What I Learned From Daphne Koller

A TED Talk posted earlier this month has created a bit of buzz.  Daphne Koller discussed what she had learned from forming Coursera and offering online courses free to thousands of people.

I recommend spending the 20 minutes to listen to Daphne.  Many of her points are not new, but she has framed them in new ways.

For instance, she starts by laying out the problems of higher education.  Costs have risen 559% since 1985.  Access is not guaranteed.  Completion of a degree does not necessarily guarantee a job.  She then quotes Tom Friedman‘s NY Times article “Come the Revolution” in which Friedman says:

“Welcome to the college education revolution. Big breakthroughs happen when what is suddenly possible meets what is desperately necessary. The costs of getting a college degree have been rising faster than those of health care, so the need to provide low-cost, quality higher education is more acute than ever. At the same time, in a knowledge economy, getting a higher-education degree is more vital than ever. And thanks to the spread of high-speed wireless technology, high-speed Internet, smartphones, Facebook, the cloud and tablet computers, the world has gone from connected to hyperconnected in just seven years. Finally, a generation that has grown up on these technologies is increasingly comfortable learning and interacting with professors through online platforms.”

Daphne describes Coursera as a service that allows students anywhere in the world to take the best courses from the best professors at the best universities for free.  She stated that Coursera had 640,000 students from 190 countries, who had viewed 14 million videos and taken 6 million quizzes (latest stats on the Coursera website is over a million students).  The courses were designed so that students could personalize their learning, engage with the content, and get automatically redirected if they strayed off subject.  She also noted that for the first time, they were in a position to collect data and make adjustments based on real learning rather than hypotheses.  Their courses had real content, real start and stop dates, real assessments, and real students.  Students were self-organizing in a variety of ways to study together.  Assessments were graded via peer and self-assessment, which she claimed could be incentivized to correlate very closely to what an instructor might have given as a grade.

She suggested that giving away these courses would not do away with universities…only with the large lecture classes.  Universities could then focus on building the critical thinking, service, and social skills for life that are part of growing up in a university.

As someone who has taught online for 17 years, I have to admit that I was both blown away and delighted by Daphne’s talk.  She and Andrew Ng have certainly opened up new avenues for higher education that are disruptive.  At the same time, now that Coursera has 16 universities, is there really a need for EVERY university to be launching massively open online courses or MOOCs?  Are large open enrollment online courses the only future for higher ed?

I think that there are some rich lessons that can be pulled from Daphne’s talk that apply to online teaching and learning in general…not just massive courses.  Many of these lessons are ones we have already incorporated into our Preparing to Teach Online course as well as our year-long Online Course Development Initiative.  These lessons have to do with personalization, communication, community, and engagement.

Daphne noted that when you are not constrained by four walls and the hour lecture, you are free to focus on the learning.  She showed how they used short, 8-12 minute mini-lectures tied to online engagement to drive learning.  While we do not have the resources of a Stanford, Harvard or MIT, we have consistently over the past two years suggested to faculty that they use software such as Camtasia, Jing, SnagIt, Screenr, or Echo360 to create short videos, and align those videos with activities in their online classes.  The use of short videos to answer questions as well as post mini-lectures moves one to a more personalized approach to learning.  Likewise – in ways tied to adult learning theory – designing the learning so that it uses discovery and allows for student-created content opens up the possibility of a more personalized approach to learning.

Daphne noted that, with 100,000 students, someone is always online, and that the median response time in the class question forum is 22 minutes.  I could never give that level of service in my online classes, but I do respond within a day, and more importantly, I encourage students to answer each others questions, achieving a level that is satisfactory to my students.  As we work with faculty, we stress the importance of clear and frequent communication.  This in my mind is as important in a class of 10 or 100 as a class of 100,000.

Daphne noted how students self-organized into study groups around the world…often in ways she might not have conceptualized.  For the past four years, we have designed our online training around a core concept that community is central.  A lesson suggested by Daphne is that we should not overthink “how” to form groups but rather – when we can – let groups form naturally.

Daphne ended by focusing on active learning.  As we stated in our white paper three years ago, teaching online involves new practice, and that practice requires active engagement with students (and active engagement by students with other students, their instructor, and the content).  Daphne has demonstrated how a lot of that engagement can be automated through digital technology.  I agree that this is something we need to do more…but we also need to create those connections between ourselves and our students – and I am still not sure how to connect to 100,000.

