What does it mean to be educated in the 21st Century?


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The Open Ed Tech Summit Report 2008. Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona.

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What does it mean to be educated in the 21st Century?

  1. 1. What does it mean to be educated in the 21st Century? Open EdTech 2008 A Universitat Oberta de Catalunya initiative Report written by Marie Glenn Open EdTech Summit 2008 Exploring Learning Solutions Together Barcelona, November 10th and 11th Office of Learning Technologies
  2. 2. Contents 2 3 Foreword By Imma Tubella, Rector and Llorenç Valverde, Vice Rector for Technology, UOC 4 Executive Summary 6 Introduction 7 Learning in a technology-enabled knowledge economy 8 Observations 8 Scarcity versus abundance 8 Interview: Karl Fisch, Director of Technology, Arapahoe High School, Colorado, USA 9 Open Education is critical to sustaining quality education 10 Interview: Joel Greenberg, Director of Strategic Development, Learning & Teaching Solutions, Open University 11 Access as a human right 12 Interview: Paula Nirschel, Founder of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women 13 Personalization 14 Interview: Susan Metros, Associate Vice Provost for Technology Enhanced Learning, Deputy Chief Information Officer, and Professor of Design Practice and Clinical Education at the University of Southern California (USC) 15 Community and constraints 16 Disruptive innovation and organizational change 16 Interview: Michael Horn, Co-founder and Executive Director of Innosight Institute. Co-author of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Work 18 Conclusion: An invitation to action 19 Who took part in Open EdTech 2008? 19 Advisory Committee 19 Participants
  3. 3. Foreword Imma Tubella, Rector and Llorenç Valverde, Vice Rector for Technology of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) 3 If academia ever was an ivory tower, it is being chiseled open by the persistent hammer of technological, social and economic change. Far from being removed from the gritty realities of everyday, today’s universities have been plunged into the thick, vibrant epicenter of global change. Tightly coupled global markets, the continual flow of real-time information and the availability of anywhere and anytime access have accelerated not only the pace of change but the immediacy of its impact. That change is placing unprecedented demands on educators, administrators and students alike. Where content once was bound by time and place, it now pours freely from an abundance of sources, allowing students to shift their attention from ingesting factual data, to actively applying their knowledge to real life problems. What used to be a one-way conversation, teacher to student, has become a multi-party conversation, between teachers, students, outside peer groups and influencers. The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) is part of that extended conversation, not least because the very nature of an open university is one forever bent on trying to understand how to adapt, shape or create a learning experience that fits the footprint of the student and his or her academic needs. Some, new to the concept of open education can make the mistake of seeing it only as a distribution channel, education served online versus through the physical classroom. And this is certainly one dimension. But open education as practiced is actually far broader. Its philosophical context is based on openness to people, places, methods and ideas, new and old, conventional and non-, in order to enable a learning environment that is both student-directed as well as academically rigorous. In a period of swirling change, the pursuit and practice of open education is a fascinating, if occasionally nail-biting adventure. Fortunately, we at the UOC are not alone. We have learned to cleave as closely to our own personal learning networks as our students, faculty and peers do theirs. Thus, we knew that by bringing together a group of like and non-like minded thinkers to explore the intersection between pedagogy, technology and higher education we might strive to further our own learning. That notion led to our first ever Symposium on What it Means to be Educated in the 21st Century, convened in November, 2008 in Barcelona, Spain. We are deeply grateful for the valuable insight, challenging debate and rich community participants so generously offered. One of the underlying precepts of Open Education is community. With that community comes a responsibility both to hear as well as contribute actively. Our hope is that through meetings and outputs such as these, we might continue to engage with a worldwide community of educators, administrators, and students interested in advancing 21st Century literacy through student-centered education – knowing that whatever role we may presently hold, we all share the common bond of being lifelong learners. We hope you enjoy.
