In a world driven by exponential accelerating technological and social change, globalization, and a push for more creative and context-driven innovations, how can we ensure the success of ourselves as individuals,communities, and the planet? This special issue of On the Horizon explores the converging future of learning,work and how we relate with each other in this emerging paradigm. Of particular importance are the emerging class of borderless “new workers”, “neo-nomads” (or knowmads):
[…] a nomadic knowledge worker – that is, a creative, imaginative, and innovative person who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. Industrial society is giving way to knowledge and innovation work. Whereas industrialization required people to settle in one place to perform a very specific role or function, the jobs associated with knowledge and information workers have become much less specific in regard to task and place.
This issue aims to explore the role of education in developing and supporting such a “knowmad society”.
Suggested topics include (but are not limited to)
Roles of technology in human potential development for hyper-individualized creative and
The role of learning organizations in the creation of personal identity in post-cultural society
Key skills and competencies development areas for knowmadic, new workers
The economics of education for knowmadic workers
Maximizing human potential development in a society embroiled in accelerating change
Managing chaos and uncertainty in post-industrial careers
Redesigning and reformatting conceptualizations of space and “place” to attend to needs of knowmadic
learners and workers
New economics and comparative dimensions of knowmadic workers globally
What new worker parallels are emerging in other working classes (i.e. blue collar workers)?
Submissions of title and 250-word proposal due: July 1, 2012
Notice of acceptance: July 13, 2012
Papers due: December 1, 2012
Review result notification: January 15, 2013
Submit a paper
Submissions to this special issue of On the Horizon should be sent to the guest editor at John Moravec firstname.lastname@example.org
General questions to:
Tom P. Abeles, editor
On the Horizon
More information, including full author guidelines, is available at: www.emeraldinsight.com/oth.htm
The first time that I hear about the MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses, video) I thought that it was a crazy idea (I didn’t liked at all). It sounded to me as using the Internet instead of television to broadcast educational contents without caring who, where and how to learn. But after exploring with more details the ideas of Siemens (in discussion with Howard Rheingold) I could understood the rationale behind that.
It is widely acknowledged that the relationship between contents, availability, consumption and learning has been changing significantly in the last years (discussed two weeks ago in Cambridge). Nearly ten years after the creation of the OCW in MIT, now (May, 2011) Harvard and MIT have announced a new ambitious initiative (which will cost $60-Million), called edX: it will host online courses from both institutions free of charge. Since edX courses have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of students, the edX platform will not receive university credit, although they could earn certificates.
What is the main difference between this new initiative and the previous OCW?
Simultaneously, other educational initiatives have develop interesting practices, such as Khan Academy with millions of students, educators and self-learners using its videos. TED-Ed inspired in Khan also is doing a truly outstanding contribution in this area. Regarding new ways of assessing the learning experience, something recently discusses in an OECD summit, there are interesting initiative to learn from, such as P2P University or University of the People.
Loads of videos and new assessment methodologies are some of the ingredients that feed these changing educational practices. Very little time after the open course was offered by Stanford, MIT announced a new initiative: MITx, which in addition of providing the educational contents for free online, will implement a new system of qualification. Not based on academic degrees but on specific courses certification.
“This certificate will indicate that you earned it from MITx’s pilot course. In this prototype version, MITx will not require that you be tested in a testing center or otherwise have your identity certified in order to receive this certificate” [MITx].
Certainly behind this initiative there are a whole new sets of business models that will be required to explore with details. This new approach seems to be particularly suitable for those professionals who are aiming to re-skilling or keep updated (as well as competitive in a global labour market).
All these disruptive practices came meanwhile there is increasing interest in a creative (and probably very easy to adopt) initiative called Flipped Classroom: Where videos take the place of direct instruction, allowing students to get individual time in class to work with their teacher on key learning activities. Lectures are taken at home or somewhere else (using mobile phones or laptops) and face-to-face classes are used to discuss and promote hands-on learning experience base on the contents previously watched [see video bellow].
Now is still to be seen the middle and long terms implications of all these innovations. Also it will be interesting to see how other world-class higher institutions behave in this scenario. What are the learning implications of all these initiatives? Is open (and more flexible) education just a hype or it will really change Higher Education for ever ?
OportUnidad is an action-research project supported by the European Commission under the EuropeAid ALFA III programme with the aim of promoting the adoption of Open Educational Practices (OEP) in Latin America. The OportUnidad project will explore the adoption of strategies and channels that embrace the principles of openness and reusability within the context of educational institutions. It will foster the adoption of open educational practices (OEP), and open educational resources (OER) in Latin America as a bottom-up approach to develop a common Higher Education Area in the region.
