Alan‘s presentation on behalf of the AFLF group in Sydney, was a whirlwind trip of Web 2 offerings. After a number of these events-its time to act on how we as educators/administrators can knock down -or at least provide gates in the walled gardens that surround our formal education environment. Alan’s visual metaphors of walls were very effective- maybe we need to adorn our offices with some of our own images. His (attribution) use of the term ‘permeable’ is also interesting in the context of providing access through these walls.
In an earlier discussion I had today around student responses to a survey – a strong theme emerging was in relation to their frustration to ‘blocking access’ to the internet. This prompted a discussion regarding our Depts ‘duty of care’, but is it more about risks-political ? Its time we revisited our ‘walled garden’ mentality towards schools in particular.
There is an irony contemplating social technologies -as being fundamentally democratic -when we are increasingly burdened by undemocratic processes governing our education systems: legal, organisational frameworks which make accessing such technologies increasingly difficult, not from a technical/infrastructure perspective but rather policy perspective..
What we need is strong leadership, systems of trust and possibly public debate on the issue-(but this can be fraught in the Australian context-shock jocks and all)
What then are the policy, legal/organisational drivers that might make a difference- and lead to urgent reform?
We now need events like this to discuss such issues -innovation in the policy context- and to move on ensuring our education systems are not becoming increasingly irrelevant. This will need a collective national/international momentum , supported by such ‘free thinkers’ the Alans, George Siemens, Stephen Downes, Will Richardsons , Leigh Blackalls etc and our local notables /AFLF participants…