For the last week of Learning 3.0 (#el30) we had a conversation with Silvia Baldiri, who works with the Fundación Universitaria Tecnológico Comfenalco (Colombia) and Universidad Internacional de la Rioja (Spain), and Jutta Treviranus, Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and professor at OCAD University in Toronto.

The conversation was about diversity and projects for young people with very different learning contexts and needs, such as the Social Justice Repair Kit. 

There is the common data capture in education but often this does not capture the complexity and the differences of the situations of different youth groups. A qualitative approach is needed, for instance allowing for storytelling. This is necessary since data show us what happened in the past and there is a risk that, when decisions are just based on these historical data, injustices from the past will be perpetuated.

We also discussed the three dimensions of “inclusive design”: take into account the fact that everybody is unique (“one size fits one”), use inclusive, open and transparant processes, realize that you are designing in a complex adaptive system. One of the benefits of implicating the most vulnerable groups is that these people are like the canaries in the coal mine: what happens to them is often a precursor to what happens to the society as a whole.

In case you wonder what all this has to do with decentralized tools, let me conclude with a long quote from the course:

McLuhan said that technology is a projection of ourselves into the community, so we need to consider how human capacities are advanced and amplified in a distributed and interconnected learning environment. Our senses are amplified by virtual and augmented reality, our cognitive capacities extended by machine vision and artificial intelligence, and our economic and social agency is represented by our bots and agents.

We are the content – the content is us. This includes all aspects of us. How do we ensure that what we project to the world is what we want to project, both as teachers and learners? As content and media become more sophisticated and more autonomous, how do we bind these to our personal cultural and ethical frameworks we want to preserve and protect?

These are tied to four key elements of the new technological framework: security, identity, voice and opportunity. What we learn, and what makes learning successful, depends on why we learn. These in turn are determined by these four elements, and these four elements are in turn the elements that consensus-based decentralized communities are designed to augment.

Learning therefore demands more than just the transmission or creation of knowledge – it requires the development of a capacity to define and instantiate each of these four elements for ourselves. Our tools for learning will need to emphasize and promote individual agency as much as they need to develop the tools and capacities needed to support social, ;political and economic development.