Building Borderlands

Extract from Access, the Professional Journal for the Australian School Library Association, April 2011

 Schooling in disciplinary knowledge is still the key means by which young people move, at least in theory, from basic alphabetical literacy to the high levels of literacy and numeracy needed to function optimally in a ‘super-complex’ economic and social order. As expressed in a recent Report from America’s National Center on Education and the Economy (2007):

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A Space for the rising creative class: media, literacy and innovation in the university


(from University of Kentucky Creative Arts Collection)

 It has been surmised that there are only two centuries that matter when it comes to education – the 19th century, because this is when the explanatory power of the disciplines was understood and deeply respected, and the 21st century, because this is when we have to confront the limitations of those same disciplines at the same time that we rely on them to serve as intellectual springboards to trans-disciplinary thinking and doing. While I expect that many educational scholars might take exception to this proposition, there is merit, I think, in examining our pedagogical thinking and doing as an unfortunate hangover from the previous century, the century that, arguably, matters least. However much we inform ourselves about the demands of teaching in and for ‘these times’, most academics were taught in ‘those times’ ie, last century, pre-internet. Little wonder that so many of us still come to issue of pedagogical design weighed down by the baggage of the past, the mental models of the good teacher (active, giving, standing out front) and good student (passive, soaking it up, seated). The ubiquity of the tiered lecture theatre, with its focus squarely on the singular, scholarly individual at the centre of the front of the action, speaks volumes about the resilience of dated mental models of pedagogical work, however much university marketers might point to the growing number of hits on our websites as an indicator of their institution’s pedagogical responsiveness to ‘these times’. Read More…

Creativity is Core Business

The reputation of the term ‘creativity’ is paradoxical.

On the one hand, universities are now wrapping themselves in the mantle of creativity. A 2007 analysis of higher education teaching and learning plans and graduate attributes indicates that 75% of all Australian universities have an expressed commitment to ‘creative’ learning outcomes.

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