Experts Suggest Ambient Learning as Future of Education
The idea of ambient learning, which focuses on the way people adopt technology in their everyday life and how technology adapts to the environment, was the product of personal experiences and experiments.
Dr. Riel Miller, Dr. Loes Damhof and Dr. Bayo Akomolafe made the submission on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at a lecture/panel discussion held at Covenant University, where they were discussants on the topic, ‘Transforming the Future: Anticipation in the 21st Century’.
Setting the tone for discussion at the event jointly organised by Covenant University and UNESCO, Dr. Miller, one of the world’s leading figures on the theory and practice of using the future to change what people see and do, opined that the world is changing and doing so at increasing speed. “In such kind of world, our ability to anticipate the future is very important. Those who can anticipate the future will have more time to prepare and thus will be ready when changes come,” he added.
Pointing out that the work his team does with Covenant and UNESCO is to explore the theory and practice of the way people think about the future, Dr. Miller said that through ‘Anticipation’, people can change the way they think about the future.
Dr. Loes Damhof, in her contribution, narrated the outcome of a futures literacy laboratory experiment, featuring 15 High School students. According to her, when the students were asked to predict the future of education in 40/50 years, the Principal of the school anticipated a technology-focused answer. “The students, however, said what they wanted was to learn outside, stating their desire for collaboration and having a voice”.
Dr. Damhof then argued that, “The point is, it’s not about where you think education is going, you can have an opinion of the future right now, and we change the future of education right now”.
While speaking about his roots in futures thinking, Dr. Bayo Akomolafe, a pioneer alumnus of Covenant who also lectured briefly in the University’s Department of Psychology, said that, as undergraduates, members of his set were told the future was theirs for the taking. He added that he has encountered new paradigms in a world that demands new ways of thinking.
Responding to a call by participants for the opening up of vistas of new ideas and conversation about the future, Dr. Miller said people should invest in new ways of creating knowledge that allow for hope, while the universities have a fundamental role to reshape the way people think.
The lecture set out to equip participants with the skills to predict and imagine future scenarios’ teach them how to examine their own assumptions, give support mechanism in researching issues in their sectors of activity and developing a new approach toward possible solutions, challenge them to think critically and out of their intellectual comfort zone, and encourage them to take action on newly gained insights.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor AAA. Atayero, said he was overwhelmed that providence had ensured Covenant play host to the caliber of discussants at the lecture. Similarly, he was excited to see the fulfillment of the vision of Covenant - Raising a New Generation of Leaders - being displayed, as epitomised by the presence of the Registrar, Dr. Olumuyiwa Oludayo, Director, International Office and Linkages, Dr. Ada Peter, and one of the discussants and Consultant to UNESCO, Dr. Bayo Akomolafe.
Echoing the averment by a school of thought that places emphasis on utilising ‘the Now’, Professor Atayero said: “Maximising the now is important. If anything, the present ecosystem shows that the future is distruptive, so you don’t need collective wisdom at times to change the future, all it takes is an individual that thinks differently. The Vice-Chancellor went on to cite examples like Uber and Facebook.
Also, at the event were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shalom Chinedu, second substantive Vice-Chancellor and Director, Africa Leadership Development Centre, Professor Aize Obayan, other members of the University’s Management, Principal Officers, Professors, faculty, staff and students.