Round Table: Looking into the future
Mark Bullen (British Columbia Institute of Technology), Roni Aviram (The Center for Futurism in Education), Norbert Meder (University of Duisburg-Essen), Martha Stone Wiske (Harvard Graduate School of Education).
It is very unlikely that the technologies that we might here identify as revolutionary will actually be that revolutionary in the following years. Take the LMS as an example: almost every university in the world is now using it, but has it brought the revolution in education it promised 20 years ago?
[personal reflection: I’m actually teaching with my LMS in ways I could not offline: collecting tons of news on RSS aggregators, collaborating with wikis, sharing with slides (the students’ slides), debating with fora 24×7 amongst a group of 30+ people, etc.), staying tuned also 24×7 with microblogging, etc. LMSs being non-revolutionary, whose fault is it?]
How do we engage the faculty to try and get the best from LMSs? [that was exactly my point] How do we promote revolution within institutions?
Navigating through the Storm: A vision for a humanistic ICT-based education for liberal democracies in the 21st century
(based on Aviram, R. (2010). Navigating through the Storm: Reinventing Education for Postmodern Democracies).
We have witnessed 30 years of failures on the practical and theoretical/academic levels. “So much reform, so little change” or “the more it changes, the more it remains the same”. ICT have not made a sustainable contribution to learning or led to meaningful change in education.
So much talk, so little solid knowledge. There is no common language or methodological infrastructure, no value-oriented systematic thinking, very limited rational discussion, limited accumulation of knowledge (just anecdotes).
There should be well defined, systematic, value-oriented paradigms relating to the goals of educagtion and the ways to realize them in the crazy, chaotic, digital world we live in. And a formation of rational discussion and learning processed to go with it.
We need a humanistic vision for ICT-based education, based on the values of liberal democracies: personal autonomy, dialogical belonging, morality. The new humanistic vision should support flexibility, personalization, analytical abilities, support for reflection, infrastructure for exploration.
At the technological level, all of this is feasible. We “just” need to overcome 2,500 years of “Platonic” educational paradigm and the total “economization” of our societies.
We need to refocus on understanding, not on information collecting.
Media can be used for problem solving, for rephrasing old problems, for trying new things.
Martha Stone Wiske
Data, information, knowledge, understanding, wisdom. Too much of information is focused on the transmission of information and not enough on enabling understanding.
Mobile and multimedia tools are helping people to get closer to knowledge but, are we paying enough attention at how they are affecting too the way we think?
There are two axis to deal with: long-wide learning (at the school, at home, at work) and long-life learning. And they deserve different approaches.
We must extend our work as educators outside of the school and the university: we have to engage our learners with their learning in a way that lasts longer than their schooling years.
Ismael Peña-López: I honestly think that the revolution will not come from us, the insiders, but from the outsiders. Institutions might be able to perform an evolution — which is good — but times are of a revolution. Political parties, newspapers, the entertainment industry crises, and it is not politicians, newspapers or artists the ones that will lead the revolution, but the people who love politics, journalism and culture. Same with education: there already exist things as open educational resources, remixing culture, badges, alternative reputation systems, crowdsourcing, MOOCs, PLEs that are providing good and sustainable alternatives to the educational system as we know it. It is just a matter of time that these new approximations to education are sustainable in time. We can now separate the content from the container, and think of ways of getting rid of assessment, evaluating teachers, credit recognition, reputation, promotion and tenure, research and focus on learning. We should start thinking about education and educators and not the educational system or educational institutions (Martha Stone Wiske points that this is especially true in college and higher education, and I fully agree with her in that point).