In some ways, the good things happening by engaged students in Coursera classes are the same good things happening by engaged students in our much smaller online classes.  In our much smaller online classes, we feel the need to create community and engagement, and to make every student successful.  A Coursera class can possibly take the Anderson Long Tail approach and celebrate only those students who persevere and complete the course through their own self-motivation.  What ever direction you believe, the example suggested by Daphne illustrates a significant change in how we conceptualize higher education.  The impact of that change on American colleges and universities has yet to be fully understood.

I would be interested in your thoughts?  How do you see Coursera impacting your program or institution? What changes (disruptive or otherwise) do you see on YOUR horizon?

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DIYU, Probably Not, But Use DIYU Resources, Definitely!

Over the weekend, I started a little project that will last a LOOOONNNNGGGG time.  My daughters have given me a scanner so that I might digitally scan some of the 2400+ 35mm slides that are sitting in storage up in the attic.  Works great, though it takes 8 minutes to do 4 slides.  (You do the math…)

slideboxSo to get started, I went shopping for something I used to have – a lightbox to sort slides.  No one locally had them anymore, and those online cost over $100.  But a little research on the web and $30 of materials from Lowes, and I built my own in a couple of hours.

It works great, I have started sorting through and digitally scanning slides that are 40 years old…and I did it myself, but with ideas sparked through the web.

It is symptomatic of learning today.  We live in a DIY world.  If we are curious, we can find the answer to almost anything by digging into the internet.

And is that not what we want our students to do?  Gardner Campbell has talked about the need for students to learn at the meta level, and he stated this weekend, “…teaching must refocus from teaching the explicit to teaching strategies for recognizing and accessing tacit knowledge.”  I never took a course in lightbox construction, but I had the skills to knock it out when I need it.

DIY USo I believe in DIY.  Given that, I was disappointed in Anya Kamenetz‘s new book, DIY U.

This was my vacation read, and as such, it had to compete with three grandkids, but after a day with 2 to 3 year olds, Grandpa was ready for a book.  This book is on a topic about which I feel pretty strongly.  Anya quoted many in my personal learning network, such as Jim Groom, George Siemens, Laura Blankenship, and Gardner Campbell.  And she writes for one of my favorite magazines, FastCompany.  So it should have been a hit.

But it left me feeling like she had hit a base hit instead of a home run.   In many ways, Anya has jumped on the open source / open access bandwagon others have blogged about for the past few years, and to her credit, she turned a profit doing so (at least, I assume that is what “bestseller” means…).

CogDog gave a good review of his impressions of the book in his post, “The Gaping M Shaped Void for DIY Education;” impressions that mirrored mine.  He asks two good questions:

  • What is going to motivate the large swath of a society to become educated or to learn something in a self-directed fashion?
  • What is going to drive people to learn what they don’t think they need to learn?

The motivation question is spot on.  Anya seems to equate success with salary, and therefore writes off the potential of higher education to contribute to the democratization of society (though she does lament a bit about the need for such).  In the end, she suggests that formal higher education is really only for ten percent of people, while the other ninety percent would be well served using informal learning networks and just-in-time training (page 136).

I am not sure where she gets her figures, because the latest Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac shows that nearly 28% of Americans complete a four-year degree or more (though granted, that means 70% do not).  Nearly a quarter of Americans also complete some college or complete a two-year degree.  I studied community colleges during my doctoral studies and spent ten years working in community colleges, so I do not denigrate these colleges as less than four-year institutions.  They have a mission that differs from research universities, but both are needed in this country to both provide access to learning and create the new learning that drives our country.  So currently, a little more than one-third of Americans complete a two-year or better degree, and better than half have some college (and for many community college students, that meant they obtained enough skill training to get a job without necessarily completing the degree).

Anya is correct that current society expects a higher yield.  College is listed by politicians across the land as the right of all Americans.  She just does a lack luster job of describing how this country might generate that increased yield.  She is the latest in a long list of authors who suggest that disaggregating learning from credentialing is the answer, with technology as the means by which this disaggregation will occur.

For other views on the book, check out Jon Becker’s curation of reviews in this Google Doc.

Yet with all that was wrong with her book, Chapter 7 – Resource Guide – contains a lot of good information.  She lists some pretty good web resources for students to use to help align their studies with their interests.  She provides a rich list of open educational resources.  Given the strong economic flavor of her book, she gives future students good tips on keeping their education affordable.  Finally, she advocates strongly for both physical and virtual networks as key to employment.

