grant said...

Seems to me a good reason to look at people's work when they die. As he pointed out, everyone is dynamic! Before people die, you never know if they are going to change their mind. Maybe you hope they will! When people die it is a good moment for something summative - it can no longer be formative feedback for them...

Astrid Johnson said...

Nice home page design! :-)