The Globalization of educational media
Recently the largest university in the world, the Indira Gandhi National Open University registered more than 2 million students. The University raised its numbers of local study centres with more than 300 just in 2008. About 81 million Indians have access to Internet, which gives a penetration of about 7% nationally. In this context it gives a lot of sense to establish study centres as hubs of learning with the newest technologies available. Other Asian countries have a higher level of penetration, Japan, being the highest, with 74%, - Malaysia, Singapore and the other rapidly growing economies will soon reach the same level. According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China had 290 million Internet users in November 2008, while the US had about 220 million users. But also smaller Asian countries are escalating as major Internet users. Twenty of Vietnam’s 86 million inhabitants have access to the Internet, a number that equals a major European country like Poland. Worldwide, almost 1,6 billion people have access, and 41% of the world’s users live in Asia-[i]
International trends in the use of ICT in lifelong learning indicate that educational media gain an increasingly important space. In Asia, more than 70 universities are dedicated distance education universities using the newest technologies. Educational media in lifelong learning depend on the use of Internet. Many point at 1995 as the year Internet truly gave important leaders in lifelong learning the sense of what its potential for delivery, communication and collaboration was, and hence its capacity for mediating educational content. International statistics of Internet usage start in 1995. Since then, the nature and capacities of the Internet has changed significantly.
A number of observers have said that these growing numbers of users will influence the design, the technical standards and the ways the Internet is used. In what ways, we do not yet know. Professor Arjun Appadurai, one of the world’s influential thinkers on globalization, says his way of thinking was deeply seated in his upbringing in Mumbai, India, in a multicultural setting, which expanded his mind in fruitful ways. Recently the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”, which was made in Mumbai, illustrated at least two of Appadurai’s major points: The technologies used are being used everywhere; and the media bring us all together in a joint community. Appadurai observes that new users may use technologies in ways never thought of, and even suggests than “Second Life” might become a tool for poor people to gain power and make their way out of poverty. He suggests that the use of communication technologies has the capacity of increasing our abilities to experience "The ethics of possibility": ways of thinking, feeling, and acting which expand the horizon of hope and imagination, and create an informed sense of citizenship, of critical and creative being in the world, - in honour of justice and human rights (Khazaleh 2008). This positive projection raises hope for the expanding use of technologies for lifelong learning around the world.
Three keywords: creativity within constraints, intercultural communication and lifelong education bring this issue’s three contributions together.
Creativity is the topic in the first article of this issue. Dr. Heidi Philipsen of the University of Southern Denmark asks what sparks off creativity for young filmmakers. Her topic of investigation is the use of “creative constraints”. Building on what looks like a Nordic, and in particular Danish tradition of creativity enhancement, offering students of filmmaking distinct frames or borders for the creativity process, has proven its feasibility over a number of years, Philipsen analyses the core ideas and principles of this tradition and takes a close look on how those principles succeed in other contexts of filmmaking.
What does the use of constraints offer filmmakers? One might ask if methods described here democratize the video production and establish a standard that might make videos even more tangible in future lifelong learning.
The second article, by Rita Jentoft, Associate Professor of University of Tromsø, Norway, presents issues from a study on occupational therapy. Practical skills constitute essential knowledge in occupational therapy. She describes the knowledge students develop in this area as situation- and experience-based, generated from within the situation. She shows how facilitating such knowledge proved to be difficult in a particular program for educating Palestinian Occupational Therapists in Gaza. The use of Educational communication technology (ECT) like videoconferences, internet and videos became necessary tools, not only for distribution of a flexible learning programme, but also for developing critical and reflective thinking as student learn the subjects of occupational therapy.
Dr. Muhammad Javed Iqbal, assistant professor at the Allama Iqbal Open University in Islamabad, Pakistan presents a paper that deals with the nature of a concept of lifelong education. He suggests that Lifelong education can be provided through informal, formal and non-formal education processes. Hence, lifelong education can be defined as a process of both deliberate and unintentional opportunities influencing learning throughout one’s life span, he claims. He discusses issues around integration, flexibility and diversity related to lifelong education.
Appadurai, A. (1996) Modernity at large : cultural dimensions of globalization Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
Khazaleh, L (2008) Second Life forbedrer First Life?http://www.culcom.uio.no/nyheter/2008/appadurai.html (04.03.09)
[i] http://internetstatstoday.com/ 04.04.09
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