Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I admit that I stalled on the very first point of this report (118 page PDF) - not because it's wrong, but because it's where we have so much disagreement in education. It's this: "it is essential to begin by thinking about the educational outcomes that you want to achieve, and only then seek to identify the technological modalities that best suit your context and financial capabilities." And, true, it is advice I give everyone when they ask me 'what technology is best?' It really depends on what you want to do. And to me, the key word in this sentence is 'you'. Who makes the decisions about what we want to do? And this is where I part ways with almost everyone in the field. Everyone has an agenda for education, it seems: some see it as the route to social justice, others see it as the path to economic development and workforce training, others are focused on building character and responsible citizens, and me - well, I ask the learners directly, what do you want to do, and then focus my response on the technology - all of it, including digital media, educational institutions, legal framework - that supports that. Viewed in that context, this isn't a bad report - but let's understand that it is directed toward "senior government officials who have already taken the first steps towards creating fairer and better education systems" and work from there.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Mar 31, 2021 01:39 a.m.