Yesterday I attended the final dissemination event of the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) research project, held at the Royal Society in London. The evening followed a fairly standard pattern for such events: key-note speeches, opportunity for debate and discussion, and an exhibition with demonstrations of various examples of whizzy educational hardware and software.
My friend and colleague Alastair Clark also attended and has blogged about his reaction to the event here. I agree with Alastair's reservations about whether the project will help to shift inertia in the implementaton of educational technology, but for me the event triggered a slightly different chain of thought. It made me wonder if we have got the relationship between technological innovation and education back to front.
The project seemed to be concerned with the following question, and this is how we seem to usually frame our thinking about technology and learning :
Q1. How should we use technological innovation to improve how we might achieve existing educational purposes?
But I wonder if we should really turn this question around and ask:
Q2. How should we change our existing educational purposes to improve how we might live in an age of disruptive technological innovation?
I have spent much of the last nine years of my professional life trying to help people to address Q1, how to use technology effectively for teaching and learning. But I now feel there is a great need to move on to Q2, to examine how we must change our assumptions about what education is for in the light of the hugely disruptive effect that technology (and other aspects of the 21st century) are having on the way we live. Keri Facer addresses this issue with both passion and clarity in this Learning without Frontiers video: