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20 Quick Points from "The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education"
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Last week, my publicist, Meryl Moss, asked me to post a few some guest blog posts to her BookTrib blog. Some of you may have read them. I explained some of the history behind the writing of my book, The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education. I also had a post with 20+ ideas for finding someone's email or other contact information.

This week, she has asked me to turn my 460 page book (monster) into 5-6 bulleted points. I tried for a few hours but was not able to. I was able to create a summary of 20 key points.

The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education
by Curtis J. Bonk, Published by Jossey-Bass, in Wiley imprint in July 2009.

20 Quick Points

First of all, keep in mind that there are 12 chapters, an introduction and ending chapter as well as 10 chapters in the middle; 1 for each of 10 openers.

Ten Openers: (WE-ALL-LEARN)
1. Web Searching in the World of e-Books
2. E-Learning and Blended Learning
3. Availability of Open Source and Free Software
4. Leveraged Resources and OpenCourseWare
5. Learning Object Repositories and Portals
6. Learner Participation in Open Information Communities
7. Electronic Collaboration
8. Alternate Reality Learning
9. Real-Time Mobility and Portability
10. Networks of Personalized Learning

Here is a mini Table of Contents:

Introduction to the Open Learning World
Chapter 1: WE-ALL-LEARN
Chapter 2: To Search and to Scan (Opener #1: Web Searching in the World of e-Books)
Chapter 3: E-Demand around the Globe (Opener #2: E-Learning and Blended Learning)
Chapter 4: It's a Free Software World After All (Opener #3: Availability of Open Source and Free Software)
Chapter 5: MIT in Every Home (Opener #4: Leveraged Resources and OpenCourseWare)
Chapter 6: Portals for the People (Opener #5: Learning Object Repositories and Portals)
Chapter 7: Making a Contribution (Opener #6: Learner Participation in Open Information Communities)
Chapter 8: Collaborate or Die! (Opener #7: Electronic Collaboration and Interaction)
Chapter 9: Who are you? (Opener #8: Alternative Reality Learning)
Chapter 10: U-Learning? (Opener #9: Real-Time Mobility and Portability)
Chapter 11: Learning at Your Service (Opener #10: Networks of Personalized Learning)
Chapter 12: The Treasures and Traps of this Open Learning World

1. E-Books (Opener #1): Around 100 schools in Korea are experimenting with digital books in 2009. These books are embedded with simulations, study aids, dictionaries, games, hyperlinks to the Web, multimedia, student authoring tools, enhanced data searching capabilities, email, discussion forums, and evaluation tools. The Korean government wants such books free for all schools by 2013. If Korea is successful, there is no reason why the U.S. cannot set similar goals. Already the state of California is adopting policies for digital and open access textbooks as a means to reduce the state deficit and enhance learning.

2. K-12 E-Learning (Opener #2): The state of Michigan has mandated 20 hours of online experience to complete high school; in effect, requiring every student to take at least one online class to pass high school. The state of Florida has mandated online course access in every school district from kindergarten through high school. These are signs that the online learning momentum is not going to subside anytime soon.

3. Higher Education E-Learning (Opener #2): Most courses in universities settings today have some type of online component. Some institutions like the University of Illinois at Springfield and the University of Central Florida now offer many of the exact same courses in face-to-face, blended, and fully online formats. Students are allowed to select the delivery mode that works for them. E-learning is also exploding in Asia with 7 of the largest universities in the world, all with over 100,000 students. While the University of Phoenix may have over 400,000 students, Ramkhamhaeng University in Thailand has more than 600,000 and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has nearly 2 million students. The Open University of Malaysia has exploded from just 800 students in 2001 to over 80,000 students in 2009. That is some 10,000 additional students per year!

4. Free and Open Source Course Management Systems (Opener #3): Creating online courses and programs can cost a lot of money. Systems like Moodle and Sakai are free and open source options. As of February 10, 2009, there were 620,000 registered users of Moodle from 204 countries speaking 78 languages. And there were countless Moodle users who did not register.

5. OpenCourseWare (Opener #4): MIT has succeeded in placing all of its courses online (some 1,890 courses). Many are being translated free to the world in Spanish, Portuguese, and simplified as well as traditional Chinese. Hundreds of other universities and other organizations are following in MIT’s footsteps in placing their courses online.

