What’s Our Vision for the Future of Learning?

David Price, , Dec 28, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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The premise is this: "Once the possibility exists for students to study informally, at online (and offline) schools, compiling their own learning playlist, putting together units of study that appeal to their passions, the one-size-fits-all model of high school will appear alarmingly anachronistic." Hard to argue. And this raises questions about the role of the education system as a whole (not just public education). "Indeed, the gaping hole in the middle of the public debate on schooling is that we can’t even agree on what schools are actually for. Do they provide a set of skilled employees for the labor market? Or are they about developing the ‘whole’ child – emotionally, intellectually, creatively? Do they serve to ensure national economic competitiveness? Or are they about civic cohesion through cultural education?" And this, in turn, "has fatally held back progress in understanding how we learn best." It's the sort of thing that calls into question things like Tony Bates's arguments on 'educational productivity'.

And then there's this, from Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Minister for Education, arguing for a radical shift in policy: "The educational paradigm of our parents’ generation, which emphasized the transmission of knowledge, is quickly being overtaken by a very different paradigm. This new concept of educational success focuses on the nurturing of key skills and competencies such as the ability to seek, to curate and to synthesize information; to create and innovate; to work in diverse cross-cultural teams; as well as to appreciate global issues within the local context.'" Here is Keat affirming and describing student-centred values-driven education. Read both speeches.

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