Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Standing on the precipice

What a year it has been! With the launch of the iPad and the emergence of a competitive tablet PC market, we are now seeing the convergence of our text books and information rich media, delivered on a device that allows for consumption in a traditional manner. The convergence of the Internet with our traditional viewing devices (television) all of a sudden brings education closer than ever before. (think education channels on YouTube)

The emergence of developing economies on the worlds stage is no coincidence and their hunger for education through media rich devices at low cost starts to ask questions of where education will transform to. Notice I do not question whether it will transform. It will transform either through innovative and proactive practice or through being forced to both economically and educationally, through competitive practice.

I entitled this piece standing on the precipice because I am looking out from the precipice and asking a lot of questions which I think will be answered and in turn will transform education practice and in time corporate learning and development. But in the meantime they remain questions for me.

Questions like:
  • If we face a future where more and more people have (easy access to) a laptop or a networked mobile device, what will it mean for the design of learning and the access to expertise?

  • What will it mean for institutionally advocated, mediated, protected and activated education?

  • How will educators use the new regime of tools and this moment to demonstrate active learning as much as their students?

  • How will learners adapt to more and more self directed learning functionality, multiple platforms of access, and multiple productive learning possibilities?

  • Will what is learned and new methods of learning alter as a consequence, becoming quicker but shallower, more instrumental and less reflective or will we be inspired to develop curricula that focus on critical thinking as a result?

  • Will the juggernaut that is social networking present possibilities that prompt greater reflexivity, a more sustained sociality in learning and concerns of the collective are seen as the dominant consideration in published expertise?

  • How can we use all of the new tools available to inspire our most traditional institutions of learning to change?

The corporate world should be investing in answering these questions as much as our educational institutions. It is the alignment of both sides of the learning continuum that is an imperative for success. Business needs learners with a critical reflectiveness that is key for knowledge work in the 21st century. Educational institutions need to look long and hard at the transformative shifts taking place and recognise the ability of students to move and adapt quickly and therefore design learning and qualifications that move just as quickly.

Standing on the precipice is exciting as you look over the edge to contemplate what might be. It is also bloody scary to contemplate what might go wrong should we not take advantage of all that is laid out before us.

2011 looks like it will be a watershed year for many reasons and at the moment I can only ask questions. The answers I seek may be sometime coming......

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