In the Latin American region, there are still plenty of opportunities to facilitate openness and the sharing of educational content. As part of the project, 60 Latin American higher education organisations will be selected to participate as OportUnidad Fellows. Benefits to the fellow institutions will include assistance in developing open educational practices, online training, and the design of an institutional Open Educational Practices agenda.
How to Join the Network
Latin American universities and other Higher Education entities interested in becoming OportUnidad Fellow Organisations are invited to complete a self-nomination form (versions available in English, Spanish and Portuguese).
On the occasion of this year’s Open Education Week, the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, one of the OportUnidad partner institutions, will be organising a webinar to present the project and answer any questions from representatives of organisations interested in becoming OportUnidad fellow organisations.
The webinar will take place online on 6 March 2012 (16.00-17.00 GMT). Participation is free. The presentation will be held in English, but questions may be answered in Spanish if requested by attendants.
For more information about the project, see the OportUnidad website.
Partners and Support
OportUnidad is led by a group of universities from both Latin America and Europe. The Latin American partners are the Universidade Federal Fluminense (Brazil) (Candidate Partner), the Universidad Estatal a Distancia (Costa Rica), the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (Ecuador), the Fundación Uvirtual (Bolivia), the Universidad Virtual del Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico), the Universidad de la Empresa (Uruguay) and the Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (Peru). The European partners are the Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi (Italy) (Project Coordinator), the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain), the Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal) and the University of Oxford (UK).
OpportUnidad is supported by the European Commission under the EuropeAid ALFA III programme. ALFA is a programme of cooperation between Higher Education Institutions of the European Union and Latin America. ALFA III retains the original objective of the previous phases of the ALFA Programme, that is, to promote Higher Education in Latin America as a means to contribute to the economic and social development of the region.
The first public activity that we will have is representing the OportUnidad consortium in the next Open Education Week. The idea is to explain the main phases and expected results in an open webminar. If you would like learn more about this initiative, feel free to join our webminar.
The Open Education Week will take place from 5th to 10th of March online (www.openeducationweek.org) and in local events around the world. The objective of this Open Education Week is to raise awareness of the open education movement and OER in order to explore the benefits of free and open sharing in educational materials.
Our OportUnidad webinar will take place online during the 6th of March 2012 – 16.00-17.00 UTC (please see below your local times).
Please fill the self-nomination survey if you want to participate in the OportUnidad project
Local times for the OportUnidad webinar on the 6th of March are provided:
Monterrey, Mexico, San Jose, Costa Rica: 10.00 – 11.00 AM
Quito, Ecuador; Lima, Peru; Medellin, Colombia: 11.00 – 12.00 AM
Santa Cruz, Bolivia: 12.00 – 13.00 AM
Montevideo, Uruguay; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 2.00 – 3.00 PM
Porto, Portugal; Oxford, United Kingdom: 4.00 – 5.00 PM
Barcelona, Spain; Rome, Italy: 5.00 – 6.00 PM
What is going to happen in the webminar? After the presentation of the project, there will be time for Q&A and more importantly, we will open a call for those Latin-American universities which would like to be part of the Oportunidad network. Stay tuned: @cristobalcobo.
Ehlers (2011) suggest that the Open Educational Practices (OEP) is seen is as a second phase of this open educational resources (OEP) movement, where organizations such as the International Council for Open and Distance Education, remarks the importance to “promote innovative pedagogical models, and respect and empower learners as co-producers on their lifelong learning path. OEP address the whole OER governance community: policy makers, managers and administrators of organizations, educational professionals and learners” (ICDE, n.d.).
The “Open Educational Quality Initiative” network defines OEP as “set of activities around instructional design and implementation of events and processes intended to support learning. They also include the creation, use and repurposing of Open Educational Resources (OER) and their adaptation to the contextual setting”. (Andrade et al., 2011:13). In addition, the Open e-Learning Content Observatory Services asserts ”priority must be given to open educational practices that involve students in active, constructive engagement with content, tools and services in the learning process, and promote learners’ self-management” (Geser, 2007: 37).
There are notorious OEP initiatives, such as massive open online course (http://mooc.ca); Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org) or “peer to peer” education (http://p2pu.org). Here are summarized two initiatives that can be associated with OEP. These living examples, which are still under continuous development, suggest disruptive practices of education associated with two renowned institutions: University of Stanford and MIT.
1) U. of Stanford: Late in 2011 the New York Times announced a free online course Online Introduction to Artificial Intelligence offered by Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun in the University of Stanford (Markoff 2011). The course was a success and got the attention and interest of thousands of individuals around the world (https://www.ai-class.com). According to Thrun this course taught 160,000 students over 40 languages; and graduated over 23,000 students from 190 countries (http://robots.stanford.edu). Today this unprecedented experience is evolving toward a new initiative called Udacity (udacity.com). Its goal is to offer online courses that are both high quality and low-cost. Udacity aims to connect “teachers to hundreds of thousands of students in almost every country on Earth” and those students who complete a course will receive a certificate signed by the instructors.
