Monday, March 30, 2015

E-Learning: A Blueprint to the Future--The Finland Initiative--Part II

With respect to the Finland Initiative, we have to ask the question:

" If the elimination of subjects in favour of cross disciplinary learning is an important organizational goal, what would it look like in real time?"


One of the elements that has to be included in the configurations for cross disciplinary learning is creativity. As was mentioned in the last post, learners begin with a high level of creativity when they enter the education system but as they proceed through education systems based on the industrial model of education, the level of creativity decreases dramatically by the time learners hit the middle grades because the system goal is to instill conformity. What we need in this century and the next are not people who have been conformed to a set "one size fits all" way of thinking but we need learners who have been educated to be problem solvers, creators of new knowledge and skill sets. We need learners who naturally think, discuss and collaborate to solve real world scenarios in innovative ways. We need to dispense with the myth that only certain individuals are capable of this type of thinking and the majority just have to accept it.

Credit: Scott Barry Kaufman
In an article dealing with creativity and what really happens in the brain, Scott Barry Kaufman(2013) in an article titled:" The Real Neuroscience of Creativity" (Scientific American) suggested that based on current neuroscience research, our concept that creativity is a right brain process from beginning to end is simply wrong. He makes the following statements:

" ...Instead, the entire creative process--from preparation to incubation to illumination to verification--consists of many interactive cognitive processes (both conscious and unconscious) and emotions...Importantly, many of these brain regions work as a team to get the job done, and many recruit structures from both the left and right side of the brain. The most recent work suggests that "cognition" results from the dynamic interaction of distributed brain areas operating in large scale networks.."(Kaufman 2013)

What Kaufman and other cognitive neuroscientists such as Anna Abraham , Kalina Christoff are saying is that what we have in the creative process is a microcosm of collaboration among networks on a neural level. 

Therefore in developing the Finland Initiative, we should not see this myth as a barrier to our expectation that creativity is an element available to all learners. It is very inclusive.

Cross Disciplinary Configurations

Primary Grades:  STEM vs STEAM

" Which of these two configurations, STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) would be an effective problem solving approach at this level to begin to educate learners on the path to becoming agents of change in our societies?"

This is the question I would like to explore as one of the elements of the blueprint to the future of E-Learning and it is here that we can draw parallels between the brick and mortar world of education and the online world of E-Learning.

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