View Thread > Development and the Internet > Learning - Question 2 > Perhaps Time and Expectation
The numerous and varied experiences with the integration of ICT and learning suggest great promise as well as great challenges. As we move forward and these technologies become more widely accessible and appropriate in developing world contexts, however, we will need to make decisions about how best to adapt to these new tools and approaches to learning and each other. Should technology adapt to fit the current dominant educational models? Or should educational approaches be redesigned to fit better with these technologies? Are some approaches better suited to certain kinds of communities? Do you think it is likely that education will undergo significant change over the next decade?
Dedicated, creative teachers, world-wide, provide pupils with the best learning experience that they can, within the constraints of available resources and organisational systems.
Self-motivated ‘life long learners’(LLLs) seek study opportunities, often innovative and creative ones. ICTs are providing increasing opportunities for learning - this course for example.
Internet learning communities are forming. (Fellow course member Robert Vitello gives an excellent definition – see his profile and a link.) People with shared interests, and Internet access, collaborate in self-defined exploratory learning projects.
Inevitably, amongst the LLL community are teachers, parents, and others concerned for the learning of others. Initially these particular LLLs won’t be in the same learning communities. They will be studying a myriad of different topics, in various ways, maximising the potential of the web. Some will have very positive learning experiences – these are key LLLs who will affect change.
I think these key LLLs will want ‘their children’ to get the quality of educational experience that, crucially, they themselves use, enjoy and value. Like minded people will meet through the Internet, explore possibilities, and ‘make it happen’ for their children. ICT enabled alternatives-to-schools will develop (probably not called ‘schools’) - some high profile and extreme, some low key. Some children in an alternatives-to-schools system may also attend traditional school, others won’t. Some teachers may manage to incorporate elements of the alternatives-to-schools’ approach into a traditional school structure.
The ICT based alternatives-to-schools movement will influence others as it develops and demonstrates, not technology, but radically different effective systems for learning.
Interesting point. I like the idea of enabling those who are motivated, life long learners. These are the people who, having found the appropriate technology, will share it and encourage others to use it. They will set the example. They are the ones who will invest the time and energy to run the innovative programs. This could be a beach head approach that leverages these self-motivated people from which ever groups they might come.
Following up your point. We have all seen how people in the most different contexts develop creative and innovative approaches. This magic is difficult to rationalize and quantify but it is an important aspect of development work and of it's suceess throughout the years and the centuries!
I think it will be up to the specialists and experts to guide the way in ICT. Adults are struggling to learn technology themselves --some reluctantly so. Relying on adults to encourage, advance or even educate their children or students is a hopeful concept, and many of the most enthusiastic and fearless adults who are embracing technology will. But many adults will not be able to do this because they are learning timidly themselves. This is not to say that every adult would not want their child to know everything there is to know about technology. I am certain they would. I believe that adults will rely more on the experts and trained specialists to inform and train their children. Children and students have more time to explore technology and will probably be able to share more with their parents and other adults, under guided and directed discovery learning and supervision of the Internet.
I think children and students possibly have more expectation of technology than many adults. It's not just that they have more time. Growing up Digital is an entirely different mindset than those without pacman history.
Let us take a country like Nigeria where the level of literacy is low and a critical mass in technology virtually absent. Are you suggesting a civil society for ICT which provides a building block for access?
In response to Matthew's comments perhaps, it's both in terms of children. They in fact do have more time in their lives, but they also have grown up in a world where they have been more exposed to technology and are relatively fearless in regards to using it. Children of this generation feel much more comfortable with technology and use it with ease. For many adults it has been a learning curve.
In terms of the lack of availability in developing countries such as Nigeria, as Joseph has indicated, these students still have an opportunity to teach their parents and other adults the importance of technology and how to use it, once they are provided access. This has been typical in the research in a variety of other areas, where it has been the children in developing countries to teach the adults. Examples include the Surinam children who created a grammar and syntax and taught their parents and a adults a new language. In England, a couple of decades ago, it was the minority children that taught their parents to read. I believe that if given access to technology and an opportunity to explore the Internet, it will be the young people who guide the way in developing countries.