It was "Good" to be in Kentucky...they're not Robin anybody at this depot!
| Friday, November 27, 2009
|A Good day in Frankfort, Kentucky:
Last week was interesting. I drove down to Kentucky on Tuesday November 17th to help with the opening of the Kentucky Learning Depot. Rain. Rain. And more rain! What a terrible ride there and back. Left in the dark. Came back in the dark and saw many accident victims along the way. Louisville was like a parking lot both in the morning and then again at 6:30 at night. I was headed to Frankfort, Kentucky. Fortunately, the Kentucky people I met there from the Council on Postsecondary Education were fabulous. Both Allen Lind, Vice-President of Information and Technology, and Miko Pattie, Senior Advisor, Information & Technology, took great care of me. So did all the others I met. Seems so much is happening in Kentucky right now.
First I gave a talk to the Distance Learning Advisory Committee’s Steering Committee--it was an updated version of my perfect e-storm talk. My talk was followed by a lunch meeting with some of these same people. Next I watched other speakers introduce the launching of the Kentucky Learning Depot. Many people spoke. Impressive stuff from the Council on Postseconday Education, the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, the Kentucky Office of Teaching and Learning, AT&T, the Education Professional Standards Board, and various others. Each had a unique and important message to share. AT&T apparently had provided a grant of over $130,000 to help with the depot creation and launching.
In the mix was Mac Wall, Executive Director of the Kentucky Educational Television (KET). I found out that KET people have created the EncycloMedia project. In this Website, there are 5,000 videos, 50,000 video segments, 20,000 digital still images, and 3,200 audio clips. These are for instructional uses in all areas. EncycloMedia is a free service of the Kentucky Department of Education. There are lesson plans, guides, quizzes, professional develeopment resources, and other items (including an online teacher network), that is all searchable by grade level, subject area, keywords, and academic standards. There are links to streaming content from Discovery Education.
I know people tend to question the use of such shared online content since there is no human being behind it when learners access it. Well, they have had 5 million viewers of this content in less than 4 years. KET also makes available instructional Web sites, high school learning classes, streaming video, and electronic field trips.
Their Website says to:
"Imagine you’re an elementary teacher planning a unit on desert biomes. Or a high school English teacher whose students are reading The Red Badge of Courage. Then imagine a single online source that lets you choose among hundreds of related instructional resources—full-length videos on desert environments or the Civil War, brief video clips, digital photographs, clip art—and then lets you easily incorporate those materials into your lessons."
Now it was time for the launch of the new Kentucky Learning Depot. According to their Website, "The Kentucky Learning Depot is a learning community of educators dedicated to providing a repository of quality digital learning content for classroom use. The lessons and resources you find here, submitted and reviewed by the community, represent the best educational practices today."
Exploring further, the "About" section says that, "The Kentucky Learning Depot is a digital library and a learning community that allows educators to share engaging, quality, and standards-based digital content to improve their courses. The depot provides a single point of entry where users can browse, search, upload, download, update, rate, and reuse learning content."
Just before 1:30 pm, there was the launch in front of 60-70 people and many pictures taken. After a talk from Elizabeth Johnson from the Florida Orange Grove Repository on their Legislatively-Mandated Textbooks Plus Initiative (for the development and operation of a central instructional content repository that allows faculty to search, locate, and use instructional resources, including open educational content), it was my turn to speak. My keynote was titled: "No Stopping this Train: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education." Fortunately, there was much good reaction to it.
After that, I met with folks from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. They have developed quite a unique program for some of their online community college courses and programs. They know that hundreds of thousands of people in Kentucky alone would love to get obtain additional college education. Now they can sign up any time they want, start classes whenever, and a facilitator will be immediately assigned to help them through the content. Facilitators determine how many students they have time to teach and are paid per student with a bonus for the student's high academic performance. There is no set start date (though they must complete the content within something like 3 weeks). Most 3 credit classes have been modularized into 1 credit or less experiences.
What a marvelous invention. In effect, such a program makes learning available to learners when they want and in smaller doses that they can handle. Think of the tens of millions of Americans and hundrends of millions of people around the world who could benefit from such an on-demand or just-in-time learning approach. Sounds like something the Obama administration could showcase an a new model for learning in the 21st century and a success story in the making.
Fascinating stuff! This is exactly the type of thing that the country needs! It is what Peter Smith from Kaplan University (formerly President of Cal State Monterey Bay) talks about in his upcoming book from Jossey-Bass: "Harnessing America’s Wasted Talent: New Dimensions for Higher Education." I recently read and endorsed the book. No links to it yet online so it may be a few more months until it comes out.
