Knowledge, creativity and communication
TOP KEYWORDS: knowledge, creativity, communication
ABSTRACT: Formal education - schooling from kindergarten well into adulthood at colleges and universities and other higher education institutions - transforms modern society in ways that were unimaginable at the...
beginning of the 20th century. This educational revolution has generated a new type of society: the schooled society, wherein not only all children and youth attend long periods of formal schooling and adult status is mostly determined by academic outcomes, but also a society where all institutions are increasingly influenced by the ideas, values, and norms originating out of education as a social institution. Seen this way, formal education is a dominating social institution that, with increasing dynamic legitimacy, has expanded and intensified over the past 150 years to the point where along with effects on individuals, formal education generates new ideas about people, new privileged human capacities, new ideas about knowledge and its generation, new expanded social and occupational positions. The educational revolution produces what might be called a “schooled consciousness” promoting a culture of universalistic values, human empowerment, scientific knowledge, and rationality, not only at the individual level, or even at the level of aggregated individuals, but at an institutional level. Described here are two major consequences of the schooled society on knowledge and its acquisition: 1) the unprecedented growth of a knowledge conglomerate in universities, and 2) the change towards ever-greater value placed on academic intelligence in human society. Two future scenarios are projected from research on the expansion of education, and policy implications from the more likely scenario are described.
TOP KEYWORDS: school, society, knowledge, education
ABSTRACT: The focus of this review is on the multimodal design of environments for knowledge construction, creativity and communication. In education, multimodal design refers to the use of different ‘modes’,...
such as image and writing, to recontextualize a body of knowledge for a specific audience. These designs may come to the learner via print media or via the screen, at home or in the classroom. We sketch out some changes in multimodal design in education over the past, and in the present, and attempt to speculate on future trends. We start our review with a sketch of the emergence of the notion of design in education and beyond as a new perspective on knowledge, creativity and communication. We then discuss four examples of learning materials to illustrate these trends. The first two examples demonstrate what has changed in the 20th century, and the second two examples show in which directions current changes are heading. All four examples show how multimodal designs shape the social and representational environment of learners. In the following section we suggest that such multimodal designs are no longer the exclusive realm of the ‘professional’ textbook maker, nor even of the teacher alone: young people have become active participants in design. We conclude with a summary of key trends.
TOP KEYWORDS: technology, multimedia, design, society, creativity, knowledge, literacy
This vision of the future of education, which David Miliband articulated in his speech to the North of England Conference in 2003, suggests the importance of learning to learn in the politics of education. Overall his speech indicates it is an important dimension of lifelong learning and a vital strategy for the workforce to ensure the county’s economic competitiveness. One of the purposes of education is to ensure that people are equipped for the future, both as individuals and in terms of the needs of wider society (Carr, 1991). The quotation also implies that teaching in schools needs to include learning to learn as part of the curriculum that is taught. However, this conception of learning to learn also poses some challenges. Part of the role of education is preparation for the future, but this should not be its only function (Dewey, 1916). The balance of short and long term aims of education is a distinctive challenge (Peters, 1967) and the balance of individual and collective needs are all part of the complexities involved in ‘learning to learn’.
The aim of this chapter is to provide a summary of evidence from current research in the UK and internationally about learning to learn. This is in order to identify and analyse the emerging trends in society, technology and education which might act as significant drivers of change for knowledge production, creativity and communication in education to 2025 and beyond. The chapter considers a range of ideas, strategies and interventions which the education sector might use in response to these challenges to shape the development of learning to learn in education. The chapter begins with an analysis of the concept of ‘learning to learn’ and some of the implications for knowledge and creativity in education, with examples from learning to learn projects in the UK and internationally. Further analysis draws on ‘architecture’ as a metaphor and includes two main dimensions. First the physical architecture of learning and learning spaces, particularly schools, and second the design of teaching and learning as a structured or purposeful form of human interaction: the pedagogical architecture. It therefore looks at the design of schools as learning spaces with an historical overview of the nature of space of the school. It also considers some current ideas and trends in the Building Schools for the Future programme for redesigning schools as active spaces with a particular focus on learning and learning to learn within and beyond the classroom. This analysis includes an overview of the impact of the physical environment on learning, a review of the history of school building programmes and their effects (or rather their lack of effects), and the impact of learning spaces on pedagogy and learning. The second section looks at the structure of classroom interaction and the advantages and disadvantages for learning, with the role of dialogue central to this. The analysis focuses explicitly on the challenges, risks, demands and opportunities which learning to learn as an educational idea offers for knowledge production, creativity and communication in education in terms of both policy and practice.