  4. 4. Executive Summary 4 As the first decade of the 21st Century Dynamics Shaping the 21st Century draws to a close, the promise of student- Educational Landscape centered learning is fast becoming a Traditional educational practices, reality. High-bandwidth computing and once shrouded within the four walls online courseware have combined to put of a university, are loosening, shaped education in reach of many of those long by a bevy of external forces that are denied access because of physical, together altering the means, modes and logistical or economic constraints. measurements of learning. That future A rich array of instructional media, shows that education is opening up in technological tools and communication ways previously unimagined. platforms allows students to engage more directly in constructing their own • Where the traditional educational knowledge, an ingredient cognitive business model was fueled by content, studies show is key to learning success. the new educational model rests on How this future will unfold is anyone’s mentorship. The economic model upon guess, but to paraphrase Confucius, a which traditional education has long journey of one thousand miles begins been built is predicated upon the by asking several questions. assumption that educational content is scarce. Today, that model is becoming In November, 2008, the Universitat outdated and, in some cases, obsolete. Oberta de Catalunya sought to do Putting this in economic terms, what just that by gathering 37 thinkers from is scarce today is not content, but across the educational spectrum to sense-making. In the coming decades, explore a range of perspectives on the mentorship and guidance will be our characteristics and requirements of our most valuable and limited educational new knowledge era. The discussion resource, bringing with it wide implications offered considerations on the dynamics for educators and students alike. shaping the 21st Century educational environment as well as ideas on how • Student-centered learning is moving educators, administrators and students from an abstraction to a reality. Greater can best respond. end-user access, greater end-user empowerment, and greater end-user Major highlights of that discussion customization have combined to make include: student-centered learning a possible and powerful new educational paradigm. The ability to personalize the learning experience is the root of its power. Yet, personalization is not synonymous with comfortable. Constraints, in the form of competition, standards, and a proven application of knowledge will continue to provide a necessary tension as well as grounding.
  5. 5. 5 • The role of educators is shifting Requirements to meet • The educational community must beyond instruction to sense-making. the educational demands of the reach for fewer, clearer and higher As the currency of education moves next century standards that translate across from info acquisition to knowledge borders. In an educational context, While students may have the means application, the challenge for teachers mastery over foundational knowledge to direct their own learning, the will be to help students apply the creates the need for standards. Too requirements of our global marketplace information swirling around them to the many times, however standards get require new literacies. To make sense problems of the day. Where once a confused with standardization. The of the world around them students, teacher’s primary role was to disseminate former grounds learning opportunities. educators and administrators will need content, today their task is to help The latter often limits them. Streamlined, to learn how to product and extract students make sense of it. By extension, consistent, international standards will knowledge from multiple sources, work coursework, curricula and collaboration create more certain footing for educators with an expanding array of partners and must become more active, participatory and a more even playing field for those influencers, and address problems that and fluid as students work to apply seeking to move or grow their careers. no-one has had to solve before. knowledge to practical problems. • Technology must be aligned with • New literacies will be needed. As the • Technology will remain a key enabler learning needs. Aligning educational currency of education moves from of change. Mobiles, cloud computing, content with the right delivery channel information acquisition to knowledge social networking, and other technologies is a major challenge, particularly when application, the challenge for students are unleashing a wealth of possibilities, the development lifecycle is so rapid. will be to find, filter and apply the swelling both inside the traditional classroom, To resolve such issues, the academic sea of information that surrounds them. and increasingly outside. Together, they community will need to encourage This will place critical thinking and will significantly shape current learning greater collaboration across the problem solving abilities at the forefront models, fostering wider access to educational spectrum, from lower to of needed skill sets. Fluency in the media education, more sensitive assessment higher education, and consider new forms of the day will also be critical if techniques, and accelerating the rate of forms of public-private partnership. students are to participate fully in our innovation. tightly woven global economy. All told, this is an exciting time to be • Institutional approaches must in education. Although significant respond to today’s challenges. challenges loom, the lessons of the first To compete successfully in our decade of the 21st Century are rich technology-enabled knowledge with promise. Embedding these more economy, institutions must shift from fully into our educational ‘ecosystem’ ‘industrial-era’ practices wherein may well be the task for the next several students are grouped by age and years. moved along an educational assembly line to one that is capable of responding to a variety of inputs, competencies and question sets. Creating, producing and collaborating with an audience that may extend outside of the traditional classroom also brings with it new lessons in accountability, integrity and ethics. As instructional design evolves, notions of scholarship, stewardship and citizenship will co-mingle.