Anyway, it was great to be back in Kentucky for the first time in 7-8 years and it is less than 2 hours away. It was quite an eventful day. When I got home, I found out that a blog post that I did for the GETideas.org people was posted to the Web. It was titled: "WE-ALL-LEARN--The Web 2.0 Revolution in Education." It was posted to their Thought Leaders Blog. GETideas was created by Cisco Systems. They will interview me on my World Is Open book on Monday, December 7, 2009 on the Cisco TV Network.
Time to Meet the Famous Robin Good:
Two days later (November 19, 2009), an interview that Robin Good from Rome, Italy had done with me was posted (see videos). It is available in short bites. Robin is an extremely funny and multi-talented person. This
was title: "Future Of Learning: A Video Interview With Curtis Bonk." A lot of people have viewed it and sent me positive comments. Some of these videos are also posted to YouTube. At least 1 or 2 of them are, including "New Teachers Should Become Content Curators" and "No More PowerPoint, Do Carnival Pedagogy Instead." These two were apparently posted on November 17th. Carnival Pedagogy is a concept I heard from Dr. Inae Kang from Kyung Hee University in Korea when I was there in May. Inae is a former student of mine. She is quite brilliant and always on the cutting edge.
I appreciated my time with Robin. Not only is he one of the most known bloggers and media people in the world, he is a highly engaging, insightful, creative, and warm person. He cares about the future of education and learning; especially with emerging technologies. And he does so with an optimistic spirit and smile that leans us all toward hope for a better tomorrow. These are the types of people I want hang out with! To quench your thirst for such optimism, do check out his MasterNewMedia site from time-to-time. And perhaps follow his theme: "Be Smart, Be Independent, Be Good." I love it.
Life Beyond Good:
Then on November 23rd, an article I wrote for Magna Publications in Madison, Wisconsin on the "Benefits and Audiences of Online Learning in K-12 Environments" appeared in the E-newletter called Inside the School (http://www.insidetheschool.com/). I will be doing a couple of K-12-related Webinars for them in 2-3 weeks including one on the use of blended learning during the swine flu. These will be on December 14th. They are not free but you can get a PDF of my slides at the link I just provided.
Earlier this month, Tech and Learning Mag featured my World is Open book with an article entitled "Big Picture." In this article, they include my 15 trends for the future which I list in the final chapter of the book; for digital, page flipping version of the article, see: page 1 and page 2. I need to spend more time at the Tech & Learning Website.
Another highly cool thing this week was when someone shared TED Talk India from Pranav Mistry. The title of his talk was: The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology. It just came out this month. Everyone I share it with, loves it. I hope you enjoy it too!
Here is what the abstract at the TED site says, "At TEDIndia, Pranav Mistry demos several tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data -- including a deep look at his SixthSense device and a new, paradigm-shifting paper "laptop." In an onstage Q&A, Mistry says he'll open-source the software behind SixthSense, to open its possibilities to all." So cool. So cool. So cool! Will this change education as we know it? Humm...
Some Stuff Not as Good:
Those still needing more news from the past week or 2, can read about TwitterPeek and WikiReader (not worth getting apparently) or perhaps FLO TV (Personal Television leaves a little to be desired). Both were in the USA Today during the past week or so. Seems none of the 3 (TwitterPeek, WikiReader, or FLO TV) received good reviews. You might not include any of these in your Christmas list this year. Perhaps wait a while for something better that converges everything.
If still hungry for more to explore, you might read an article from eSchool News this week which discussed Larry Sangor's role in creating WatchKnow; a YouTube-like site for children. As many of you know, Sangor originally helped create Wikipedia with Jimmy Wales.
In the Wired Chronicle of Higher Education, there was an announcement this week of a new tool for searching through Google Books from the Haithi Trust. Apparently, a consortium of colleges has created the HaithiTrust Digital Library. According to the article, "Colleges working with Google on the company's effort to scan millions of library books today unveiled their own search tool to comb the full text of some 500,000 volumes." Sounds like a tool that is sorely needed to help overwhelmed college students and instructors discover the truly golden nuggets in all the masses of online content out there today from Google and others. A couple of my students have tried it out this week and found it useful in finding just what they needed within the e-book content that they located.
Enjoy the news! There is always more where that came from. For instance, I just finished pieces for FamilyEd Magazine here in Indiana (on technologies that high school and beginning college students need to take into consideration before getting into college and issues they will deal with the first year on campus) and an article for eCampus News on the pedagogical aspects of my R2D2 model. More on those articles when they come out. Now I must write a piece for Educational Leadership Magazine on transforming schools. Always more to write.