Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation
Our vision is to build the preeminent centre for educational research in the Asia Pacific region. It will be distinctive in its commitment to theoretically informed and practice oriented research that informs educational policy and practice. The Centre will be known not only for the excellence of its research but also its philosophical direction that acknowledges the necessary links between knowledge production, social change, and equitable learning outcomes.
The major challenge across all education sectors is to prepare learners of all ages for complex and uncertain futures. The Centre's programs share a common purpose, which is to investigate and provide innovative research and policy in national priorty areas. Its research aims to promote social inclusion and professional learning, as well as to inform workforce planning in order to develop world-class education systems. The Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation will develop national and international collaborative research networks and partnerships around three interrelated programs of research.
- Building new knowledge about how best to educate diverse young and adult learners for the future
- Responding effectively to wide-ranging social, economic and technological changes of the 21st century
- Locating innovative educational practices and management
- Conceptualising new and innovative frameworks for understanding social and educational worlds
- Questioning the purpose of education, training and lifelong learning
- Challenging the relationship between knowledge, social change and possible/multiple futures
- Advancing theoretical understandings of social change and educational innovation in the present
In order to address the complex set of factors that shape educational futures, the Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation will extend its holistic approach to research by bringing together scholars with expertise in a range of core areas to formulate fundamentally interdisciplinary research projects. The core members of the Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation have international reputations, a track record of attracting external research grants and an established ability to create partnerships with industry. The Centre offers them the opportunity to work together in more systemic and sustained ways.
This inter-disciplinarity is a unique feature of the Centre. Few other educational research centres take such an approach, tending to focus on one or two particular areas (eg maths and science; or literacy and technology). But just as the well-being of a patient with heart disease is improved if they have access to professionals with a range of expertise doctors, nurses, dieticians, physiotherapists, counsellors and so on—so, too, do students and teachers experimenting with new approaches (and hence risk) benefit most from educational innovations that are able to bring together teams of experts with complementary research strengths.
The Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation is in a particularly strong position to pursue this interdisciplinary approach because it already has members with internationally recognised expertise in working on educational lighthouse projects that cut across traditional discipline boundaries.
The Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation has developed a structure that encourages and supports research in establishing, consolidating and emerging areas.
Our interdisciplinary themes are:
The Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation has identified three core commitments:
- To conduct internationally significant research that will enable educators of today to transform educational pedagogies and environments
- To provide educators with research that supports and encourages developing partnerships and learning networks
- To conduct the above research foci with the underlying and continuing contexts of equity and social justice
Young people today live in a globalised, digital environment, in a rapidly changing world. Forms of learning, communication, pedagogy and relationships are shaped and coloured by contexts, cultures and the networked world. Learning contexts both in and out of schools need to take account of the needs of learners and the ‘changed communication landscape’ of the present day (Kress 2000). Educational practices need to be strongly grounded in the needs, intrest and identities of participants, young or old, and prepare them to respond felxibly and imaginatively to contemporary and future contexts. This involves pedagogies that situate teachers and learners as knowledge producers, and support a transformative, rather than reproductive agenda. Pedagogy and learning environments are the ‘business’ of education and the fundamental focus of knowledge work and knowledge workers. Whether this takes place in schools, communities, institutions or workplaces, education needs to recognise and address the changing needs and purposes of learners, young and old. It is critical that educational research continues to push the boundaries of innovation within these areas and to re-imagine possible futures within the field. Transformation is required to take into account the nature of lifelong learning and the needs of society in present and futures times. Research agendas in EFI include but look beyond the limits of formal education to include also broader social, academic, industrial, creative connections and possibilities.
Young people and learners of all ages are part of a broader network of partnerships and communities, within which they are active and creative in many ways. While schools are a central element in formal education, learning and education occur in a wide range of formal and informal contexts and institutions. Learning happens on a variety of stages and both learners and educators can benefit from being aware of the dynamics and possibilities of moving between a wide range of educational platforms. Knowledge is not only disciplinary but also interdisciplinary. Partnerships across institutions and between disciplines have much to offer in terms of both knowledge work and academic research. EFI research explores possibilities and partnerships to facilitate learning in many contexts through the cooperative ventures of related bodies. It seeks to create a body of research and ways of operating that enable knowledge workers and learners to access the best insights and resources made available through partnerships and learning networks and to thereby transform practice and opportunities in productive ways. EFI is committed to research that opens up collaborative and synergistic partnerships between education systems, industry and community organisations, and across disciplines and interests. We continue to engage with and pursue global networks of researchers and educators, acknowledging the generative implications and possibilities of a perspective that is both local and global.
The key goal of this transformational education agenda is to ensure that all citizens are equally prepared to participate actively and positively in the society they are a part of. Education must be seen as relevant and engaging to ensure retention and success. It must also reflect the changing nature and diversity of society. The radically and rapidly changing technological and geographical environments in which this society seeks to live and work impacts upon the nature of, access to and delivery of education. Accessibility and portability of knowledge and skills is fundamental to making the transition between education and work, workplace and workplace and, home and community. Education must equip young and older people alike to be thoughtful and critical members in society, to live fulfilling lives and to be active contributors to the solution of major problems facing the world today. Principles of equity and social justice are fundamental to EFI research. EFI research focusing on youth in a variety of social setting, communities in conflict, youth at risk, and rural and regional education, acknowledges the diverse cultural and social constraints and resources that impact on learning and situate educational interventions as powerful tools that transform lives.
Taken together, all of the contextual challenges outlined above leave us with one, overarching, but multi-dimensional research question:
How can educators develop in their students, themselves and their learning environments, capacities that will allow them to (re)conceptualise, (re)imagine and (re)design for a range of possible futures?