  6. 6. Introduction 6 In November 2008, 37 individuals from across the educational spectrum – professors, policy advocates, learning technologists, and university CIOs – gathered for a one-and-a-half-day symposium in Barcelona, Spain. Hosted by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, the meeting was in many respects an experiment. Where many educational conferences guide attendees through a mix of keynote speeches, panel sessions and breakouts, this symposium proposed none of that. Instead, the Barcelona Symposium divided the group into four teams, shut them all in a room, and left them to spend the day brainstorming. Team A addressed the Personalization of the Learning Process. Team B addressed the Learning Delivery of Content. Team C addressed the Future of Technologies at the Service of Learning. And Team D worked on Anytime, Anywhere Learning. What came out of the session was a field of possibilities to help define, enable and support what it means to be literate and educated in the 21st century. As intelligent, thought provoking, even sometimes humorous as the ideas generated that day were, far and away the larger outcome was the conversation itself. Such engaged ‘back and forth’ all too frequently fills only the margins of many educational gatherings, burbling up at cocktail receptions, or in side conversations. This paper is an opportunity to extend that dialogue. By harnessing the collective wisdom of the recent Symposium and the broader educational community, we hope this paper might catalyze a growing body of thought and greater awareness of the Open Education mission.
  7. 7. Learning in a technology-enabled knowledge economy Yellow, Red, Blue 7 1925; Oil on canvas, 127 x 200 cm; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris Wassily Kandinsky information touches along the way. The result is that we are moving from an information era to a knowledge era, one that is creating new forms of collaboration and business intelligence. Together, these advances fuel our current technology-enabled, knowledge economy. This has enormous consequence for all organizations, but particularly the academic sector. As students gain the means to direct their own learning experience, institutional hegemony over instruction may morph into something more populist and personal. What used to be institution-led is becoming student-led. While the dye is still wet on what shape the 21st Century learning model may take, some contours are emerging. They include: Frank Ponti, the creative moderator for composition, the other informal. One • Greater end-user access the Barcelona Symposium placed a side is structured, the other unstructured. • Greater end-user empowerment copy of this print on one of our meeting And there on the far right side is a • Greater end-user customization tables. Images from three separate curving line. We don’t know what that artists adorned tables in other rooms. line meant to Kandinsky, but for us it To be successful in this environment, We raised our eyebrows. “Use these might as well represent the winding road students, educators and administrators compositions to brainstorm ideas about that is life-long learning.” We laughed as need to know how to produce and your topic,” he said. Almost none of us we were meant to, but acknowledged extract knowledge from multiple sources, did. We didn’t really see the point. So the point: the 21st Century requires collaborate with an expanding array of we grinned when Team D (Anytime, new literacies that in turn demand new partners, and take accountability for Anywhere Learning) flashed this artwork learning models, models that directly solving problems that no-one has solved at the start of their closing presentation. challenge many current practices. before. But as Steve Wheeler, Team D’s appointed speaker and a member of the Advances in technology, the shrinking That, of course, raises some interesting Faculty of Education at the University of of the digital divide, and liberalizing world questions on the future of education. Plymouth, explained how this painting markets have spurred not only an increase But as Vijay Kumar, senior associate dean served as a metaphor for the ying and in the rate of change but also in the and director of the Office of Educational yang of educational change, the whole immediacy of its impact. What used to Innovation and Technology at MIT, day seemed to fall into shape. “As you take weeks, now takes minutes. Today, remarked in his closing comments at look at the picture, draw an imaginary people, processes and technology are the Barcelona Symposium, “A futurist is line down the middle,” said Mr Wheeler. more tightly coupled than ever before, one who makes possibilities more real “On one side you’ll see structure, the influencing not only the speed with which for others.” other chaos. One half shows us formal information moves but all the nodes that
  8. 8. Observations Interview Karl Fisch Director of Technology, Arapahoe High School, The following observations, culled from the Colorado, USA Symposium, the Open-Education community and others, offer a variety of perspectives on A first person the characteristics and requirements of our new perspective knowledge era and its potential for education. 8 Scarcity versus Putting this in economic terms, what is scarce today is not content, but sense- abundance making. As the currency of education moves from information acquisition to The economic model upon which knowledge application, the challenge for traditional education has long been built students is to find, filter and apply the is predicated upon the assumption that swelling sea of information that surrounds educational content is scarce. Today, them. In the new century, mentorship that model is becoming outdated and, and guidance will be our most valuable in some cases, obsolete. In the time and limited educational resource. BG (Before Google) one learned many concepts by rote, things like, ‘What was This understanding may serve as the the Gunpowder Plot?’ and ‘What genes foundation of an emerging ‘business are involved in regulating insulin?’ If not model’ for education. With students A few years ago, I made a seemingly top of mind, hunting down the answers empowered to direct an increasing small decision to post a faculty to such questions would otherwise take share of their learning experience, presentation that I delivered onto too much time and, in some cases, a educators can be freed to supply my blog. That presentation, Did You librarian, leaving little mental energy for foundational know-ledge and nurture Know/Shift Happens soon went higher level thinking. BG we needed a the critical thinking and problem solving viral. Today, best estimates are that teacher to disgorge content to us. Today, skills that will allow students to make somewhere between 15-20 million all it takes is an Internet connection. sense of the world around them. viewers have seen it. That a high school technology coordinator in Not long ago, information and the Not surprisingly, these shifts bring the suburbs of Denver could spark distribution channels that delivered it tremendous complexity. Despite superb a million conversations with a simple were largely proprietary. Now ordinary educators, superb facilities and superb online PowerPoint would have been individuals can create and distribute administration, many educational inconceivable a decade ago. Had unique content to parties the world over. institutions are designed to prepare I known, I might have checked my Email, SMS, RSS, social-networking, today’s students for yesterday’s problems. grammar a bit more. websites, widgets, memes, these Reversing that structure is an enormous applications shroud us in data. Content undertaking. That it happened at all makes me acquisition is no longer the problem it realize that we live in profoundly once was. In fact, we’re drowning in it. different times. It also makes me think that our schools should reflect this difference far more than they do. The reality, however, is that our educational system remains largely rooted in an industrial age model. We group kids by age, place them on an assembly line and use each grade to accomplish a set of tasks. After 12 years, they roll off the line as well- formed widgets.
