In the 21st century it is almost impossible to be an expert on anything. There is so much information – and indeed knowledge – out there that we could only ever become experts in ever-diminishing content areas. Instead, we need to ourselves become, and train our students to likewise become, experts in connecting knowledge. This is where connectivism comes in:
Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories. Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing.
I’m reading David Carr’s Making Sense of Education this morning, who on page 14 quotes P.H. Hirst, The curriculum: educational implications of social and economic change (London, 1974). The latter states that education should be,
…based on the nature and significance of knowledge itself, and not on the predilections of pupils, the demands of society, or the whims of politicians.
I don’t think I could disagree more with that, really! Knowledge is not an objective thing that is out there for us to grasp, it is formed by precisely the things that he wants to remove from the educational process – the interests and desires of pupils, the current societal demands, and the need for politicians to implement reforms to ensure relevance. Instead, education should be based on the changing nature of conceptions of knowledge and how they are formed through interactions between the various agencies and people involved in the educational process – government, schools, other bodies, teachers and learners.
I came across this site, which has lots and lots of great quotations to do with education. Here are some of my favourite and those that should be relevant to my thesis!
‘We need a metamorphosis of education – from the cocoon a butterfly should emerge. Improvement does not give us a butterfly only a faster caterpillar.’ (www.learningtolearn.sa.edu.au)
‘The world by and large has to be reinvented.’ (Charles Handy, Beyond Certainty)
‘How has the world of the child changed in the last 150 years?’ … the answer is. ‘It’s hard to imagine any way in which it hasn’t changed….they’re immersed in all kinds of stuff that was unheard of 150years ago, and yet if you look at schools today versus 100 years ago, they are more similar than dissimilar.’ (Peter Senge)
‘The map is not the territory.’ (Alfred Korzybski)
‘Some people think you are strong when you hold on. Others think it is when you let go.’ (Sylvia Robinson)
‘You can’t jump a chasm in two bounds.’ (Chinese saying)
‘If a torrent sweeps a man against a boulder, you must expect him to scream, and you need not be surprised if the scream is sometimes a new theory.’ (R.L. Stevenson)
‘It is our belief that schools in the main are entering the twenty-first century with structures and more importantly, underlying assumptions which are nineteenth century in origins, or relating to the world of the 1950 or 1960s.’ (C. Bowring-Carr & J. Burnham West)
‘I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.’ (Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz)
‘Remember a dead fish can float downstream but it takes a live one to swim upstream.’ (W.C. Fields)
‘Do not confine your children to your own learning for they were born in another time.’ (Hebrew Proverb)
‘To be a teacher you must be a prophet – because you are trying to prepare people for a world thirty to fifty years into the future.’ (Gordon Brown, MIT)
‘There is something about the Procrustean bed about schools; some children are left disabled by being hacked about to fit the curriculum; some are stretched to take up the available space, others less malleable are labeled as having special educational needs.’ (C. Bowring-Carr and J. Burnham West)
‘What we want to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.’ (G.B. Shaw)
‘We must not entrust the future of our children to habit.’ (Judy Yero)
‘The curriculum is to be thought of in terms activity and experience rather than knowledge to be acquired and facts to be stored.’ (Haddow Report UK 1931)
‘Destiny is not a matter of chance it is a matter of choice.’ (Anon.)