TOP KEYWORDS: knowledge, creativity, communication, economics, education, curriculum
ABSTRACT: The paper questions the link that policymakers assume exists between qualifications and access to employment in the creative and cultural (C&C) sector. It (i) identifies how labour market conditions...
in the C&C sector undermine this assumption and how the UK’s policy formation process inhibits education and training (E&T) actors from countering these labour market conditions, and (ii) demonstrates how non–government agencies –‘intermediary organisations’ – are creating new spaces to assist aspiring entrants to develop the requisite forms of ‘vocational practice’, ‘social capital’ and ‘‘moebius-strip’ (ie entrepreneurial) expertise to enter and succeed in the sector. It concludes by identifying a number of (i) new principles for the governance of the national E&T sector (ii) pedagogic strategies to facilitate ‘horizontal’ transitions into and within the C&C sector, and (iii) skill formation issues for all E&T stakeholders to address.
TOP KEYWORDS: employment, creativity, skills, education, knowledge, industry, culture, politics
ABSTRACT: There is a great variety of contexts within society that continuously create, recreate and reproduce knowledge. The knowledge that is produced in society is enormously diverse as can...
been seen from the typology of forms of knowledge summarised in Table 1.0 (note 1)
TOP KEYWORDS: Internet, skills, creativity, economics, knowledge, community
ABSTRACT: In the classroom activity described by Krange and Ludvigsen (Krange, 2007, 2008), Grade 9 students struggle with the problems of repairing and sequencing the insulin gene. As resources for...
their work they have a computerized, dynamic 3D model of the insulin gene and its base pairs. They also have access to other resources such as websites and online library sources explaining the fundamentals of gene sequencing. Their teacher and fellow students are online in a LAN for an open exchange of ideas and information. Through the powerful and information-rich 3D model, they recognize the spiral structure of the DNA molecule from their previous lab activities. The intellectual challenges they face include repairing – in a virtual, ‘hands-on’ sense – a damaged insulin gene by comparing it with an intact one. Following this, they engage in the quite laborious sequencing of the gene. This implies that they have to identify the basic units – the pairs of bases – and keep in mind how they are bound together. This, in turn, implies that they have to familiarize themselves with the scientific notations (the famous letter sequences of the genetic code), what they stand for (A for Adenine, T for Thymin, C for Cytosine and G for Guanine) and how they are connected. In this microscopic world, way beyond human perception and to which even scholars did not have access until relatively recently, they have to navigate with conceptual awareness as they manipulate the building blocks of the DNA molecule and biological life in a virtual reality. As part of this challenge they have to bridge between abstract conceptual constructions of the language of microbiology and visual perception: how does this language codify what there is to see in these images? The bridging is necessary, since the virtual world is the framework in which they have to learn, but understanding how to do gene sequencing is still largely conceptual; it is a story to understand and to convert into manual activities, and, in spite of the support from multimodal representations, friends and teachers, this will take some time. At other levels they have to consider issues such as what are the implications – dilemmas, gains, threats – of this technology as it is employed for an increasing number of purposes including the production of food, the curing of diseases and, potentially, the design of living organisms?
In another Grade 9 classroom, the complexities of the connections between energy consumption and climate change are addressed. Such issues, which concern intricate multidisciplinary problems, are understood and discussed in partially conflicting, partially overlapping discourses as is evident in media reporting every day. Basic questions about access to energy and sustainability of present-day consumption of oil, natural gas, nuclear energy and so on are debated by politicians, scientists, ecologists, economists, political scientists and representatives of a range of other kinds of expertise. What does it mean to be an informed citizen in relation to these decisive issues? The international and scientific dimensions of this topic of resources, industry and production serve as the focus of a seven week project work (Åberg et al, in press). The ambition is to prepare students to articulate their knowledge and values in the particular communicative format of a panel debate in which they are to represent various countries with different positions on these matters. What has to be realized is that argumentation about such issues is inevitably coloured by the resources, traditions and even identities of nation states. For instance, access to various types of energy will co-determine the positions from which one argues on the international scene, and what claims one considers reasonable when negotiating internationally binding agreements. Thus, there is no single scientific answer to these types of questions, and all claims to knowledge may be challenged and contested. The project work is not only about finding relevant sources of information (on the internet, in books, journals, newspapers and elsewhere), nor is it only a matter of validating information as legitimate ‘facts’. In the process of preparing for a political debate on energy consumption, students also need to account for what counts as facts, and they have to take an active stance in terms of what facts are relevant in an argumentative context, where responsibilities for future generations are also at stake. The outcome of such an activity, if conducted successfully, is an informed opinion, a platform from which to reflect on and consider also the opinions of others, whose concerns may differ from one’s own. Such a democratic conception of knowing is argumentative and moves the justification of claims to knowledge from matters of ‘facts’ to include matters of human concern and co-existence.
