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A missing link? October 2, 2008

Posted by Kevupnorth in Uncategorized.

Last week’s Education Guardian had a number of articles around lifelong learning, which were in a supplement written in association with NIACE.

The whole supplement is worth reading, but, in particular, the articles about poverty and qualifications and the BECTA comment about ICT and learning caught my eye.

What was missing, for me, was the article that brought them all together.

The poverty article made the point that qualifications, pre HE, don’t always, or indeed often, equal better jobs.  It suggested that help with CVs would be better spent.  I don’t disagree with this, though I’m not so sure that CV help on its own would be enough.  Maybe the article would have been on safer ground in the later stages, when it looked at social aspects of learning.   Communities are made up of participants, and those enging in learning are participating.

Sadly, the BECTA comment didn’t pick up on this either. While it rightly argued that using technology as a tool DOESN’T reduce kids to information obese illiterates, for me it didn’t demonstrate that learners become participants in a social community with parallels and differences to the ‘real life’ equivalent.

Community Learning is, first and foremost about community development.  It should enable people to be greater participants in their community.  We can debate, probably at length, whether this means as voters, workers, volunteers or just socially active citizens.  What is apparent to me is that, whichever model of a community (or indeed learning) you take, technology has a key role in it.

Technology isn’t THE tool and it isn’t THE answer to all the learning and community devleopment questions.  But it is, I would argue, the link that brings modern learning together with modern communities.  The EduucationGuardian features signified to me that we having yet drawn that link on a national level….the question is, how do we do it?



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