Education 2.0

This is a quick post, I’d like to make it longer but won’t have the time. It’s worked up from a comment on a post by Kate Lundy which articulates why e-literacy of various kinds should be part of the national curriculum. Couldn’t agree more. But a couple of things occur to me.

1) You will recall I go on a lot about Web 2.0 being about the provision of public goods. This blog post is a public good – accessible by all who want access. Education has always had public good characteristics, but it’s also a very valuable private good. The tone of your draft doesn’t mention something that seems pretty important to me. This is an age in which massive public value can be made by a private individual because their input is scalable now over the internet. So while digital literacy is obviously of great use to people for their own private benefit, and should be promoted as such, it’s also got larger potential spillovers than most other forms of education. So the gains from including e-literacy in the curriculum are that much greater.

2) Though, not strictly relevant to the national curriculum, how are we going to teach it? Virtually all systems, and virtually all schools will be thinking in traditional terms – of teachers teaching students. But that won’t work here. It’s slow, expensive and just plain ineffective – many teachers won’t really want to do it or won’t have the time and aptitude to do it well. So we should be engaging others to teach students – that would include outsiders, including courses over the internet and also students teaching other students (and some teachers). A student that really takes this up well should be able to gain credit for it in their own results, as an additional unit in their studies and/or additional marks, and other forms of recognition.

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Craig Thomler
Craig Thomler
13 years ago

Kids are already doing this.

Whether the formal system recognises it or not, children are using the Internet to source information of interest to them, consulting peers, international experts and sites with no expertise at all.

What the formal system needs to do is to help children discriminate between fact and unfact (beliefs, myths and lies), to provide a gateway to resources that they can rely on and to introduce children to tools that allow them to be active pArticipants in global intellectual discussions.

13 years ago

By the time I had gotten half-way through the last paragraph I thought, well aren’t you really just after teaching critical thinking? Then in the second half I realised that what you were really suggesting was a small revolution in education!

To an extent, education is making small steps towards this with student forums/on-line discussion groups and group activities. But formalising it the way you suggest would be a very big additional step. I’m not sure I quite see how you would do it and I wouldn’t mind reading more about it.