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Chris Sessums – ICT and the ‘locus of control’

An interesting post by Chris Sessums about how ICT changes the ‘locus of control’ in educational institutions: http://elgg.net/csessums/weblog/129615.html

Is the locus of control of learning different given ICTs and social software and what should educators do?

In formal educational settings there is an unresolved tension between the individual and the institution. Institutions are responsible for accrediting learners and learning. Courses and programs are designed to meet standards set forth by varying accreditation agencies which set policies and in many cases determine what is to be taught, how “mastery” is defined, and whether or not an institution is properly qualified to deliver the goods, so to speak. Assessment and not students or institutions thus signify the locus of control.”

Tentative area for thesis

I met with my Ed.D. course director this morning (haven’t been allocated a supervisor yet) and the exchange left me feeling a bit more sorted regarding the area of my thesis. After having my words quoted back at me by (the man, the myth, the legend) Stephen Downes, I decided that I’d like to do something on the way that those in charge of education policy have the wrong kind of conception of knowledge in the 21st century. However, I also want to link that to organizational change and the implementation of ICT in secondary schools.

The result is that I’m going to start off by looking at ideas about what future western societies will look like and then the concomitant educational needs resulting from societal change. I’ll do this by looking at OECD, UNESCO and WHO projections and reports, amongst other things.

From there, I’ll look at how policy makers have tried (or could try) implementing ideas which will lead to the skills needed in 21st century society. I won’t have space (or, in fact the inclination!) to go into the politics behind it all, but I shall attempt to analyse to what extent policy-makers’ conceptions of knowledge are based on political considerations.

Finally, I hope to analyse this through the lens/filter of ICT implementation. My Ed.D. course director suggested an analogy with the Renaissance and paradigm shifts in the way of thinking around the world. It seems like a good idea and I’m still processing it… 🙂

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