Teaching philosophy in digital age

17 Dec 2017 15:00h - 16:00h

Event report

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In this session, Roshan Pokharel, Policy Director, Centre for Law and Technology, Kathmandu, Nepal, gave an overview of the curriculum and methodology of his course ‘Philosophy in a Digital Age’, which is a mandatory class for students of the business school.

Starting with the wider context, he outlined that there is a considerable gap in capacities between developed and developing countries when it comes to teaching at University level. Nepal is no exception and resources for teaching are limited. However, in this context he argued that this is precisely why debate about the inclusion of new topics and new teaching methodologies is crucial.

Pokharel suggested that new technology does change the philosophy and methodology of teaching. This might even impact the process of knowledge formation and perhaps the very concept of knowledge. He argued that educators need to adapt to this impact of technology by changing their curricula and teaching methodologies accordingly.

Pokharel’s course starts by asking basic questions about philosophy such as, ‘How should we live?’ and applies them to the digital age. By going through the reading materials he selected for his course, he highlighted three core principles of his approach: reacting to the accelerated rate of technological change in adapting curricula with relevant topics; teaching the Western classics of philosophy; and bringing in aspects of Eastern philosophy.

Pokharel explained that he is driven by the conviction that everyone is already a philosopher and that it is crucial to bring this out in the classroom. Students are encouraged to share their ideas and concepts beyond discussion of the required reading, and to relate the reading to their personal experiences with technology.

He also highlighted that he thinks we are in a unique situation in which current teachers are digital immigrants, whereas their students are digital natives. As a result there could be a gap between these groups that is not easy to bridge. Education needs to reflect this, and the teaching of philosophy can make a substantial contribution.

By Katharina E Höne