[iDC] Deinstitutionalizing education

Dean, Jodi JDEAN at hws.edu
Fri Oct 22 17:20:49 UTC 2010

One should also consider the ideological role and place of celebrations of "digital learning" in the setting of forced austerity measures and education cuts in the EU, UK, and US. 

Does saying, "well, people can teach themselves online!" provide further justification for the neoliberal dismantling of public education?


Jodi Dean
Hobart and William Smith Colleges

new from Polity, Blog Theory: feedback and capture in the circuits of drive, http://www.polity.co.uk/book.asp?ref=9780745649696

From: idc-bounces at mailman.thing.net [idc-bounces at mailman.thing.net] on behalf of Ismael Peña-López [ictlogist at ictlogy.net]
Sent: Friday, October 22, 2010 10:45 AM
To: idc at mailman.thing.net
Cc: Diego Leal; Cristóbal Cobo
Subject: [iDC] Deinstitutionalizing education

Hi everyone,

Not all of you may not know me as I am relatively new to the list. My
name is Ismael Peña-López.
Many thanks to Trebor Scholz for inviting me to share my thoughts on
learning on the iDC!!

I am a lecturer at the Open University of Catalonia in Spain where I
work about the digital divide, specifically questions of empowerment. My
research asks how educational institutions change because of digital

Along those lines, I would like to introduce some topics on the
de-institutionalization of learning that have been enabled by ICTs. How
is this de-institutionalization being used to reach collectives that
dropped out of the educational system or actually never even entered it?

Some of my reflections will be based on the "2010 Horizon Report:
Iberoamerican Edition" (http://www.nmc.org/news/nmc/8050), which I
co-authored with Cristóbal Cobo (http://ergonomic.wordpress.com/) and
Diego Leal (http://www.diegoleal.org/) who will join me in this iDC

Let's start like this:

In many places of the world (especially in rural areas and in lower
income countries, but not only) the educational system is deficient.
Today, many claim against the industrialization of education, the
"Fordization" of learning, the failure of one-size-fits-all,  the
devaluation of knowledge, or the creation of workers instead of

But the truth is that, in most cases, the industrialization of education
democratized access to knowledge, even at the risk of a certain level of
commodification. The problem is that education, especially quality
education is increasingly difficult to scale

Notwithstanding, digitization of content and communications have caused
a dire "revolution" that is transforming our society into an Information
Society. This digital revolution has lowered the costs of creating,
accessing  and distributing knowledge-based goods and services, and has
also lowered the  costs of interaction, intermediation and transaction.

Some find this revolution a threat to educational institutions -- it
will now be easier to circumvent them to access knowledge and experts
around the globe at lowest costs. Some think that it can be leveraged to
reach the unreached, to bring education to those that, because of time,
space or financial constraints, could not attend formal education in an
educational institution (ie. schools, universities...).

Open educational resources allow for that quality content to reach
people everywhere in the world. The MIT's OpenCourseWare project has,
for instance, been replicated for the Spanish speaking community at
Universia OCW (http://ocw.universia.net<http://ocw.universia.net/>), in Chinese by CORE
(http://www.core.org.cn/cn/opencou/), in Japanese by the Japan OCW
Consortium (http://www.jocw.jp/) or the ParisTech OpenCourseWare project
for French.

The good news is that not only institutions can produce such materials
as Khan Academy has shown.

Mobility solutions have also enabled people to learn anywhere anytime
and with the most simple devices. The Tecnológico de Monterrey or the
Open of Catalonia  are mobile devices. And cellphones (mind you: not
smartphones) are being used
for many learning purposes and stand for mobile and immersive learning
for literacy in emerging economies (ie. Sub-Saharan Africa).
MILLEE http://www.millee.org/

The m4lit project in South Africa Kenya is also worth mentioning

Peer to peer learning has been definitely boosted by the Internet, that
has been able to create communities of practice and communities of
learning despite their members being scattered on wide geographic areas.
Red Social UIMP 2.0 (http://redsocial.uimp20.es/) to explore the new
potentials of ICTs in Education in SpainSpanish speaking countries, Stephen Downes' page (http://www.downes.ca<http://www.downes.ca/>)
on education, based in Canada but with participants all over the world,
or the community around Uruguay's Plan Ceibal
(http://www.ceibal.edu.uy/) are just some examples of social networks
empowered by ICTs.

Even autonomous learning has its chance after the development of
Personal Learning Environments, a combination of the aforementioned
approaches  centered on and managed by the learner.

And augmented reality, artificial intelligence and the semantic web
will, in a near future, add up to the toolbox learners can use outside
of educational institutions for their own benefit and learning.

There are, of course, some dichotomies that need being addressed but the
gates are  wide open and the possibilities many.


Ismael Peña-López
Department of Law and Political Science
Open University of Catalonia

Av. Tibidabo 39-43
08035 Barcelona

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