Somewhere between a fork and a spin-off, the notebook Expanded Education – The English Edition compiles a series of materials that revolve around the notion of expanded education and are related to the book that Doc Next Network hub partner ZEMOS98 published on the subject.
Education has always been one of the core themes of the ZEMOS98 project. Not just any old education, but the kind of education that is inseparably bound up with communication and that connects to and networks with other concepts such as audio-visuals, art and experimentation. Education as an element of on-going personal growth, that is not limited to one particular stage of life. Education as play, a way of unravelling the media theatre. Education as an open source operating system that turns us into critical citizens. Education as a game played by all individuals, from all eras. Education as a utopia for a culture-sharing society. When we talk about expanded education, we are not talking about a new concept or something that has just popped out of the blue.
Some of the contributors to this very book have been talking about expanded educational practices under different names for a long time now, and if we trace its genealogy – the history of the discipline known as ‘media literacy’ as well as other contemporary practices, projects and concepts (media education, edupunk, invisible learning, p2pedagogy, etc.) – we can see ‘expanded education’ as simply an umbrella term for “educational practices, ideas or methodologies that are ‘out of place.’” But even so, it remains a paradoxical term. As a concept, ‘expanded education’ may well be doomed from the start, because: what are the limits of expanded education?
In software engineering, a project fork happens when developers take a copy of source code from one software package and start independent development on it, creating a distinct piece of software. The term often implies not merely a developmental branch, but a split in the developer community, a form of schism.
In media, a spin-off is a radio program, television program, video game, or any narrative work, derived from one or more already existing works, that focuses, in particular, in more detail on one aspect of that original work (e.g. a particular topic, character, or event). A spin-off may be called a sidequel when it exists in the same chronological frame of time as its predecessor work. (Wikipedia)
If it has limits… wouldn’t it then cease to be ‘expanded’? It may be nothing more than a catchy, evocative term, but the essential thing remains: expanded education is about transforming society, re-thinking relational systems, questioning mass communication paradigms, and constantly experimenting with formats and methodologies for training and education. At the same time, if the term does catch on and its usage continues to grow as much as it has over the past two years, we should make one thing clear from the start: it is common property. ‘Expanded Education’ invokes an idea, and every organisation, individual or collective can activate or deactivate it as they see fit. In any case, it will be necessary to make a distinction between those who use it with political and/or critical intent, and those who use it as a marketing strategy to attract ‘new audiences’.
ZEMOS is part of Doc Next Network
This project – translating and reissuing an existing book in English – emerged in response to the work that we have been engaged in for two years now as part of the Doc Next Network. It is also a contribution to our work within the network, and we hope that it will be a springboard from which to continue to imagine new educational and training processes that allow us to invent and adopt practices from the informal world and take them into the formal sphere, and vice versa.