I encourage you to read this report from the MacArthur foundation, published by MIT Press The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (.pdf). If you’ve followed this blog – and many others with a similar educational technology focus over the last seven years – you won’t find much new in it. And that’s the problem. I like the report. It offers many insightful statements that I hope will be considered by leaders who don’t follow edublogs. Statements such as:
- “We contend that the future of learning institutions demands a deep, epistemological appreciation of the profundity of what the Internet offers humanity as a model of a learning institution”…and
- “participatory learning is about a process and not always a final product”…and
- “We advocate institutional change because we believe our current formal educational institutions are not taking enough advantage of the modes of digital and participatory learning available to students today”…and
- “Networked learning, however, goes beyond these conversational rules to include correcting others, being open to being corrected oneself, and working together to fashion workarounds when straightforward solutions to problems or learning challenges are not forthcoming”
I could offer many other similar statements. All of which have been discussed at great length on many sites and by many authors that I frequently reference. One of the first steps in publishing on a subject is to do a literature review. Type in “networked learning” into Google or Google scholar and you’ll see many individuals that have written at length on the subject: Chris Jones, Stephen Downes, Leigh Blackall, Martin de Laat…as well as entire conferences devoted to the theme. Or, when considering educational change and OERs, where is David Wiley? The list goes on.
The report irritates me because I’ve seen this happen several times: an existing field, and major thinkers within the field, is completely ignored as open, online conversations are squeezed into existing publication processes. This “reframing” of research builds on the intellectual work of others but fails to provide appropriate recognition as the message is shaped for a traditional audience.