Schools and knowledge production : community informatics for a knowledge economy
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Christopher Bigum
The widespread deployment of computing and communication technologies (CCTs) has been a key element in the transformation of large sectors of the world's trade and exchange over past decades. As these changes have become more apparent there has been growing disquiet in a number of school systems about the adequacy of current forms of schooling to prepare young people for such a changed world. One outcome of this unease is a heightened concern to increase and improve computer use in the classrooms of the overdeveloped world. In responding this way, schools recognise the importance of CCTs and are anxious to be seen to be responding to the changed circumstances outside schools. Responses in schools however, have tended to be 'more of the same', where the 'same' is thinking about and working with computers in ways not very different from the way they were used and understood in schools during the 1980s and 1990s. The project described in this paper draws on literatures relating to education, globalization and the knowledge economy, contemporary policies concerning school and curriculum reform, the use of CCTs in classrooms, and literatures concerned with the efficient and effective use of CCTs in fields other than education, to make a case for rethinking aspects of schooling in these new times. It argues that, with some provisos, schools are well positioned to become sites of knowledge production. In particular, it argues that for communities in regional, rural, and remote areas, knowledge-producing schools can play an important role in supporting the community's capacity to deal with changes flowing from global influences. In this way, the knowledge producing school can be an important element in the development of informatics for the local community. The paper will outline current research projects informed by these ideas and describe some preliminary outcomes.