2) MIT: The MIT, regarded as a “game changer“, announced an online, open-source, largely free educational platform that will allow users outside of MIT earn certificates for completing Institute-caliber courses online. The initiative dubbed as MITx pushed MIT’s educational reach beyond campus borders in a way the current OCW cannot. It is envisioned as a laboratory to experiment with online learning techniques, while collecting data from a large user base. So far the principal difference between MITx and its own OCW is a reconfiguration of course credentials where the new system will asks users to complete exams and assignments online. Students would be graded automatically. That open possibilities based on individual credentials rather than entire degrees. Also, its distinctive aspect in relation to the traditional “distance-education” is that students will be asked to solve problems in a freer, creative way, without step-by-step guidance. MIT is preparing a fee structure for individual courses and groups of courses. The aim is to make credentialing highly affordable. Plasmeier, who works in this project adds, “We shouldn’t be afraid of researching new methods to see if there is something better than the standard lecture-based classes”. (Solomon, 2012 and MIT’s News Office, 2011). More in The Chronicle and David Wiley’s blog.
So far, some of the ideas linked with the OEP are labelled as “innovative pedagogical models”; “practices associated with the creation”, “disrupting the traditional role of the university in society”, “new approaches to assessment, accreditation and collaborative learning” which match particularly well with the innovation-rhetoric. However, the examples provided are still “under construction” and it will be necessary to follow up their evolution in order to see if they either become an improvement of the existing technology-based practices (“incremental innovation”) or they represent a breaking point in education (“radical innovation”).
This book is the third of the trilogy (preceded by Geekonomy and Invisible Learning). This new publication offers a case study that analyzes how the Internet has been used to build social capital among those low income ethnics and migrant minorities. The authors explored how those communities interact through the Internet, and either those practices foster their social inclusion or not. In this framework the authors analysed how the digital inclusion places a key rol in among the migrant population. [The first version of this publication is only available in Spanish].
Here you can download an early version in english [pdf].
[Alain Touraine talking about Immigrants in Europe]
Rob Farrow (from the Open Univeristy), short time ago wrote that the “discourse about Open Educational Resources (OERs) has reached a point of maturity and needs to be (at least) supplemented with explicit focus on Open Educational Practices (OEPs)”. Doubtless this is a much more radical idea, which opens up the possibility of new practices, contexts and learning environment (either formal or informal).
~ Free learning to all students worldwide using OER learning materials
~ Courses and programs based solely on OER and open textbooks
~ Pathways to gain credible qualifications from recognised education institutions
~ Pathways for OER learners to earn formal academic credit
~ Administrative: not a formal teaching institution and does not confer degrees or qualifications
I fully support the idea of understanding the OER within a much more complex but attractive process of transformation that can influence some other sectors of the Higher Education as well as other teaching and researching practices. Would that be the future of learning or is just a sign of decadence of the current system?
This lecture will explore how non-traditional academic channels of knowledge generation and distribution are increasing in visibility and relevance on the Internet. For instance, relevant examples can be identified in new facets of knowledge generation (e-science, online education, distributed R&D, open innovation, peer-based production, online encyclopaedias, user generated content), and new models of knowledge circulation and distribution (digital print on demand, e-journals, open repositories, Creative Commons licensing, academic podcasting, etc.).
In the above presentation I made a personal summary of some of the most relevant findings that I saw in the last Oxford internet Survey (OxIS) which was recently launched by Grant Blank and Bill Dutton (download report, pdf).
During the presentation of OxIS, in the House of Commons Bill Dutton and Grant Blank explained that one of the main findings of this British survey was the so-called “Next Generation” (aka Nomadic Generation, thanks to an intervetion of Joss Wright).
The report says:
“The next generation user is defined by the emergence of two separate but related trends: portability and access through multiple devices. First, there has been a continuing increase in the proportion of users with portable devices, using the Internet over one or another mobile device, such as a smart phone…
Now in 2011, the mobile phone is one of a number of devices for accessing the Internet that are portable within and outside the household.Secondly, Internet users often have more devices, such as multiple computers, readers, tablets, and laptop computers, in addition to mobile phones, to access the Internet…
Fully 59% have access to the Internet via one or more of these multiple devices other than the household personal computer”.
Considering the idea of the “Next Generation” (much more realistic and reliable than the idea of ‘digital native’) and its links with those who are digital content-creators I think that a lot of commonalities can be found between this work and the “Geographies of the World’s Knowledge” developed by Graham, M., Hale, S. A. and Stephens, M. who mapped the digital world based on the generation (and uploading) of contents. That is why I decided to link both works in my presentation.
