FERTILE AMBIVALENCE: SCOTTISH EDUCATION AND ICT AT THE CROSSROADS
FERTILE AMBIVALENCE EDUCATION & ICT IN SCOTLAND @ THE CROSSROADS Pat Kane theplayethic.com For Scottish Govt. With IFF // 15/10/10 @ediff
A tour d’horizon of technology in schools. Its framework has three headlines - Experience - Pedagogy - Capability (and Culture) In each area I will explore ‘fertile ambivalences in the present’ – noting the ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’ nature of what is emerging – ie hopeful and less hopeful (dark) scenarios now in play WHAT'S ABOUT TO HAPPEN HERE?
The ubiquity of ICT, & particularly of information archives, could create a generation of “great questioners” The role of education is to help frame and inform those questioning instincts and desires hopeful: THE EXPERIENCE OF ICT IN EDUCATION THE EXPERIENCE OF ICT IN EDUCATION worrying: The same ubiquity becomes so predominant that children have no sense of the authority of knowledge, or an awareness of the method that delivers facts – they only get branded or commercially-generated framings of knowledge. So much context also produces a kind of shoulder-shrugging relativisms – an available line for every argument
A section of parents and employers accept the rate of change and development in their own careers, 'learning organisations' and domains. They're practising the soft skills they see their children learning in school – and therefore value the kind of adaptability, openness and responsiveness that Curriculum for Excellence offers. (Freelancers?) hopeful: THE EXPERIENCE OF ICT IN EDUCATION THE EXPERIENCE OF ICT IN EDUCATION worrying: Another section of parents judge educational change by their current occupational experiences, which could be more in “survival” than “thrival” mode, in more beleaguered sections of the economy (say, deficit- reduced public sector). The change that's required is “back to basics” - numeracy/literacy! usable skills! relevance!
The mum who comes in to unplug her son from social networks to get him to concentrate on his homework – finds him with three platforms open, sharing his maths homework problems with pals... Ubiquitious ICT realises Ivan Illich's vision of an urban “ learning web ” in Deschooling Society – learning/teaching happening in real life... hopeful: THE EXPERIENCE OF ICT IN EDUCATION THE EXPERIENCE OF ICT IN EDUCATION worrying: ...So what does it mean to use networks to collaboratively learn at night, in a chosen, customised space... … and then go into school the next morning, where the environment is uniform, not personalised, rarely if ever chosen? Could municipalities ever be persuaded to see the built environments they regulate as “learning webs?”
hopeful: THE PEDAGOGY OF ICT IN EDUCATION I am often asked what Glow 2 will look like. My short answer is probably more like a computer game than the current version of Glow – something like a cross between the online game SecondLife (let’s call it SecondSchool) and an interactive game for the Nintendo Wii. You move between the physical world of the classroom and the digital world full of people and resources there to support your learning. It’s a move to a more active, interactive and engaging use of technology. LAURIE O'DONNELL, formerly LTS Director of Learning and Technology Taken from LTSScotland website LTS SCOTLAND'S GLOW - THE WORLD'S FIRST NATIONAL EDUCATION INTRANET – IS READY FOR AN UPDATE (GLOW 2) BUT WHEN PLANNED IN 2005, WEB 2.0 WAS BARELY STARTING... WHAT SHOULD THE VISION BE NOW?
hopeful: THE PEDAGOGY OF ICT IN EDUCATION hopeful: worrying: Beware of ludomania!!! In game-oriented play, kids embrace difficulty, in a variety of competitive reciprocations – against each other individually, as teams, against themselves on the road to mastery. A powerful return, via computer games, of an ancient modality of grasping the world – educators should take note GAME ≠ PLAY GAMES ARE A SUBSET OF PLAY (see Brian Sutton-Smith, The Ambiguity of Play, ' seven rhetorics of play ') We need to start asking questions about the “gameification of everyday life” like these people: Jesse Schell – Sebastian Deterding – Hide and Seek
hopeful: THE PEDAGOGY OF ICT IN EDUCATION hopeful: worrying: See Institute of Play's Quest 2 Learn school & their new subject domains, forged from trying to imagine a 'game-based learning' curriculum - Codeworlds, The Way Things Work, Sports For The Mind, Being, Space and Place “ We are not just using games in our pedagogy because it’s fun or engaging, but because games teach kids that they live among systems - ecological, financial, technological - and that it’s important to keep those systems sustained and in balance. That’s the world that exists right now. We should be educating children to step into that world.” (K. Salen) Should every life activity be an opportunity for point-scoring and powering-up? There are addictive forms of game play – Jesse Schell talks about how Facebook/casual games play with mean-minded behavioral triggers, as opposed to the rich, ambiguous worlds that games-makers have always dreamed of building. Zero-sum competition in games has its ideological consequences: eg Q2L's after-school program, “ Sweat Equity Design Challenge ” Games can be infinite as well as finite (see Nomis ), physical as well as screen-based. Full Play Advisory!!!
