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Education, Gamification and Enabling Technologies - The Impact of the Networked Society on Education Practices
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Education, Gamification and Enabling Technologies - The Impact of the Networked Society on Education Practices

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I recently did a presentation on Gamification and Enabling Technologies to a small group of people in Malaysia and referred to my belief that the shift from the historical hierarchical societal and …

I recently did a presentation on Gamification and Enabling Technologies to a small group of people in Malaysia and referred to my belief that the shift from the historical hierarchical societal and business structures to the technology driven networked structures is a disruptive change which is at least partly responsible for some of the global challenges we face in areas such as education, health and the environment.

I made the argument that technology and continuous developments in our standard of living and ubiquitous use of smart devices is transforming us into a "Spectator Society" in which our locus of control is becoming more and more external I.e. There is a growing mindset that the future is beyond our control and that we are increasingly less responsible for our own lives and the way the world is.

I believe that a combination of enabling technologies such as the Internet of Things, Sensors, and Big Data can leverage the power of Gamification as a strategy to reconnect society and, especially around education, develop the skills needed to adapt to these societal changes such as self-awareness, responsible citizenship, entrepreneurship, innovation and self-motivation.

I was prompted to search for a cartoon I had seen some time ago on a friend's Facebook page that articulated precisely how the changes have impacted education (see below). Where once individuals were expected to take responsibility for their own performance, not just in education but in all aspects of their life, now others in society are held accountable for performance and behaviours that should rightly be the responsibility of the individual.

Published in: Education, Technology

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  • 1. Education, Gamification and Enabling Technologies The Impact of the Networked Society on Education Practices I recently did a presentation on Gamification and Enabling Technologies to a small group of people in Malaysia and referred to my belief that the shift from the historical hierarchical societal and business structures to the technology driven networked structures is a disruptive change which is at least partly responsible for some of the global challenges we face in areas such as education, health and the environment. I made the argument that technology and continuous developments in our standard of living and ubiquitous use of smart devices is transforming us into a "Spectator Society" in which our locus of control is becoming more and more external I.e. There is a growing mindset that the future is beyond our control and that we are increasingly less responsible for our own lives and the way the world is. I believe that a combination of enabling technologies such as the Internet of Things, Sensors, and Big Data can leverage the power of Gamification as a strategy to reconnect society and, especially around education, develop the skills needed to adapt to these societal changes such as self-awareness, responsible citizenship, entrepreneurship, innovation and self-motivation. I was prompted to search for a cartoon I had seen some time ago on a friend's Facebook page that articulated precisely how the changes have impacted education (see below). Where once individuals were expected to take responsibility for their own performance, not just in education but in all aspects of their life, now others in society are held accountable for performance and behaviours that should rightly be the responsibility of the individual.
  • 2. In its most extreme form, this shift of the “Locus of Control” from internal (personal power and responsibility) to external (individuals not able to influence their situation) can manifest itself in extreme cases that are reflected in newspaper headlines like the one below :-
  • 3. This was the recent case of a young mother blaming the benefits system for her obesity because she was given too much money in benefits which she spent on the junk food that contributed to her weight. Her argument was that the Govt was responsible for her situation and should therefore pay for her to have a personal fitness trainer and/or gastric band surgery. This article sensationalises the argument that there is a shift in attitudes and behaviours that create expectations that other entities such as the Government or the Education System is somehow the cause of situations which in previous times would be readily accepted as personal liability for which individuals should accept the consequences of. The Internet of Things, Gamification and Enabling Technologies may well create strategic opportunities to shift responsibility and incentives back to individuals and a recent example of the application of these technologies to incentivise individual responsibility for performance is the Ingenie Insurance company’s policy for young drivers where the car insurance policy for the driver includes the fitting of a telemetry sensor device in the car to monitor the driving and offer discounts and performance statistics to reward the drivers for improvements in their driving.
  • 4. I do not believe I am alone in recognising that things need to change in this direction in many critical aspects of society such as health, the environment and education but I was then amazed to discover that the ICERI 2014 conference that another of my friends is an invited speaker at has a theme which supports this notion that our current education practices are no longer fit for equipping young people for the disruptive changes we are seeing in every aspect of society.
  • 5. An extract from the conference's home page reads:- "The learning process at school and in universities finally becomes a static process which impedes the learners, curiosity, self confidence, creativity, and critical thinking. As a result, the educational practices tend to produce individuals who are not sensitive about and unable to respond to the social changes occurring in their own society. This challenges all of us to the restructuring of education to maximally improve the role of education in preparing individuals to face the social changes at present and in the future." We not only have a great opportunity to shape the future, we have an obligation to our future generations.