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Learning and education is so broad, we can inject it into almost every single part of our life and call it experience based learning, however over the years there have definitely been trends. Today clearly it is about learning through technology and preparing our future children and selves for the internet of everything that is just at our doorstep. Yes this is also a trend. What’s in the far future is still something we have to ‘wait and see’…but hopefully with great anticipation rather than fear.
But there is also one trend that never changes. The trend could commonly be identified as simply ‘us’.
We as humans (though sociologically have changed), in most other areas of the self the change has been considerably slower. The Us of us is pure, irrational, perplexing and unfathomable. The culmination of billions of ‘Me’s’ is within itself seemingly infinite in it’s orignalities, not to mention the exponential growth created by the creative powers of each of those me’s.
Education has always been about acquiring knowledge and skills that will facilitate the flourishing life of the individual. That also hasn’t changed. The building of a building is still the building of a building, the who, what, when, where and why are still the same, the only thing that has changed is the ‘how’.
Depending on what part of the world you have been raised in will determine the focus you were raised with. I was raised on a more sociological/existential approach to understanding. Meaning, lateral creative thinking was nourished and set against a backdrop of learning and caring about others and how they got to where they were. If you were raised in a more Asian or African background, it would have been more about the construction of things rather than the construction of ideas. Meaning the emphasis on those around you was only about the development of work and lifes basics, e.g. healthcare and finances.
Technology has changed a lot of these focuses and as we become increasingly global, more people care about others universally as one human race, but at the same time the technological development in all of our lives means a dual focus also on the changing face of our practical daily lives.
It appears that we are all now slowly being meshed together into one giant mass and as a result learning and education should be also reflecting that. For some societies things are changing fast in education and access to it, and in others the rate is considerably slower. The reason now is not so much about development or knowledge, it’s more about ‘us’.
If we were all perfect beings in a perfect world with no conflict and unavailable access was the only issues, we would be considerably further ahead than we are today. But the past can never be removed from the present and we will always have to confront it.
The past was about Us, and the present therefore will still always be about Us, and I dare say the future also is all wrapped up in Us. So the central aspect of any curriculum should still be focussing on Us.
We all generally foresee the future as positive (though I can hear a resounding NO from certain social and ecological quarters), but I’d like to say that in fact though we thought we were studying a certain topic, we have to redirect the emphasis to be on ‘how we are’ engaging with it. This in turn will transform the negatives to a more positive framework (though I know I stand corrected that there will always be pessimists out there!).
For those who a frightened that something may happen to the world that will destroy electricity, technology and advancement, my answer is to understand that at the end of the day there is still only us, and to start learning now about the ‘power of us’, and you may be able to get a better nights sleep.