Delivering knowledge at the horizon has been a traditional cornerstone in university education, but the clarity of this horizon content knowledge may now be disappearing. What does horizon content knowledge look like in a fast-changing world? How do we recognise it? How does this notion differ in diverse disciplines: teacher education may have a different take on this idea from medicine, for example. What horizon knowledge is needed in the school and vocational education sectors?
Associate Professor Debra Panizzon
Associate Professor of Science Education
Faculty of Education, Monash University
Global use of terms like ‘Knowledge work’, ‘Knowledge-based economy’, ‘Knowledge society’ and ‘Knowledge-creating companies’ proliferate in the media and economic arenas. At first glace it appears that ‘knowledge’ is viewed rather highly! However, it is important to explore exactly what is meant by these terms to ensure that as educators we are all on the same page. Traditionally we have valued discipline-based content knowledge as the ‘what’ we teach in primary, secondary and tertiary education. We have already witnessed how increased usage of the internet means that students can access ‘content’ readily - so how relevant will content knowledge be in 10 years? What type of knowledge will our students need if they are to work and contribute as citizens in the future economy? Given these considerations, what will be the role of teachers (at all levels) in this emerging space?
My contribution is to share some of the potentially conflicting views about ‘knowledge’ in relation to content that prevails and the possible ramifications for teaching and learning. No attempt is made to provide answers but rather to raise questions and so add to the conversations and thinking about what this might look like for us as we collectively move forward.
Dr Chris Hurst
Lecturer, School of Education
Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University
I look forward to this keynote as I’m sure it will provide a good basis for some stimulating discussion. I particularly like the challenging statement . . . “So how relevant will content knowledge be in ten years?” That should generate some good responses.
One thing I am keen to discuss is what exactly we mean by the ‘horizon of content knowledge’. Should it be viewed as the ‘disappearing horizon of content’ in the sense that the generation of ‘new knowledge’ is proceeding at such a rate that the ‘horizon’ is ever increasingly moving away from us? Alternatively, is it about new knowledge that is currently ‘beyond the horizon’ and about which we do not yet know? Is the content that is needed by teachers constantly evolving at the same rate for all disciplines or is it just that teachers need to be better able to connect different aspects of content and content from different disciplines as they seek to make sense and meaning for themselves and their students? I hope that these are some of the things that will be discussed at the conference.
My view is that this issue is about the connectedness of knowledge and making links between the ‘big ideas’ of various disciplines and between disciplines. In mathematics for example, thinking from a ‘big ideas’ perspective can bring many benefits for teachers and the students they teach. Certainly there are some ‘big content ideas’ with which teachers need to be well acquainted. However, I believe that the secret lies within the ‘big process ideas’ such as reasoning, inferring, hypothesising, justifying, and problem solving that may best help us generate new knowledge that is currently ‘beyond our horizons’. Similarly, utilising ‘big context ideas’, that is seeing how knowledge is applied in context, is important. Essentially, ‘big context ideas’ revolve around questioning skills.
Perhaps it is more a question of not being overly concerned with the notion that the ‘horizon’ may be fast moving away from us, but rather that we need to develop the thinking skills and tools to enable us to keep pace with the movement of that ‘horizon’.
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