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Creating the university for the future? Digital technologies, an open laboratory and creative learning spaces

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Creating the university for the future? Digital technologies, an open laboratory and creative learning spacesKlaus Thestrup and Sarah Robinson, Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media, Aarhus University, DenmarkOver the last few decades the university has developed from an institution that produces commodifiable educational products to a corporate park, where academics are lured to sell their academic expertise, to a being a site that promotes national interests in the form of the knowledge economy (Shumar, 1997). However even the present understanding of knowledge economies is contested and the university comes once again under fire to become more creative and innovative, to produce students who are more creative and innovative for a society that faces some serious global problems (Peters, Marginson & Murphy, 2008). With the increase in diverse forms of digital technologies and learning management systems, the university faces challenges, not only at the philosophical level; what its role is, but also at the practical level; how it can meet these varied demands and equip students for jobs and careers for a future that is unpredictable. Our interest in this paper is on the practical level. We ask how can institutions establish structures and strategies that lead to supportive practices to nurture students who will be activists in their own lives and can contribute to societal change? We regard such students as being entrepreneurial. In this paper we present the ‘open laboratory’ to establish experimentation, exploration and reflection and support the notion that learning spaces can be anywhere, anytime and take many forms (Gauntlett 2015, Gauntlett & Stjerne Thomsen 2013). There is not a ‘one size fits all’ recipe for establishing ‘open laboratories’ as learning in this way is context dependent. This means that the local context influences what can be achieved, how it is achieved and who it is achieved with. Drawing on data from an ICT-based Educational Design course with Masters’ students we give examples of educational practices that foster and nurture an entrepreneurial mindset and demonstrate how the students achieve not only a different understanding of themselves as professionals but also how they develop their own skills collaboratively and co-create value for others (Robinson & Thestrup 2016). We suggest that establishing these practices in the meeting between students/instructors requires both the students and instructors to re-evaluate their own roles and identities. Not only do they have to question their own and other’s positioning but the physical environment in which learning takes places also shifts. If these practices can become embedded in institutions there is a real chance that they may be able to nurture a new generation of students who are entrepreneurial activists in their own lives and equipped to co-create a better society. Gauntlet. D. (2015). Making Media Studies: Digital FormationsGauntlett, D. & Stjerne Thomsen, B. (2013). Cultures of Creativity: LEGO Foundation, accessed on 12.02.2016 at http://www.legofoundation.com/en-us/research-and-learning/foundation-research/cultures-creativityPeters, M., Marginson, S. & Murphy, P. (2008) Creativity and the global knowledge economy Peter Lang Publishing New YorkRobinson, S. & Thestrup, K. (forthcoming) Towards and entrepreneurial mindset: Empowering learners in an open laboratory. Papadopoulos, P. & Meizner, A. (eds.) In Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Education, Emerald Advances in Digital Education and Lifelong Learning SeriesShumar, W. (1997) College for sale; A critique of the commodification of Higher Education Routledge Falmer Oxo
Udgivelsesår19 aug. 2016
Antal sider2
StatusUdgivet - 19 aug. 2016
BegivenhedCreative Universities Conference - Aalborg Universitet, Aalborg, Danmark
Varighed: 18 aug. 201619 aug. 2016


KonferenceCreative Universities Conference
LokationAalborg Universitet


  • creative university, creative learning spaces

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