ICT has "altered the landscape for educational activities" - Interview with Dr Diane Boothe
- 1 comentarios
- 2323 Visitas
Dr Diane Boothe, Dean of the College of Education at Boise State University, is a speaker at this month's "Future of Education" Conference. eLearningeuropa.info has taken the opportunity and asked her some questions about the changing landscape for educational activities and English language teaching in the 21st century.
eLearningeuropa.info (eL): What do you consider to be the main differences between the American and the European model of learning?
Diane Boothe (DB): It is interesting that you ask about differences in "learning", as opposed to differences in "education". i believe that learning relates more to the ultimate outcomes of an educational system. American and European educational systems are both designed to prepare youth to function effectively within their greater cultures, with its social, economic and civic demands. I would propose that the American system has placed far more emphasis on learning to meet the economic demands of our society, while the European systems, giving some recognition to the economic, on the whole place much higher emphasis on social and civic learning-developing the skills to fit well within the culture as a whole. I am certainly not well-qualified to comment on the European system. Certainly the exams and preparation differ from the USA. The strategies for English Language Learning also differ and usually follow the requirements of the British system.
eL: I have read a quote from you in which you say about the changing educational landscape: "The biggest and most immediate change is the technology. It has opened up an international emphasis - the idea of a 'global society' - and the realization that we must look at education from a global perspective. (…)."
How do you think do the international emphasis and global perspective manifest themselves in the educational landscape of the 21st century? Do the new technologies affect how, what and where people learn?
DB: The relatively recent explosion of ICT has opened the world to almost anyone who wishes to explore it. Virtually any point on the globe is now instantly at ones fingertips, at any moment in time. This combined with the opening of portals to learning systems once maintained as private domains has completely altered the landscape for educational activities. Education, once locked within the classroom, at a prescribed moment in time, is now free to become an anywhere, anytime, activity, with the subject matter open literally to all. This will ultimately change the role of the "teacher" from one of provider of the new knowledge to that of coordinator, scheduler, integrator, and ultimately mentor, in a largely open learning environment, unconstrained by a calendar or a time schedule. We had best prepare ourselves now for this eventuality.
eL: How has this global perspective affected the TESOL market – both from a business perspective, but also from a technological point of view?
DB: TESOL was originally primarily an educational activity focused in the primary and secondary schools (with a small element at the tertiary level). But, in the past 20 years, it has grown into a major business activity on a global scale. The explosions of both international commerce and ICT have produced the need for a 'lingua franca" to allow efficient transactions in both. English has become that "lingua Franca", making TESOL a critical activity on many levels. One need only witness the ballooning of adult ESP learning activities, globally, to acknowledge and understand this.
eL: Is international cooperation and ICT in education the future of TESOL teaching?
DB: Absolutely! A recent study noted that English is the second most frequently spoken native language on the planet, with Chinese, Hindi and Bengali ranking 1, 3 and 5 respectively. It is important to note that English is the most common second language learned in most Asian non-english language speaking countries, and rapidly becoming so elsewhere as well. The educational demands created in these countries cannot be met with traditional methods. The numbers are simply too great to be met without strong international cooperation and a significant ICT component at work. The amazing growth of academic literature on ELL and ESP in Asia, and elsewhere, speaks clearly to this.
eL: What should be, in your opinion, the next steps to be taken on e-skills?
DB: We must work to improve the person to e-system interfaces, to improve the ability of e-systems to recognize metaphor, simile, nuance, and eventually even non-verbal communications. And we must elevate the awareness of those on the person side of the interface to the limits of comprehension and translation capabilities of our e-systems. We still have a long way to go to reach the level that contemporary science fiction would lead us to believe may be possible.
(Interview conducted 1 June 2012)