The theories-or ‘big ideas’-that are behind the shift to 21st century learning are a key feature of this website. All practice is informed by theory–whether or not the practitioner is consciously aware of this. Educational practice is no exception. Twentieth century ways of doing things in education are informed by a mixture of different theories–theories about learning, knowledge, personhood, justice/equality, and the purpose of schooling. All educational practitioners ‘know’ these theories–at a very deep, but not always conscious level. They have been enculturated in them as part of the process of growing up in society (including going to school), and as part of the process of becoming a teacher, a researcher, or an education policy maker. However, they don’t always know them as theories–often they are thought of as just ‘how things are’.

A change in context–such as the shift to 21st century learning–requires a change in people’s view of ‘how things are’. If this doesn’t happen, new ideas and methods will be squeezed to make them fit with the ‘old’ ways of doing things and, while some of these things may have new labels, nothing much will really change.

Thus it is important for practitioners to understand the big ideas that are behind the shift to 21st century learning.

The goal of this website is provide some of the equipment for building a ‘bridge’ between 20th century theories and practices and 21st century theories and practices. Its aim is to provide a space for theory and practice to interact, for theory to inform practice, and practice to inform theory.

To read more about some of the theories behind the shift to 21st century learning, click on one of the links below.

Postmodernism – what is it?

The Knowledge Age – what is it?

Identity and the self in postmodernism

Equality, justice, diversity, and politics in postmodernism


Futures thinking