Young people and adults 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, interests and identities of participants, and prepare them to respond flexibly, ethically and imaginatively to contemporary and future contexts. This involves pedagogies and research that situate teachers, academics and learners as knowledge producers, and support a transformative, rather than reproductive agenda. Pedagogy and innovative learning environments are the core work of education and the fundamental focus of knowledge work and knowledge workers.
Learners of all ages are part of a broader network of partnerships and communities, within which they are active and creative in many ways. Researching, teaching, learning and education understood broadly 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. Partnerships across institutions and between disciplines have much to offer in terms of both knowledge work and academic research. CREFI 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 transformative 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 understood variously. 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 outcomes 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.
The major challenge across all education sectors, therefore, is to prepare learners of all ages for complex and uncertain futures. The Centre for Research In Educational Futures and Innovation is distinctive in its commitment to theoretically informed and practice-oriented research that informs educational policy and professional practice.
Our focus is on: