Thursday, August 07, 2008

Good Will Bonking :)


The following are a few notes from the recent interview that Will Richardson conducted with Curtis Bonk. It’s about an hour long and the audio is a bit of a struggle initially but it does improve in the second half.

Curt has just released a new book called Empowering online learning The interview touches on issues raised in the book but is not about the book.

CB: George Siemens' Theory of Connectivism is more a description of what’s happening rather than a theory.

WR: How does knowledge construction change in online communities?

CB: Learning is more informal than formal. People share stories

WR/CB: Books like Seymour Papert’s Mind-Storms (published 1993) feel like they were written today! It has taken this long for ideas of people like Papert to gain respectability and currency. Technology has made possible theories that have been around a long time.

WR: How do we unlearn traditional assessment approaches?

CB: Peer/extended network assessment. But there is still a place for traditional teacher-centred approaches

Reference: Darren Draper – have you been paying attention?

There was some discussion of new models of publishing. Curt himself is trying to decide how to publish his new book. Options include:

* Wiki + html (web) pages + book
* Pdf + comments facility
* Hypothetical: Blog daily for a year and compile into a book

Question left unanswered: will mainstream publishers accept these models? (Curt is conscious of the fact that he will be seen as a hypocrite if his next book is not an ‘open book.’, and is investigating new models with different publishers.)

Other Publishing Models:


Flat World Knowledge
Scribd - a ‘YouTube for text.’ (CB)

Other Titbits


Jay Cross and his work on Informal Learning has been pivotal in the move towards understanding new models of education.

* Manila is the chat capital of the world (SMS)
* Wikipedia is built in to mobile devices (Africa)
* You don’t need Internet access to benefit from the Internet (phones, download to CD, etc)
* “Googlization of knowledge” (CB)
* Students in Michigan have to take an online course to graduate.

Learning Object Repositories (LORs)

Curt not convinced of their usefulness. Prefers sites with peer reviewed resources like Merlot.

Second Life/Virtual Worlds

Curt thinks they’re too hard for a lot of people and is watching Google’s Lively

Online Language Learning

CB: Is exploding across the Internet; arrangements where learners of Chinese are matched up with teachers of Chinese who want to learn English and swap services are becoming more common; predicts even further growth

WR: Where will be 20 years from now?

* Jack Cummings, Indiana Uni Dean, dropped in briefly and said that now Harvard had joined those institutions adopting an open content policy others will follow suit. (There are 57 mirror sites of MIT’s open courseware initiative in sub-Saharan Africa.)
* As networks of personalized learning become more widespread there will be 24/7 access to subject mentors around the world, who won’t be aligned to a single institution.
* Cell phones will become more to central to provision of educational content.
* The move to synchronous education approaches will increase
* More and more visualization tools – of thought, networks. (MC: some of these already exist.)

(image at top courtesy of Oliver Ding's Freesouls slide show)

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