Research Challenge 5

Transformative Education for All

"Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other," radical philosopher Paulo Freire once said. Education is seen as a fundamental, high-impact strategy for driving positive social change and sustainable development. However, there remains substantial gaps in the learning opportunities provided by globally-oriented standardized educational institutions in the face of the needs of the most marginalized and the grassroots. What happens when we actively address the unequal power relations between (often Western) knowledge formations and indigenous knowledge, and what happens when indigenous knowledge is taught in “regular” educational settings? How do we bridge the gap between the agenda and clout held by formal and institutional education, with the need to provide educational experiences that are relevant to local, everyday, grassroots realities? Given existing social and economic disparities globally and locally, how can we nevertheless kickstart (or nurture) cultures of curiosity, intellectual rigor, and lifelong learning? What roles can citizen science and co-creation play in socially-relevant and culturally-inflected advancement of the frontiers of human knowledge? What roles do liminal, flow, and ritualistic states play in creating transformative learning experiences, and how might technology facilitate these states?

Given current trends in technology diffusion, to what extent can massive, open, distance, and technology-mediated learning play a more important role in creating learning opportunities for all? How can cutting-edge technologies (such as satellite technology and immersive technologies) be leveraged as educational enablers? Conversely, can we integrate older or even ostensibly obsolete information and communication into these new technologies so as to deliver meaningful learning experiences for the fringes of society?

In this project you will explore and learn to

  • Identify current trends and forecast opportunities and challenges to education locally and regionally
  • Conduct ethnographic research with the local community to understand their experiences of formal and non-formal education
  • Review and critically discuss power, politics, and class in relation to knowledge creation, transnational education, and indigenous knowledge
  • Investigate cognitive theories of learning (including the role of situational, dispositional, and personal interest) in spurring and maintaining learning habits and behaviors
  • Discuss and explore notions of liminality, ritual, and play in creating transformative learning experience in both institutional and non-formal educational settings
  • Prototype and test novel technologies or uses of existing technologies for creating learning experiences and building learning communities

Skills, disciplines, and perspectives welcome include (but are not limited to) the following

Education, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, educational technology, indigenous knowledge, community development, performance studies, communications and multimedia engineering, educational policy

Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

Primary Facilitators and Mentors

Other facilitators and mentors may also contribute to this project