Education and Brexit

From the day of the Brexit poll

I have been a professor of education for 21 years. Like a lot of people in my line of work, I’m committed to the eradication of ignorance and I’m becoming more optimistic about us finding a cure for stupidity. In fact, I’m hoping that 2016 will be the year of ‘peak stupid’ – the year when the tide finally turns.

We have made a significant contribution in Australia. Tony Abbott is no longer our prime minister. Canada has picked Trudeau. Now the baton is with the Brits – you have just a few more hours to get out to the polls and vote to stay in the EU. The ‘leave’ campaign has played to the lowest of human instincts. It’s the day to tell Gove, Farage and Johnson that their time is over.

Next month, we’ll see if Australian Labor can replace the Coalition and clear the way for serious, long overdue, work on inequality and climate change.

And then … it’s back to America for the big one.

Abbot, Gove, Farage, Johnson, Joyce, Bernadi, Christensen, Brandis – and Trump.

Stupidity is expensive, it’s unsustainable and it’s so last year.

After the poll closed

Watching the BBC live map of Brexit votes on Friday, I saw that the last result had come in from Scotland: every constituency had voted ‘Remain’. That’s a country that takes Education seriously.


More recently, The Guardian has published some correlations between demographic variables and Leave/Remain votes – the single strongest correlate for ‘Remain’ votes is with the % of residents who have a university degree.


Source: Guardian

Activity centred analysis and design in the evolution of learning networks

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A talk at the 10th International Conference on Networked Learning at Lancaster University in the UK (May 2016).


This paper provides an overview of, and rationale for, an approach to analysing complex learning networks. The approach involves a strong commitment to providing knowledge which is useful for design and it gives a prime place to the activity of those involved in networked learning. Hence the framework that we are offering is known as “Activity Centred Analysis and Design” or ACAD for short. We have used the ACAD framework in the analysis of 20 or so learning networks. These networks have varied in purpose, scale and complexity and the experience we have gained in trying to understand how these networks function has helped us improve the ACAD framework. This paper shares some of the outcomes of that experience and describes some significant new refinements to how we understand the framework. While the framework is able to deal with a very wide range of learning situations, in this paper we look more closely at some issues which are of particular importance in networked learning. For example, we discuss the distributed nature of design in networked learning – acknowledging the fact that learning networks are almost invariably co-configured by everyone who participates in them, and that this aspect of participation is often explicitly valued and encouraged. We see participation in (re)design as a challenging activity: one that benefits from some structured methods and ways of representing and unpicking the tangles of tasks, activities, tools, places and people

Here’s a pdf of the paper, which is also freely available online as part of the conference proceedings. Cite as: Goodyear, P., & Carvalho, L. (2016). Activity centred analysis and design in the evolution of learning networks. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Networked Learning, Edited by: Cranmer S, Dohn NB, de Laat M, Ryberg T & Sime, JA. Pp218-225. (ISBN 978-1-86220-324-2)

And a copy of the slides, though not all were used in the presentation.