Saturday, 11 October 2008

New Spaces and Structures of Learning

Mmm – what an interesting paper this are my thoughts as I think them....hopefully you will follow.....
A notable idea suggested in this paper that education is on a ‘catch up mission’ with rapidly changing technology and learning theory. When you think about it - this makes more sense when one considers the characteristics of education (as we know it); it is physical ; reliant on place, i.e. a classroom and knowledge comes from one ‘expert,’- the teacher. Even though technology is beginning to be palpable in schools – education remains largely prescribed, restricted – with the learner retaining little control. Hence, the disparity with learning theory such as connectivism is obvious. Whilst technology is empowering the learner with individual control through social networking;( a concept the school based learner might engage in to a certain extent; )the boundaries remain as they are confined to research of the ‘old’ - that will ultimately tick boxes on their teachers’ “what I have to teach list” - rather than discovery of the “new.” Whilst it’s easy to see how education has to be guided to a certain extent(particularly with younger children) but I question whether ‘curriculum’ should (or indeed could?)be a framework that allows a path towards ‘discovery.’ This also brought forth an issue raised in the first year with Brian – the paradox between children’s rights to self determination and the educational environment that forms a huge fraction of their childhood. Another interesting paradigm evident through this technological explosion is that the ‘pupil/student’ as the first generation born into this technology - may have more expertise in it that the 2nd generation converts – that will be their teachers!
To me this paper throws up more questions than answers – but I believe that, for one to consider education of the future and what that might look like – to engage the learner of the future - there has to be a significant link established between the technology (that will most certainly form an integral part of their lives) and their education. Teachers, not so much as all knowing “fonts of knowledge”- but as navigators – assisting rather than directing the learning.
Try to think of this in the context of future education....The old saying “you can lead a horse to the well but you can’t make him drink” might be altered if the “horse” is finding his own way to the well – and once there – decides that actually - for him, the clump of grass next to it suites him more!

When you consider also the question of integrating web 2.0 into education and the folks who are against it for all the predictable reasons - it highlights a power and control issue - by allowing learners to utilise the web 2.0 tools available - the teacher shifts power and control to the individual...this is always going to be hard to swallow when the social perception of teachers is that of the previously mentioned 'font of knowledge' - that has to transmit a frameworked curriculum...formally. But if there is a paradigm shift and the teacher becomes the navigator - education and learning could be informal - and we know that informal learning is ongoing and constant and individual.

1 comment:

Crystal said...

Great post!!
I do have the question which match yours(I think!), if I misunderstand it please forgive me.

By assisting learner rather then leading the learner? I believe our present generation is in a gap between "listen to the teacher, do as you told, learn as you given" and "go wonder in the massive techology world which provide lots of information(whatever is good or bad)".As the time we are now, do you think it's up to us (this generation) to wave the stick to point the way that what's our furture education is going to be. Some of us will become teacher in few years time, so how we learn and think will effect what sort the teaching that next generation will be receive!! My worry of furture education is there will no more correct or formal structure to follow or for the learners to judge what is wrong and what is right?!