TOP KEYWORDS: citizenship, genes, biology, education
ABSTRACT: This essay considers the role of context and site in common understandings of learning in general and describes models of learning that exist as complement, supplement or remediation with...
‘standard’ versions of schooling especially those invoked by the idea of informal learning. It then looks at the ‘geo-social’ relationships of learners, homes, communities, non-formal learning spaces, regions, schools, nations and the globalised economy trying to tease out what may or may not change in future scenarios to offer different kinds of learning processes, experiences and activities in all of these domains. The essay concludes by reflecting theoretically on how our dominant paradigm of learning - socio-cultural frames - both constitutes and is constituted by the idea of space, contexts, and sites.
TOP KEYWORDS: learning environments, Sociology, home, school, community, relationships, cultural
Technology and embodiment: relationships and implications for knowledge, creativity and communication
ABSTRACT: With the emergence of mobile and ubiquitous technologies there has been increased interest in exploring and thinking about the role of embodiment, and of particular relevance here, embodied cognition...
and embodied interaction. This interest has been accompanied by a rise in research that grounds ubiquitous technologies for learning in concepts of embodiment. New technologies provide the opportunity for interaction and learning to be more active, hands-on, directly related to physical contexts, new opportunities for communication and collaboration promoting socially mediated learning, and opportunities for new tools to be used as external cognitive support. Furthermore, graphical interfaces are extending the capability for more complex interactions, sense of presence and immersion that create a perception of embodiment in virtual environments. It is probably not surprising therefore that a central trend towards theorising about embodiment in both physical and virtual space is emerging, and a move towards understanding how mobile and ubiquitous technologies can enable new ‘spaces’ for learning experiences, that exploit embodied forms of interaction. In the context of education these themes are relatively new, the research spectrum is broad – running across formal and informal education, exploring new theories of learning (eg mobile learning), exploiting the continually developing technology – and to some extent limited in terms of understanding the relationship between technologies and embodiment for learning. However, drawing on literature and research examples, we can begin to see the current trends in the theoretical underpinning for embodied cognition and interaction, and to map out new directions of research exploring ubiquitous and mobile technologies for learning. Furthermore, we can begin to map current research findings and theoretical thinking to explore what this might mean for knowledge production, creativity and communication in education. This review is divided into three key sections (embodiment, the intersection with technology, and empirical research applications). At the end of each section we identify the key related opportunities, challenges, demands and risks with respect to education. These are then drawn together and discussed in terms of their implications for knowledge, creativity and communication in education.
The review begins by outlining current themes that form the theoretical underpinning of embodied cognition and embodied interaction. This provides the basis for mapping the ways in which ubiquitous and mobile technologies are being conceptualised in terms of interaction, and the directions of research with particular respect to learning contexts. The section begins by focussing on embodied cognition and draws on work from different research disciplines including philosophy, psychology, human-computer interaction, cognitive science and neuroscience. Here we outline the shifts in perspectives that have taken place within each of these disciplines to understand where current thinking and theorising about embodiment is seated. In so doing we see how concepts of embodiment have emerged, not just from one or two perspectives, but across a broad range of disciplines providing a powerful basis from which to think about society, technology and education, and compelling grounds for changes in the ways we think about, and enable, knowledge production, creativity and communication in education. Evidence from the different theoretical perspectives are presented within some overarching themes, which form the underpinning of theories of embodied cognition.
A further key concept to consider is ‘embodied interaction’ which centres around “the creation, manipulation and sharing of meaning through engaged interaction with artefacts” (Dourish, 2001). This concept has arisen in the context of tangible and social computing and draws on phenomenological philosophy, particularly the work of Heidegger and Wittgenstein. Tangible computing is based on tangible user interfaces where a person interacts with digital information through the physical environment. Social computing, on the other hand, describes the intersection of social behaviour and computational systems and is most often associated with online communities such as Facebook (facebook.com) and MySpace (myspace.com). Embodied interaction is not restricted to tangible and social computing, nor is it restricted to interaction in the physical world. As technologies move away from the desktops and into real world environments or even inside our bodies, increasingly we see new fields and ultimately new forms of embodied interaction emerging. The rise of graphical virtual spaces such as Second Life [secondlife.com] provide channels for exploring embodied interaction with or as an embodied agent – intelligent agents that interact with the environment through a physical or virtual body within that environment. Embodied interaction, then, is a mix of the virtual and physical, intangible and tangible, reality and fantasy, where new theories of embodied interaction pair the physical, digital and social interface with the human sensory system.
