Have you noticed that the concept of ‘information overload’ is becoming less popular? It seems it’s being replaced by the idea of the evolution of a ‘dumbed down society’. Now, this video is of a presentation given at the Open University, UK by Dr. Ian Rowlands of the Centre for Publishing at University College London. During the video, he discusses the idea of the Google Generation and how children who grew up immersed in a technology-rich environment are developing into a ‘new breed’ of student. I just have a question I wanted to release into the blogosphere – a question that came to me while watching the webcast:
Until recently, the argument was being put forth that in today’s world, the PhD is what the Masters degree was 15-20 years ago, and the Masters degree has the perceived value of the Undergraduate degree of the 1980’s. But, if society is ‘dumbing down’, then doesn’t that mean that reflective students are becoming a valuable commodity again? Or…are we becoming too ‘dumb’ to see the value all together?
There is so much educational content freely available on the web that it can certainly seem challenging to know where to find the high quality materials from the reputable sources. Very often, when I work on the development of courses, module, programs, workshops, etc. that integrate some level of eLearning into the mix, I inevitably see teachers reach the point at which they realize how many more tools technology could enable them to provide to their students, but at the same time, how much time and energy and effort and know-how it would take to develop their learning resources. That’s my cue to start talking about reusable learning object (RLO) repositories!
Learning objects are quite tricky to define. I attempted to clarify the definition by creating my own learning object about learning objects. Have a look at it below:
In order for teachers to be able to ‘start off running’ when they initiate the development of a new eLearning initiative, I recommend browsing through the plethora of learning resources readily available online. It’s a much more empowering approach than reinventing the wheel. Besides, why don’t we focus on what we’re good at?! Why should an accounting professor be expected to learn the skills required to develop an online module teaching his or her students about the magic that is the balance sheet? Why not just tap into the global educational community and share with one another?
To help make the process of sharing a bit easier, I’ve put together a collection of learning object repositories that provide access to free materials. Have a look at the collection below and see if any of these digital libraries could help make your life a little easier!
Before I end this post, I just wanted to share the learning resource that I came across today while browsing. It’s a video entitled ‘Focus on Educational innovation‘ – part of the MIT World video library. It’s well worth watching.
Particularly Dick Yue’s presentation starting at 34 min 36 sec as he discusses the evolution and impact of MIT OpenCourseWare.
Or Shigeru Miyagawa as he talks about Star Festival – an initiative that injects support, resources and hope into urban schools in American to create the perfect tasting STEW of acceptance and integration! His talk starts at 55 min 29 sec.
And then there’s Henry Jenkins who talks to us about computer games and the extent to which their ubiquity has enabled them (or the gamers that play them!) to infiltrate into the classroom. Are video games trivial? Are they time wasters? Or, is there some pedagogic value to them? Have a look at what Henry has to say starting at 1 hr 12 min 10 sec. In particular, I found his statistics very revealing. For example, did you know that one third of MIT students surveyed admitted playing games that were not part of the instructional activities during classes!!
The question and answer session that starts at 1 hr 36 min 09 sec also broaches some interesting topics like, for example, what the difference is between the online resources for a course actually being taught to MIT students and the resources available through MIT OpenCourseWare for that same course.