One response to anything new is to attempt to assimilate it – to fit it into existing models. While it could be argued that Education has attention blindness to technology I think the problem with education and technology goes deeper – a combination of the Shirky Principlecausing education to become stuck into attempting to assimilate technology to reinforce existing models. – the end result being a system that is robust to change yet ever more expensive and irrelevant. One meaning for the E in E-learning is “Expensive”.
However, when context change is so radical attempts to assimilate it leave one disconnected from reality (psychotic) and sustained by rituals and delusions.
Technology can flip our reality:
That which was once scarce becomes abundant
That which was once difficult becomes easy
That which was once once expensive becomes cheap (or free)
That which was once large becomes small
That which was once institutional becomes personal
The technology context within which education operates has changed so radically over the last decade that education must find ways of altering its existing models to accommodate a changing reality – educated learning needs to find a way to accommodate its flip side – uneducated learning or risk increasing irrelevance.
Lets have a look at just two of these flipping changes.
Flipping Space – Time
Educational space and time is a scheduled batch process in specified locations – the meeting – otherwise know as timetabled classes.
Classrooms and timetables were a necessary batch process to distribute scarce resources and time to abundant learners – move the learners to resources to meet at specified times in specified places.
Nowadays learning resources can be accessed almost anytime and anyplace – learners no longer need to wait to be batch processed in a timetabled classroom – learning can happen anyplace, anytime in real-time on demand – Indeed, better learning happens this way.
Technology resources were once expensive and scarce and education quite rightly provided these for learning – computers, email, storage space and applications.
Nowadays many learners have their own personal technology resources and they are usually much easier and better than those provided by education yet education often chooses to ignore or even ban learners personal technology. Education must accommodate to the reality that learning can take place using learners own resources – Indeed, better learning happens this way.
How to accommodate – strip down
Education has used technology to build a suite of armour – a lumbering and reinforced steampunk monstrosity of defence – sucking in increasing resources to reinforce, maintain and move. Within its suite of armour education is blind to the world around it and unable to move fast enough it will become isolated and left behind in a world of its own.
Education needs to strip down – throw off its suite of armour – become part of the world in which it exists and use the resources of its environment.
Education needs to flip from institutional to personal – the conditions to do this are emerging from cheaper, pervasive, abundant, personal and connected mobile computing.
How to look good Naked
Here are some Rules Of Thumb – ROT to do
* Go Web
Use the web – avoid platform and paper dependencies.
* Go Mobile
Resources have to be useable on a smartphone anyplace and anytime
* Go Free
Use free open web based resources – the sort that any learner and teacher can use anywhere with no support overheads.
* Go Wild
Think of teaching and learning as wilderness survival – a lifelong skill in how to find and use the natural resources of the web. Think of the smartphone as a survival multi-tool.
* Go Open
Use and produce public open resources
* Go Connected
“The network is our computer” – Invest in your networks – especially wireless, guest and Internet connections.
“Value is in the network not the nodes”
MASH and connect your own and others content.
Develop Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)
* Go Outside
- Think and Design systems outside the classroom and outside the school or college – think Web, Mobile and Global.
* Go Personal
Encourage and use people’s own personal resources and identity.
* Go Equal
Invest and focus on digital equality