Section 3 presents an overview of the state of the art technologies, including key development trends, and their relationship with interaction and employment. The aim of this section is also to provide a brief introduction to the different technologies that form the foundations of research applications discussed in section 4. As embodied interaction with technologies is realised in many different ways a table is provided that outlines six “hot” technology topics, identifying where interaction occurs, the characteristics of each topic, and the particular focus of each topic. Then looking at each topic in more detail we consider the developing trends over the last three years in different technology fields, and how their underlying motivation can be traced to particular agendas. Again we use a table to illustrate these relationships, together with examples.
Section 4 focuses on interaction and learning based research around these technologies. This section is divided into 3 parts (i) Physical space: with technological innovations through embedded and ubiquitous computing bringing interaction closer to the so-called “real world” (Weiser et al, 1999), technology for learning is no longer only about the computer screen, but about physical action, physical objects, schools spaces and real world environments. This section explores how the different technologies have been used in research applications within learning contexts, illustrating their effect on learning activity, learning interaction and the relationship with embodiment (ii) Virtual space: developments in graphical virtual spaces have opened the door to more complex interactions in virtual worlds and computer gaming contexts. This section explores the concept of embodiment in virtual space in more detail, and discusses the role of virtual environments and computer games for learning contexts (iii) Intersection between physical and virtual space: finally we discuss the intersection between the two, or mixed reality, looking at interactive experiences which integrate physical and virtual spaces and discuss issues of not only transcending real-world boundaries, but also merging boundaries across physical and virtual space.
Finally, the discussion section draws together the themes presented, outlining the opportunities for embodiment in today’s climate of technology and society and its role in thinking about learning. Two future scenarios for technology-based learning are outlined along with the specific opportunities, challenges, demands and risks that they bring. Finally, the key implications for education in terms of challenges, demands and risks are discussed more specifically in terms of their implications for effectively supporting knowledge, creativity and communication in education.
TOP KEYWORDS: technology, knowledge, creativity, communication, interaction
ABSTRACT: Memory is a key contemporary theme within the social and biomedical sciences. Treatments of memory range from discussions of individual capacities to recollect events accurately, through studies of collective...
and cultural memory, and to investigations into the immune system’s ability to ‘remember’ and distinguish self from non-self. Given the sheer diversity of these treatments, there has been considerable debate about the scope and limits of memory as concept. Tulving (2007), for example, claims to discern at least 256 different technical uses made of memory in the psychological literature alone. Part of the difficulty here is the difference between the commonsense notion of memory as the recollection of times past and the bewildering range of modalities through which this deceptively simple process might occur, along with the vast array of ways in which this might be studied.
TOP KEYWORDS: communication, memory, learning, biology, skills
ABSTRACT: Studies of classroom communication indicate that certain patterns of interaction – exploratory talk, argumentation and dialogue – promote high-level thinking and intellectual development through their capacity to involve teachers...
and learners in joint acts of meaning-making and knowledge construction. Applied classroom research in the UK, such as Dawes, Mercer and Wegerif’s (2000) Thinking Together project and Alexander’s (2004) Dialogic Teaching, suggest that dialectical/dialogic pedagogies are beginning to make inroads into traditional patterns of classroom communication in which learners are positioned as compliant supporters of the teacher’s purpose, their voices barely acknowledged. Yet experience shows that change is slow: patterns of interaction are tied to culture and history (Alexander, 2001) and deeply habituated in teachers’ consciousnesses. Without deeper understanding of these issues and transformation of the conditions and contexts in which classroom interactions are embedded, it is difficult to see how change in discourses and practices might be sustained.
Building on critical examination of evidence from research, this review explores both the possibilities and imperatives for change in education in the UK today. It draws attention to curricular developments, organisational restructuring and global imperatives for change, and considers the role of new technologies in these processes. ‘Digital tools’ (Ravenscroft and McAlister, 2008) offer children opportunities to rehearse argumentation skills, and learn in less formal, more personal ways. These challenge not only the traditional emphasis on the value of ‘book-learning’ but also the institutional organisation of learning itself. This review explores the implications of adopting dialogic pedagogies for understandings of knowledge and how it is disseminated to others. It suggests that teachers may need to reconfigure their roles in order to guide rather than control the processes of inquiry and knowledge production.
