Liberal Education in the Emerging Digital Ecosystem

March 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

21st century learning ecosystem

Image designed by St. Edward’s University graphic design students.

On Friday, March 20 I’ll be at Moravian College speaking about “Liberal Education in the Emerging Digital Ecosystem.” This talk builds on work I did with the GEMs project of AAC&U.  I was a member of the digital working group.   I last presented on this work with Randy Bass and Jen Ebbeler at the AAC&U 2015 Annual Meeting.

My talk also builds on our work at St. Edward’s University to create a 21st century learning ecosystem.  We are creating life-long learners, so we must prepare them to learn in the environment in which they will live, work, and solve problems.  This means preparing them for a global, digital world of constant change.  Our vision for the learning ecosystem is not just a set of technologies. It is also a framework for technology use and application and an approach to learning. Creation of the 21st century learning ecosystem requires both the creation and constant reinvention of a technology infrastructure as well as a change in culture of the university.  It means breaking down the boundaries between the classroom, the university, and the world.  In the 21st century learning ecosystem, learning is networked, ubiquitous (cloud-based), digital and face-to-face, formal and informal, heterogeneous, hybrid, high-touch, authentic, and accessible.

Here’s the description I’ve developed for this talk:

How does the emerging digital environment shape teaching and learning in the 21st century? What skills, abilities, and habits of mind do today’s graduates need for their careers and to solve complex problems in this context? The future of liberal education depends upon an integrative vision of digitally-informed learning that is not merely digital content delivery but rather is reshaped in the same ways that digital learning has already fundamentally changed our culture.  This talk will present a vision for implementing liberal education in the emerging digital ecosystem through a curriculum that scaffolds digital engagement from introductory to capstone level courses.

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