Foundations of a new pedagogical philosophy
Cultivated men of all times have thought and written about education fostering new ideas which settled the foundations for a new philosophy . Their concepts and ideas on education usually caused strong controversies amid individuals, institutions and state and failed to introduce real progress in the society they lived.
Nowadays life is being influenced by big changes and everyone points at education seeking for answers and solutions. But previously we have to inquire what society do we want to have. What education do we have and what education we should have. That’s the big big challenge. “A big change can only come about in conditions that allow variation” papert says.
As a matter of fact millions of workers have been displaced by new technologies. And they stared at this situation in perplexity and frighten. It currently occurs with all sectors of our lives likewise : it’s a new society springing into action. Then our first commitment is to think about education in a modern sense for this emergent society and what should be suitable. But first we should recognize that the current education systems are no longer suitable to answer to the new inquiries of the emergent society. “The digital avant-garde in education shifts from recognizing the system as obsolete to making wares to support it”, Papert says. A shift from old education structure is demanded to catch up the digital avant-garde technologies.
It’s understanding people fear the unknown and unsuspecting and what’s new offered to them. They oppose everything that changes their established conditions in society. This is because individuals are not educated to adapt to coming changes and face new initiatives. All education systems are proved unable to form individuals into the personal initiative and adaptability within a novel context.
Technologies in new education systems
But if we seek for answers we have to shift from old current education systems to a new education system based on the need to learn and tackle the means of how to do it. Fortunately we have the powerful support of new technologies. An education based upon the “solving-problems”, and “learning by doing”, instead of an education based upon the achievement of results and competitively-curriculum topics. An educational idea which “breaks away from the old traditional educational system and then looks for the technology needed to implement it”. I address herein to technology as a means to rethink education in the context of new powerful technologies and not as a means to improve a system with a pre-digital technology or to integrate the computer within the current system.
Computers are a powerful support for learning. They’re a powerful tool in the hands of the learner which will enhance his creativity, his autonomy, his self-confidence. To have enough computer power should be the goal for a progressive education. The role of a passive learner is thus over. Now it springs up an active learner capable of deciding what to learn , when and how to do it.. Self-command is another effect computers hold on to learners. An education system which looks on technology to orientate learner towards achievement of knowledge is another characteristic of a new education system.
The new education system has to foster the creation of digital environments which will suit the needs of learning. The role of the teacher will also change. In traditional education systems the role of the teacher was to prepare and know all in advance what to be taught. In cooperative educative learning when the subject of study is to develop a project or to search in a web for ideas the teacher working with his student can also be discovering. In fact both teacher and student are socializing and sharing knowledge.
But to adapt to the new change and forge the participation in an education system which gathers new opportunities to learn, a sense of vision is required. Utopia is the land. An embedded vision at a high level on the side of the policy makers, educative agents, educators in general will make change feasible in education. Vision is a driving force and education infused by vision can forge an education to match the needs and opportunities of the emergent society. The computers will help us if we trace the “right way”, if we can use them to support new forms of learning and address the entire learning environment in different ways, if we want to use the new technology to boost diversity likewise. An education system whose main goal will be to empower the individual and consequently the new citizen. The modern education should form the individual for living and loving, “The true object of education, like that of every other moral process, is the generation of happiness.”,says Godwin, cooperatively,”Happiness to the individual in the first place. If individuals were universally happy, the species would be happy”, he says, and not to prepare him for competition in a tough future living. The goal of education, of a progressive education, should be to grow an individual who can come out with a sense of empowerment, self-respect and love of one self and in cooperation with the others “Education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform” Dewey says.
Structure of the Network-Nodes
Our main educational commitment within our small community is to gain an insight into the learning process offered to us by the development of educative structures that the use of new technologies allow. In our case, the project we run makes possible to create new learning environments and undertake a process of learning centred on the learner.
Cooperative educative network is an educative structure on which it lies the methodology we undertake in our project. But the methodology needs, not only a structure, but also a goal to achieve. This goal in our project is to create a digital library. Notwithstanding what interests us most is to discover how a digital library works, how it can be constructed and used, its composition and above all to realize to learn for a purpose whatever the purpose might be. Knowledge is for mobilizing for a purpose and not for giving the right answer.
I’ve expounded in Madrid a structure of the methodology to use. Cooperative educative learning as a part of the methodology where the apprenticeship lies on the Nodes. We shall see how many nodes we’ve been able to create and we shall agree on the tools to connect them. Besides the tasks they should carry out. A new creative environment is thus fostered by the cooperative educative network The role of each one of us is decisive in the settlement of the nodes.
Each node will carry out the digitisation of the books and create the tools to connect to other nodes. Likewise the creation of a conjoint web carried out by the participating members of the nodes and other tools created for communication and connectivity purposes.
Theory and Practice to study digital edition and digital library
The main goal for the project is to learn how does a digital library works. As participants in active life and learning we may not behave as mere users but pay far more attention seeking for freedom and for knowledge. Knowledge is for mobilizing for a purpose no matter what it might be. When we defined the objective of our project to be the creation of a digital library what we meant to do is to learn how a digital library works, its uses and learn to do it. It’s the process itself which may be of interest for us. In fact we’re not interested if the DL is either big or competitive. What really matters is to achieve self-confidence and reliance on our own means to achieve knowledge. Therefore the pace should be firm and led by the pedagogical principle of learning to walk on our own feet and to speak on our minds using cooperative network structure. Knowledge is the way to freedom and independence. The French philosopher and mathematician Blas Pascal said” Knowledge is the only way to freedom, and Education is the only way to the Knowledge”
I would like to stress on the fact that a DL is a tool for dissemination of knowledge. What’s really attractive in this project is the fact of deepening on learning by doing a digital library for our community use, the sense of empowerment and self-respect and autonomy on the side of the learner, to learn to use digital libraries ; and an understanding that what’s competitive, is the ability to learn not only the superficial aspect but especially the deep structures.
Lecture delivered at Institute of Science Education-Izmir
22-26th April, 2009