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Academics should reclaim their voice in society, NOW!

Slides inspired on a keynote given at EDEN2016 RW in Oldenburg, Germany. I think we (all of us academics) should start reclaiming our place in society.

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Academics need to reclaim their voice in society
A lifelong learning society needs us
Inge (Ignatia) de Waard
Synopsis
Academics should reclaim our societal voice, in order to
support self-determined learning opportunities for all !
Discussions happen… to improve knowledge!
Cartoon by Nick Kim: http://www.lab-initio.com/
Lifelong learning learning
• “One core difference is that we are much more explicit in the
assumption of human agency as a universal human
characteristic.”
• “Information is now available to just about anyone with the right
technology.”
But human agency, media & technology is laden with symbolic,
cultural capital (think Bourdieu, Sandra Harding, McLuhan, Bandura)
(citations from Stewart Hase on self-determined learning for
lifelong learning:
https://heutagogycop.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/self-directed-
learning-and-self-determined-learning-an-exploration/ )
What are some of the lifelong
learning boundaries?
• Technical & media elements: tech is not without
assumptions and embeds regional powers (mLearning)
• Individual characteristics: self-esteem, identity, socio-
economic background, birth region and status, gender
• Organising learning: depends on learning skills, daily life (2
jobs to pay the rent?)
• Context: gatekeepers say which content rules, curated
content by ‘top’-uni’s, cultural convention, Northern
references, colonialism
• Individual or social learning: preferences, societal
acceptance, language
This is not about critical science, this
is about history …Carl von Ossietzky
When German democracy was coming under siege (1924):
• “Whoever has learned from the events of the past five years
knows that it is not the nationalists, the monarchists who
represent the real danger, but the absence of substantive
content and ideas.”
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Academics should reclaim their voice in society, NOW!

  • 1. Academics need to reclaim their voice in society A lifelong learning society needs us Inge (Ignatia) de Waard
  • 2. Synopsis Academics should reclaim our societal voice, in order to support self-determined learning opportunities for all !
  • 3. Discussions happen… to improve knowledge! Cartoon by Nick Kim: http://www.lab-initio.com/
  • 4. Lifelong learning learning • “One core difference is that we are much more explicit in the assumption of human agency as a universal human characteristic.” • “Information is now available to just about anyone with the right technology.” But human agency, media & technology is laden with symbolic, cultural capital (think Bourdieu, Sandra Harding, McLuhan, Bandura) (citations from Stewart Hase on self-determined learning for lifelong learning: https://heutagogycop.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/self-directed- learning-and-self-determined-learning-an-exploration/ )
  • 5. What are some of the lifelong learning boundaries? • Technical & media elements: tech is not without assumptions and embeds regional powers (mLearning) • Individual characteristics: self-esteem, identity, socio- economic background, birth region and status, gender • Organising learning: depends on learning skills, daily life (2 jobs to pay the rent?) • Context: gatekeepers say which content rules, curated content by ‘top’-uni’s, cultural convention, Northern references, colonialism • Individual or social learning: preferences, societal acceptance, language
  • 6. This is not about critical science, this is about history …Carl von Ossietzky When German democracy was coming under siege (1924): • “Whoever has learned from the events of the past five years knows that it is not the nationalists, the monarchists who represent the real danger, but the absence of substantive content and ideas.”
  • 7. How can we ensure lifelong learning, with the absence of substantive content and ideas? Lifelong learning means you need to get the message across to all families (however organised) to allow lifelong learning skills to grow.
  • 8. Do all citizens, from birth, have the agency to self-determine their learning, their life long?
  • 9. If we as academics really think that education can save the world, than we need to put ourselves out there. In the media, on the internet. We as academics have a responsibility to global citizens, to bridge gaps by providing nuance, by sharing our thoughts and intellect to reignite conversations between all citizens. Action and communicating across media is urgently needed. Education for all? How serious do we take this idea?
  • 10. This is a call to (diversified) action for all academics! • We, the intellectuals, are the brain of society • We know facts, we are active thinkers, we make nuances • If we fail, societies brain fails
  • 11. Are we academics slowly socialised into the no-argument Age? Where is our voice?
  • 12. Kardashians: Age of nonsensical opinions Social media defines some of the facts… in a non-factual way https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/jul/12/how-technology-disrupted- the-truth
  • 13. 1968, almost 60 years ago • University professors, students, citizens entered societal debates • Where are we – the academics, the professors - now?
  • 14. Divide and conquer academics? The need to create stepping stones, in between ourselves, and towards all layers of society.
  • 15. We – Academics are at risk • Buried by increased paperwork: trying to get funding and writing reports validating expenditures • Precarious jobs: 1 year contracts or early researchers (early is flexible term) • Decreasing budgets: more people for less project money
  • 17. What do we earn? • Zero hour contracts (UK, the Guardian), teaching paid per hour. • See here http://gawker.com/the-horrifying-reality-of-the-academic-job- market-1776914525 and http://gawker.com/the-misery-of-adjunct- professors-keeps-higher-education-1772267323
  • 18. When academics loose impact, society and education looses democratisation The Democratisation of education is in decline (Dutch: Luc De Schepper, dean of University of Limburg, Belgium) (OESO reports) 1980’s 2016 Uni students from parents who have 1 diploma of secondary school 51% 40% Uni students from parents without a secondary school diploma 30% 22%
  • 19. Change does not happen overnight? But by being ferociously present in society Macro-level influencers: Rosa Luxemburg, Nelson Mandela, Susan Sontag, Paulo Freire… writers, public persona, thinkers
  • 20. Making our voices heard … vibrating society in our new role Teachers/professors Guide-on-the-side Societal presence supporting learning
  • 21. Learning in open range or fenced land? Lifelong learning needs lifelong academic action. We must reclaim and regain our place at the core of society. Stepping up to our role as Masters of the Mind.
  • 22. Questions? Remarks? Contact? … 22 E-mail: ingedewaard (at) gmail.com Blog: ignatiawebs.blogspot.com Twitter: http://twitter.com/Ignatia Papers: https://open.academia.edu/IgnatiaIngedeWaard Presentations/workshops: http://www.ingedewaard.net/pubconsulpres.htm Presentations: http://www.slideshare.net/ignatia linkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ingedewaard