So this is not necessarily a book that I would recommend to education colleagues.  Rather, it is one I might recommend to my grandkids in twelve years as they begin contemplating their academic journey.  However, given how much the world has changed in the past ten years, who knows what I will be recommending a decade from now!

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Mixed Signals about Online Teaching

As many of you know, we have spend the past few months preparing for our summer institute.  Each summer, our Center for Teaching Excellence runs an intensive week-long institute on teaching with technology.  Our theme this summer is teaching online, and in concert with our Provost, we are funding twenty faculty to work with us in June at our institute, then attend the Quality Matters online  course “Build Your Online Course“, followed up with working with us through the Fall and Spring semesters as they design and deliver an online course.

As one can see from examining our institute schedule, we are going to spend the week immersed in the pedagogy of teaching online, because as we stated in our White Paper last May, we fundamentally believe that teaching online involves not just the design of content delivery, but new practices as well.

Whether one has been teaching for years or is relatively new to teaching, it is our assumption that one should not just jump into teaching online (no more than one should just jump into teaching in the classroom).  We have, I think, thoughtfully crafted a networking and learning experience for our institute participants to facilitate their development of the skills and practices needed to teach online.  Teaching online takes an investment in time, and this nearly year-long process will assist this development.

So it was interesting to see two very different references to online teaching cross my desk today.

confused01

The first was an article in the May 9, Chronicle of Higher Education – “U. of California Considers Online Classes, or Even Degrees: Proposal for virtual courses challenges beliefs about what an elite university is—and isn’t” by Josh Keller and Marc Parry”.  The University of California is rolling out a $5 to $6 million pilot project for undergraduate online courses and degrees.  They are focusing on their 25 high-demand lower-level core gateway courses.  The university plans to spend up to a quarter million dollars on each course.  The article noted that there is faculty resistance to the concept of teaching undergraduates online, although they also quote Frank Mayadas, of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, as noting that piloting online courses is “…like doing experiments to see if the car is really better than the horse in 1925, when everyone else is out there driving cars.”

While I agree with Frank, it is good to see an institution as prestigious as UC exploring the use of online teaching for core courses.  They are taking a serious look at it as opposed to just opening up a bunch of sections and throwing adjuncts into them.

One issue I do have with the article by Keller and Parry is where it mentions the open content at MIT and Yale as if they were also online courses.  They are not – and MIT is explicit about this – they are content and not meant to replace online teaching and learning.  Too many in media and administrations conflate open content with online courses.  Just as a textbook does not replace the facilitated learning in a college course, neither does the online content replace the facilitated learning that takes place in good online classes.

Meanwhile on the same day – and I am not meaning here to be disrespectful to either Magna Publications or to David Penrose, an advertisement arrived in my email:

magna ad

“With Rapid Online Course Design, your faculty members and instructional designers can arm themselves with the tools and knowledge necessary to create quality courses with maximum value in a minimum of time. If your institution is struggling with online instructional design, this upcoming training seminar is for you”

confused02

So, for only $229 and 90 minutes, you can learn what you need to teach online!

Wow!

Now…I just know in my heart that David Penrose is not suggesting this (though the marketers might be and many administrators probably do).  As the many comments in the Chronicle article attest, teaching online is work.  I think that it is fulfilling work and opens access to higher education that many might not otherwise have.  But none the less, one has to approach teaching and learning online in meaningful ways.  One cannot simply take a series of powerpoints, a few multiple choice tests, and call that an online course.

confused03

I was therefore struck that, on the one hand, we have a prestigious research university “considering” online classes – or even degrees – and on the other hand, we have an advertisement for an online webinar addressing the high demand for online education and giving institutions the blueprint they need to meet that demand – NOW!

Thoughtful educators will see issues with both approaches.  Teaching and learning online has moved in much of higher education from a pilot phase to a mainstream method of instructional delivery.  As with face-to-face learning, the quality of instruction varies.  I applaud UC for taking a serious look at the design and delivery of quality online courses – an approach we are also taking here at VCU.  It is equally important that we continue to address these mixed signals.  Faculty development needs to clearly focus on processes that improve student learning and student success rather than simply loading content onto the web.

It is one of the reasons I look forward to the next two days at University of Mary Washington. Their Faculty Academy 2010 will once again help me learn processes that indeed do just that.

