Friday, April 20, 2007

HASTAC Conference

Thanks to a friend who alerted me to a great opportunity, last night I attended the opening keynote address for the 1st annual HASTAC Conference “The Social Life of Learning in the Net Age” by John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corporation. It was thought-provoking, but I am sorry that I will not be able to attend the panel discussion on Saturday that sounds like it will address the implications for public education that interest me most.

We were welcomed by Cathy Davidson, co-founder of HASTAC. “If we work together . . . we can transform the information age into an age of understanding.”

My notes from John Seely Brown's remarks follow:

Digital technology is pervasive.

Half the world’s population is under 20 years old. To meet the need to educate this growing population would need 1 university per week

Distance learning is NOT the solution to the problem. Skill sets are becoming outdated very quickly.

Cartesian view of learning is an old way of thinking about learning.

The social view of learning is that understanding is socially constructed. “We participate therefore we are.” We learn in and through our interaction with others in the world.

There are several studies that show the ability to form study groups is the #1 indicator of college success. Virtual peer based study groups work also.

There are new kinds of social spaces for collaboration & learning, i.e. Second Life.

Terra Incognita is a virtual space for studying. Professor can interact with each study pod. The study pods can float off by themselves to have privacy.

Open systems, open teaching material -> meta university

Open courseware consortium Open education resource movement – In 2001 MIT president asked the question about how it will use the Internet. Decided to give free access to primary materials for vitually all their courses to learners anywhere, any time. They are now putting video lectures on their site.

One unintended consequence was that professors began looking at each other’s courses and linking course content.

WGBH teachers’ domain 113,000 lectures

On campus at least as much learning happens outside the classroom as inside. Learning starts when you walk out of the classroom and start to talk about it.

Cyberinfrastructure (NSF)

Example Faulkes telescope project (telescope in Maui for Australian students)

Highly specialized scholar’s portal, i.e. Decameron web at Brown University,
Valley of the Shadow at UVA.

Kids are joining in open source groups- distributed remote group of workers that have a culture of its own. Participatory learning platform

Niche communities of co-creation, learning and sharing: dedicated, discipline: serious leisure, passion-based informal learning. Example of amateur astronomers working together with professional astronomers.

Creating meaning by what I produce other build on a remix open source culture blogs

Open participatory learning infrastructure

New learning ecosystems

  • Active blending researching and learning meld into a new kind of distributed learning/knowledge system

  • Reversing the flow – Michael Polyani get the experience of something and then learn the explicit information, when you get stuck is the perfect time to learn about something

  • Networks of imagination – network of practice combined with a commity of interest (common values)

  • Out of it action happens and then networked imagination emerges

Global Meta University (Chuck Vest is talking about this the most)

In the future we will see a culture that thrives on participatory life long learning. Recreation will be an act of re-creation/remix & productive inquiry. A review of the Open Educational Resources Movement

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