TOP KEYWORDS: pedagogy, school, communication, argumentation, teaching
ABSTRACT: Concerns about emotional well-being have recently become the focus of social policy, particularly in education settings. This is a sudden and unique development in placing new ideas about emotion...
and creativity and communication in curriculum content, pedagogy and assessment, but also in redefining fundamentally what it is to ‘know’. Our report charts the creation of what we call an ‘emotional epistemology’ that may undermine all previous ideas about epistemology, draws out implications for educational aspirations and purposes and evaluates potential implications for these aspirations and purposes if trends we identify here continue into the future.
Emanating from diverse interest groups and aiming to achieve a very wide range of objectives, the idea that educational institutions must address affective, emotional and personal aspects of learning and subject content is changing the purposes, processes and content of education. Although there has been a long running interest on the part of psychologists and educationalists in the affective aspects of learning and education, the current shift to prioritising emotional aspects in pedagogical and curriculum content is distorting the balance between cognitive and affective. This not merely puts the emotional first but is undermining the cognitive. The subtle yet profound ways in which this is happening, and their effects on what policy makers and professionals now regard as the fundamental purposes of schooling, are obscured by the ad hoc introduction of diverse initiatives and the diverse concerns that drive them.
Political initiatives that address concerns about the ‘emotional well-being’ of children and young people have gained widespread support. Statutory demands placed on educational institutions and welfare services under the ‘Every Child Matters’ (ECM), policy framework, together with priorities identified in the Children and Young People’s Plan, incorporate specialist interventions for children and young people diagnosed with, or presumed to have, emotional and behavioural problems, alongside generic interventions to develop all children’s emotional well-being. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and its successor, the Department for Children, Families and Schools (DCFS) has made emotional well-being and associated notions such as emotional competence, self-esteem and emotional literacy key foci for myriad interventions encompassed by the strategy for Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) in schools and through other initiatives.
The BCH review’s concern with current and future sources of knowledge makes it important to explore how advocacy of a emotional and affective turn in education is coming from the disciplines of psychology, counselling and therapy in higher education, mediated by a very large number of organisations outside higher education.
Apart from two critiques, by Carol Craig and ourselves, these developments have not been examined in detail and their underlying assumptions have not been questioned (Craig, 2007; Ecclestone and Hayes, 2008a, 2008b). This review for the BCH programme draws directly on our recent work. It:
1. outlines our methodology for identifying the rise of an emphasis on emotional well-being
2. summarises key trends that have led to increasing emphasis on the affective and emotional aspects of education in all sectors of the system
3. identifies the main influences on these trends, including academic disciplines, pressure groups and other influential bodies
4. explains the socio-political context in which these trends and influences have arisen, through what we and others have identified as a therapeutic culture
5. evaluates the current and potential future impact of these trends on knowledge, creativity and communication in educational contexts
TOP KEYWORDS: education, aspirations, communication, creativity, politics, curriculum, knowledge, education institutions
ABSTRACT: Although neuroscience has much to offer education, in recent years its potentials have been somewhat obscured by a climate of unrealistic expectations. Now the ‘neuromyths’ that were prevalent have...
been decisively dismissed by neuroscientists, a more accurate assessment may be possible.
Neuroscience uses a range of research methods including animal and lesion studies, but much contemporary research now uses one or other form of brain imaging. Each of these methods has its own limitations, and the requirements of research design, necessary to produce robust data, impose further restrictions. Moreover, these methodological limitations are bound up with, and sometimes both obscure and magnify, various conceptual limitations. The ‘mereological fallacy’ is an ever-present danger, as are problems of reductionism, reification and unsupported normativity.
Despite these limitations, cognitive neuroscientists have made striking progress with respect to the basic skills underpinning abilities such as reading and number. Social and affective neuroscientists have similarly identified neural systems involved in aspects of emotion and social cognition, and shown their possible relevance to various educational tasks, although their work has yet to be widely taken up.
It seems that progress in applying neuroscience will be slow, and will continue to be bound up with other knowledge and events. It may be associated with the emergence of a new sub-discipline of educational neuroscience, the development of more effectively targeted evaluations and interventions, greater appreciation of the socio-emotional aspects of education, the possible emergence of new neuromyths, and increased use of in-situ neural testing in the classroom.