{Photo Credits: foomandoonian, gagilas, ZeroOne}

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Next Generation Faculty

My colleagues at the Center for Teaching Excellence, Jeff Nugent and Zach Goodell, have been co-teaching a graduate course this semester here at VCU.  Teaching, Learning and Technology in Higher Education (GRAD-602) is designed to provide students in the Preparing Future Faculty Program with an introduction to contemporary instructional practices and exploration of relevant issues that can serve as both a foundation, and a process for continued growth and development.   I joined Jeff last night as he took their 25 graduate students on an exploration of the changing landscape of learning.

contrast2

Using clickers, Jeff polled his students on their perceptions of whether:

  • instructional technology has fundamentally changed the way higher education instruction is delivered
  • instructional technology has fundamentally changed the way students learn
  • instructional technology has fundamentally changed the way they as faculty teach

The room was a bit bipolar…which made for some very rich discussion.  What struck me was the difference I was seeing between this next generation of faculty and similar discussions Jeff and I have had with current faculty.

In the first place, about half of the students had their laptops open on their tables and used them to check facts or search out new items to bolster their discussions.  The group struggled with whether things had “fundamentally” changed, pointing out on the one hand that the give and take between faculty and students really had not changed, yet on the other hand, that access to information made the give and take different.  International students highlighted that the digital divide was more a case of access to the web rather than access to technology itself, contrasting Africa, India and China to the United States.

What really punctuated the difference between current faculty and new faculty was when Jeff showed the slide below:

web2.0logos

He asked the class to stand, and then remain standing if they recognized and were familiar with ten of the items shown.  Almost the entire class remained standing.  When we have used this slide with groups of current faculty, we usually get no greater than six items where the majority in the room is still standing.

He then asked them to remain standing if they personally used at least five of the items shown.  About half the class sat down, but I was impressed at the number still standing.  He upped the question to personally using at least ten, and then only myself and two others remained standing.  I have to admit that given that my job involves exploration of this landscape, I had better still be standing, but it was also rather interesting that the oldest person in the room was one of the three standing!

Jeff then asked them to stand if any of their professors used more than three of the items in their instruction, and again, only a handful stood.

To me, this was a recognition of the disconnect between where our students currently are (as reflected by this room of bright graduate students) and our faculty in their instructional practice.  I am heartened that the next generation of faculty may break this mold.  Faculty tend to teach the way they were taught, but this next generation of faculty is bringing new practices to the classroom.  They are also asking the right questions about impacts on teaching and learning, as opposed to gadget of the month.

I am looking forward to joining this group as they continue to explore through the semester the intersections of teaching, learning, and technology in higher education.  They are blogging about their journey, which makes for some interesting reading.  Check them out at Jeff’s Netvibes site.

{Photo Credits: San Jose Library, smannion}

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The Only Thing to Fear

I was in an interesting exchange today across multiple levels of the web on which I would like to reflect further.

It started when my friend Eduardo Peirano tweeted a link to me and two others about an article in the May 29th edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.  In “I’ll Never Do It Again,” Elayne Clift laid out her reasons for never teaching online again.  Her five reasons included:

  1. “Virtual community” is the ultimate oxymoron.
  2. The lack of immediacy in communication is maddening.
  3. The quality of education is compromised in online learning.
  4. Show the money (more work for the same pay)
  5. Online teaching can be very punishing (requires more time)

She wrapped up her comments with:

“Weary and obsessed, I began to feel that, despite my best efforts, I was not up to the task, not in control, not meeting my own standards. On top of that, I suspected my students didn’t like me very much. That hurt. I began to break out in rashes and suffer sleepless nights.

That’s when I knew that I would not do it again and would chalk it up to experience — even if that decision meant hanging up my chalk altogether. Try to talk me down. Tell me I didn’t give it enough time. Call me old-fashioned and out-of-date. Just don’t call me to teach online.

I’ll leave that to (younger?) teachers who like living in a virtual world of virtual students with virtual goals, capacities, and ideas. Me? I’ll stick to the virtues of live human interaction — in the classroom and elsewhere — in a world rapidly becoming, as some of my students might say, “totally unreal!”

Eduardo knew that this 59-year-old (younger?) faculty would rise to the bait!  He had started a discussion forum around this article in his Ning site for Higher Education – College 2.0.  In his post, he noted:

“Aren’t online teachers complicating themselves. At the face to face classes there is nothing similar to forum discussions. So the discussions between the students should be very important for their grade!! They should be allowed to help each other and the teacher’s role is to point them to good resources and to support and facilitate the discussions and learning. If the homework is a collaborative paper each student should be responsible to contribute with some paragraphs (Michael Wesch: A Cultural Anthropologist Looks at Digital Technolog…) or presentation.”

