The definition of ‘transformational learning’ that resonates with my personal approach is:
Transformative learning is the expansion of consciousness through the transformation of basic worldview and specific capacities of the self; transformative learning is facilitated through consciously directed processes such as appreciatively accessing and receiving the symbolic contents of the unconscious and critically analysing underlying premises.
I am going to restrain myself to keep this blog post within the constraints of the topic which is to look at designing ‘technology infrastructure and systems’ to support transformational learning. It is certainly not a novelty in this age and time to notice and discuss the ‘changes in educational methodologies’ being researched, developed and experimented around the world. I remember when Sir Ken Robinson’s TED speech on ‘Schools killing Creativity’ went viral 9 years ago. I am not yet sure if the timing of this speech was perfect, world was ready for a change, Sir Ken’s delivery of his concepts was impeccable or perhaps a bit of everything. One thing I am completely clear about is that transformation of and advancement in communication technologies brought this speech to every corner of the world with a speed unimaginable just fifteen years ago! All the work we have seen in the past decade, not only in the fields of designing learning spaces, development of new pedagogical methods, collaborative platforms but also the instant accessibility of information via miniaturisations of computing devices as well as
fast speed wireless connectivity, in my point of view, was accelerated at phenomenal velocity due to the advancements in the field of information and communication technologies.
Technology or it’s integration into learning spaces is equally if not more important than designing the physical structure of a school itself. Learning methods are evolving faster than ever and built around the concepts of personalised, self paced environments. Coursera, which is a true ‘digital learning company’ and not a traditional university offering online courses has recently announced a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) which will lead to an actual degree! This is a new frontier made possible only via wonders of technology and though the final degree will be awarded by a conventional University the method of ‘self paced learning’ via ‘stackable’ online courses is a modern one.
It was only 2004 when I installed a consumer grade wireless system between two buildings of a UK school where I was put in charge of the IT systems. It is around the same time when I used the MiniTel in France – one of the most successful pre-WWW information and communication service. Well, before I left that school in 2008, I had led the IT infrastructure project which saw installation of a campus wide enterprise level Cisco WLAN system with 1200 computers on site. The transformation of technology infrastructure in a traditional UK public school and most importantly the speed at which it was done was simply mind blowing. UK government and school realised that investment in IT infrastructure was vital to the survival of education in 21st century.
I will touch upon some of the key components for a successful and effective implementation of IT infrastructure in learning spaces in my second blog post of this series. Would like to leave you with this slightly less older TED talk from Sugata Mitra about technology and self-teaching.
cross posted on Muhammad’s personal blog
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