Chinese do not have a word for crisis. Crisis is written using two ideograms: risk and opportunity.
Is education facing a crisis? If education means challenge and change, education will always be in crisis. Let’s face education as paradigm of permanent risk and opportunities.
The kind of crisis that Education is facing now is leveraged by technology. A new theory of knowledge and learning emerges out of the construction and navigation of knowledge networks: Connectivsm. Networks manifest its connecting character allowing the flow of distributed knowledge. Based on networks structure in a complex changing environment and distributed cognition a new paradigm emerges claiming deep changes at the fundamental basis of the theoretical and practice of the education building.
We have huge amount of evidence of the impact of technology at all levels in human society. We assist at signs of this crisis manifested in a generational divide. Or should we say that technology is deepening the generational divide? In the classroom this is quite evident. The practice exercised by learners around technology is completely different from that of the teachers. Resistance and conservatism is the answer of many teachers to the presence of technology in the classroom. Would teachers be able to catch up their pupils overcoming the divide? In many cases this may be solved through intensive technology literacy training. But in some other cases, the divide is that. Like the rivers, they flow to different oceans.
We read this divide in the way that the space in the classroom is articulated. The central position of the teacher is a barrier to allow the pupils to develop their networks. But it is not only the teachers who are acting the resistance. The educational organization expresses the paradigm of conservatism as well as the curricula. He have seen some curricula being updated, but the pedagogy stays the same.
Considering this panorama, connectivism and connective knowledge will have better chances of unveiling all its potential in non formal education, postgraduate studies and new pedagogies experiences. It will take some time till connectivism will be seen not as thread to traditional education. Points of resistance will not be neutralized through the introduction of technology. On the contrary, it will deepen the crisis. Connectivism will has its opportunities as social networks of teachers and pupils will interconnect in a complex manner. Going back to the Japanese culture, they have recognized that the softer the elements are, the harder to change them. It is easier to change a technology. It is very difficult to change a culture.
The following question Will connectivism be able to produce the learning required to meet the complex challenges facing the future? should be re-estated. It is not a matter of connectivism. Connectivism will make evident the need of using the network and complexitiy metaphors in order to find a path to produce the changes that the future is claiming. The educational organizations will have the chance to react, and some will demonstrate that there is a new way of allowing to learn. A more centreless education with more protagonist pupils.