Hi, everyone! This is Lian, now recently M2. It's been long since I last wrote for the blog. Summer "break" has been terribly busy and incredibly fast. I had been jumping from one corner of the world and experienced this season in multiple countries. To describe it hectic would be an understatement, yet I probably would not have wished it have it any other way. Ah, per aspera ad astra.
This time the theme for the blog is to introduce a book. But what book might I possibly introduce that is of valiant relevance to the laboratory? I have not been reading much Education Technology books in the break as I should have, aside from existentialism, Sickness unto Death, among others. Alas, I could think of one good book I have read through and through, from my spring term. It is Globalization of Education: An Introduction by Joel Spring (2009). I thought it a good book in the face of emerging trends and globalization, also especially interesting to discuss because of various points that could be easily countered.
[1-2] The book begins with the Knowledge Economy Theory, or more often referred to as the Human Capital Theory, and how it is used in global education policy making. Criticism faced by the Education for Knowledge Economy movement is that job availability is not congruent to the graduating demographic. This is further exemplified by the trend of lowering the funding for liberal arts education in lieu of STEM fields. There is still however a huge demand for technology-related jobs that is emanating in developed countries. One of the necessary skills in the industry today, for example, is programming which has a low human resource output. There is an influx of nurses, English graduates, chemical engineers, astronomers, etc. being outsourced by IT firms which questions the mismatch of interests and demand.
[3-5] The increased trend in globalization of education brought forth the dominance of the English as a medium of instruction. Chapter 4 discusses this, along with examples of marketing knowledge in higher education institutions. Spring points out that, English-speaking countries are at an advantage due to their relative attractiveness to international student prospects. Truthfully so, other countries follow suit with their brand name universities offering English programs, such as the program I am taking at the University of Tokyo. To gain admission to this program, it is required to submit scores from standardized tests offered by ETS namely GRE and TOEFL; both of which had also been pointed out to contribute in the standardization of education worldwide.
A fascinating proposition raised in this chapter is the notion of a "Global University", wherein the ideal set-up is a combination of a number of internationally acclaimed faculty not limited to one university. This could be done in a mixture of virtual, campus movement, or whatnot. This vision is slowly being realized through e-learning media such Coursera, edX, and the like. There are also a number of institutions offering cross-campus instruction and double (or any extent of multiple) degree programs. HEIs are also in the trend of forming coalitions for research collaboration and global exchange. One such affiliation is with the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), in which summer exchange and internships within member institutions are offered annually.
In contrast to the world theorist's common global model of education, culturalists argue that there is instead a flow of borrowing and lending of educational ideas; these said ideas are not copied as is and are subject to adaptation due to local conditions. The book further states, "To validate or criticize a school policy, local actors might refer to an imaginary global community such as international standards." (p. 121)
In this brief overview I covered what I believed to be the important points of globalization and education. Although Yamauchi lab members have very specialized interests that cover very specific technological and pedagogical techniques outside the realm of the globalizing trend, I would still very much recommend the book. It provides examples for interesting topics that differentiate the Western dominating culture and "Oriental" methods, which could give to explain the origins of present practices and forthcoming trends.
Lian Sabella Castillo