education in the Information Society

By Jose Gutierrez | Degree in Sociology from the UAB

La educación en la Sociedad de la Información

When an institution is so deeply rooted in a society we accept it as presented to us, taking for granted that both your organizational structure as the functions performed are unquestionable, falling automatically into the error of ‘non-question’ and in the sagging mental of losing all critical faculties to reflect on a few models, processes and institutions that were already there before we were born. The Information Society based on ICTS (Information Technology and Communication) is reshaping all spheres of society at breakneck speed. Economies of scale, global cities, companies network, intellectual property laws, e-government, political changes, arising out of political activism online, new cultural models of business, etc, The world of the economy, labor, law, politics, and culture are being forced to accept this new techno-economic paradigm having to redefine itself to suit in its meaning more darwinian to the requirements of the society and current economy. What are you doing for the educational system to adapt to these changes? This question becomes rhetorical when it can’t be answered satisfactorily with the introduction of a few computers in the classrooms or the gradual incorporation of environments Moodle[i]. While all social sectors are being redefined structurally on noun, its reason for being, the schools are putting patches, infantilizando as well and putting in evidence its own distinctive feature: to prepare and train future citizens in line with the society in which they live. While the most critical voices of some experts in educational issues take time, warning you that the education is stagnant, living with his back to a reality as uncertain as it is attractive in terms of new possibilities, many headmasters and teachers of educational institutions refuse to integrate these technologies, to change their systems and teaching continue to culpabilizando to external factors to defend the status quo in which they are entrenched. But.. What should be the role of the school?

La educación en la Sociedad de la Información

The functions of the education system

The proliferation of educational institutions in the TWENTIETH century was linked to the need for a workforce literate and disciplined. It is true that apart from this shortsighted and commercialized, the education provides a solid foundation for the development of intellectual, social and moral welfare of the people passing by her. Both of these functions, which are complementary and not mutually exclusive, should be developed in line with the current society, and not with a model out of date, as is happening today. The schools have always been a place of custody, and mandatory attendance. The school has a schedule established and regulated by the state, some times very specific, and classes are taught in a specific place. Intentionally, keeps children away from the street, from his childhood up until their subsequent incorporation to the labour market. During the educational process, the student adheres to an identity, is socialized through education and it inculcates the predominant values and political structure of the power groups of the society where is inserted. The school is an institution that manages collective rather than individuals, as shown by sociologists, experts in education through the theories of social reproduction (Parsons, Bernstein, Bowles and Gintis or the same Bourdieu). The different expectations that teachers have on the students depending on their social class membership, generate kinds of different interactions[ii]. It prepares the students for the job, the organization and layout of the classroom, which represents a prelude of what you’ll encounter later in your workplace: the contents, structures and educational processes are already organized before your arrival as it will be your job so that they have the means of production, with a figure of authority (teacher-manager) that will yield the floor raising him on values such as discipline, competitiveness, punctuality, etc

This brief analysis of the educational functions is often unknown by the same professionals of the education, especially in the higher levels of primary, basic and elementary. Do not put into question the good intentions and kindness of the teachers who give classes and try to make their students ‘better people on the day of morning’, but a teaching that has as its method of teaching is repetition, and memorization of contents should know that it represents a standardized processes linear in which was based the industrial economy (fordism) and that no longer correspond to the requirements of the economy and the current job market. A teacher that places the emphasis on the content rather than the method of learning should know that the material taught is posted on the Network and is a resource that can be accessed with a simple ‘click’ of the mouse. A teacher who used systematically to recuse himself in the ADHD (Disorder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder (adhd) or in the defiance of the students to justify the lack of attention to these, you should start to rethink that the lack of motivation –not disorder – your students may come from a model-of-date and obsolete to impart the lessons in class. The effort, the desire and good intentions sometimes are not enough to exercise a certain profession, it’s about knowing what is this profession and how it is conceived or it is expected of her in today. It’s not about blaming this professional sector or the educational system, it is about trying to adapt it to today’s society, with emphasis on the basic function of the educational system is to train the young-student, adult worker, as conceived in its origin and as it has developed throughout the TWENTIETH century. This is to give the sufficient importance, and to reflect on a physical space as important as the school, where they are found and coexist both native and digital immigrants[iii], two completely different ways of conceiving reality.

