Embracing a Culture of Lifelong Learning: (re)imagining the Futures of Lifelong Learning: Some Sociotechnical Tensions

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    Digital technologies frequently form a key part of discussions around the futures of lifelong learning. This paper highlights the need to move beyond expectations of digital transformation and technological solutionism, and instead engage with the ‘messy’ realities of education and technology. In particular, the paper identifies four sociotechnical ‘tensions’ that need to be acknowledged properly in any imagined forms of education and technology: tensions of environmental sustainability; tensions between the commercial and the commons; tensions between inclusivity and exclusivity; and tensions between personalization and collectivism. While raising some difficult questions that are not usually considered in discussions around digital education, this paper argues that these tensions can play a generative role in how we set about (re)imagining the futures of lifelong learning. In particular, these tensions offer a strong basis from which to speculate about futures of education and technology that are based upon values of inclusivity, democracy, transparency and participation. As the paper concludes, better forms of lifelong learning cannot be contemplated without also imagining better forms of digital technology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationHamberg Germany
    PublisherUNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning
    Commissioning bodyUNESCO -Institut für lebenslanges Lernen (UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning)
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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