This post is a series of short comments on the just-released document from the Canadian UNESCO chairs on the future of education. It consists of six short contributions from across the country from the various UNESCO chairs to a larger document, Humanistic Futures of Learning: Perspectives from UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks that was published in January. So it's obviously an important snapshot. I hope that this short discussion not only offers an accurate summary of the different arguments but also makes clear where I think they're misdirected.
This post reminds me of the early days of writing about blogging. "Participatory cultures remind us that creativity isn’t a solitary endeavor. It is nearly always to and from a community. Great ideas rarely happen in isolation. Instead, they are a part of the constant sharing back and forth of what we are learning, doing, and making. This is why it’s so valuable to show our work."
This is a contribution to an ongoing (and worthwhile) effort toward digital public infrastructure. "The primary purpose of the IndieWeb space is to directly increase the ownership and control users have over their web identities and data," writes Chris Aldrich. "Since each site or sub-platform on the network may offer completely different or competing slate of functionalities, the range of affordances are seemingly limitless."
Here's what the Wall Street Journal thinks is coming for education: "Faster, cheaper, specialized credentials closely aligned with the labor market and updated incrementally over a longer period, education experts say. These new credentials aren’t limited to traditional colleges and universities. Private industry has already begun to play a larger role in shaping what is taught and who is paying for it." If you think the desired outcome of education is "Faster, cheaper, specialized credentials closely aligned with the labor market" then this is probably what you'll get. But I think we can aspire to more.
Gradual release or 'scaffolding' is the practice of removing teacher and community support for learning so as to enable individuals to practice on their own, "shifting ownership and responsibility by degrees from themselves to students in a way that provides scaffolding for success." This article describes a 'diamond process' that begins with 'me' (ie., the teacher) and ends up with 'you' (i.e., the learner). "In a remote setting, gradual release of responsibility is often even more important, as students need structure to learn – often alone and at a distance."
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