A few months ago, I wrote a blog post entitled 'Learning as dialogue' which was essentially about how students can learn through conversation and by discussing their ideas with each other. This theme is echoed in my new book Learning with 'e's which was published this week. An extract from the book relates one of my own student experiences:

"The teachers who have inspired me most are those who have been accessible rather than remote, personable instead of stand-offish, and knowledgeable without being arrogant. Most importantly, they conversed with me rather than lectured. One of the lecturers in the first year of my undergraduate degree inspired me to learn more and to push myself to my limits to become more knowledgeable in my subject area.

What happens when you remove restraints from learning, and allow students to discover for themselves? What happens when students are given problems to solve rather than solutions to apply? What happens when students are given blank canvases, digital cameras, an open space? Often, the result is some form of creativity. Time and again I have heard stories from teachers of extraordinary things students have created because they have been given freedom to do so.

What will educators do in the future? How will they work with students in the coming years? Will the role of the classroom teacher change? Certainly, people's perceptions of education seem to be changing. Some experts are predicting that the time of the traditional classroom is coming to an end. They suggest that the future of education will see learning located in any place, with technology mediating all forms of communication.

I started blogging back in 2007 to capture my thoughts and make them more concrete. When I began to share them publicly, I opened up my ideas for others to consider and comment on. I have learnt a lot from doing so, and I encourage all my students to do the same now. It's a case of 'now go and blog about this', to encourage them to reflect on what they have learnt before they articulate it.

Commonly, the New Year is a time when we think of renewal, look forward to the future and anticipate what might be on the horizon. It's often 'out with the old and in with the new.' What might we expect in the world of education this new year? Globally, there is the potential for a great deal of change. There is also a lot of inertia. The two are incompatible. Somewhere in the middle of this tension sits the student, who is there to learn, despite sometimes being a political pawn in the game.

More and more teachers are beginning to realise that creating environments and possibilities where students make things is a very powerful pedagogy. Students learn a number of skills and draw on a variety of subjects when they design and create objects. Teaching takes a back seat and product based education is sidelined in favour of process based learning.

I thought it was about time that I published a new book. It's been about five or six years since my last volumes were out on display in the book stores. But what to write? I had been thinking for a while about the potential to create a book based on some of my more substantive blog posts, and so it was a serendipitous moment when I was approached by a publisher after one of my keynotes earlier this year.

In my last post I asked if there were any unGoogleable questions. This was not actually a question about search engines or the power of the Internet. It was a question about the fundamental nature of knowledge. I was interested in exploring how we learn in the digital age and specifically, the constantly shifting nature of knowledge.

My focus turned to what we don't yet know, and how we discover what we need to know, by asking the right questions (I expand on this theme in this post).