Sunday, July 29, 2012

Equal opportunity offender.

This is a blog about how education, and more specifically higher education, could be improved.  It is my opinion that education is in a pretty sorry state.  Hence the title of this blog.  It would probably be easier to start from scratch that improve the system we have.  However, "we are where we are" and although I hope to imagine how we might design a system if we could start even part of it from scratch, I know that we also have to consider how we can incrementally improve it as well as suggesting radical changes.

Now for a note of caution.  When the writers of the Simpsons were criticised by a South American government for their portrayal of the the country, they responded by saying that they were an equal opportunity offender of all groups.  Education, as we see it today, has probably emerged, more as a result of historical events, than by design.  Its inability to change seems to be caused by the the nature of the institutions involved as well as the sectional interests of the groups involved.  I am a member of one of those sectional interests and share many of the typical characteristics of the members of that group.  In this blog I will probably criticise almost every group involved in education, including my own.  If you are interested in change in education, and don't mind having whatever group you belong to being criticised, then please sign up for this blog and contribute to the ideas that will be presented here. No doubt, I will get a lot wrong and will be glad to be corrected.

Although I am interested in education everywhere at all levels, it will, no doubt, be influenced by my own background in vocational higher education in Ireland, and more specifically by my background in online distance learning.  However, I won't apologise for this latter influence and the resulting emphasis, as it is my work in this field that has made me acutely aware of the possibilities afforded by learning technologies and the weaknesses of traditional approaches.

Here's looking forward to the debate.