This blog revolves around individual, urban and regional dimensions of ‘learning’.
After the long success of the ‘school model’, we can today witness the evolution of much more complex configurations of educational settings, spaces and systems of learning. With the rise of radically new technologies and deep social transformations, we see profound changes in the methods of acquiring knowledge (learning) and imparting knowledge (teaching). They have led to the emergence of new types of educational environments that seem to resemble more and more the architecture of social spaces than the architecture of physical spaces. These social spaces have the function of fostering specific relationships between learners and tutors and they have the function of creating conducive atmospheres for motivation, discovery and collaborative work.
We see examples of technological innovations that have led to the emergence of communities, social systems and educational infrastructures that are like dynamic ‘ecologies of learning’ offering very diverse ”pathways of learning’ for individuals, groups, cities or entire regions (‘Learning Regions’).
Along with technological innovations, we see social innovations that may bring about radically different models of education such as the educación popular movement in Brazil, which is a part of an economic development model known as ‘solidarity economy’. Also, in Columbia, there are entire universities that are completely geared towards supporting communities of solidarity economy with as much as two million people!
Under the influence of numerous driving forces, the traditional function of the ‘school’ or the ‘classroom’ will certainly go through deep transformations in the coming decades. They may even vanish completely and make place for very different imaginaries.
These and other issues lie at the heart of a complex global discourse unfolding around the subject of human psychology of learning, equity, employment and meaning making in an increasingly complex and demanding living environment. This blog explores some of these issues with a special focus on the many facets of the future of spaces of learning..
Looking forward to your critical comments….
Ian Banerjee (Currently teaching and researching at Vienna University of Technology, Centre of Sociology) August 20, 2011