53: The Educational Philosophy of Watters and Belshaw #LifeWideLearning16

53: The Educational Philosophy of Watters and Belshaw #LifeWideLearning16

I do not often reach for Dewey or Vygotsky when I am trying to sort out a particularly thorny educational issue. I don’t even seek out living theorists like Papert or Chomsky all that much, even though I tend to agree with much of what they say. Rather, I find that the most important educational philosophers of the moment are two people that are rewriting what educational philosophy can do and be: Watters and Belshaw.

I find their writing, in consort with one another, to be the most powerful form of critique and inquiry imaginable. From Watters’ analysis of how we continue to talk about the future without looking backward to see what the future has meant to us in the past. To Belshaw’s deep thinking on how we honor one another’s learning and build it into every informal act we make both inside and outside of schools.

They are philosophers in the best sense of the word: they offer a distinct viewpoint on learning that sets them apart from many of those around them. Although they are part of a broader blogging and academic community, they are not of it. They are both reaching further and creating more. And it is in this act of creation that I am most inspired.

Audrey’s foray into ensuring that everyone has a distributed writing platform amazes me continually. As I continue to seek out new ways of expressing myself, I know that she has done much of groundwork for keeping those ways open and connected.

Doug’s use of open tools and his insistence that everyone has access to create new things makes me want to work harder to do the same. He is unafraid to go below the surface when a company has “open-washed” their product. He inspires me to think critically about the tools that I choose to endorse by using them every day.

These are the two voices that are speaking loudest for me right now. They speak for many of us, actually. They are telling the history of what is happening right now. They are telling our story, with all of its rough edges and pitfalls. They are making the art of educational philosophy about the craft of building digital and modern learning. They are not just looking at the shiny tools or the academic research, they are painting the picture of what it means to be learner.

I feel a part of something when I read their work. I feel like we are moving forward, methodically and carefully, but ever forward.

Thank you, Audrey.

Thank you, Doug.


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