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World's Youngest Headmaster, Open Courses, and Other News this Week
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Ok, I posted a three-part interview with the World's Youngest Teacher. Now the BBC has an article and associated video with the World's Youngest Headmaster. It came out yesterday. Imagine a 16-year-old named Babar Ali who is a schoolboy in India and decides at age 9 to create his own school for children from his village who are left out of education. He is helping educate hundreds of other children. Barbar Ali's specialty is history so he is the history teacher. You can watch a video from a young girl who are impacted as well as a question and answer session with children from the UK. This is quite a story. What would all the credentialing and accreditation people in North America say about this?

I see quite a caring individual who has gone out of his way to provide education for others. What happens when the world is filled with thousands of Babar Ali's? Could it? Do we have thousands or even dozens of such people? Let's hope. And when you can peer in with videoconferencing or even letter writing back and forth, you can expose those in the West to what is happening. Perhaps mobile learning can add to his efforts someday. I know my friend, Dr. Paul Kim, a mobile expert from Stanford was just there in the slums of India.

Lots of other interesting news stories lately. I was quoted in one article for on Technology and Higher Education by Anna Weinstein. My friends Ron Owston at York University in Toronto and Randy Garrison at the University of Calgary were both also quoted. The site is for K-12 education and makes resources available for parents, teachers, and K-12 educators.

There is also an interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education this week: "Open Courses: Free, but Oh, So Costly Online students want credit. Colleges want a working business model." The article is by Marc Parry of the Chronicle of Higher Education, October 11, 2009. In it people like David Wiley caution about the business models of open education and open courseware. He says that OCW could be dead by 2012. In the article, David argues that "Every OCW initiative at a university that does not offer distance courses for credit," he has blogged, "will be dead by the end of calendar 2012." Marc Parry, the author of the article says, "In other words: Nice knowing you, MIT OpenCourseWare. So long, Open Yale Courses." More from David: "I think the economics of open courseware the way we've been doing it for the last almost decade have been sort of wrong,"

David is right that we need better business models. Marc Parry even likened David to Nostradamus and education's "Everywhere Man." We need people like David to push our thinking as well as our planning. David is the type of leader who gets the field the attention it deserves. However, in terms of the future of OCW, I think it may have a huge role outside of traditional university structures. I like what Catherine Casserly, Senior Partner, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, had to say in this article. In the article she says, "I find it like a disruption," says Catherine M. Casserly, the Hewlett foundation's former director of open educational resources, speaking in general about the movement for openness. "It doesn't shift what's happening in some of the very stable traditional institutions of higher education. But there are huge numbers of others who aren't being served. And it's with those that I think we'll begin to see new forms."

Yes! OCW and open educational resources help those who are not normally served by traditional schools, colleges, universities, and training centers. And that is billions of people. Read the opening story about Steven T. Ziegler who works at a restaurant-equipment company in Pennsylvania and is about to lose his job. He has been learning from courses at Yale and MIT using OCW and he loves it. There is a video interview of him at the top. I recommend you watch it. Fascinating how a hang gliding experiment left him with not much to do for a while and so he decided to start learning from the free and open courses that he found.

There is also an intereesting and quite long article in the Chronicle this week (October 11, 2009) By Eric Hoover. "The Millennial Muddle: How stereotyping students became a thriving industry and a bundle of contradictions." Eric Hoover gets different opinions about the books, papers, and propoganda related to different generations in the workplace. Are Millennials (those born between 1982 and 2004 like my son, Alex, and daughter, Nicki) any different from previouos ones?

Do they really multitask? One thing that they do engage in more than most is text messaging. It is kinda hard to refute that when you see the summary counts on our phone bill. You can read about young kids who text too much and some concerns parents and others have in an October 12th New York Times article by Perri Klass, "Texting, Surfing, Studying?"

Finally, there is an interesting article and video from Business Week (October 9th) about this generation and those slightly older who cannot find jobs. They are the so-called "Lost Generation." The writer is thios article, Peter Coy, says that "The continuing job crisis is hitting young people especially hard—damaging both their future and the economy." The recent recession really made things a lot worse for those without many skills or relevant experiences. I sent this article to my brothers and sisters and their kids. I worry a bit for my millennial kids. But maybe they can learn more stuff from open educational resources and OCW. Maybe they can be like Babar Ali and start their own schools for those without jobs.
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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 1:43 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.

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