Finding the good place for digital transformation

Early this week I traveled to Galway to give a keynote talk at GMIT’s Teaching and Learning winter showcase. I’m writing this as I head home on Friday the 13th, the day after the night before! The political landscape I return too is significantly different to the one I left only on Wednesday.

The title of my talk was “finding the good place: what really makes digital transformation happen?” I used the tv show The Good Place as a way to focus my talk. Partly because I love that show, and partly because it allowed me to use wtf (what the fork) quite a lot:-) But more seriously the narrative themes of humanity, ethics and morality of the show are fundamental to education. There are some subtle and not so subtle differences between these and what I perceive to be the dominant narratives of digital transformation.

The show also makes great use of time, and the notion of having eternity to trying different scenarios. We don’t have that luxury in our world, but time is something that is increasingly challenging in not only our HE sector but across education. In relation to digital (or indeed any other type of) transformation it seems to me that timelines seem to have more significance than time. These timelines need to have far more time allocation for contextual and critical engagement with some fundamental questions around transformation, about what digital technologies we actually need to support transformation of learning, how can these technologies actually help in transforming our curriculum in the radical ways that are needed for our time, to help address the climate crisis for example.

Education is always political. Perhaps today more than most we in the UK are thinking about politics more than usual and just what the impact our new government will have on the sector. Digital services and platforms don’t automagically lead to a “good place” for education despite what the advocates of education 4.0 may espouse. It’s people and relationships not services and customers that are at the heart of education. Slides area available here.

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