Education as a dying and outdated system – M. Pireddu

Education as a dying and outdated system – M. Pireddu Pireddu’s discussion about education is a timely and relevant critique. Computers have chanced the social landscape and the world in which students are immersed.

Pireddu talks about the death of education in terms of the rise of technology. From the perspective of constantly evolving technology, Pireddu discusses areas such as social learning and participatory learning. The paper also talks about the battle between technology as a tool and technology as an environment. Finally Pireddu gives a definition and overview of what he calls ‘convergence culture’ and how youth culture has positioned itself as an early adopter of technology.

Education and new media – New technologies have always been used to enrich education. Starting with the literacy, the printing press, television and now computers, technology has had a central position in education. However with the emergence of the internet, technology is able to transform education by no longer being a part of the educational environment. Traditionally technology has always been the tool of education and now it has the ability to become the environment of learning – particularly online learning and virtual learning. These kinds of areas have validity when considering the potential for experiential learning. This change echoes the shift in technology’s position in people’s personal lives. There’s now a dichotomy between the technology in the classroom and personal technology. Technology at school is still entrenched within centuries old Taylorism models of “one size fits all” learning. While at home, people interact with technology in a way which is less structured and more fluid.

Such a move towards a more technology and communication driven environment changes the way in which we acquire knowledge. Instead of needing to memorise, learners can focus on researching and skills such as analysis, critical thinking and creation of original content. A shift in paradigm from knowledgable to knowledge-abled.

Media literacies – Pireddu introduces the idea of convergence culture – how the internet has converged all forms of media and a flow of media across different platforms. Society, culture and technology are all connected by convergence, greatly reducing the cost of creating and sharing digital content. Evidence cited by Pireddu suggests strongly that younger generations are enormously engrossed in convergence culture, producing vast amounts of original content, as well as participating, sharing and discussing content online. Through social networks, information is now consumed and shared, mashed-up and remixed. Websites, social networks, gaming and mobile media technologies have become fixtures of youth culture. Young people are embracing the internet and making it their own.

This has lead to the development of a more participatory culture. Through creation and expression, people feel important and connect to others through common interests. The focus has shifted from knowledge acquisition to participation in collaborative problem solving, distributing knowledge, sharing and discussing. The knowledge itself is no longer the focus, but how that knowledge is used, shared, mixed and mashed and then redistributed.

Teachers might argue that such technologies are disruptive, when students are tweeting or updating their status on Facebook. Yet, students are more likely to be interacting with knowledge in new and innovative ways. If the education system cannot adapt to students’ needs, in terms of their preferred methods of using technology and consuming information, then education will continue to be chaotic and antiquated.

Toward a new learning potential – The role of education is to prepare students for society. Yet how can education be successful when the system itself is not up-to-date with the changing world. This begs to ask whether schools are still relevant . Technology has reached a stage where it can increase and evolve at an exponential rate. Yet education systems, bogged down by bureaucracy, languish and are reactionary in terms of technology. Students are already redefining their own learning and new learning methods are emerging daily. Learners are moving toward less rigid and organic learning styles that are at odds with the Taylorism model. Through social networking, students prefer to cooperate and participate in information sharing. As technology obstacles are removed, it becomes easier and easier for students to network on a global scale, working as a collective to build knowledge. The shift is away from formal learning and towards a amateursed process of collaboration.

Learning is no longer about teachers disseminating information to students. Learning is about communities. New medias and technology will create even more learning communities in what has been described as anti-teaching – creating of learning environments where students are empowered to ask the questions and find the answers themselves.

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