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Scotland visit and the next generation of learner and learning environment
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Hi all. Sorry no post recently. I have been hard at work on a book (not busy--people know I do not use that word. Kindergarten kids are busy not me and hopefully not you either.). The book is called: “A Web of Learning (Part I): 100+ Ideas for Online Learner Reading, Reflecting, Displaying, and Doing.” Part 2 will be related to online motivation and retention and another 100 strategies for 10 aspects of motivation (10 each for feedback, climate, engagement, variety, etc.). The third part, if there is one, will be 100 ideas for blended learning.

I have not been feeling well the past 2 months but finally am ok. Perhaps I got e-coli virus that was in the news. Not sure. But ok now and the energy is back.

Was in Scotland for 11 days in September. Lots of interesting e-learning projects happening there; especially at Napier University in Edinburgh where I spent a few days and gave 3 talks (on wikis, podcasts, and blogs; on blended learning; and on how the learning world has become flat). I also managed to also present at the University of Aberdeen as well as Robert Gordon University when there which are both in Aberdeen (a 2 hour train ride to the north of Edinburgh). Good people. Second time to present at both the Univ of Aberdeen which has a beatiful and very old campus some of dating back like 800 years. It is definitely worth a visit. And then there is Napier University and the Craighouse campus with its simply stunning views. Wish I had been feeling better that week but I was ok.

I got a chance to see some good friends during the during the annual Advanced Learning Technologies (ALT-C) Conference which was in Edinburgh when I was there. People like Diana Oblinger, Tim O'Shea, and Diane Oblinger were the keynotes and famous folks like Terry Anderson and Gilly Salmon chaired the different conference themes or strands. Seems a heavy emphasis on podcasting, the use of wikis, and blogging during this conference. Also, a theme to consider the next generation of learners so there were many presenters on that as well as much attention to personalized learning environments.

One interesting fact was that a workshop on brainstorming what the generation of online learning environments might look like, attracted the president of Desire to Learn (John Baker). John stood in the back of the room next to me; I noticed that no one from Blackboard was in the room--they were likely too busy filing their next lawsuit or looking for technology that they needed to patent which likely existed 20 years before they thought of it. I applaud DesireToLearn for their desire to learn here. John listened intently while adding an idea or 2 to the 30-40 minute conversation that we had. Wow! Did the people in the room realize the power that they all had? All they had to do was turn around and make suggestions to John and let them build some stuff that Blackboard never conceived of patenting. How could they conceive of next generation learning tools when they are so busy patenting stuff developed decades ago? DesireToLearn and those in the room look forward not back. All of us in the room wanted to be using something better--more learner centered or focused. A learning environment inviting people to learn not simply tracking if and when people were in the system.

Anyway, the room was packed with people; as I hinted, it was standing room only. The session chair, in fact, would not let anyone else in the room so I snuck in the back door and listened. After 3-4 short presentations showcasing what is happening and might be coming, they had small groups of 8-10 people discuss what might happen next and list their pts or design their new system. It was fascinating hearing the conversations. And, what was really funny (though quite typical and unfortunate) was to see one person from a particular group next to me go up to present and not say anything that the group said, just the pts he wanted to make. Smile. And this group has some great insights or so I thought.

I also got the Loch Ness when in Scotland but saw no monster. Darn! The bus ride to get there made me nausious. I visited 3 different castles when there--one south of Aberdeen, the Edinburgh Castle, and one at Loch Ness. I hope to put some pics in my Flickr site soon. Scotland is a wonderful place.

Oh, speaking of the next generation of learner, there is a wonderful article today in the USA Today front page of the Life section (see http://www.usatoday.com/life/2006-10-02-gennext-tech_x.htm) on wireless learning on college campuses. It features Ball State as it was claimed to be the most unwired college campus by Intel in a 2005. I think IU had that distinction the prior year with Purdue right behind it (http://www.informatics.indiana.edu/news/news.asp?id=115). What does this say about Indiana colleges and universities? Well, we are highly technology supported. And perhaps our public relations personnel are pretty good. Indiana is a good place to work if you are into technology rich learning environments or do research on it like me. Lots going on here and even more to come.

Back to the USA Today article--it had an interesting story of a student to downloaded his course schedule everyday, added to his electronic portfolio in teacher education (including lesson plans), downloaded music, chatted with friends, checked email, checked out his Facebook site, etc. Technology for this generation is second nature. They live off of Internet access as well as text messaging friends with their cell phones. Is that a problem as some in the article argue. Perhaps. But I think this generation is simply taking advantage of the ways of communicating of this particular age.

They are coping. They are also showing us what works or might work. I recommend you read the article. It is a good one. Here is a quote from it: "'This is so core to their social experience — to their identities — to what it means to be a young person and a student in 2006,' says Richard Katz of the non-profit Educause, which promotes the use of information technology in higher education." This quote reminds me of my blog post a few months about how we gain a sense of identity from our online activities; especially our blogs. All for now.
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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 7:22 AM  
4 Comments:
  • At 6:06 PM, Blogger Calvin Jones said…

    Just read a rather interesing article in the Independant today about the Cairngorms.

    I live in Ballater (well within the Cairngorm National Park).

    I`m also interested in climate change so this was doubly interesing to me.

    Article + My Thoughts

     
  • At 10:53 PM, Blogger sexy said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 1:10 PM, Blogger JackyKayHood said…

    Curt,

    Thanks for writing about Community Colleges and open resources. We hope that you and your readers will join the College Open Textbooks professional network at http://collegeopentextbooks.ning.com/

    Regards,
    Jacky Hood
    Director, Open Textbook Project http://www.collegeopentextbooks.org/
    Director, Open Educational Resources Consortium http://oerconsortium.org/

     
  • At 11:01 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Thanks Jacky. That helps!

     
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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

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Click here for information about my recent book, The World is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education.

Visit the Indiana University Home Page of E-Learning Expert Curtis J. Bonk.

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