I posted a reply on the College 2.0 forum, but I was fairly certain that Elayne Clift or folks that agreed with her would never see it there.  So I posted the same comments in a Chronicle Forum for article discussion (as well as linking this comment out on Twitter).  Jon Becker was more eloquent in 140 characters but summed up my feelings pretty well:

My more lengthy comment was:

Elayne Clift certainly had issues with teaching online, but it appeared to me that she attempted this course without changing any of her practices, and teaching online is fundamentally different than teaching face-to-face.  I am as old-dog as Clift, but I also have been teaching online for 14 years at a variety of institutions, and see things a little different than she does.

A “virtual community” is only an oxymoron if the faculty does not instill a sense of community through her or his own social presence in the class.  Using social media and collaborative activities, a community can not only form but be very strong.  Social networking tools can lead to a rich communication not only within just the course but with discipline experts worldwide.  We recently held a webconference with our class and guest speakers, and we also opened it up to the world through Twitter.  Others in the field from around the country joined the webconference and began interacting with our students in the chat box.  You could not duplicate that in a physical classroom.

As to lack of quality, that is more an indictment on the institution and the faculty than on online learning.  In my most recent class that I co-taught with another, several students used the term “life-altering” to express their appreciation for the quality of learning they found in our class.

The comments about money and time suggest to me again that Clift attempted to be the single expert on the stage rather than co-opting her students into the learning process.  I find the time distributed nature of online learning works well for me, but much of my focus is on helping students learn how to learn and teach each other.

I was lead author of a white paper published by our Center for Teaching Excellence on online teaching> http://bit.ly/11DBMx. It focuses on the practice of teaching online, and may offer an alternative view to the one espoused by Clift.  Please add to the conversation – we would be interested in your thoughts.

Danger Students Working Online

That was near 1pm today.  Another person had started a similar forum called “Teaching Online.”  By dinner time, these two comments had been read over three hundred and two-fifty times respectively, and a lengthy exchange was developing in the forum.  What I found fascinating was that our comments evoked such strong reaction from two faculty who had never taught online. I respect more the comments from those who had taught online.  My Twitter network is biased towards technology but was much more aligned with my own comments.

In several Chronicle comments, there was a note of fear that the “good old days” were gone and that because of online learning, higher education was going to hell in a handbasket.  “Beatitude” noted “I hope to God this isn’t the future for all of higher education…”

“Beatitude” raised a number of interesting points.  He or she noted that online courses were fine in the summer as long as they did not take resources away from [real] courses in the academic year.  (My interpretation).  There was a bit of fear about potential loss of jobs due to outsourcing.  And a note that many students currently taking online courses live on campus and take these courses from their dorms.

All true.

Yet, there is no real discussion about “learning” or academic success.  My simplistic view is that online is simply a mode of delivery, as are large lectures, small classrooms, and even tele-delivery to remote satellite settings.  We do not burn down large lecture halls because significant numbers of students fail those classes.  We instead look at best means of delivery given the context of large lecture halls.  Online should be no different.  Castigating online as something to fear for the future seems narrow-sighted.

Recent polls suggest almost 100% of entering students already own a laptop.  Given wireless connectivity, there really is no course anymore in which some online learning does not occur.  Our students are using Google and Wikipedia, either in class or outside it (not to mention Facebook!).  The question is not whether students are online or not but rather whether we faculty are guiding their online lives towards learning that matters.

Lisa Lane had a more positive note in her posting in College 2.0 on this matter:

“Faculty who’ve been teaching online awhile have a responsibility to share their experiences, tips and tricks with those just starting out. Mechanisms need to be in place for them to do that, whether it’s professional development programs, training seminars, or social interaction (online or in person). I could, and have, provided many, many solutions to the overload so many new online instructors experience trying to make their online class as much like their on-site classes as possible. There are indeed ways to design the experience to be easier and better for all.”

I agree with Lisa (and I think our White Paper was an attempt to do just the type of sharing she suggests).

Eduardo hit my hot button today (or more correctly, Elayne did).  What are your thoughts?  Have we not reached the point where the debate over the efficacy of online learning is past and where we should instead be focusing on the new practices needed to make online learning the success many of us have already seen it to be?  As always, I would be interested in your comments and reaction.

