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Images of the Future: Numbers, Narratives and Nomenclature

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Invited presentation at International Symposium: The Future is Now - Open and Distance Universities in Europe. Athens, 5th November, 2015

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Images of the Future: Numbers, Narratives and Nomenclature

  1. 1. Images of the Future: Numbers, Narratives and Nomenclature National Institute for Digital Learning Dublin City University Professor Mark Brown
  2. 2. The future is messy
  3. 3. John Pilger reminds us that despite huge advancements in technology over the last 50 years, the wealth gap between developed and developing countries has more than doubled.
  4. 4. Framing perspective…
  5. 5. What type of higher education system do we want the use of new learning technology to serve? Framing question…
  6. 6. Outline… 1. Numbers 1. Narratives 3. Nomenclature • What do the numbers tell us? • What narratives are being told? • Why is nomenclature important?
  7. 7. The past can tell us about the future
  8. 8. “Who controls the past commands the future. Who commands the future conquers the past.” (George Orwell)
  9. 9. 1. What do the numbers tell us? Three Paradoxes
  10. 10. Paradox 1 Blended, On-line and Digital (BOLD) education is booming but the level of concern is growing throughout the world
  11. 11. Growth in U.S. Enrolments… Allan, I., & Seaman, J. (2014). Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC.
  12. 12. http://www.openeducationeuropa.eu/sites/default/files/scoreboard_september2014.pdf 2014
  13. 13. Allan, I., & Seaman, J. (2014). Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC.
  14. 14. Allan, I., & Seaman, J. (2015). Grade level: Tackling online education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group, LLC.
  15. 15. 66% Education at a Glance… Type A OECD Average 70% Undergraduate Degree
  16. 16. Guiney, P. (2014). Extramural students’ participation and achievement: Trends, patterns, highlights. New Zealand Ministry of Education. Wellington ‘When we adjust for course level and do not focus on a particular group of students, Massey University and the Open University have comparable extramural [distance] course completion rates‘ (p.30).
  17. 17. UK full-time students
  18. 18. 2015
  19. 19. The public and private benefits of higher education are clear to all but there is a growing risk of social and economic exclusion Paradox 2
  20. 20. - April, 2012 2. What are the basic assumptions?
  21. 21. £1.3b In the United Kingdom… 2013
  22. 22. Education at a Glance…
  23. 23. Ireland Greece NZ Education at a Glance…
  24. 24. UNESCO.(2013).EducationforAllGlobalMonitoringReport.Paris.
  25. 25. EU Unemployment Rate In 2014, almost 13 million people had been unemployed for more than one year
  26. 26. Ireland Greece At risk of poverty or social exclusion… EU mean
  27. 27. While the benefits of higher education have been quantified we know very little about the tangible return on investment for the subset of off-campus online/ distance learners Paradox 3
  28. 28. “There is also almost no understanding of the private and social benefits of distance and online education in comparison with those of face-to-face education” (Rumble, 2014, p.208).
  29. 29. Recommendation 6. “National funding frameworks should create incentives, especially in the context of new forms of performance-based funding, for higher education institutions to open up education, to develop more flexible modes of delivery and to diversify their student population.”
  30. 30. 16% Restrictive Funding Models
  31. 31. 2.7% Restrictive Funding Models
  32. 32. 2015
  33. 33. “Distance Education… …has made me the person I am today, a productive working woman in her late forties contributing to society. I was in my early to middle thirties when I found distance education and… it was a godsend to enable me to make my life and my son’s life a much better one in the long term. I wanted to better myself by studying while on a benefit and not being able to afford childcare, distance education was the best way of making my life better...
  34. 34. “… I am now employed by a government department in a role helping victims in the community. I am now in a position that I am not reliant on a benefit and not likely to need one in the future. Where would I be if distance education was not available to me? Still in the same place as I was 12 years ago, stuck on a benefit with no future to speak of. Now I am… proof that it’s possible to change your life for the better by utilizing distance education.” Sharon (18th Jan, 2011) http://exmss.org/presidentsblog/2011/01/18/treat-distance-students-with-respect
  35. 35. 2. What narratives are being told? Competing Images
  36. 36. Latest Report... 2015
  37. 37. “An avalanche is coming. It’s hard of course, to say exactly when. It may be sooner than we think. Certainly there is no better time than now to seek to understand what lies ahead for higher education – and to prepare” (p.8) Barber, M., Donnelly, K., & Rizvi, S. (2013). An avalanche is coming: Higher education and the revolution ahead. Institute for Public Policy Research. London.
  38. 38. “An educational change is neither natural nor normal, constant nor common as it involves a deeper struggle over who will win control of the curriculum” (Evans, 1996, p.25).
  39. 39. “It is theory that decides what we can observe…” Albert Einstein
  40. 40. • Open learning • Online learning • Anytime, anywhere learning E-learning • Digital learning • Technology-enhanced learning • Learning Society Knowledge Economy Different interest groups and stakeholders borrow the same ‘language of persuasion’ to legitimize their own hegemonic agenda Major Competing Lenses
  41. 41. “…We risk being left behind as other parts of the world act more nimbly in garnering the benefits of technology” (p.6).
  42. 42. Reconception • Open learning • Online learning • Anytime, anywhere learning Deschooling ReschoolingReproduction • Monolingual • Learning for all • Global curriculum • Education in change • Diversity • Just society • Pillars of learning • Education for change • Mass education • Quality standards • Education as commodity • Increased market competition • Democratic • Un-curriculum • Opening access • Unbundling learning Learning Society Knowledge Economy E-learning • Digital learning • Technology-enhanced learning • Different interest groups and stakeholders borrow the same ‘language of persuasion’ to legitimize their own hegemonic agenda Major Competing Lenses
  43. 43. The current emphasis on education in change needs to shift to the language of education for change.
  44. 44. LEARNING TO BE LEARNING TO KNOW LEARNING TO DO LEARNING TO LIVE TOGETHER Digital Capability Digital Inclusion Digital Citizenship RECONCEPTUALIST FRAMEWORK Fundamental Principles for Reshaping Education (Delors Report, 1972)
  45. 45. How well is Europe doing?
  46. 46. 3. Why is nomenclature important? Rooted in Identity
  47. 47. “Online learning should be in the service of big ideas, not as a big idea in itself” (Brown & Costello, 2015; adapted from Barnett, 2011).
  48. 48. Conclusion
  49. 49. Conclusion What type of higher education system do we want the use of new learning technology to serve?
  50. 50. “All education springs from images of the future and all education creates images of the future. Thus all education, whether so intended or not, is a preparation for the future. Unless we understand the future for which we are preparing we may do tragic damage to those we teach.” (Toffler, 1974). Conclusion
  51. 51. A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking (or ran out of time)
  52. 52. Thank You!
  53. 53. Contact Details… mark.brown@dcu.ie @mbrownz http://www.dcu.ie/nidl http://www.slideshare.net/mbrownz

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