Downes and Siemens on their 'Connectivism & Connective Knowledge' course suggest that the future of learning lies on online networks, rather than in a structured institutionally controlled environment. They see how the second wave of Internet technologies could be instrumental in moving from a hierarchical teaching approach to a networked approach. As I wrote in my paper for the AERC conference in St.Louis this summer: 'web 2.0 technologies would facilitate the transformation from an educational model that is structured in courses, controlled by the institution using a ‘broadcasting’ model in an enclosed environment, to becoming a model adaptive to learners’ needs, owned by individuals, while using an aggregation model in a personalised open learning environment, and a fluid extension of the wider informal personal space...This resonates with the ideas of Illich, who saw at the heart of the educational revolution in the 1970s the need:
‘1. To liberate access to things by abolishing the control which persons and institutions now exercise over their educational values. 2. To liberate the sharing of skills by guaranteeing freedom to teach or exercise them on request. 3. To liberate the critical and creative resources of people by returning to individual persons the ability to call and hold meetings – an ability now interestingly monopolized by institutions which claim to speak for the people. 4. To liberate the individual from the obligation to shape his expectations to the services offered by any established profession- by providing him with the opportunity to draw on the experience of his peers and to entrust himself to the teacher, guide, adviser or healer of his choice.’ (Illich, 1971, p.103)
His vision was to see people take ownership of the learning process, rather than institutions controlling their education. In order for agency and participation to return to the learning experience, Illich (1971, p.2) called for ‘the possible use of technology to create institutions which serve personal, creative and autonomous interaction and the emergence of values which cannot be substantially controlled by technocrats’. He saw that the alternative to ‘scholastic funnels’ would be true communication webs. However, moving from an institutionally controlled learning environment towards an Internet based open environment would create several problems and an important question to ask would be if communication facilitated by this type of technology would be effective in knowledge creation? Would communication with global communities of (possibly the same) interest help in knowledge construction?' What about the power relations on a network, would they be any different from a class room? I have hyperlinked a survey here that I was hoping people on the network would be willing to fill out. It should give me an idea of how people feel they learn and create knowledge while participating on a network. Thanks to anyone filling it out!