Learning Processes and ITC

Learning Processes and ITC

Manuela Gallerani (University of Bologna, Italy)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-845-1.ch068
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Abstract

Confronting with the educational emergences defined— in the white paper presented in 1995 by the European commission with the title “Teaching and Learning. Towards a Society of Knowledge”—the Commission identifies three main factors of upheaval: information society, internationalization and the world market, scientific and technological knowledge. These factors involve a modification of the systems of knowledge and work, and, as a consequence, also of educational politics which must promote a personal development of citizens through the development of the necessary competences in dealing with these factors. The consequences that emerge are the reported in the next section. First of all, the society of knowledge is linked with a condition of uncertainty and risk of social exclusion, which determines a great disorientation for the individual. The individua is exposed to infinite cognitive potentialities on one side, but also to a cognitive weakening on the other side. Among these risks, the first is a disorganized and confused fruition of the knowledge resources offered by the symbolic world in which the individual is plunged in. He/she is irreparably depressed when plunged in an infinite net of knowledge which the individual can not reach in a critical way, being also bombarded by pervasive—usually persuasive—information of mass-media pushing him/her toward homologation.
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Ict And The Learning Society

Confronting with the educational emergences defined—in the white paper presented in 1995 by the European commission with the title “Teaching and Learning. Towards a Society of Knowledge”—the Commission identifies three main factors of upheaval: information society, internationalization and the world market, scientific and technological knowledge. These factors involve a modification of the systems of knowledge and work, and, as a consequence, also of educational politics which must promote a personal development of citizens through the development of the necessary competences in dealing with these factors.

The consequences that emerge are the reported in the next section. First of all, the society of knowledge is linked with a condition of uncertainty and risk of social exclusion, which determines a great disorientation for the individual. The individua is exposed to infinite cognitive potentialities on one side, but also to a cognitive weakening on the other side. Among these risks, the first is a disorganized and confused fruition of the knowledge resources offered by the symbolic world in which the individual is plunged in. He/she is irreparably depressed when plunged in an infinite net of knowledge which the individual can not reach in a critical way, being also bombarded by pervasive—usually persuasive—information of mass-media pushing him/her toward homologation.

Another risk is linked with the traditional school curriculum: the individual stores up a static series of set portions of knowledge, transmitted usually by outdated strategies, but the individual is not stimulated to “learn to learn”, which is what is needed to be able to face and actively take part in the post-modern society.

The indications provided by the white paper are clear: in order to be able to confront with a quantitative increase of information and forms of knowledge, as well as an increase of complex, fluid (Bauman, 2000) and changing situations, what is needed is a formative planning which aims at fostering knowledge and general culture on one side, that is, spread in a capillary way the ability to catch the meaning of things, understand, be able to act, choose, create, adapt to the present complex social condition; on the other side at developing an aptitude at occupation, that is to say encouraging —through an access to lifelong learning, e-learning and promoting ICT—the social mobility of citizens (workers, students, adults, young people).

At a careful analysis it is clear that the current “society of knowledge” is tied to a culture that regards education only as a function of market needs, thus penalizing a knowledge considered unnecessary and favouring a reproductive idea of competence against a critical, constructive and transformative competence.

It is therefore arguable that the most important part of what we define “understanding” is actually linked with the activation and structuring of feeling. The dimension of feeling helps everybody to “become him/herself”, to grow up, or, vice versa, leads to a missed existence when this only chance fails (De Monticelli, 2003).

The European Commission, finally, suggests five general objectives in order to create a “learning society”: encourage the acquisition of new knowledge, that is, raise the general level of knowledge, implementing new systems that recognize technical and professional competences beyond what is stated in diplomas; bring school and the business sector closer together, that is, develop a professional training system that keeps up with new conditions in production and with the needs of the world of work, also with the promotion of apprenticeship/trainee schemes at European level; combat exclusion, that is, offer a second opportunity to all the categories of population left by the wayside (young people with no qualification, older workers, long-term unemployed, women) to improve their social status. This can be achieved through an adequate training offer, complementary funding, consultation and partnership with firms—for example a firm could support a school offering working opportunities to the people who successfully complete the vocational course; develop proficiency in three European languages, treat capital investment and investment an training on an equal basis, that is, encouraging by positive measures firms and public authorities which pay education particular attention.

However it would be the case to face the problematization with a thorough consideration on training politics, as the knowledge of the contemporary age requires the rethinking of the entire scholastic knowledge.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Network Practices: It refers to the process of social learning that occurs when people who have a common interest in some subject or problem collaborate to find solutions, build innovations, share ideas, and knowledge.

Digital Divide: Gap between people who have regular, effective access to digital and information technology, and those without this access. It regards both physical access to technology hardware and skills and resources which allow to use it.

E-Learning: Term used to refer to computer-enhanced learning, commonly associated with the field of advanced learning technology, which deals with both the technologies and associated methodologies in learning: e-learning 2.0, “Web 2.0” (between formal and informal e-learning, the Web and the personal learning environment).

Formal and Informal Learning: Formal learning is learning that takes place within a teacher-student intentional relationship, such as in a school system. Nonformal learning is organized learning outside the formal learning system, such as clubs, youth organizations, workshops (extra/out-school). Nevertheless, in the educational field, the main theoretical perspective promotes the idea of an “integrated educational system” (school system, family, extra-school educational and not-educational agency, mass-media, Web, etc.).

Cyberculture: The culture that has emerge from the use of computers. It is a wide social and cultural movement closely linked to advanced information science and information technology and regards the social and cultural levels of human-computer interaction (between knowledge and lifelong learning).

Distributed Knowledge: instructional model that allows instructor, students, and content to be located in different places (but they work, create, and learn together); instruction and learning occur independently of time and place.

Learning Society: It is a society committed to active citizenship and equal opportunities. It aims at providing learning opportunities to educate adults to meet the challenges of change and citizenship, as well as the demands for the updating of skills and competences (in a lifelong learning perspective).

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