On 31 May 2011 I am presenting at the I Encuentro CIDER (I Conference on Digital Citizenship and Human Rights). My speech, The Network Society: rights, policies and the exercise of democracy has three parts:
First of all, it goes back to the neolithic revolution and then to the industrial revolution to reflect on how things used to be before the digital revolution. Then, it briefly aims at showing how the exercise of democracy has been (potentially) turned upside down as democratic institutions see their roles totally transformed. This is essentially the same discourse (though adapted to governments and democracies) I explained in From teaching institutions to learning people, the reason being that I believe there is a common approach when dealing about education, governments or even businesses (e.g. the recording industry) that focus on institutions, their role, their added value, and how digital technologies help citizens to circumvent them.
After the potential benefits of “democracy 2.0”, the second part focuses on the barriers and, even more important, the threats, especially those related with (ironically) forgetting about “democracy 1.0”. In this sense, I will stress the point that democracy is time-consuming activity and that those with time and training (and technological mastership) can benefit and even corrupt democratic institutions (even unwillinglly). This is the point I brought in The disempowering Goverati: e-Aristocrats or the Delusion of e-Democracy.
Last, I am using the “power = governance + empowerment” model also developed in the previous article to analyse the Egypt and Spanish revolts during the spring of 2011.
For 300 years we have lived in an Industrial Society and ended up with an Industrial(ized) Education. While this has serious drawbacks, it has also democratized education and provided (in western countries) highest adult literacy rates, higher welfare and higher income for everyone (including the poorest ones). When we speak negatively about Education, we have to keep in mind to throw dirty waters away while keeping the child in.
The Digital Revolution and the upcoming of the Information Society have changed, radically and forever, the landscape as we knew it, due to drastic reductions of transaction costs and the end of scarcity of knowledge based goods. Amongst other things, we necessarily need to redefine concepts such as efficiency and efficacy, upon which we have built our education systems. And, thus, rethink the design of those education systems.
After pointing out some aspects of the current education system that are being critically challenged by the digital revolution, I suggested one path and one goal to be able to do the transition from an industrial education to a digital one. The path could be based on appropriation of the technology, its adoption/transposition to our actual system, improvement of current practices, and total transformation of instructional designs. On the goals side, I go macro and think of empowering people with the ability to design their own learning strategies, powered by personal learning environments.