Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

There is Only One Classroom in The World

“MOOC’s story tells us that scale is interesting because it allows us to offer a high quality product at a very low marginal cost per student, which is what allows us to take people who really can’t pay for an education. The move from pre-printing press to post-printing press is an one-time transition in history of the world, in terms of education. Online education is going to be like as well.” — from the video “Future of Learning”. Maybe you already viewed it which was shared around for a while.

We think the most important idea in the video is:

One of the revolution we are going to see is where less and less of education is about a conveyor of content, because that is going to be a commodity, and hopefully one that’s going to be available to everyone around the world. And a lot more of what we think of as education is going back to its original roots of teaching. Where the instructor actually engages in a dialogue with the students and helps them develop thinking skills, problem solving skills, passion for the discipline. Learning prepares you to cope with the surprise, education prepares you to cope with certainty. There is no certainty.

Connecting to learn, it pulls down many barriers to learning and makes the world one classroom.

John Seely Brown, aka JSB, is a visiting scholar and advisor to the Provost of the University of Southern California. Prior to that, he was the chief scientist of Xerox Corporation and Director of its Palo Alto Research Center — otherwise known as PARC. He talked about a world where we imagine the constraints of classrooms and chalkboards, giving way to the expansiveness of networks and web searches, a world where entrepreneurial learners find not only the resources, but the peers and experiences to learn, make, play, anywhere, anytime. The “entrepreneurial” here depicts a characteristic of self-initiated, actively interacting and learning from the changing environment. Let’s revisit his keynote on the DML 2012 Conference.

The technology is the easy part, the hard part is how do we leverage the capability of technology to invent the social practices, and institutional structures. How do we change learning from transfer model to participation model in the ever moving flows of activities and knowledge? The social learning ecology around Harry Potter and World of Warcraft give us the answer. In digital learning, “play” can amplify possibility. Because we can fail as many times as we try until we succeed. Learning is augmented and changed when “man as knower”  transforms into “man as maker”. Now we have more tools than we need at our disposal, we can not only make things, we can make contexts and thus meanings. Bloggers are actually jointed context creators. It’s an unprecedented form of writing and publishing. Grab the concept shown in this graphic below!

digital learning

At the end, JSB argued that the one room school house is the perfect learning environment since the teacher doesn’t lecture, he/she is a coordinator orchestrating peer learning, older kids teaching younger kids and the environment. In this connected world, we are learners, we are teachers, we are pilgrims on the way. Actually we should expect there is only one classroom in the world.

play and learn

So, we are glad to see A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age, newly developed by a group of people passionate about learning, serving today’s students, and using every available tool to respond better to the needs of students in a global, interactive, digitally connected world. The opportunity to learn, tinker, make collectively is our rights. Besides MOOCs, we believe Open Educational Resources(OERs), open textbooks, open source education and leveraging web as a universal open platform are all crucial elements that will make our one world classroom possible.

But, there are many more contributions needed from you, everyone counts. Either it’s about local action, creating actionable ideas, translation between languages, or connecting parties. We participate because we are learners.

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1 Response »


  1. There is Only One Classroom in The World | Social Learnoing Curve |

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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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