Subject: Social Sciences, Education Studies Keywords: education; skills development; online distance learning; credentials; open badges; blockchain; sustainable livelihoods; sustainable mountain development; traditional knowledge; culture; Kyrgyzstan; Central Asia
Online: 27 March 2020 (03:07:11 CET)
Mountain and pastoralist societies around the world have for centuries sustained their livelihoods and cultures by accumulating specialist knowledge about their local and regional socio-ecological environments. Developing traditional knowledge and customary practices takes time, sometimes spanning across generations. As macro-level changes to social and natural environment are now taking place, such as globalization and climate change, local communities could potentially also benefit from complementary, suitably adapted educational opportunities for sustainable development. However, access to education has often required moving to urban centres, which can weaken community structures and cohesion, and could also foster increased dependence on external specialists, providers or decision-makers. Careful introduction of emerging Educational Technologies could alleviate and possibly reverse such trends as mobile Internet access spreads to remote areas. This paper examines the role of education in sustainable development and specifically explores the potential for two educational innovations, open badges and blockchain, to provide a new construct for transformation in sustainable development amongst mountain and pastoralist societies. These technologies could not only facilitate education through online distance learning, but also allow geographically remote populations to highlight the value of their traditional knowledge and to engage more comprehensively in their changing worlds.