TOP KEYWORDS: brain, neuroscience, special education, society
ABSTRACT: The paper picks up the rhetoric of risk as an adequate discourse to reflect upon current modern societal change, self-endangerment and self-education. Linking ideas of Actor-Network-Theory and risk analyses...
it offers an understanding of risk as a complex process of mediation of endangered futures that can be seen as central for rethinking (self-)educational efforts in world risk society. Drawing upon the current global financial crisis I outline briefly how risks can be described as networks mediating network effects. Secondly, I will show that modern risks refer to 'self-manufactured uncertainties' (Giddens) and how these risks can be understood 1) as effects of human action and 2) as culturally diverse cognitive schemata to understand and (re-)organize societal life. Next, I will go beyond a mere cognitive model of risk; I explore 'risk' as a complex process that mediates space and time, difference and heterogeneity, that creates low-risk and high-risk scenarios. High risk scenarios (such as the global financial risks, high-risk techno-scientific innovation, the ecological crisis, and biographical risks) that disrupt, question and alter individual as well as societal life will be discussed alongside the concept of the 'rhizome' (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987). In a brief analysis of the SARS outbreak in 2003 I will show how the mediation of high risks - as a process of self-education - may enact new ways of understanding and coping.
TOP KEYWORDS: risk, mediation, society, self-education
Metaphors are often used to describe creativity, and water is often a theme. For example, work by Csiksentmihalyi (1996) on the ‘flow’ experienced by artists during their productive work, sits alongside the notion of ‘navigating the unknown’ (Bannerman et al, 2006) as again experienced by artists. Creativity has been described as a voyage of discovery (Craft, 2008a). Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, was said to have thought of creativity as involving a ‘dive’ into an unfamiliar place, and Jung spoke of water representing the depths of the unconscious which provide a stimulus to creative impulse.
When it comes to creativity in schools in particular, the second half of the 20th century can be seen as having experienced first a drought (following the introduction of a National Curriculum in 1989, subsequently re-framed in 1999, which rejected child-centred pedagogical and curriculum practices) and then the beginnings of a tsunami of opportunities for creativity in terms of pedagogy, curriculum and learning. The choice of tsunami rather than flood is deliberate. Tsunamis have vast power, caused by seismic underpinning shifts in the earth’s crust, and their potential for destruction is significant. A tsunami will affect deeply, and perhaps fundamentally, human civilisations that it washes over. In a similar way it is suggested here that the beginnings of a tsunami are caused by underpinning shifts in the values-plates which underpin educational provision, and the changes that might be wrought by the powerful waves of creativity in education which may result, could ultimately, like a real tsunami, alter the landscape of the classroom and education fundamentally.
TOP KEYWORDS: creativity, school, university, curriculum, practice, education
The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet.
- William Gibson, 1984
In his fictitious book Neuromancer William Gibson portrays a world is governed by technology and computers. In the world Gibson creates, the Matrix is the computer system that is at the backbone of the human system and provides the backdrop for the terrifying journey of the lead character, Case, as he travels in and out of the matrix to the ‘real world’. It was in this book that the people were first given the phrase with which to describe all of mystical relations and structures that exist through an interaction with a computer – Cyberspace. One implication of this vision of the world is that it can be very difficult to avoid a depiction of a future that does not represent everybody living with robots or using computers similar to that in the film The Minority Report.
William Gibson has also been documented as saying the ‘future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet’. Essentially, we have a majority of the tools that will be predominant in the future; they will just be accessible on a global scale and technologically refined. As with most technology, the actual device is secondary to the action it allows the user to perform. Consequently, in this review the future changes in knowledge construction, participation and networks will be explored by looking at the cultural trends that have developed in an online participatory culture without lingering on the particulars of the technological development.
