It’s that time of year when most of us are resting, reflecting and resolving to start (or stop) doing things in the coming months. My recent reflecting lead me back to Paulo Bilkstein’s research paper, Travels in Troy with Freire, which captures some of the key education theories and thinkers behind the current maker movement in education. In thinking about designing effective learning environments, there are so many factors to consider, however I agree with Freire’s thinking that the trick is to balance the rigor with the fun. He captures this perfectly, stating that “it is important the child realize, from the beginning, that studying is difficult and demanding, but is pleasant from the beginning.”
The biggest potential technology offers is to serve as an ‘agent of emancipation’ as Bilkstein puts it, empowering learners to see themselves as creators and not just consumers. If we praise the current edtech movement for simply shifting students from boring offline lectures & exercises to slightly less boring online lectures & exercises, what is so pleasant about that?
I speak with many edtech entrepreneurs and while I don’t expect everyone working in this space to be an expert on education theory, I think this paper offers valuable insights for anyone exploring the intersection of education and technology. I hope some of you will find it useful and even more hopeful that 2014 will offer some pleasant education innovations. Happy New Year!