Get with the program

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Dale Spender, as usual, has some good things to say.  This article really looks at the massively different needs of learners who are now in a country and generation which is largely about information creation: a world away from the linear world of “preparation for work”  in an industrial economy.

In the old economy learning was something you did for required periods before you set out on your career. Everyone started in classes on the same day, at the same age, and made their way through much the same systems, doing pretty much the same subjects, until they finally sat for the same exams at school, tech or university. Once you got your qualifications it was even possible to get by on much the same skills for most of your working life.

But this old routine won’t be of much use to the 70 per cent (and growing number) of Australians who now need the skills to make information. In their daily lives they must come up with new ideas, new ways of doing things, and as they observe, experiment, analyse, evaluate – and try again – they are learning all the time.

While these themes are nothing new, they come at a time when once again we have the resurgence of the ‘national curriculum’ debate and of the concern that we may be losing the ‘canon’ approach to literary study, or failing to fill heads with facts about historical “truths” from the perspective of our own paradigm.  Dale Spender is encouraging us to see that there may in fact be powerful drivers to have learners want to access the means of creating understanding and meaning.  It reminds me of an anecdote I read recently of some disadvantaged youth seeking access to better ways of learning how to spell accurately so that they could more effectively use a Google Search !

Don’t forget that you can always use the links to post a comment of your own.

 Click here to read the piece in the SMH

You might also be interested to have a look at Dale Spender’s site, where she expands on some of these themes and provides some really good food for though.  Try this:

‘The old foundations of success are gone. For all of human history the source of success has been control of natural resources – land, gold, oil. Suddenly the answer is knowledge – or creativity and information …. The world’s wealthiest man, Bill Gates owns nothing tangible – no land or gold or oil or factories, no industrial processes, no armies. For the first time in human history the world’s wealthiest man owns only knowledge.’ (Lester Thurow, 1999, Creating Wealth, pxv)

Click here to visit Dale Spender’s website

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