Web 2.0 technologies are personified by the integration of participatory culture into everyday life. Henry Jenkins (2006) describes a Convergence Culture as a community that becomes reliant on the fan contribution for its operation and survival. For Jenkins, the notion of ‘participation’ is bound up in a Convergence Culture that maintains the interplay between industry and the consumer. The Convergence Culture signifies a form of participation that perpetuates the creation of content on the Web. In particular, there is a focus on different levels of User-Generated Content that are formed through 'mash-ups' and ‘mix-ups’ from other sources on the Web. The understanding of participation in the new Convergence Culture is difficult to define due to the multi-faceted ways that people are engaging with a range of identities, technologies and cultural practices. As Jenkins writes:
New technologies are enabling average consumers to archive, annotate, appropriate, and re-circulate media content. Powerful institutions and practices (law, religion, education, advertising and politics, among them) are being redefined by a growing recognition of what is to be gained through fostering – or at least tolerating – participatory cultures (2006, p.i)
Most recently, the new form of participation is under continual evaluation for its ability to engage people with new learning opportunities. From this perspective, the old forms of traditionalism that are attached to schooling systems are lost. In this new climate, knowledge is democratised to no longer function as a static entity that moves from teacher to learner. In Collective Intelligences Pierre Lévy (1999) states how the high speed connectivity of the internet created a new form of epistemology. For Lévy, new communities online create access to a collective intelligence that is available to all the individuals in the community. This is formed in a new kind of ‘knowledge space,’ or what Lévy (1998) calls the ‘cosmopedia,’ which is the way that people access information from the ‘deterritorialisation’ of a new media environment. In these self-organised communities, Lévy notices a break from the geographical ties on information and communication. It is in these new spaces that a community feels a responsibility towards the production and exchange of knowledge practices.
In this review learning is treated as a subjective activity that is shaped through the thoughts and feelings that we encounter as we pass through different interactions of learning. New communities that are formed around recent networking technological advances will be explored for their potential to become effective learning space. What does this mean for knowledge? And what are the types of ethical rules, mutual goals, dilemmas and interests that can be characterised in the social practices of these new learning spaces? Underlying this discussion is the wider conceptualisation of knowledge construction, participation and networks. The findings in this review coincide with recent movement in critical psychology known as the ‘turn to affect’ (see Clough, 2007). Lévy’s work has been coined as the foundational text in the new area of ‘affective studies’ (Rice, 2008). From this perspective, understanding grand issues such as memory, technology and organisation are treated as part of a subjective, embodied affect that lies in a shared social landscape which is continually influenced by our own experience. ‘Affect’ itself is a somewhat slippery term that continuously avoids definition, but can certainly be associated with a number of other expressions including emotion, corporeality, perfomativity and a de-centered subject.
TOP KEYWORDS: technology, communication, participation, culture, knowledge, robots
The consequences of global expansion for knowledge, creativity and communication: an analysis and scenario
ABSTRACT: There are striking parallels between the stories that were told to justify economic policy over the past decade in Britain and America and the stories that have been told...
about the benefits of globalisation and the knowledge economy. Just as we have been told that the business cycle could be abolished – the end to boom and bust – so the advent of the ‘knowledge’ economy was accompanied by claims that for those that invested in education the rewards would be great. Peter Drucker (1993), the management guru, declared that we were on the threshold of a new form of capitalism in which knowledge workers would replace the owners of capital as the locus of power. He argued that we were in a new stage of post-capitalist development that would lead to a fundamental shift in power from the owners and managers of capital to knowledge workers. Not only would they assume power but with it would come greater autonomy, creativity and rewards. This is a story that politicians and policy makers have sold to the public and it has placed education at the centre of questions of economic competitiveness and social justice. In this scenario, his thinking echoes the pioneering work of Bell (1973) who predicted that the growing importance of ‘knowledge’ work, reflected in the historical shift from blue-collar to white-collar work, would significantly raise the demand for educated workers, who would enjoy greater autonomy in their work.
The fundamental problem with this beguiling account is that it does not take into account the power relations and imperatives of capitalist economies. There have been significant changes to the division of labour and the nature of work in developed capitalist economies in which issues relating to the control of knowledge work have been linked to economic globalisation. But rather than these changes leading to greater creativity and autonomy for the majority of knowledge workers, ‘permission to think’ has only been given to a minority, while [for] the majority of knowledge workers are being confronted by routinisation. Although myths and theories about how capitalism can be harnessed to human freedom have been popular over the past twenty years, the reality has had much more to do with the dark side of capitalism, routinisation, surveillance, control and exploitation. In global terms there are significant differences; the remarks made here are particularly relevant to the West, while in the economies of India and China, the picture appears different as middle classes and those of the super rich emerge.
In turn this raises questions about the role of education in this re-ordering of the division of labour and of the role of knowledge and skill within it.
The analysis given in this report is based on a study of the skill formation strategies of transnational companies and there will be caveats that need to be entered. However, the broad trends that we have observed are likely to be integral to the advanced and emerging economic superpowers.
In this context we are focussing on economic globalisation in which the MNCs have played a key role in structuring global labour markets and acted as the conduits for learning by the emerging economic superpowers: China and India.
