It is the beginning of the Third Millennium (Heppell, 2008). The time has passed for the World of Learning to move on. The bonds of conformity and knowledge acquisition fundamental to the Industrial Model of Education must be broken. There is no place for conformity. It is the antithesis of the qualities society is seeking to ensure a prosperous future.
Creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and communication are prized skills in this millennium (see Figure 1 General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum). Co-operation, autonomy and diversity among individuals are desirable traits of a Third Millennium Community not the collaboration or cohesion required of an Industrial Age community (Downes, 2012).
The affordances of a Digital World, the consequent press of information, technologically savvy and connected youth cannot continue to be denied and bound by moribund educational institutions.
The World is becoming a place of niche individuals who are makers, creators, designers, writers, actors, marketers, programmers, players and more. The digitally aware and connected believe they can make a difference. They engage in a world they determine, fantasy or real. They are active as individuals through social media. They have the capacity to muster a crowd, reveal an indiscretion or, a bit of fun, in an instant.
The young people of this world do not find being told what to do, learn and think by an anachronistic institution, such as a school, interesting, engaging or motivating. Especially when access to the wonders of the World and beyond is just a button away.
Lev Vygotsky - Theory of Constructivism
The three theories anchoring learning as educational establishments and educators are pulled and pushed into the Third Millennium are: Constructivism, Constructionism and Connectivism.
These theories have in common the tenet: passive transfer of knowledge from teacher to learner is not relevant. Learning is an active process with the product being the learner focusing on being creative, making and developing ideas relevant to his/her own world and reflecting upon his/her productivity in an authentic, relevant, information rich, digitally connected learning environment.