  9. 9. 9 At Arapahoe High School, we have At AHS, this recognition is now front Open Education is great students, great staff, a supportive and center in our consciousness. We critical to sustaining community, and one of the top high schools in Colorado. But as great as approach things differently as a result. As best we can, we help our kids quality education our school is, it occurred to me that we apply core skills to a variety of media.” Following the new knowledge economy were doing an excellent job preparing We know as do so many educators, logic discussed earlier, the Barcelona our kids for the wrong time period, that the ability to find, acquire and participants offered several thoughts 1985. That realization began an share knowledge will be key to our about the instructional implications extended conversation among our students’ career and life paths. The of content in a 21st Century context. faculty and our students. The question implicit give-and-take in this leads to Among them were: it surfaced, ‘What does it mean to be an what is perhaps the biggest takeaway educated person in the 21st Century?’ from my experience with Did you • Content may no longer be king, but remains central to our approach today. Know/Shift Happens, namely that 21st the ability to turn information into insight Century literacy is critical for shaping surely will be. In addressing this question, Jason good citizens. • Where one had to go to the well Ohler, a professor at the University of (physical institutions) for educational Alaska, offers a perspective that I like content before, many students can now a lot. He says, “Literacy means being simply turn on the tap (online/offline able to consume and produce the networks) for the content they need. media forms of the day.” For me, this thinking resonates with perfect pitch. • By allowing the network to help in Today’s students need to understand distilling content, educators can focus and communicate with the world more on mentoring and supporting around them. They need to know student scholarship. where and what to absorb and how and what to produce. That is because • Exposing content promotes more the more knowledgeable one is about learning. If you don’t create it, someone a medium, the harder it is to be else will, so there’s little point in hoarding manipulated by it. If you can construct it (but that doesn’t mean that enterprising it, you can also deconstruct it. In our institutions can’t make money off it). media saturated world, true literacy requires understanding the language Open education taps into these of our times. dynamics. Speaking in broad strokes, the traditional educational model is ‘closed.’ That is to say, it is based on a service model in which the institution directs the learning experience. The open education model inverts this, or strives to at least, allowing the student to take charge of his or her own learning outcomes. In this setting, the teacher’s role is to guide the student, help them ask the right questions, preserve the right context and develop the right frameworks and learning goals.
