Learning {Re}imagined


At the beginning of December 2014, Gartner, which describes itself as ‘the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company’, set out its predictions for the next five years.

Learning-Re-ImaginedUnsurprisingly, they include that by 2018 ‘more than 50 per cent of users will go to a tablet or smartphone first for all online activities’ with the desktop PC reserved for meatier tasks. Certainly if you spend any time with young people this seems selfevident. What trends like this and the general ubiquity of information technology mean for our schools and education systems is what Learning {Re}imagined sets out to explore.

As an established blue-sky thinker author Graham Brown-Martin is well placed to lead us on this journey and well supported by the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) and the Qatar Foundation. In a period of five months (July-November 2013) he crossed the globe with photographer Newsha Tavakolian visiting everything from village schools to prestigious universities in 11 countries, talking to key innovators
struggling with how to harness this technology ‘to make teaching, learning and education as engaging and relevant as they can for what is an uncertain future’.

The resulting book is, as the author says, part travelogue, part diary, part commentary consisting of ‘essays, interviews, case studies and thought pieces, illustrated with beautiful photography and an evolving library of digital resources’. For those of us living in technologically advanced nations the fundamental issue seems straightforward: how do we reconcile this new technology with an education system fashioned in an earlier age and resistant to change.

For others, the question is more basic: can this ‘new’ technology help overcome the obstacles that prevent universal access to education for some of the world’s poorest people. What’s perhaps surprising is that so few of those interviewed highlighted the truly transformative role assistive technology has played and is playing in making schools more inclusive for those with special educational needs.

One notable exception is the Awsay Academy in Qatar where technology is helping educate children who may have otherwise missed out but is also encouraging ‘a more informed dialogue’ in the region about children with special needs. Despite this shortcoming Learning {Re} imagined is a stimulating read for anyone interested in education in the 21st century, and a journey well worth joining Graham Brown-Martin on.

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Graham Brown-Martin (Photographs by Newsha Tavakolian) – Bloomsbury/WISE – ISBN: 9781474222730

Reviewed by Mick Archer

9.0 Awesome

A great book, I have to admire the author on much detail in which this book is written.

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Mick Archer is the Editor of Special World.

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