La educación en la Sociedad de la Información

Education outdated

The Society of Information and Knowledge is based on the intensive use of ICT where information is managed as a raw material for the economy with the aim of producing knowledge. It is based on innovation and creativity, the ability to interact through the mental abilities with flows of information, understand them and descodificarlos. Education no longer can be based on a model industrialized, mass production of objects is giving way to a Society based on the intangible, services, and information, where the prevailing ideas and where innovation and productivity represent the economic engine. A master class where the teacher explains the lesson and students asked was a valid model throughout the TWENTIETH century because it corresponded with the cultural environment and the productive process of the Industrial Society. You no longer need a classroom or a teacher to transfer knowledge, I do not mean that you have to delete this representation of the teaching, but since it is no longer essential as it was before because currently available platforms and environments wiki much more efficient to be carried out. Disappear the borders of space-time with these new educational environments digital, because the distance is eliminated with an Internet connection at the same time that it allows for asynchronous communication. Computers and Internet access already meet this function, so there’s that train students in all these skills and competencies, which computers are unable to provide, how to stimulate critical thinking, the capacity for attention, cooperation and participation, being the teacher responsible for the selection of a good educational course for which the student should develop their learning. There is a speech arson and technophobe not informed against to integrate ICT in the education system as it puts in danger the intellectual skills and the ability to argue or reason of the students. Following this logic, for students of mathematics a calculator should represent a device with negative connotations in place of an artifact facilitator of their tasks, as it replaced their mental capabilities to perform mathematical operations. It sounds ridiculous right?.ICTS are an opportunity to address activities where the learner constructs his own learning process, which establishes a framework of cooperation and not competitiveness among the students. Skills are shared, building a community of learning through the collective Intelligence[iv] and a collaborative construction made possible by the effect of a structure on the Network. The teacher must be able to motivate and extract the maximum skills of the students, be a guide, someone to filter the amount of information that is available to the students. Known as ‘infoxication’ the overdose of information that circulates on the network and that is within our reach can get to getting tired to be intractable, reducing in this way our conditions to find the desired information[v]. This massive access and instant information reduces our attention and analysis capabilities, still need a filter –they may well embody the figure of the teacher – that select the data according to the validity of the source, adequacy, etc, The education system of Finland, a pioneer country in education as demonstrated by the PISA reports year after year, does not conceive of the master classes without a continuous interaction of the students, the focus is not on results but on the process of learning in itself, since this same process of learning is the result you want to achieve, giving much more importance to the form than with the content. One of the characteristics of the Information Society is the same obsolescence of the information, generates knowledge exponentially, at a rate never seen before, making the knowledge that are valid today are out of date in a matter of a short time. The amount of new technical information is doubling every two years[vi]. In technical careers, 4 years old, which is delivered in the first year will be outdated by the third year of the race. The 10 jobs most in demand in 2010 did not exist in 2004, as the skills required to work in the Information Society are changing in leaps and bounds and evolved into a society based on services[vii]. An education based on content and not encourage the participation of the student to learn in a manner autonomous and independent is an education destined to fail. The teacher does not have to disappear as an institutional figure, he has to take on a new role, much more attractive and challenging, which is to accompany and guide the student in self-learning.

Education should benefit from the emergence of new technologies to be able to give a new dimension to the teaching as we understood before the advent of these Web 2.0 tools. Occurs a time lag between a master class traditional and cyberspace as an environment of collaborative learning and ongoing, where they generate content at the same time that they share. In an educational environment, where it stimulates experimentation and creativity to the detriment of the memorization of content, where you learn by doing, sharing, and seeking out resources and then share them. An educational environment aligned with the demands that is generating the information Society. Whether we like it or not, the education system is designed and configured to direct students towards the labour market, an idea that can be discussed but one which is constitutive of the educational system.


[i] Is the incorporation of open source software in an educational environment that is based on discussion forums, wiki, calendar, messaging, spaces, shipping activities, tests, type test, etc, This alternative is complementary to the physical learning formally in the classroom, helps to develop activities of the subjects in a collective manner.

[ii] Willis, P. (1986) “cultural Production and theories of reproduction” to Fernández Enguita, M (comp.) Sociology of education. Basic texts. Barcelona, Ariel

[iii] digital natives have been born in technological environments by mastering these devices so it is natural to study or work in a digitised system where coexist different formats, languages and codes. The digital immigrants, have had to integrate this process intentionally in order to adapt to the society in which they live.

[iv] Lévy, Pierre. 2004. Collective intelligence, for an anthropology of cyberspace. Organization

Pan american Health (Unit for the Promotion and Development of the Research and the

Latin american and Caribbean center of Information in Health Sciences.Washington

[v] (Cornella, 2002)

[vi][vi] Moore’s Law





TAGS: Sociology,Information Society,Ict,Education,Sociology of Education



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