Education, schooling and the digital age
Learning that is personalised and lifelong is almost always self-organised, self regulated and naturally has no course termination date. There is a particular joy in this kind of learning, because it relies on personal enthusiasm rather than the achievement of some particular standardised benchmark.
If teachers are to be present, then they should be pedagogues not directors and managers. Pedagogy in the best sense of the word is where knowledgeable others such as teachers and experts provide the guidance and support for good learning to be optimised. This is what schools in the idealistic sense should be modelled upon.
Teaching to the test must be replaced by learning as a quest.
A paradigm shift is happening in the world of education, and it is tearing away at the fabric of traditional schooling. The rigid structures of the past are increasingly anachronistic in the fast paced world of mobile phones, the Web and pervasive computing. Students no longer passively absorb content, because they own personal digital devices, and they can use these to produce, organise, repurpose and share their own content.
Co-production of knowledge is emerging as a new model for learning in the digital age. Students become teachers and teachers become students. This kind of power sharing will need to become increasingly common if schools are going to remain relevant. The blurring of these boundaries epitomises digital age learning, as does the growing autonomy students are attaining as they learn for themselves. It is not the end of the school system, but it is a wake-up call for schools to begin adapting to the needs of this generation as we emerge into a technologically rich society where personalised devices are common place. Students are not longer satisfied with schooling - one size does not fit all. It does not even fit individuals.
All of these themes and more were discussed in this video interview I did for Northland Polytechnic in Whangarei, New Zealand recently. The interviewer was Vasi Doncheva, who until recently was Flexible Learning Manager at NorthTec.
Photo by Steve Wheeler
Innovative practice by Steve Wheeler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.