The Boundaries Observatory ambition is to raise the profile of education as an opportunity for society to learn about itself. What happens in school happens between human beings who (apart from being younger) are little different from everyone else in society. When technologies are implemented around them, when they engage in internet services, and speak of their understandings of these they are telling us something about the world. Current work on the relation between society and education considers innovative pedagogies and methodologies including Action-Research and Inquiry-Based learning (Whitehead, 2006) and Service Learning (Berger and Kaye, 2010).
The connection between educational activities and activities in broader society will help to stimulate these developments by creating new opportunities for inquiry, and richer ways of relating learning to social action. For example, since all engagement with the Observatory is an experiment, a learner in school may investigate their own experiences with accessing the Observatory learning resources, document them and then find ways of explaining them. Similarly, a business employee or public service worker may engage with a Boundaries Observatory activity discovering new theoretical explanations for problems that face them which help them to address those problems.
In supporting these connections, the Boundaries Observatory will present opportunities for academics and non-academics to deepen their inquiries, collecting evidence and theory to support work for higher learning (for example, PhD). For PhD students, this will serve to participate in the community in ways that meet their needs, whilst for non-academics, it presents the opportunity for accreditable work-oriented Inquiry-based learning.