During the last two days I have been participating at the conference “Educational Media Ecologies: International Perspectives” held at the University of Paderborn. It was a small (approximately 30 people) group which aimed at interesting discussions. For me the notion of ecology and its relations to media were rather new.
So I have learned a fair amount of new things. How technology and communication is related to human perception and understanding is a really inspiring topic and have been investigated since the influential books by McLuhan and Postman.
A recurring issue was that there is a considerable gap between informal and formal learning. Whereas in informal learning people use social media (youtube, Facebook) as a cultural resources to express themselves, in formal learning people are mostly forced to write. The potentials of social media to influence formal learning which means to pick up the dynamics of informal learning and bring them to formal settings, is an important research project.
In my presentation I argued that we need to find a theoretical foundation for the increasing openness in education. Especially with regard to the recent emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (e.g., #change11) we are face with a huge amount of uncertainty and complexity. Traditional learning approach which are usually acquired a long time ago during formal schooling do not help on. They cannot explain all the changes. For instance, there are neither learning goals nor examinations in a MOOC. So how can you deal with that?
I strongly believe that Bildung in the traditional sense defined by Humboldt as an interaction between yourself and the world is a much better theoretical lens. In a modern sense, Bildung is now referring to the transformations of patterns for navigating through the complexity.
Further details on my research approach are described below in my presentation slides.