{Photo Remixed from Gill Wildman}

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Strategic Thinking and Strategic Resources

It has been ages since I posted anything here…a combination of end of semester and work in the Center.  Part of what has been driving me lately are strategic questions, and I have some for you.

For the past two weeks, I have been drafting a white paper on the state of the union regarding online education.  It certainly has had me thinking strategically.  I do not think that I am alone – it seems many are thinking strategically right now.  I have been influenced by Stephen Downes’ “The Future of Online Learning,” the Landmark Project and its Big Ideas for Education, and the Sloan-C annual report, “Staying the Course – Online Education in the United StatesKen Allen, Laura Blankenship and Gardner Campbell also have me reflecting longer term with some of their recent posts.  When I am further along on the white paper, I will post more about it.

Yesterday, Jeff Nugent and I joined about 18 other educators from around Virginia to help the Electronic Campus of Virginia do some strategic planning.  ECVA is a cooperative effort of the state institutions of higher education to pool resources, learn from one another, and assist policy makers in formulating electronic policy for the state.  In our meeting yesterday, we broke into four groups to examine:

  • Assessment of Digital Literacy
  • Fading and Emerging Technologies
  • Open Source
  • Virtualization / Cloud Computing

Gardner was a past leader in ECVA, and was tweeting about his current participation in the MIT Program for the Future conference – a timely event.  The relevance of his tweets was a bit spooky!  Jeff and I joined the group discussing fading and emerging technologies.  Our first task was to define “emerging technologies.”  Jeff tweeted:

It was a good question.  As we often discuss here, what is emerging for us as early adopters is different from what is emerging for the masses in the middle.  Historically, the early and late majority have been slow to adopt new technologies…and equally slow in letting go of old technologies.  Early adopters on the other hand are quick to move on to some new technology and drop their latest even as the majority are starting to recognize what they are abandoning.  Stopping support for fading technologies (think slide projectors and overheads) is even tougher.  John St. Clair of University of Mary Washington used a great term yesterday when he noted that we sometimes need to “euthanize” technologies that are past their prime.

I wish that I had found Ray Sims post yesterday.  I like how he framed his question of “In the context of enterprise 2.0, what items potentially demonstrate emergent behavior?”…

  1. Use cases for new collaboration and social software applications. I think back to my experience with wiki four+ years ago prior to having benefit of the seeds in wikipatterns.com. Then, we openly didn’t know what we were going to use the wiki for, but overtime, some “standard” use cases emerged. Now I see the same with some of the newer social software applications like Twitter, where not only use cases but syntax conventions (for @username and #hashtags) emerge.
  2. Shifts in company culture, including towards more openness and more innovation
  3. Shifts in the macro way that employees work
  4. Organizational networks, including new ties facilitated by social software applications, shifting demographics, and changing culture
  5. Folksonomy, emerging from content categories
  6. Increased visibility to the most valuable content, derived both from explicit ratings and from behavior (e.g. tagging, subscriptions, linking, and page views)
  7. Wiki page structures
  8. Definitions and terminology, including definitions of web 2.0, enterprise 2.0, and knowledge management beyond the original coinage — see for example the enterprise 2.0 definition exchange documented in the AIIM report
  9. Collective intelligence. I’m still sorting out in my own mind to what extent this term works for me, but I at least think it is better than AIIM’s “collective wisdom” — although the report also uses “collective intelligence”
  10. Perhaps software applications, or at least mash-ups. Is it valid to claim emergence here? Although in a common-language sense they are emerging, it really isn’t emergence in the sense of complexity theory.

Ray has some great points.  We tend to focus in on tools and technologies, but what is really driving use is the culture established…and leaders are responsible for the culture.

As we circled around the topic, we kept coming back to the question of what resources drive our thinking.  We had all been influenced by the Horizon Report from NMC.  Jeff noted that when educators put lists together, they quickly grow to huge numbers, which few then digest.  So we began to wonder, could we cull such lists down to the top five resources we should point policy makers towards to influence their decisions?  We have great diversity in the edublogosphere, but we also tend to see common themes.  Can we collapse those themes down to the five we would give to policy makers?  What five resources would we want President-Elect Obama and the new Secretary of Education to read?  We thought that the list would include these three as a start:

So my question to my readers – What would be on YOUR top 5 list?  Use the comment feature below to add your ideas and voice.

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