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Social Software, Personal Learning Environments and Lifelong Competence Development

January 18th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

Bit of  strange title, but this is my presentation to last weeks Ten Competence project conference in Manchester.

The conference itself was extremely interesting and I will be adding a couple of entries over various contributions in the next few days.

Meanwhile back to my presentation. I have talked before about how school is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the way people are learning in todays society. This extends beyond issues of pedagogy and includes both curriculum and the way we organise our education systems. In the paper and presentation characterise it as an “industrial model of schooling”.

Whilst new approaches to learning using social software and seeking to recognise informal learning are welcome and necessary, I am sceptical that such model projects can be generalised within the present system. Indeed, the evidence of many, many innovative projects is that without project funding and special dispensation for innovation, they cannot be sustained beyond the lifetime of the project.

The answer is not ‘better projects’ but a thorough going reform of our education systems, indeed a new understanding of the role and process of learning in our societies. Above all we need to deschool society. OK, I know that this may be unpopular or unpalatable for most politicians. But someone, sooner or later, is going to have to address the issue.

In the meantime researchers have a key role, not just in pointing out that the schooling system is breaking down, but in developing radical, agile and pedagogically attractive models for learning within society and provoking a wider debate on the role of learning. Click on the image below to download a PDF version of the presentation – if you would like another format please get in touch.


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