CAPACITIES AND ICT IN EDUCATION CAPACITIES AND ICT IN EDUCATION hopeful: worrying: Critique of Glow 1 is that it doesn't embrace collaborative & social web. But what values are embedded in this technology? The Facebook movie “ The Social Network “ shows that the competitive, in-group/out-group, status-obsessed culture of elite universities (Harvard, Princeton, etc) very much defined and conditioned that software. Many of web 2.0 platforms – YouTube, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn – emerge from the social situation of elite US campus life – Stanford, Harvard, Princeton Down the road in Cambridge, Mass...shows how a different campus culture can determine usage and design of ICT MIT (Mass. Institute of Technology) - OpenCourseWare – where academic material is made available to the world, freely - MIT Media Lab – public innovation lab responsible for “One Laptop Per Child” - Hacking (testing a technology or platform playfully and experimentally till it breaks, in order to make it better) is official Better model for Glow 2.0?
CAPACITIES AND ICT IN EDUCATION CAPACITIES AND ICT IN EDUCATION hopeful: worrying: What does ICT in education make children capable for? What kind of society is coming towards them? Perhaps away from neo-liberal globalisation...where careers are based on work-to-earn-to-buy - Business As Usual... … Towards one of “prosperity without growth” ( Tim Jackson ) - Post-consumerist - Low-carbon impact - High levels of self/co-production See also Schor , Rifkin , Gorz , Perez A hair-shirted, low innovation future? & If no change, “clicking, surfing & role-playing while Rome burns”? Social innovation at core of green future - and thus education too - Code/software generation beginning to add “bolts” to their “bytes” ( Doctorow 's Makers) - One way to be a satisfied post-consumer is to become an active prosumer-producer – return of craft, skill, practice PLUS hi-tech ( Fab Labs , energy grids ) - ICT becomes a resource for lifestyle transformation – Illich's ' tools for conviviality ', Bauwens P2P civilization ...For educators – make coders as well as users: “ program or be programmed ” (Rushkoff)
1) a piece of advice 2) some rules of thumb 3) some things to set your radar scanning for (what you need to keep an eye on in order to make sure you are not caught out by future developments in the landscape) TO CONCLUDE ...
Be very aware of the meta-narrative about societal development that conditions your vision of education (and tech in education). We are in a real moment of epochal change, big shifts in a number of directions (some promising, some dire) are possible. Don't educate to a social target or even a social horizon, but a social constellation (Incidentally, it turns out Scottish generalism/democratic intellect very good basis for resilient, adaptive adults) 1) A piece of advice
The root of technology is techne – Greek for art or skill. Techne-ology – art or skill as its own truth/reality. Don't fetishize ICT as the only practice relevant to, or inspirational for, children Tech is part of a continuum of other art/skills (Gardner's MI's still relevant here). Seek out continuities and connections with other disciplined social & cultural practices (music, engineering, languages – the 'codeworlds' (Quest to Learn)). Promote “active learning” throughout the age range – & understand play as passionate, multi-faculty engagement/experiment. Not just screen games. (Incidentally, it turns out Scottish generalism/democratic intellect very good basis for resilient, adaptive adults) 2) Some rules of thumb
i) Neuropsychological and “mind science” developments. A much contested field – Nick Carr and Susan Greenfield says neuroplasticity means Web 2.0 regresses us: Nick Bilton and Steven Johnson disagree. Stay on top of debates – the science can be used opportunistically. ii) Note where the very new meets the very ancient in net culture – be confident as educators about using humanistic learning as comparator - eg: Chatroulette – talk about Narcissus , the idea of public life and propinquity - Or note how fantasy online worlds replicate some of our most conventional behaviours – barter, trade, social contract. (Or how Facebook is closer to Jane Austen than they might think!) 3) Keep your radar scanning for...
iii) Keep an eye on open-source collaborative cultures as a social experiment in new kinds of education, in new locations, through new networks/institutions... Some sources for this: Simon Yuill on distributive practice Michel Bauwens on peer-to-peer education Charles Leadbeater on education innovation in the slums Dougald Hine's School of Everything And as a lab where old and new conditions for learning combine … any wifi'd third space (from Partick Tavern to Mitchell Library) 3) Keep your radar scanning for...
Ethan Laughing (from YouTube ) And just to remind you how joyous the relationship between learning and technology can be...
FERTILE AMBIVALENCE thank you! Pat Kane [email_address] @theplayethic theplayethic.com For Scottish Govt. With IFF // 15/10/10 @ediff