6. Community College Course Giveaways (Opener #4): There is a recent $500 million dollar plan ($50 million per year for ten years) from the Obama administration to create free and open online learning at the community college level. A free library of courses would be available to colleges and their students nationwide. Open courses for community college students will help millions of students explore careers options while giving many of them confidence before returning to school. They can also improve retention once they get there and lower the cost of a degree. Dr. Bonk was quoted and his World is Open book cited in key articles on these plans from the Chronicle of Higher Education (see as well as Inside Higher Education (

7. Learning Portals (Opener #5): The majority of the work of Einstein, Shakespeare, Darwin, and many other historical giants is now available for free online. Of course, Shakespeare has multiple sites as do Einstein and Darwin. Learning portals even exist for all the digital museums of the world (see the Museum of Online Museums; see as well as countless digital libraries. Free dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauruses, and open access journals allow learners to find needed information within seconds. There are also millions of free online books from Google and the Internet Archive.

8. Online Sharing Communities (Opener #5): MERLOT is a website that contains more than 20,000 free learning contents that are useful in higher education, many of which are peer reviewed ( MERLOT has more than 70,000 members as well as conference, journal, and newsletter. Connexions from Rice University offers similar services but is available for all ages of learners. Millions of people from 200 countries access it each month. At the same time, Curriki, spearheaded by Sun Microsystems founder Scott McNealy, is providing a stockpile of free K-12 content.

9. Open Access Journals (Opener #5): The publishing world is increasing becoming open access. Open access journals in the healthcare area provide invaluable information to those in the developing world. The Public Library of Science (PLoS) offers free peer-reviewed scientific journals. Scientists who publish in PLoS journals might present their work in SciVee. SciVee allows the user to hear or see the scientist explain his or her research in what is known as pubcasts.

10. Shared Online Video (Opener #6): According to a June 2009 report, 13 hours of video are posted each minute to YouTube. It also indicated that Internet users watch nearly 13 billion online videos in November 2008 alone. In January 2009, 136 million people watched some type of professional video content. While most Internet users have watched or shared entertaining online videos from YouTube, educators can find many uses for them. In fact, there are millions of freely available educational videos in YouTube Edu, TeacherTube, Big Think, NomadsLand, Current TV, Link TV, Howcast, Wonderhowto, Google Video, CNN video, and BBC Audio and Video. Many schools, universities, and corporate training divisions now have their own channels in YouTube and iTunes U (e.g., Stanford, MIT, or Berkeley). Consulting firms like Deloitte are even sponsoring YouTube video competitions related to working at the company.

11. YouTube Teachers (Opener #6): The Web turns everyone into a potential teacher or learner. Matt Harding dances around the world and millions watch him. He becomes a geography teacher to the world community. In slight over a year, his 2008 video was viewed more than 22 million times. Lee LeFever’s “In Plain English” videos from Common Craft have been viewed millions of times. In them, LeFever explains blogs, wikis, and social networking technologies using simple examples and illustrations.

12. Teaching Celebrities (Opener #6): Lectures from Berkeley professors like Professor Marian Diamond in biology with hundreds of thousands of viewers as well as those in law, physics, computer science, and other subject areas are freely available to watch in YouTube for anyone with an Internet connection to watch. Some lectures are viewed hundreds of thousands of times. As of August 12, 2009, nearly one-quarter of a million people have viewed Google Co-Founder and President Sergey Brin give a talk at Berkeley on “Search, Google, and Life.” Stanford professors as well as those from hundreds of other universities can be listened to in YouTube as well as iTunes. Professors are becoming celebrities.

13. Scribd is the YouTube of Text (Opener #6): Tired of shared online video? Perhaps try Scribd; it is the YouTube of text documents. As of June 2009, there were millions of documents posted to Scribd with 35 billion words in 90 different languages that were being read by 60 million readers each month. Scribd has quickly become one humongous virtual site. It now ranks in the top 150 sites in terms of Web traffic. It has readership approaching the New York Times and is already more than 5 times bigger than Wikipedia in terms of total number of words. The gap between it and Wikipedia continues to grow as more than 50,000 documents are posted daily to it. Small wonder it attracts so many eyeballs. The Securities and Exchange Commission, National Science Foundation, and Internal Revenue Service are among the biggest users, each with more than 10,000 documents posted to Scribd. More impressively, the Federal Register has more than 200,000 documents preserved in Scribd. Anyone can post legal documents, music scores, poetry, homework, term papers, catalogs, how-to-guides, resumes, technical reports, or genealogical records to Scribd. Users can also form social networks to discuss, rate, and share these documents. The text sharing possibilities are endless!

