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December 10, 2007

Blogging Nobel Public Services Innovation Summit (8)

Educational Technologist, Alan November combined humor, story telling, and illustration to make a provocative assessment of the fundamental challenges facing teachers, learners, and those charged with curriculum development.

In my presentation yesterday, I attempted to outline examples of new possibilities for learning enabled by advanced, next generation technologies. My Learning 2.0 presentation was informed by an abridged version of Chickering and Gamson's framework for effective learning. My focus was on

# encouraging co-production of knowledge through contact between students and faculty,
# developing reciprocity and cooperation among students through peer learning and co-production and knowledge creation opportunities,
# structuring curriculum and technology to enable active learning,
# providing prompt feedback,
# using rich media to emphasize the requisite for learning through 'time on task,'
# and finally communicating that having personal high expectations for each learner is a compelling part of participating in journey of learning.

Alan's insights helped to amplify and extend the efforts underway at Case Western Reserve University. Alan's framework is parsimonious and elegant. The implications for his framework are far-reaching. While most models of education were and remain premised on a 'scarcity of knowledge' model (my words, not Alan's), the reality is that learning how to navigate, manage, and critically assess the massive amounts of information is the new literacy requirement for the Internet age. The goal of teacher/faculty instruction on 'how' to use the technology is banal and a minimalist goal (although still a non-trivial task). The real challenge of how to transform our curriculum so as to be able to leverage the positive and powerful contribution of IT to engage learners is the new challenge.

Second, after making sense of the massive amounts of information the second key pre-requisite is focusing on creating capacity to support community building that blends face-to-face and online experiences. As Harvard Dean of Education, Kathleen McCartney noted earlier in the day in her presentation, preparing students for skills in an interconnected global world represents a significant re-invention of the teaching profession. Alan has a portfolio of open and/or free tools that he has culled and assembled to support the objective of creating learning communities. These communities are informed by commitments to making students engaged from day one in being globally aware through podcasting, being charged with the responsibility of co-creating knowledge through tagging, and by making students co-producers of tutoring materials as a form of learning and presentation (through camtasia technologies).

November maintains, and I agree with his assessment that if students emerge through their journey of education into lifelong learners with facilities to make sense of information overload and community of supports and affinity, they graduate as self-directed learners (citizens) which is the last of the three key qualities that he outlined in his presentation.

As I've tried to synthesize several of the presentations in areas of interest to me (and readers of Lev Bytes), among many challenges facing us is supporting the constructing of a scalable and flexible, agile framework for universities such as ours that moves from the celebration of individual passion and commitment to learning to a more comprehensive offering that supports 'rising all boats' while balancing other priorities and values of our research university environment.

Lev Gonick
Stockholm, December 10, 2007

Posted by lsg8 at December 10, 2007 07:43 AM and tagged

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