The article posted yesterday on the young’s out of school learning with the digital raises all manner of questions, and potentially has many profound implications for the education and schooling of the young.
It addresses a series of global developments that have thus far rarely been discussed or even considered by educators.
In this brief post, I’d like to flag but a few, and bid folk think about the implications.
- Probably the most significant is thenatural sustained and informal nature of the learning with the digital. – albeit outside the schools
What the history of the last twenty plus year’s reveals is that a billion plus digitally connected young worldwide have of their own volition, in a completely laissez faire environment, naturally learned a suite of common capabilities. All emerged unplanned, unintended from the seeming chaos of the Digital Revolution.
Most schools, teachers and governments have played no part in that learning, and the digital connectivity of near on 60% of the world’s young.
Of note is that by as early as 1998 the Tapscott research had noted the natural informal learning at play in the emergence of the universal mores the young of the world had adopted in their use of the Net.
In 2004, a very good Futurelab study by Sefton-Green succinctly flagged the growing importance of the informal out of school learning with the digital – at a point before the full impact of the mobile and particularly the smartphone technology had kicked in.
In readying the Digitally Connected Families Roger Broadie and I identified as mentioned 28 common capabilities.
Depending how on how one does the clarification there could be 26 – there could be 30.
What was clear was that out of the seeming chaos had come order.
That challenged the concept that all learning had to be planned, structured and sequential – and taught by school teachers.
- Focus on learning how to learn. Of note in yesterday’s paper is that only about a quarter of the common capabilities had to do with the digital proficiency.
The rest had to do with how an empowered young, directing their own learning with the digital learned how to learn – to take charge of all their learning with the technology, and to position themselves to do so lifelong.
And critically to do so in any area of learning they wish.
The great educational thinkers have long urged the development of this key capability but it is rarely tackled in schools.
The implications of this development alone are profound – particularly as the technology becomes more sophisticated.
- The third point relates to the sustained naturally evolving nature of the learningwith the digital.
In contrast to the schools there was in the learning no sense of a beginning or an ending, rather the sense that learning with the digital would be on-going, lifelong, naturally evolving and changing as the technology evolved.
Outside the school one is looking at a dynamic model – while that in the school is constant. Within the school seemingly there must always be a specified period for the learning – specified outcomes to be achieved and specified pass grade, after which one can say the learning has been done.
Telling with the out of school the only assessment is personal.
There is moreover an acceptance of the imperative of continually staying current lifelong.
- The fourth issue is the ability of schools to genuinely assist the learning with the digital.
The time has come to seriously ask can schools assist enhance the out of school learning with the digital – or might most hold it back?
Aside from the exceptional, most schools, even if they wanted to assist, would be unwilling to accept the five conditions critical to achieving digital normalization.
Schools that are of a mind to ban the kids gear will not be of a mind to assist the parents
And sadly, most schools as linear hierarchical Industrial Age organisations, tightly constrained by government lack the agility/the flexibility to remain abreast of the accelerating technological change – and to support kids operating at the cutting edge – even they were of a mind to do so!
As we move at pace to a totally digitally connected planet, with near every child from around age three normalizing the 24/7/365 use of the digital it is time to start discussing the likely implications – rather than opting to ban and totally abrogate the responsibility.