Futurelab challenges ‘factory-style’ schools

‘Factory-style’ schooling with a one-size-fits-all approach to learning must be challenged if we are to achieve a fully personalised education system.

[UKPRwire, Wed Feb 28 2007] ‘Factory-style’ schooling with a one-size-fits-all approach to learning must be challenged if we are to achieve a fully personalised education system. The traditional notion of a single teacher standing at the front of the class imparting their knowledge to a group of children is questioned in a new report entitled, Towards New Learning Networks, from education innovator Futurelab.

The report suggests that we need to think outside the classroom box and build new learning networks which exploit the wealth of resources and expertise that exist in the wider community. Workplaces, museums, galleries, libraries as well as peer groups and young people’s own skill sets developed during their day-to-day lives could all help to provide a new ‘extended learning’ approach to education. This would create a more engaging education system which embraces the networked 21st century world young people are often already experiencing outside of school.

New digital resources also offer educators, children and communities the opportunity to go beyond the constraints of the traditional classroom to support personalised educational learning approaches. Learners can collaborate, learn from and interact with others beyond the school walls and across geographical boundaries; challenging the assumption that schools currently offer the most dynamic, cost-effective and relevant approach to learning in the 21st century.

To develop new learning networks, educators should draw on the social and cultural backgrounds of their students, building on the full and diverse range of skills, abilities and resources they already have access to. Schools should also think about how they can start to build upon and work with wider community resources in dynamic and powerful ways using:
• Local residents – individuals with skills and interests that could help pupils with goals or projects
• Local associations – networks and clubs that have knowledge and can offer support for learners interests
• Local institutions – other schools, museums, libraries, community learning spaces etc.
• Physical assets – buildings, land etc. and other places pupils might learn
• Economic assets – local businesses and their expertise, human resources and types of training that may be able to support learning.

Tim Rudd, Senior Researcher at Futurelab, said: “The model of schools is increasingly distanced from what is actually happening in the networked age of the 21st century. By listening to young people and giving them the chance to learn in different environments and from different people with a range of expertise, we can ensure they experience a more fulfilling education.”

Futurelab is a not-for-profit organisation that is tapping into the huge potential offered by digital technologies and innovative practice to develop pioneering learning resources and approaches that support education for the 21st century. Towards New Learning Networks can be downloaded from www.futurelab.org.uk/research/opening_education.htm.

Issued: 28.02.07 Ends Ref: f061.doc

For further information
Futurelab: Lacia Ashman, tel: 0117 915 8222, lacia.ashman@futurelab.org.uk;
PR: Sarah Scott, Livewire Public Relations, tel: 020 8339 7447, sarah.scott@livewirepr.com.

About Futurelab
Futurelab is passionate about transforming the way people learn. Tapping into the huge potential offered by digital and other technologies, it is developing innovative learning resources and practices that support new approaches to education for the 21st century.

Working in partnership with industry, policy and practice, Futurelab:
• incubates new ideas, taking them from the lab to the classroom
• offers hard evidence and practical advice to support the design and use of innovative learning tools
• communicates the latest thinking and practice in educational ICT

Company: Futurelab

Contact Name: Sarah Scott

Contact Email: sarah.scott@livewirepr.com

Contact Phone: 020 8339 7447

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