Grand Challenge LfL: Patrick McAndrew, Bridget Cooper, Dave Cliff

March 18, 2008

Ivan Illich quote

For my talk I used a variation on the slides that I used the previous week at Pittsburgh but I tried to use them to make a slightly different point – that ideas such as those from Ivan Illich in Deschooling Society had been around for some time but now was the chance to implement them in a truly open and accessible way. If that was to happen though it would be helpful for computer science to join in the challenge.


Bridget Cooper slideBridget Cooper

Need to really think about the basis and understand the “essential learning being” to avoid white elephants such as VLEs! Time line:

1-5yrs: theoretical and practical exploration of the ultimate human learning experience.

5-10ys: methodology to assess whole person through ‘profound empathy’

Do this by building a personal semantic web – a “nestoria” for learning. Implies that we need high quality interactive technology. Bridget showed a picture of a little baby and played “Feel it in my fingers??” as an indication of how joy and delight comes through direct interaction with feelings rather than intellectual engagement – she backed this up with quotes from Marx and MacMurray (1935).

This can lead to deep understanding between human beings labelled as profound empathy – and could lead to greater connections.

Aim – to find media approach that offers high quality communication route.


Dave Cliff

Reported back on beyond current horizons workshop DCfS. He explained his background from Cogs at Sussex. He is now a professor of Computer Science at Bristol but also did future planning at HP Labs. Trends from computers:

Moore’s law continues – power will carry on better and cheaper at least for 20 years.

Once every 10 years there will be a dramatic change in computer provision: switches IBM, DEC/HP, PCs (Microsoft, Compaq), LANs, WANs Internet, what next? Data centred, cloud computing (Google): sheds with computer power.


Today’s presentations too based in today’s technology. Nick Carr – The Big Switch. How does it matter if everyone has supercomputers or HPs memory spots. Computation increases but AI will remain a hard problem.

What technology will have as much impact as a PC – look at what costs £500,000 now? 3D printing. From a 3D model build an artefact with electronics – implies can print robots.

Psycho-pharmacology may lead to societal changes: pills that make kids better at exams, how do we cope with this.

We have had 50 years of stability – how do we plan for big changes. Education too much about facts – actually want more than this for our children. Which take GC time horizon – most are in here and now. Dangers are we ignore the body and soul – too much on now and arguments that date. Educational science, computer science not enough – need political science as well too head towards policy shift. Is the answer more humans in front of more humans.

What are the impacts of technology on TEL?

How should education change to meet these trends?


One Response to “Grand Challenge LfL: Patrick McAndrew, Bridget Cooper, Dave Cliff”

  1. simonfj Says:


    “Aim – to find media approach that offers high quality communication route”,
    Now that high quality communication routes have been found, Aim to communicate.

    Once every 10 years there will be a dramatic change in computer provision. “Computing is not about technology. It’s about fashion”.

    The evolution of computing models is a reflection of our (educational) institutions.
    i.e 1960 to 1985 (say) mainframe/dumb terminal model
    1985 to 2010 (say) client/server
    2010 to 2035 (say) peer to peer grids.(clouds)

    Emphasis shift as bandwidth grows cheaper than computing power. (look it up)
    PC centric > network centric (Sun’s motto: The network IS the computer, becomes more obvious.)

    We have had 50 years of reasonably constant change. Every generation thinks it invents sex as well.

    Education changes at the same rate as always. It is about the transfer of ideas between groups. Media has changed, so education is trying to remain relevant to the skills required by the new interactive (global) media industries.

    The biggest problem? Lack of scientific method in educational institutions.
    (preparing students for today’s jobs rather tomorrows)

    ultimate human learning experience? = getting a question answered, fully.

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