Thursday, July 14, 2022

Technology needed to check the pulse of education research

Catherine Manathunga suggests we take the pulse of education research, and address climate change, and other wicked problems. My doctor doesn't get out an analog stopwatch to check my pulse any more, instead there is an electronic device for that. These are now so cheap I have one at home. I suggest the same change in thinking, and practice, is needed for Australian education, and research. To take the pulse of education research in Australia I suggest we need technology, as well as for conducting research, and undertaking education.

Due to the pandemic, Australian education research has caught up to were higher education the students already were in 2019: mostly studying online. Before the pandemic, academics, and most researchers of university education, were in a state of denial, bemoaning the lack of attendance in class, without being will to accept that students had moved online. Faced with the alternative of being put out of business, academics finally moved their teaching online.

An agenda for inclusive and compassionate education research doesn't have to be this radical. In 2020 feeling isolated by COVID-19 from my usual education research events I drifted towards the excellent online events hosted by ACSILITE, and found myself collaborating with a group of people online, who I have never met in person. Thsi proved productive, and continues today, across three countries. 

Geography has been an easy gap to bridge with technology. Much harder is the transdisciplinary one, and I work in a twilight zone between my original discipline of computer, and my new one of education. If the gap between education and the disciplines it supports, and support it, the decline research funding can be reversed. This can be done by drawing on the funding for those disciplines, and also presenting a compelling case for increased research to address the current skills shortage, energy shortage, defence climate, and other challenges.

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