Thursday, June 29, 2006

Digital Culture and Learning in the Digital Age

John Seely Brown, a former researcher at Xerox PARC, who also wrote the fabulous 'Social Life of Information' book writes and speaks a great deal about education in the digital age. He ranges across many different topics, from how World of Warcraft teaches leadership
to the role of libraries.

Take a look at his work on learning in the digital age.

Web 2.0 for teachers

If you're a buzzword addict, then no doubt you are already reading a lot about web 2.0. Web 2.0 is rather hard to explain for those who don't know, but basically it implies easy to use, highly interactive, user-content driven web services. I recently held a workshop for the UNESCO SchoolNet project where I met the SchoolNet evaluation consultant Chris Smith, who is also a web 2.0 fanatic. He has worked with a team of other consultants to put together a useful and thorough guide to web 2.0 for teachers, called "Coming of Age".

Download the full guide.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Collaborative learning with ICT

Clive Shepherd recently wrote a good post on his blog 'Clive on Learning', pointing out some of the main benefits of collaborative learning, such as improved student motivation, team work and breaking down of the traditional teacher-learner relationship into a more peer-to-peer model.

In the UNESCO SchoolNet project, one of the most succesful aspects was telecollaboration. Many of the teachers from the telecollaboration (using the Learning Circles model) were extremely enthusiastic about the process. Basically, schools from eight countries worked together on shared curricular topics in the areas of maths, science and English, and sent questions and answers via email to each other, followed by presentations and other digital work done by the students.

The teachers mentioned that there were many benefits for students:
  • increased motivation for learning the curricular topic
  • improved tolerance to other people's views and means of expression
  • better international understanding
  • peer-to-peer learning took place; both student to student and student to teacher
  • they made friends in other countries.

Intel's cheap notebook for education in developing countries

ZDNet reports on an Intel initiative to rival the $100 PC, a notebook called the Classmate PC, to cost around $400. They are aiming to reach out to emerging markets, and have included a range of specific tools for education. It has a handy feature which deactivates the PC if it is removed from the classroom for more than a few days. Some aspects seem very US-centric though, such as the white-list of safe websites for Internet browsing and the reminder to 'pay attention to the professor' if the child clicks onto another page or site. Read the full article.

So now the 100$ laptop has a competitor...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Textbooks of the future

"The last time I used textbooks was five years ago," says Paul Bierman, a geology professor at the University of Vermont in Burlington in an interesting article featured in Nature. Others are commenting on the article here in the Nature Newsblog.

Read the full article.

Image by A. Peck.