** This is a cross-post written by Mitch Weisburgh on September 23, 2011 in Academic-Biz.
** 1o days ago, the eBook ‘Invisible Learning’ was realeased with Creative Commns. And we are pleased to say that so far 5,000 people have already downloaded it!
Modern technologies, like social networking, texting, and digital storytelling, are viewed as inimical to the tried and true techniques of the formal classroom. Outside of the classroom, it’s a different story. Compared to watching television when it was a young technology, kids today are spending more time on the Internet with less supervision. Whatever they are doing, they are learning, but what and how they are learning is invisible to the formal education system. There is thus a whole new environment of learning outside of formal education, including through social networks, games, and searching, with students playing, discussing, finding, and sharing information. The question is not, “Are they learning on the Internet?” It’s “what are they learning?”
Can educators leverage this time and energy to help students learn? Only if we understand that the most significant potential lies outside of the classroom, where students are now spending so much of their time, and if we start understanding the dynamics of Internet usage.
But we need to consider models different from that of a sage lecturing to students who avidly or passively absorb the materials. There may not be one winning idea, there is probably not one learning theory that is correct in all instances, maybe we will need to follow several different possible paths to arrive at superior means of teaching more to more. The goal of this book is to try to unify different learning theories, teaching practices, change management techniques, and technologies to make education more effective, efficient, informative, and adaptive to the needs of our rapidly changing world.
While you can’t deny that schools are adopting software tools, many times those tools are primarily reinforcing the traditional ways of teaching and assessing. The software that students are using outside of school, and are informally, non-formally, or serendipitously learning from, are more attuned to what most of us regard as 21st century skills. Additionally, what is often considered new technology by adult teachers and educators is regarded as the norm (at best) and outdated (at worst) by many students. For example, using PowerPoint slides may or may not be effective, but it certainly would not be considered as technologically savvy by high school or college students.
It’s ironic that now, when there are so many people interested in learning and going to school, we don’t know what a good education is. And it’s sad that, with all the resources and effort societies invest in education, and with all the capabilities of teachers and schools, our education systems do not do a better job preparing students for the demands of our interconnected, rapidly changing, 21st century world.
A lot of what we know, and need to know, is not formally taught or measured. Even though these acquired skills and knowledge are invisible or ignored by traditional measurement vehicles, they are very visible and valued real life. How are they acquired? How can technology help us teach them better?
The book explores the roots of what makes learning invisible:
Technology: Because schools are not adapting the technologies that students are using, the technologies that students use to communicate, explore, amuse, and learn are invisible to formal education.
Actions: Students are spending a lot more time on the computer in non-school environments, often doing much more advanced tasks, and these activities are invisible to formal education
Knowledge: the skills and capacities acquired using informal learning are different from what are demanded in formal education, and so are invisible.
Technical skills: besides the rudiments of learning commands and functions, many technical skills are learned while doing other things, for example when you want to create a video and post it to a social network. Because these skills are not being explicitly taught, they often become invisible to formal education.
Assessment: many of the competencies learned outside of lectures, textbooks, and repetitive exercises are not tested, especially on high stakes assessments, so are invisible.
Momentum: because the different parties in the educational system have so much vested in their existing methods, technologies, and practices, they do not or cannot devote the time or resources to looking at creative ways of change, or eliminating the practices that just do not make sense anymore. Thus, the lack of attention makes the possibility of change invisible.
What is often taught, assessed, and rewarded at schools is memorization and exactitude. But are these the traits that are most valuable in the real world? In fact, by penalizing errors, we are also hampering creativity and experimentation, two of the key skills most demanded in the world outside of school.
Our education system needs to better understand the technologies students are using, what students are doing with that technology, what they are learning, how to better understand how much students are learning and what they are capable of doing. All those interested in education should be doing this with a lens of teaching how to learn, not specifically in teaching specific skills, and with an understanding that learning doesn’t stop at graduation, learning has become a life-long process.
We are preparing students to live, and hopefully thrive, in a world we cannot even imagine today, so we need to redesign our education systems. Rethinking education has three parts, figuring out what we are doing that works, culling out what we are doing that isn’t working, and devising what to add or change.
Ivan Illichproposed, forty years ago, the idea that a good education system lets all who want to learn learn, it provides access to learning content at whatever moment people need it, it provides the means to teach for those who have knowledge and want to share it with others, and it does not dictate any pre-determined plan of studies, titles, or diplomas. How different from the education we offer today, but how close to where we need to end up!
Rethinking education is a job for all of us.
You can access the book (it is in Spanish) here. And you can watch Cristóbal Cobo present these ideas at a TED presentation (also in Spanish) here.