Last week
I got the opportunity to attend an open lecture about education. The lecturer
was a professor in the science of physics, and he wanted to share his thoughts
about knowledge and learning.

His main
message was that we have gotten to much dependent on the artefacts in our
modern society. The lecturer meant that people today miss basic knowledge about
the world we live in because we are constantly supported by technology. To
illustrate this he told us the imagine a modern person suddenly being
teleported to the stone age, no longer having access to any of the artefacts we
have today. How would that person be able to support herself? Probably not very

This made
me feel confused. Why did the lecturer think that this was a relevant example?
Our society today is built upon that people are able to exchange services. That
is why everyone does not need to know everything.

As an ICT educator I would probably struggle to survive alone in prehistoric time. Luckily I don’t have to. (Picture from Pixabay)

Of course we all need basic knowledge about the world we live in and the field of our occupation. But it is just as important to have the ability to search for new knowledge and to know how to network, cooperate and collaborate with people who have other expertise. This is what we can learn from George Siemens, the originator for the learning theory Connectivism. Since we live in a world of change it is increasingly important to have capacity to continue learning. This is what it takes to live in the 21th century.

If we
would educate students with the main purpose to survive alone in the stone age,
then society would not move forward. Of course, this do not mean that we could
solely rely on information stored in computers. But to in addition to teach
fundamental knowledge we need to make sure student have the skills to continue
learning throughout their lives and also to communicate with others. Then our
society can create things that are better than each person could do on their

I think that this modern view on learning is well illustrated in the model Community of Inquiry.

Picture made by Matbury CC BY-SA 3.0

education we need Social presence, Cognitive presence and Teaching presence.
And it is important to note that these modules overlap. The educator must
remember to be Setting climate, Supporting discourse and Regulating learning.
This is important for both face-to-face and online learning. But how it is done
might differ. A great challenge for teachers not used to online learning is to
no longer be able to see their students. The teacher can no longer act
intuitive based on what is happening in the classroom. The teacher must foresee
the students needs in a more structured manner.

When teaching online it could be helpful to use some kind of framework such as Gilly Salmon’s Five Stage Model. There are also some valuable tips in an article in The Cronicle of Higher Education about How to be a better online teacher.

Education for the century we live in