Reflections on ‘Schools and Schooling in the Digital Age’

On the 15th March, hosted by the Learning and New Media Group, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Neil Selwyn from the London Knowledge Lab presented a public lecture called ‘Schools and Schooling in the Digital Age’. He started with the premise that, as Ed tech researchers, we need to be concerned with the ‘State of the Actual’ rather than the ‘State of the Art’, implying that only by grounding our research in practice, can we progress the field forward. He outlined four ‘futures’ for schooling:

1. Isolate schools from the technological demands of society, thereby creating ‘fortress schools’ which continue to operate along the lines of 20th century schooling as we know it.

2. Use digital technologies to replicate schools in other forms eg. virtual schools, the Khan Academy etc

3. Use digital technologies to reconstruct schools around web 2.0 technologies and ’21st Century skills’

4. Use digital technology to replace schools as we know them eg the school of everything in the UK.

He believes that all of these ideas deserve serious consideration from academics, policy makers and practitioners, and that we also need to consider who in society wins or loses in each scenario. The student voice should also be considered, he says,  and any approach should be evaluated for sustainability across the teaching workforce. He finished by calling for a ‘champion’ to lead the way forward and to involve the ‘disinterested masses’, pondering whether we need a Jamie Oliver for the Ed Tech field!

So what do you think? What is the best way forward for schools of the future?

~Kath Holmes

A work in progress: Critical Perspectives on Learning and New Media

On Fri 23rd March members of the NuLearn group participated in the inaugural Learning and New Media Conference ‘Critical Perspectives on Learning and New Media‘ hosted by the Monash university based Learning and New Media Research Group.

It was a very full day which started with a provocation paper by Dr Neil Selwyn of the London Knowledge Lab. Neil’s piece was essentially a call to improve the quality of research being done in the area of educational technology, and a list of principles addressing his previously expressed ideas about the gaps in the field.

What followed was 15 presentations which provided details of the various ways in which researchers around the country are generating research in educational technology that is critical, context rich, theoretical and reflective. The volume of presentations covered in the day meant that there was a lot to absorb in a short of period of time, and I’ve come away inspired to further develop my work in this area. It was encouraging to hear the interesting work going on in what Selwyn cheekily described as a ‘mongrel field’.

We look forward to the developments and collaborations that arise from the bringing together of scholars who are committed to critical research in this area.

~ Rachel Buchanan

Schools and Schooling in the digital Age

What future is there for schools and schooling in the digital age? Do digital technologies herald the end of the ‘industrial-era’ institution of the school altogether? Alternatively, should schools be analogue ‘fortresses’ that offer respite from our otherwise technology-saturated lives?

Intrigued? This the title and extract from the abstract of a public lecture being given by Neil Selwyn of the London Knowledge Lab. The lecture will take place in Melbourne tomorrow evening. It’s being hosted by the Learning and New Media Group, Faculty of Education, Monash University. If you are interested in attending further details can be found here: http://www.education.monash.edu.au/events/neil-selwyn-public-lecture.html

~ Rachel Buchanan