Education 2030: the MOTHER’s perspective
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Vision paper about Open Education 2030. It was first published in the IPTS online call for vision papers. The full publication is available in ...

Vision paper about Open Education 2030. It was first published in the IPTS online call for vision papers. The full publication is available in http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/openeducation2030/category/vision-papers/higher-education/.

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Education 2030: the MOTHER’s perspective Document Transcript

  • 1. Open Education 2030 Call for Vision Papers Higher Education Education 2030: the MOTHER’s perspective (Rita Falcão de Berredo) Education 2030: the MOTHER’s perspective (Rita Falcão de Berredo) Reflections from a mother of a four year old boy... my hopes, my concerns about Open Education initiatives. I am mother of a boy, a beautiful four-year-old boy. He was born in 2008 so in 2030 will be 22. Right on the spot to be the beneficiary (or the victim?) of Open Education in 2030. I am mother, so I worry about his future. I worry and I have high hopes. This paper will talk about both, my hopes and my worries. I am a worker, a student and a researcher of e-learning and Higher Education. From my perspective these are exciting times. Education is changing because of technology, because of Europe, because of the increased mobility of the people. Everything is changing so fast that it is hard to follow even for a researcher. Initiatives like the Bologna Process, the European Qualification Frameworks, the rise of e-learning, the social networks and now the OER and the MOOCs are reshaping Education. It is probably one of the best times for being a researcher in the field of Education. But as a mother, is it as exciting? In this hyper connected world I envision wonderful opportunities for my son. The whole world is accessible through a computer or a mobile device. He can read, listen and watch different content produced in almost any part of the world. He can listen to the greatest thinkers of his time and he can even interact with them. He can easily learn a new language, experience new cultures and travel to a different country. He will probably have friends from all over the world with whom he will communicate frequently. We live in Portugal, a country surrounded by water and Spain. So, this possibility of interacting with other cultures is of great importance for his future. But what does this mean in terms of his Education? What will this hyper connected world offer him in terms of Education? Right now, the world of Education is vibrant with open education initiatives. We have come a long way since the Open Courseware initiative of MIT. Schools from all over the world have channels in Youtube and iTunes U. The top Universities in the World are offering MOOCs. You can find open journals in different areas of research. You can learn almost everything you can think of, online and for free. But this is now. How will it be in 2030? One of my first mum's concerns is about focus and concentration. How will my son be able to select the right content from all the thousands of hours of videos, from the millions of learning resources that will be available in 2030? How will he be able to not get lost or overwhelmed with the vast amount of information available online? He will need specific skills to deal with information. He will need to learn how to select the important data from the rest. He will need to learn how to stop himself from jumping from one link to the other; he will need to learn how to keep himself focused in his learning outcomes. Focus and concentration are also important when we deal with technology. Technology invades our lives all the time when try to be productive: e-mails, facebook, text messages are all intruders in our productivity. Now, in 2013 we are still learning how to multitask. Already we agree that the digital natives are better at multitasking than we are. But are they better at focusing? Can they concentrate in one task? How will this affect my son's learning and productivity? Still in the same line of thought comes another of my worries. New trends in Education are concerned with personalized learning paths, the recognition of prior learning (formal and non
  • 2. Open Education 2030 Call for Vision Papers Higher Education Education 2030: the MOTHER’s perspective (Rita Falcão de Berredo) formal) and the recognition of work experience. Again an amazing opportunity for embracing the diversity of learning profiles. This trend will benefit from MOOCs and other open Education initiatives. This means that my son might have the opportunity to choose what he wants to learn and may even choose the online provider for the learning experience. But who will help him choose? Who will provide guidance in choosing a learning pathway that will lead him to a profession or other type of useful set of learning outcomes? My concern is that all this openness in learning pathways will take us back to Renaissance when the world is still claiming for specialization. One possibility is that, at some point, my son will want to have is learning accredited. To achieve some type of certification, he will have to provide evidence of achieving a specific set of learning outcomes. This of course will provide some type of guidance to his learning. But still, I believe that students will need closer guidance to help them achieve what they want. Who will provide it and what will be the cost? Will we reach a situation where the contents are open but support (or instruction?) is paid? Certification will also be crucial in Open Education. Certification and assessment are already being discussed in relation to MOOCs and other types of open education. The same questions emerge: who will provide them and how much will they cost? How open will Education be if students will have to pay not for a full package/process of education but for some bits? How will this affect the quality of the Education system? Current news are already unveiling possible funding models of Open Education that might have serious impact on Education. Giving current funding policies in Higher Education, some professorsi are already concerned that top universities will be licensing their MOOCs to other Higher Education institutions, increasing the gap between universities and consequently promoting inequity among students. Other opinionsii predict that students from richer families will be attending face-to-face education while students from poor families will be attending online open courses and apply for certification at lower prices. Again, this will increase the gap between rich and poor. I don't want my son to be an online student of MOOCS, interacting with a computer instead of interacting with persons. I don't want him to think that watching videos and completing online assignments marked automatically is Education. A final concern is related with expectations. Top universities are providing MOOCs for free and some are already certifying attendance and completion. What expectations will this create on these students? Will their expectations be matched by the labour market? What will be the value of these or similar types of certificates? Open Education is a wonderful democratic initiative. But my deepest concern as a mother is that Open Education will provide a sustainable business model for higher education that will reach more people but that will also increase inequity in the access to high quality education. i http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Professors-at-San- Jose/138941/?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=enii http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/social_sector/college_for_all