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An Open Letter to the Learners of This Planet: A Postscript to The World Is Open
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Update on "The World is Open" E-book Extension, Prequel, and Postscript:I am still working on the e-book that extends my new book, The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education. It will have the same chapter sequence and length, but different content. I am currently working on Chapter 11 of 12. It is on "networks of personalized learning." I finished a solid draft of Chapter 10 on mobile and ubiquitous learning late last night and sent it on for copyediting. The final 2 chapters may take me a while given my upcoming speaking schedule. Not sure when the e-book extension will appear now. But it is starting to take shape. My colleague, Dr. Grace Lin, and I are also working on some reflection and discussion questions for the book. The Web resources and references for both the hardcover and e-book extension are posted to the WorldisOpen book website (more Web resources will be added soon).

I also wrote a short prequel (8,900 word) and a postscript (3,800 word). The prequel is posted but is being modified and updated. A couple of people are doing final proofing of it now (I hope to have the new version of the prequel up in early October). The postscript is finalized and posted. It is in the form of an open letter to the learners of this planet. It will also be published in a book for the Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates. The reference is below. Near the end of that article, I list 10 learner rights and 10 learner responsibilities in this new age of learning. I pull them out and list them below. See what you think.

Bonk, C. J. (in press, for October 2009). An Open Letter to the Learners of This Planet, A Postscript to The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education. In T. A. Kamali (Ed.), Higher Colleges of Technology 22nd Anniversary Anthology. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: HCT Press.

I have permission to repost it. A snippet from ending section of that article is below:

This is your learning world. You have the right to learn where, when, what, and how you want as well as from the people who fit your learning needs. Throughout history, billions of humans have lived and died on this planet. None of those who left this world prior to the end of 1999 had the learning resources you now possess. Not a soul!

Keep in mind that you do not even need Internet access to benefit from the explosion of Web content and learning technologies. All that is required is for you to live in a community that has an organization or institution that is connected to or touched by the Internet. People from around the world can give their time, talents, and money to it; often making their contributions or commitments from a Web page or link. As this happens, we all learn.

Learner Rights
Learners of any century need rights, but this is especially true for learners of this century. As we push into the technology-rich twenty-first century, you—the learners of this planet—can see your rights crystallizing before your eyes. I suggest that we all have the following ten learner-related rights:

1. The right to learn when and how you want in a learning environment that is personally safe and comfortable.
2. The right to access any content you need at any time you need it.
3. The right to learn from the best educators and learning guides on the planet as well as from as many instructors as you so choose.
4. The right to help others learn.
5. The right to share your learning-related discoveries and ideas with others (such as experts, peers, instructors, friends, and family) for their prompt and candid feedback.
6. The right to self-monitor your learning progress as well as obtain feedback from others on that progress.
7. The right to share content that you create as well as comment on or evaluate the educational resources that you find.
8. The right to form groups of individuals or learning communities with similar learning interests and experiences to discuss, debate, and extend such ideas while finding personal learning identity and meaning.
9. The right to create new tools, materials, and resources to facilitate your own learning as well as that of others.
10. The right to teach, train, tutor, and mentor others using Web tools and resources.

These are the inalienable rights for learners in this century, a time period when we are inundated with seemingly limitless learning opportunities. Each of these rights is easier to visualize, support, and actualize with Web technologies. With these ten rights in place, cultures and people can advance in more harmonious ways and at a much quicker pace than in the past. We can learn whatever we want with whomever we want at the times and places that we want.

Learner Responsibilities
Along with learner rights regarding Web technology, we also have responsibilities. Among these are the following ten learner-related ones:

1. The responsibility to take ownership for our own learning when and where appropriate to do so.
2. The responsibility to seek out the most accurate and credible information while questioning and examining online information and knowledge in a critical and reflective manner.
3. The responsibility to dialogue with children or any other unseasoned learner about how to evaluate the quality of the educational content found online.
4. The responsibility to contribute to the learning of others in a productive and humane way.
5. The responsibility to educate others about the learning potential of the Web—to show them how to contribute to the Web and how to receive learning from it.
6. The responsibility to seek help when online tools and resources are overwhelming or frustrating.
7. The responsibility to respect those who provide meaningful educational content and tools, and all the teachers, trainers, tutors, mentors, and learning guides you encounter in your online learning quests and queries.
8. The responsibility to test and experiment with new learning resources and discuss and report on their utility with others.
9. The responsibility to report online educational resources that are inappropriate or potentially harmful (as well as the people who placed them there).
10. The responsibility to think about how online educational materials can benefit those beyond your household, neighborhood, community, or region of the world to your global brothers and sisters who have different educational and cultural backgrounds, needs, opportunities, and supports.

So, those are your rights and responsibilties as a learner in the twenty-first century as I see them. Do you agree? Do you want to add to the list or modify anything? You have a right and perhaps a responsibility to do so. That is just a piece of the postscript. You might want to read more of it.

I hope to post the revised prequel, "Sharing...the Journey" this coming week or next. I was hoping to blog post on the prequel first but it is taking slightly longer than I expected. In the meantime, you might check out the postscript and my "Open Letter to the Learners of This Planet."
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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 1:10 PM  
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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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