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UFS hosts colloquium on technological higher education
2016-10-27

Description: Technology colloquium Tags: Technology colloquium

Prof Lew Zipin, Prof Sechaba Mahlomaholo,
Prof Marie Brennan and Dr Milton Nkoane,
attended the Faculty of Education’s colloquium
on the field of technological higher education
and its contribution to the knowledge society,
at the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. 

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Faculty of Education, in collaboration with the Research and Development Unit from the Central University of Technology (CUT), hosted a colloquium on the field of technological higher education and its contribution to the knowledge society. Prof Marie Brennan and Prof Lew Zipin, both from Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, presented the keynote addresses of the colloquium.

The past, present and future
The current fees protests in South Africa have caused universities to rethink and strategise new ways of delivering knowledge. Prof Brennan cautioned that when moving towards technological solutions for teaching, a crucial balance between past knowledge and practices and present and future knowledge and practices needed to be maintained.
“Knowledge is always dynamic, always generated from live problems, and therefore always relies on social interactions. Face-to-face interaction is removed by intense interaction with technology. If knowledge is presently linked to technology, we as academics must be able to move it. However, we should not neglect the indigenous knowledge that was generated through face-to-face interaction,” said Prof Brennan.
She purported that a reconnection between social relations and technology was important but to achieve this, a clearer pedagogical understanding of knowledge production was needed.

Never simplify complex problems

Prof Zipin said academics were constantly seeking complex problems and therefore could not reduce the complexity of a problem to simplify it for students entering the higher education space.
“We need to become a knowledge society. Ideologies often sway us not to look at the complexities of knowledge otherwise these ideologies would not be persuasive,” said Prof Zipin.

Is the technological move counterproductive?
Prof Zipin also cautioned that the move towards technological means for transferring knowledge had its own drawbacks. Institutions are a knowledge economy and its product is human capital. However, producing graduates who catered only to a technological society created downward mobility.
“People’s jobs are replaced by technology. This causes wages to decrease significantly because of structural inequalities, the move towards tech-based schooling should be done cautiously,” said Prof Zipin.

Simplicity not the ultimate sophistication
Prof Zipin concluded by stating that higher education had a responsibility to give its students the best possible future, this could be done by creating hegemonic relationships between institutions of higher learning, government and the private sector. Academics needed to fill the gap and apply their knowledge by applying complexity to social issues and allowing the complexity of these issues to flourish, the professor said.

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