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Disambiguating “online” education: language, mediation and learning

Two years ago, public schooling was moved “online” overnight in response to the onset of a global pandemic that has kept populations in varied states of social isolation for nearly two years. In Ontario, face-to-face classroom protocols, heavy on industrial era assembly-line batch processing and standardized testing models were transplanted to digital platforms, exposing out-of-touch educational policy frames.

While over the past 30 years, business, government, social life and cultural events have migrated to digital milieux, incubating new discourse sites, cultures and conventions in the process, the complex institution of education has doggedly skewed to standards and norms from a bygone era that is now politically and economically inscribed on society. This raises the question, “Why do we educate?” and forces us to consider that we educate learners, irrefutably, for the future, not for the past. In this talk, Lotherington elucidates changes in language and literacy co-evolving with digital media, and presents examples of novel production-oriented digital pedagogies in explanation of why uncritically censoring digital learning is a disservice to educational progress and learner success.

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Heather Lotherington