As part of the Digital Management Programme for Managers, organised by BlinkLearning, Antonio Carrón outlines the most important pedagogical reasons for implementing a digital education project in a learning centre and explains which commonly suggested reasons are not valid. Carrón holds a PhD in Philosophy, is President of the international solidarity network ARCORES and of the international educational network EDUCAR, as well as having worked for 13 years as a teacher, tutor and director of the Santo Tomás de Villanueva School in Granada (Spain). We invite you to discover these 5 pedagogical reasons.
No, these are not valid pedagogical reasons for implementing a digital education project
Firstly, for Carrón, it is important to draw a distinction between those reasons which are valid and those which are not:
1. Others are doing it so I have to do it too. “From my experience and my point of view, the fact that others are doing it and therefore I have to do it too is not a valid reason. It has to be something that really connects with the context and goals where I am.”
2. It is the fashion. For Carrón, the fact that it is fashionable is not a valid reason either, because all fads are transitory and we must not forget what the real goals are.
“From my experience and my point of view, the fact that others are doing it and therefore I have to do it too is not a valid reason. It has to be something that really connects with the context and goals where I am.”
3. You learn more and better. There is a belief that you learn more and better using technology, but sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t. With technology, learning is done differently and adapts to the current context.
4. It is the way to educate “digital natives”. Another reason, which is not a real reason, is to say that this is the way to educate digital natives. Digital natives need to be educated using technology, but also in many other ways.
5. The teachers will work less, the school will function better, the parents will be very happy and everything will be wonderful. For Carrón, “a digital education project is not going to take away work, it is not going to improve the life of a school, it is not going to make it easier for everyone to be happy and delighted with the school, especially parents. It will bring more work and, initially, other issues as well. But I also think it’s worth the effort.”
“A digital education project is not going to take away work, it is not going to improve the life of a school (…) it will bring more work and, initially, other issues as well. But I also think it’s worth the effort.”
Yes, these are valid pedagogical reasons for implementing a digital project
1. Educating for today’s needs
For the philosopher and educator, digitalisation today is not an option, but a reality. Technology is part of our lives, so we must also educate in this digital competence, which is something we cannot abandon. So today, implementing a digital project with a pedagogical goal serves current educational needs.
It is also a good way to introduce digital skills education. “We don’t educate in isolation but in an integrated way, not only from knowledge but from the skills we acquire, tools that transmit knowledge for life.”
And for the educators, Carrón views it as an opportunity for continuous training, a way to update themselves on the current dynamics and context.
2. Integrated education
“We are not only knowledge, we also have a physical element: we have an affective, cognitive, physical, relational and volitional part”, says Carrón. Introducing technology helps us in this world of networks, in this world of relationships. It is therefore very important to educate in a well-rounded way, also introducing the digital dynamics that are already part of our lives.
3. Humanising and harnessing technology
In such a digitalised world, everything that is personal and human is becoming increasingly important, everything that we do not do with screens in between us. For the teacher, after the pandemic, we have come to value personal and human interaction more highly.
“The key is not to have a digital project as an end but as a means. Using technology to reach the person.”
It is important to remember that we must take advantage of technology but always be very clear about the goal. “Everything that is going to advance in the coming years in terms of the Metaverse, Artificial Intelligence, language interpretation, remote communication options, many very powerful tools for the world of education, but we will have to know how to humanise it, not to consider it as an end, but as a means.”
4. Preventing risks in the digital world
A digital project should not only serve to change the dynamics of the classroom, to have more interaction or use interactive resources, but it should also help students to learn how these dynamics work. How the algorithms that control our lives work, the risks of grooming, sending images, cyberbullying, sexting, games that may seem innocent like happy slapping, or online violence.
How can we provide this support and start to implement a digital education project? “It’s about balancing the scales, we don’t have to be extremists saying ‘all technology or no technology’, ‘either unleash everything or we’re going to put up a wall and not allow any technology here’.” For Carrón, it is necessary to have an attitude of supportive companionship, as when a child learns to ride a bicycle, “you have to allow freedom, but I can’t ignore them, I can’t forget that they are riding but they might fall and I have to keep an eye on them.”
5. Fostering a culture of respect and kindness
We live in a world full of violence generated by armed conflicts, fake news and violence in digital environments, says the educator. Added to this is the fact that nowadays we all carry a device which offers an infinite universe of possibilities and therefore to some extent this violence reaches us all. This means it is also necessary to know how to educate in a culture of respect and kindness.
So how do we foster a culture of respect and kindness using technology? Carrón argues that all pedagogy is made up of three elements:
- Educational style
A digital project should be integrated across these three elements. While it has much more connection to the methodology, it also deals with content and changes some of the educational style.
For Carrón, we must not lose our way by turning the digital project into an end in itself, and forgetting the fundamental aspect of the pedagogy. To this end, he appeals to the very origins of pedagogy. “In 2022, we are talking about implementing a digital education project, but we must go back to the origins of pedagogy, to Socrates and the Paideia.”
The Socratic Paideia is that process of raising children which is based on the transmission of values (knowing how to be), the transmission of technical knowledge (knowing how to do), and the norms of civic morality and civic humanism.
“What is my goal? Using tablets in the classroom? No, that is not the goal. The goal is to support and educate in this beautiful process of paideia.”
“If introducing a digital project today helps us to do this, to educate people, to support people, and to educate better people for the future, then technology and digitalisation are welcome. I am a fervent supporter, and have been since 2011 when we plunged into this adventure of a digital project, there in Granada.”