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11 December 2006 / erikduval

Future of Schooling

I’ve been a regular contributor to EduExchange since it started three years ago. Last Thursday was again Serious Fun!

In my workshop, I presented “Ariadne at work” – see the slides below. The basic message is that searchability is, in my view, a solved problem, at least from the R&D side. There is a bit of additional work necessary (query languages, LOM maintenance), but deployment of repositories and metadata is now ready for the real world: in projects like acknowledge, MELT and MACE, we are building interlinked large-scale infrastructures.

At the end of the day, I also participated in the panel discussion. Willem Karssenberg put one of my interventions on YouTube: I basically mention one of the concerns that keep me awake at night… My kids, age 5 and 7, associate “learning” and school with “fun, exciting, yes – please!”. My nieces and nephew, aged 14-18, all associate “learning” and especially school with “boring, annoying, yikes!”. If that is what school does to young people, turning what seems to me like a natural ability to enjoy learning into a “learned” attitude of detesting it, then that, in its own right, a sufficient reason to just replace schools by places where children are welcomed from o8h30 to 16h00, so that their parents can go do whatever it is that parents need to go do, and where they are left alone…

As may be apparent from the reaction to my spontaneous outburst, it seems like I struck a raw nerve…

This experience prepared me well for the “‘Imagining the future of schooling” event organised by the EUN last Friday. I chaired a discussion session on technology enablers – see the EUN blog for more details.

What struck me in the different presentations was how it is sometimes not so easy to make a distinction between serious issues (digital divides of different kinds, for instance) and what is plain FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). The feedback cards from the tables of participants most often mentioned the role of teachers. I certainly agree that they play a very important role, but I do believe that “just ask the teachers what they need” is a bit short-sighted… If we are going down that road, then why not ask the students? (And let’s not forget that users are very seldomly able to articulate what they would really like to have. Nobody wanted a mobile phone 10 years ago!)

2 Comments

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  1. Gert-Jan / Dec 14 2006 11:09 am

    A very familiar subject ! My oldest daughter (7) attends a Freinet elementary school. Unlike my own experience at elementary school, she indeed considers learning as ‘fun’. Thus she has the best motivation there is…..and suprisingly a lot of independence already:-) But after elementary school there is a drastic change..

    My wife teaches in secundary classes (Bel.). Motivational incentives are hard to implement……not only because teaching colleagues won’t join in, but I think mostly because of going beyond the (strict) school rules and the ‘content time tables’ is *not* (yet) done.
    Recalling my own best lessons followed in secondary school…..they didn’t take even place in the building itself….

    All of sudden a lot of independence and own initiative is required after that secundary school….. Seems that secundary school still hasn’t found it’s right approach.

  2. Erik / Dec 26 2006 11:18 pm

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