Home > Conference: November 2009 > Last talk Act II: Jane Gilbert (Live blog)

Last talk Act II: Jane Gilbert (Live blog)

November 3rd, 2009

Whew! Final speaker of the day is our very own shiftingthinker, Jane Gilbert


My shoulders and neck muscles are strained from a day of live blogging, and I have seen this talk of Jane’s quite a few times, so I’m going to stick to a few key points and grab audience twitters along the way.

A key message from Jane:

21st century issues are NOT going to be solved by 20th century thinking

Jane’s going to talk mainly about new ways of thinking about knowledge, and new ways of thinking about social justice. She thinks we need to take account of these in our thinking about education.

Jane does a quick  Shpiel on what she means when she talks about “21st century learning”

(I don’t have the strength to blog this – have you read her book, Catching the knowledge wave? Or the one we wrote together, Disciplining and drafting or 21st century learning? It’s all in those books – Jane’s  not plugging them in her talk but as a lazy ad tired liveblogger I recommend those as a good way to get deeply into the ideas she’s racing through in this talk)

She argues that many of the ideas we include in the gloss “21st century learning” are not necessarily all new ideas – but she says the challenge is that these just become slogans and nothing actually changes.

Jane’s all about getting us to think deeply below the surface of these ideas to see where they came from. She says a lot of them are tacit, unconscious, and drive what we do without us necessarily recognising it.

Now she’s telling us where these ideas come from. Cue:

  • Plato
  • the Industrial Age
  • the Model T Ford assembly line

(Read Jane’s books and this will all make sense)

Bottom line: we have an Industrial Age mass production model of schooling, and the traditional academic curriculum is the tool we use to sort students into the winners and the losers

(All of this is explained beautifully and with diagrams in our 2008 book, Disciplining and drafting, or 21st Century learning)

Here’s what some people were twittering during Jane’s talk:

@quelayla @shiftingthinkng C21 learning: How about leaving the idea that higher (esp. tertiary) education is the goal!

@muzza299 So the only purpose of teaching latin was to develop the mind? (assuming there’s no purpose to learning it?)

@StephaniePride @shiftingthinkng do we then need 2 go beyond concept/language of knowledge society 2 learning society or collaboration society

Jane thinks we need to pull up all our ideas “by the roots” and look at what lies underneath them

Two ideas she wants to start with (i.e. challenge) are:

  1. equality means “sameness”
  2. knowledge is universal

Jane reckons these are two tenets of modern Western European thought that need to be uprooted and examined. (She’s explaining all this right now but she’s talking quite fast!)

OK, now she’s now offering two recent theoretical developments to offer a way around these:

  1. the knowledge society – new meanings for knowledge (I suggest you read her book Catching the knowledge wave)
  2. postmodern political theory – new forms of political action for social justice

Argghhh Jane, I can’t keep up with your rapid-fire delivery – but I’m sure the audience is getting a lot of power from this punchy presentation! Let’s check in with our twitterers again:

@quelayla@shiftingthinkng Unesco’s four pillars of education are springing to mind.

@PeterDHAllen @shiftingthinkng Looking at mud at bottom of pond- we must all be treated the same – to provide special provision to close gaps

Uh-oh – Jane’s run out of time and just got to the best parts! And my battery is about to die! We’re definitely going to have to try and get Jane’s powerpoint up onto the blog when we can…

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