A new generation of non-techno centric EU calls?

EU digital agenda 2020

Last week I attended the 2010 ICT conference in Brussels. This meeting is a massive updated snapshot of what is going on in the EU in terms of ICT, innovation, business, networking and R&D. Among other activities I attended a meeting about the educational EU priorities for the next call for proposals in 2011.

During that conference (titled “Technology-enhanced learning”) the target outcomes of this call were discussed. I was particularly pleased to see one named “Computational tools fostering creativity in learning processes”, which is presented as follows:

“Innovative tools encouraging nonlinear, non-standard thinking and problem-solving, as well as the exploration and generation of new knowledge, ideas and concepts, or new associations between existing ideas or concepts. The aim is to support people’s learning as well as the formation and evolution of creative teams by developing technological solutions that facilitate questioning and challenging, foster imaginative thinking, widen the perspectives and make purposeful connections with people and their ideas” (pdf p.93).

What interested me more about this particular one was the tacit presence of what we previously called “the second digital divide” (see previous post), including aspects like:

– Nonlinear and non-standard thinking.
– Associations between existing ideas.
– Formation and evolution of creative teams.
– Foster imaginative thinking.
– Make connections with people and their ideas.

This is particularly interesting because the focused is not on the technology per-se but in the way that it is used, adopted and contextualized. In other words, the attention is given to the capabilities to create, connect and share knowledge. As far as I remember, most of these e-learning calls give an extraordinary importance to aspects as: number of users & hits, number of documents, type of browser, broadband, etc. but insufficient consideration to the way ICT are used (degree of learning, usability of the tool, level of satisfaction, level of adaptability of the software and the harware, places where the tools are used, hours, preferences, intensity, etc).

Hopefully this example represents a new generation of non-techno centric calls of the EU Commission in the field education. From my point of view, it would be extremely pertinent to move toward a more complex & multidimensional perspective (also known as e-maturity). If that is the case, I’m sure it will provide extremely valuable information (a whole new range of data) for the ICT in education policy makers.

All these ideas about ‘Human-Computer Learning’ and skill development lead me again to what Meyer (2010) describes as “Knowledge Broker”:

  • Is the people who create connections [digital and face-to-face connections]… do not only move knowledge, but they also produce a new kind of knowledge: brokered knowledge. (p.2)
  • scoring and ranking these according to their level of evidence, exploring and synthesizing the data using meta-analysis, summarizing these results, representing them in an easily understandable form, and transmitting the overview findings to prescribers at the time they need them (p.4)
  • …in education, a broker is a proactive facilitator who connects people, networks, organizations and resources and establishes the conditions to create something new or add value to something that already exists (p.8).

Meyer, M. 2010. “The Rise of the Knowledge Broker.” Science Communication 32(1): 118.