14. Wikis (Opener #6): A few years ago, many people said that Wikipedia would not work. Today it ranks 7th in Internet traffic in the United States. There are more than 10 million pages of content in more than 250 languages. As of August 2009, there are nearly 3 million pages in English alone. In addition, the Wikimedia Foundation boosts popular wiki sites such as Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wikitionary, Wikinews, and Wikibooks. Thousands of books are being composed free to the world at the Wikibooks website. K-12 and college students might help instructors design lessons in a wiki or share their projects and products. At the corporate training level, places like Best Buy are adopting wikis as a way to allow its 150,000 employees to contribute ideas on business practices, training approaches, employee benefits, and industry trends. In a word, they now have a voice.

15. Guest Experts on Demand (Opener #7): Need a guest or expert speaker for your class? Today, all it takes is a simple email request and a $20 Webcam and you can bring that person in within minutes. Experts can also arrive using text chat, online discussion forums, interactive videoconferencing, Skype, Google Talk, or virtual worlds. And they can be archived for later use. Similarly, an instructor can select any region of the world for his or her students to collaborate with using freely available technology or services.

16. Collaborate or Die (Opener #7): The tools for online collaboration have exploded during the past decade. Microsoft offers SharePoint and Groove while Google has Google Groups and Google Docs. Online communities like Ning foster collaboration for more than 1 million groups including the popular Ning in Education, GrownUpDigital, Classroom 2.0, LearningTown!, and the Open Source University Meetup groups.

17. Virtual Worlds (Opener #8): As of January 2009, Second Life had more than 16 million residents, of which more than 1 million people log on each day. Colleges professors are using Second Life to teach law at Harvard, English at Ball State University, sex education at the University of Plymouth in the UK, and much more, including history, architecture, geography, art, and medicine. Using virtual world technologies like Second Life, many university medical schools and hospitals, in fact, are conducting simulations and other instructional activities that previously were extremely expensive. Businesses like IBM and Dell are finding unique ways to exploit Second Life and other virtual worlds for employee training, community building, special announcements, and online conferences.

18. Mobile Learning (Opener #9): According to Dr. Paul Kim, Chief Technology Officer at Stanford School of Education, mobile learning will transform education around the planet. As of January 2009, there were 40,000 new mobile subscribers in Rwanda each week and 15.4 million each month in India. Across Africa, mobile penetration has exploded from just one in 50 people at the start of the century to more than 28 percent of the population as of March 2009. On a global basis, there are 60,000 new mobile subscriptions every hour! That equates to 720,000 more people who can learn online each day and tens of millions more people each month. In the Pocket School project, the teacher is in the pocket of migrant worker children in Latin America.

19. Mobile Technology Giveaways (Opener #9): Places like Abilene Christian University are giving away iPhones to incoming students as a means to attract new students as well as foster technology integration, Web access, and overall communication on campus. Not to be outdone, Oklahoma Christian University has initiated a program called InTouch to give away both an iPhone (or iPod Touch) and an Apple Macbook laptop to incoming students. Such mobile technologies are used for survey research, Web searching, uploading and downloading course tasks, and course discussions.

20. Online Language Learning (Opener #10): Have you ever wanted to learn Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, Russian, or Farsi? Millions of people are using resources such as Livemocha, ChinesePod, SpanishPod, Mixxer, KanTalk, ECpod, and dozens of other online resources to learn or teach languages. Much of this is free. One company, Livemocha, has gone from start-up to 3 million users in less than 2 years. At the same time, free podcasts from ChinesePod, a product of Praxis Language, are downloaded around 300,000 times per month. These free podcasts are available at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

Ok, perhaps the twenty items above caught your interest. I hope so. My publicist does as well. Feel free to write to me with questions.
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  posted by Curt Bonk @ 9:25 PM  
  • At 4:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 7:01 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Sure thing Rozy. Glad you like the recap or summary (Cliff Notes) of the World is Open book.

  • At 11:26 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 12:56 PM, Blogger Grand Traverse Independent Scholars Association said…

    Interesting book & ideas - plan on using several of the points as a teacher who's class is a computer lab, as well as being and information technology leader for the school I'm at - and have created a group for the community (GT Scholars) to take advantage of technology in their research, learning and publishing - - thank you for your ideas - your site will be linked to ours!

  • At 9:06 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Sounds great. Thanks for the link!

  • At 6:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 12:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 3:17 PM, Blogger Curt Bonk said…

    Sure thing Eric! Glad you liked it.

  • At 5:17 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

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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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