We talk with Cristóbal Cobo, director of Studies Center Foundation Ceibal, professor and researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, and associate at the Center on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance of the University of Oxford, England. Know more about his theory of the concept of “invisible learning” and technological disobedience.
How has education changed since the use of ICT in the classroom?
Perhaps the most obvious change is related to the new possibilities of access to different sources of knowledge. However, one of the most interesting changes is related to new forms of building knowledge both my peers, as with other networks distributed. The possibility to negotiate knowledge from different sources and in different formats and languages illustrate one of the major transformations.
“Knowledge is continuous, is subject to obsolescence and in constant transformation, and it is produced in a decentralized manner. All this in a deeper transition process that redefines the value and role of schools, universities, educators and education in general.”
What would you change from the current educational model?
I do not know if there is only one current model. Even within our educational institutions coexist different ways of teaching. Within the same organization are more restrictive models that focus on information transfer cohabiting with more dialogic and flexible spaces. Despite this duality, teaching models are always undergoing reforms and changes in educational policies.
Moreover, this knowledge society, learning is much more than models that regulate (indicators, rankings, quality standards, etc.). We would like to see more emphasis on educational models of ‘inclusive innovation’. One of the great challenges is to move innovation described in great educational policies to real practical adaptation that achieves enter the classroom.
One of the challenges is to move towards more dialogic forms and greater degree of relevance (with teachers well trained open to experimentation and discovery, creativity and critical thinking, collaborative work, where it is understood that you can learn beyond classroom, etc.). But for it to work is necessarily inclusive (non-exclusive). That is, not just for a few, but we can take a much broader section of the population.
What does it means for you “invisible learning”
A learning that transcends the curricular use of the devices and recognizes the processes of knowledge creation that also are generated beyond formal contexts.
“The invisible is not what does not exist if not what is not so obvious.”
In cognitive terms we have many knowledge and skills that can not express and systematize in a way that education systems can recognize. For example, it is easier to measure and recognize proficiency in a language (eg skill in using English or digital skills) that creativity or curiosity of a subject. But that does not mean they are not there or that are not relevant. But we have to build other ways to recognize and evaluate aspects that sometimes ignore.
What is the role of technology in the invisible learning?
Technologies are not an information box, as conceived in the mid-twentieth century with examples like “Memex” Vannevar Bush or the “teaching machine” from Fredeic Skinner. But they are more similar as a tool to ‘goggles ‘augmented reality that allows us to amplify and enrich knowledge and connect with different learning contexts.
“Increase the ability to see through different cognitive and cultural spaces is the role of these tools, when they are properly used.”
Much of this exploration these “goggles” occurs outside of formal learning and that is where the invisible learning offers a different way of understanding technology.
You’ll introduce soon the book “Pending Innovation” What we will find in it?
This book opens an exploration of what we might call a turning point in technological development. To announce we said that the tireless desire to consume technology in almost all areas of society has created false mirages. It seems that innovation is only on digital devices. However, everything suggests that the structural change is deeper and has to do with the (re) conceptualization of knowledge. For example, our ability to learn with technology does not seem particularly giddy (at least not at the speed of our expectations), however, we see that the (really) new technologies (machine learning) are beginning to develop skills to learn. Even at an early stage, but that leads us to ask questions like: why the disruption doesn’t reach the classroom yet (if it came technology)? What skills will be displaced if they begin to emerge more automata systems (machine learning)? if we innovate in technology why not do it in ways of assessing and recognizing knowledge?
Could you explain what you means for you technological disobedience?
Richer processes using technology have always emerged from marginality, ie outside the institutions, beyond the preset. They have been always driven by curiosity, exploration, problems being seen in a different way.
All movement of free software communities are a clear example of this, of course Wikipedia or new collaborative tools are also economy. All are forms of technological disobedience. Challenging a technological use of a specific device or a way to use technology and take it for quite different ways.
Today we propose to recover these principles of technological disobedience and bring them to the learning processes. Our main concern is that today the use of technology is very asymmetric and focused on consumption. That is, a few created (either technologies or content) and many consume it created by others. This creates asymmetry and dependence that are not positive. Today is time to reverse this symmetry. We must strengthen the ability to create content and create new ways of understanding technology (learning new languages and in some cases create new technology).
” I hope someday new forms of technological disobedience are translated into platforms, tools and resources created by communities that are not the same as always, the peripheries of the knowledge society have a lot to contribute.”
You have taught at more than 20 universities … tell us an anecdote
I guess it’s happened to me a little of everything. Students in England and Peru have confused me with a classmate. In the early years in Mexico students they did not understand my Chilean accent and had to learn to speak without slang or ‘slang’ to understand me. In Spain a student said that he was contrary to everything I said and persuaded all his companions to leave the classroom. In Kazakhstan in my class in which I gave English, it was transmitted simultaneously in Kazakh and Russian and I was completely lost in four languages convergence. In a videoconference on the importance of digital technologies that dictated to the University of Minnesota and given via Skype…we had problems and I ended it up dictating by phone … Anyway, there are a few stories.
What trends are perceived in the future of education?
First I think the distinction between online learning and presential tends to disappear. That is, the whole learning experience will be 100% hybrid combining both modes of learning.
In second place I see clearer that there is a redefinition of the boundaries between formal and informal learning, since both are increasingly interdependent. Perhaps what is most evident is growing consensus in that learning processes must be permanent and throughout life.
This will require change formats, and certification tools will have to diversify, the duration of education programs will have to operate under a much more flexible and organic logic where the student define their own learning path. While all the previously quoted, we have been listening long ago we have not yet achieved a student can take programs from different universities of the world and build their own title.
That is, the future will be in training with much less bureaucracy, and more thought on learning (and not so much in teaching). Where education is no longer a moment of life and happens to be an ongoing process. The big question is whether we are ready for this jump. More of this is analyzed in detail in “Pending Innovation: Reflections (and provocations) on Education, Technology and Knowledge” (http://innovacionpendiente.com/).