Friday, April 15, 2005
MIT Future of Learning
Principal Investigator: David Cavallo
(For more Future of Learning projects, see Seymour Papert.) The world resonates with rhetoric about new needs and new opportunities for learning. But while the volume of the standard rhetoric accurately reflects an urgently growing sense that learning in the twenty-first century will be radically different, its content seldom questions conceptual and organizational constraints inherited from the nineteenth. The Future of Learning program has been created in response to this situation with a three-part mission: critical, conceptual, and activist. The critical mission is to recognize and break the mindsets that limit systemic, global thinking about the latent learning potential of the planet. The conceptual mission is to elaborate the conceptual framework and the language to support thinking on a more holistic, systemic level about what being digital can mean for learning. The activist mission has two parts based on a distinction between micro-mathetics (actions directed at affecting learning on a level of individuals or small groups) and macro-mathetics (actions directed at affecting the way a country or, indeed, the entire planet, deals with learning.) The major thrust of the activist mission of the group in the coming year will be developing the Learning Hub: an international network of projects each of which operates a learning site that breaks radically from prevailing assumptions and uses its success to leverage the adoption of new ideas by the general public, the political leadership and the education establishment of their country.
- With a shift of emphasis from teaching to learning a need is created for more systematic thinking about the art of learning. We use the word mathetics for an area of thinking which is to learning what pedagogy is to teaching.
- We then distinguish micro-mathetics and macro-mathetics: the former focuses on what happens in a classroom, a home, and individual learning situation. The latter focuses on such questions as how to think about the development of the learning environment of a country or of the entire planet.