TOP KEYWORDS: globalisation, economics, competition, knowledge economy, capitalism
ABSTRACT: Over the past decade the introduction of networked and digital media has dramatically altered the media ecologies of young people. In North America, Western Europe and East Asia, mobile...
phones, instant messaging, social network sites and other media now constitute part of the everyday landscape of youth. Even in the developing world the availability of mobile phones, telecentres, internet cafes and a variety of programs designed to facilitate access to a variety of new media and technologies have dramatically altered the media ecologies of youth in a variety of contexts (see OLPC; Castells, 2006; Horst and Miller, 2006; Pertierra et al, 2004; Librero, 2006). While the infrastructures of access and broader societal structures of inequality, such as class, income, gender and other power differentials, continue to shape the possibilities and parameters of participation in the new media ecology, there remains clear evidence that the availability of new and other new media has started to dramatically influence the ways in which young people view, understand, access, share and create knowledge.
While young people’s media ecologies have been rapidly changing, sociocultural learning theorists began to explore the ways in which informal learning, or learning outside of the context of the classroom, may help to shed light upon possible new strategies to inspire learning and engagement (see Buckingham, 2008; Cole, 1997; Goldman, 2005; Hull and Schultz, 2002; Lave, 1988; Lave and Wenger, 1991; Mahiri, 2004; Rogoff, 2003). As Eric Klopfer (2008, p7) recently noted in his preface to Augmented Learning, the attention to out-of-school contexts and “The synthesis of the constructivist and situated learning paradigms lead us to … [the examination of] activities that are inherently social, authentic and meaningful, connected to the real world, open-ended so they contain multiple path-ways, intrinsically motivating, and ﬁlled with feedback.” In this contribution to the Beyond Current Horizon initiative, I consider the implications of digital and networked media in out-of-school settings for conceptualizing models of learning and engagement. Focusing upon the mobile and personalized nature of mobile devices and the mobile learning spaces that digital and networked media enable, I examine how innovations in connectivity, communication, collaboration and convergence create new possibilities for the future of learning and education in the 21st century.
TOP KEYWORDS: new media, mobility, connectivity, collaboration, media, technology, society, inequality
ABSTRACT: We are entering the innovation age. The innovation age requires very different citizens from the industrial age that dominated the globe for over a century: people who maximize...
their creative potential, people who not only master existing skills and knowledge, but who are capable of creating new skills and knowledge. To maximize innovation and knowledge generation, many societal factors must be in alignment - political, legal, cultural, economic. This report focuses on the critical role to be played by schools. At present, many schools (and corporate learning programmes as well) do not result in learning that supports creative behaviour, and thus are not appropriate for the innovation age. This report summarizes research on creativity, collaboration, and learning, and provides advice about how to design learning environments that result in creative learning. The report identifies a range of challenges, and six future scenarios, for teaching and learning in the age of innovation.
TOP KEYWORDS: creativity, innovation, learning, education, school, collaboration, knowledge, economics, learning environments
ABSTRACT: This review draws on social realist approaches in the sociology of knowledge and, in light of them, constructs three scenarios for the future of education in the next decades....
The focus of the review is on one of the most crucial questions facing educational policy makers - the relationship between school and everyday or common sense knowledge. The different possibilities for how the school/nonschool knowledge boundaries might be approached are expressed in the three scenarios - 'boundaries as given', 'a boundary-less world’ and the idea of ‘boundary maintenance as a condition for boundary crossing’. The educational implications of each are explored and the review makes the case for Scenario 3. The factors likely to make one or other scenario dominate educational policy in the next 20-30 years are considered.
TOP KEYWORDS: Sociology, education, future, society, social change
ABSTRACT: In this review, we outline ways in which literacy is changing due to developments in technology, and review the implications for educational institutions in the future. A number of...
key themes are addressed in this review, which can be summarized as follows:
TOP KEYWORDS: literacy, technology, multimedia, design, society, creativity, knowledge
ABSTRACT: This review outlines significant issues in current cultural and knowledge-related change in England, with particular emphasis on their impact on education and on young people. It draws together evidence...
to suggest that ‘culture’, ‘knowledge’ and‘creativity’ denote areas of practice whose meaning varies according to their social location, and argues that issues of inequality and social differentiation – including differentiation on grounds of ethnicity - strongly affect how young people are positioned in relation to them. It concludes with reflections on two antithetical future scenarios. In the first, existing tendencies towards polarisation are present in even sharper form. In the second, equity becomes a stronger working principle. The review speculates on the consequences for the education and cultures of young people of each of these possibilities.
TOP KEYWORDS: culture, identity, knowledge, community, young people, creativity, social differentiation, ethnicity, class