When European Union (EU) heads of state and government met at a summit in Lisbon in 2000, they set the goal of making Europe ‘the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world’. In a knowledge economy, formal education systems alone cannot deliver such an aspiration. Without innovative thinking about delivery methods, schools will only be able to grasp what is within their immediate reach.
There has always been resistance to introducing innovative forms of communication into learning. Whether it’s an early printing press, the introduction of schools radio in the 1920’s, schools television in the 1950’s or Personal Computers in the 1980’s, the ‘newcomer’ invariably meets with resistance. Such resistance is entirely predictable and a barrier to improving learning experiences for students.
In the world of aviation the acronym CFIT stands for Controlled Flight Into Terrain. In the last twenty years some 25% of aviation accidents have involved a crew flying a perfectly serviceable aircraft into the ground. Of the contributory factors a loss of situational awareness seems common to all. Pilots became fixated with the technology immediately in front of them and lose sight of the changing landscape beyond. As the pressures to find a successful solution increase the chances of doing so diminish. In this situation, the perils of poor decision-making are catastrophic.
If there is an education parallel, it occurs when a school fixates on technology without first attending to the learning landscape.