Warts and All

Earlier today, I finished a literature review that I’ve been working on as part of a project at the Macquarie University ICT Innovations Centre. As a working title, I eventually decided on “Warts and all: a review of C.21st learning,” figuring that it would be good for a chuckle when my supervisors copy edit the draft later this week. 

In the article, I did my best to look at some of the big game changers in technology education and how they play out through badly designed curricula, poor change management and a misplacement of focus on technology over pedagogy. As the title suggests, there really seems to be plenty of warts – but beauty isn’t always skin deep and it’s exciting to be able to sit and research some of the really exciting approaches out there – I’m certainly hoping that some of them rub off on me. My top five list ended up being:

  1. Personal learning networks
  2. Pedagogy first
  3. Atomization
  4. Design and computational thinking
  5. Real-time online collaboration

I’ve often thought about the problem with literature reviews – by their very nature, they tend to focus on justifying both the present and the future in the context of the past. In technology education, that kind of perspective can be somewhat limiting, given that so much of what happens in the future may have relatively little bearing on anything that’s gone before it. History has shown us that many of the great innovations didn’t always signpost themselves before they happened. Some might say that what happens, even at the best of times, can be quite chaotic and there’s excitement in the unpredictability of it all:


Arenamontanus’ “Chaos” 

After reviewing nearly sixty articles about technology in education, I’m starting to feel like everything’s been said and done and I’m going to struggle to find anything new. But just like the Lorenz system, even when we’re on a relatively set course and we think that nothing new can come of our thinking, new ideas – often tangential, disruptive, chaotic and exciting – will emerge. If we’re open to possibilities, our own ideas can surprise us. Was that what I was expecting? 


About Michael

Cellist, singer/songwriter, school teacher, nerd, recent scooter enthusiast and failed philosopher.
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