  10. 10. 1 Stephen Downes, Interview http://flosse.dicole org/?item=future-of-flosse-interview-with-stephen-downes-part-category=interviews Joel Greenberg Director of Strategic Development, Learning & Teaching Solutions, Open University 10 By definition, open education is open platform where students pull the to people, places, methods and ideas. knowledge that they need directly. As a Underlying the modern approach is the university, our focus and challenge now notion that the “network provides.” For becomes how to provide the best type those of us with piles of books stored in of mentorship for our students.” our basements, Stephen Downes, the Canadian educator and open source In meeting these challenges Vijay Kumar advocate says, says ‘get rid of them.’ suggests in his book, Opening Up “We have to view information as a flow Education that he co-edited with Toru rather than as a thing. It’s like electricity Iyoshi, that the future will rest upon or water. We get a glass of water when three pillars: open technology (and the we need it, we don’t store glasses of primacy of design); open content (how water in case we need it.” 1 community can and should engage in the design); and open knowledge Back in 1970, Great Britain’s Open Putting it all together, if open networks (how to build transference within those University was the first of any provide content and community, what communities to share and extend the significant scale to take what was then do open universities provide? The knowledge gained). then a discredited form of education, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) correspondence college, and turn it offers a good starting point. At 15 years For many in the open education into something widely respected. This old and with 47,000 students from around movement, one of the greatest form of education became known as the world, it is certainly one of oldest complexities in realizing this future state distance learning. Some early and largest online universities. Llorenç rests in aligning educational content with academics rolled their eyes at the Valverde, the UOC’s Vice Rector of the right delivery channel, particularly concept originally and one senior Technology says, “What makes UOC’s when the development lifecycle of new opposition politician called the idea model different is not just that we are media and related technologies is so that one could teach university level one-hundred percent online. It’s that rapid. Dr Valverde notes, “If we can think subject matter to the unqualified ‘a our learning model is based on placing about that sort of world, where the blithering nonsense.’ But as Joel students at the center of their own computer is not the primary medium, Greenberg, the University’s Director academic program. Five hundred years then the challenge becomes how to of Strategic Development, Learning after the introduction of the printing deliver content effectively across all & Teaching Solutions remarks, “The press, we have moved from the platform channels.” irony now is that recent surveys rank where professors give lectures to a Open University at or near the top when it comes to employee satisfaction with our graduates.” Dr Greenberg has been with the University for the past 32 years. In that time, he has witnessed much change in the field of open education. “My favorite statistic is that in 1979, we had 19,000 students online. And this was long before the development of the personal computer and the internet of today,” he says. Instead,
  11. 11. 2 http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=18845&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html 3 “Making Minds Less Well Educated Than Our Own,” Roger Schank, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. 11 students tapped into 290 terminals Access as a human Standards versus standardization scattered among various colleges right The question of access is not just practical. It is also philosophical. In the and universities around Great Britain. If knowledge is the seat of wisdom and United States and many other countries, “We had very low data rates, but our wisdom the key to peace, then it stands constitutional and other laws mandate students were accessing bibliographic to reason that educating the world’s free and compulsory education. This records from the U.S. Library of citizenry represents a fairly solid is a good thing to be sure. But if Congress,” says Dr Greenberg. investment in our collective security and education is to be free and compulsory, advancement. Many would agree with how do we incorporate student centricity But while the technologies may have UNESCO’s statement that “Achieving within that context? How do we make changed, the University’s core mission the right to basic education for all is thus something compulsory while at the same hasn’t. Unlike traditional universities, one of the biggest moral challenges of time according freedom of choice? the Open University has no entrance prerequisites, putting the prospect our times.” 2 In an educational context, mastery over of a university degree within reach of If education is an essential human right, foundational knowledge creates the many more than would otherwise be then ensuring access to education must need for standards. Too many times, able to attend. Students can also also be considered in the same light. however standards get confused with decide how far they want to go in a Yet, the question of whether one has a standardization. The former grounds given subject. A hobbyist can dabble right to education is far easier to address, learning opportunities. The latter often in one or two short courses; an of course, than how to provide it. limits them. employee can obtain professional certification; and degree candidates Programs like One Laptop per Child take on the challenge of putting In the U.S., core curricula can cover can pursue their studies up to the information in reach of the world’s poor, pages, yet still fail to establish measures Masters level. Learning materials are but fundamental issues such as that support the desired learning differentiated accordingly and tutors bandwidth remain. Mobile technology outcome itself. In his book, Making are available to offer support. offers significant potential, particularly Minds Less Well Educated than Our since the development of wireless Own,3 Roger Schank states: Most of the course materials are written in-house. “We still publish infrastructure is well advanced in many of about 30,000 pages a year,” says Dr the developing countries that leapfrogged “...Learning objectives are one of Greenberg, “but that is fast becoming the prior wave of wired infrastructure. the main evils in the school system. an old model.” As for where the Open Yet, these governments need the Learning objectives seem like a good University is headed as it completes it encouragement and support of the idea for the basis of curriculum design... fourth decade, Dr Greenberg says, international community to expand ‘At the end of the course, the student “We will increasingly get out of the mobile capabilities and remote access. will know X.’ Sounds good. The problem content business and instead leverage of course is that when you decide that social-networking and other online Access is not just a developing world any student who takes a given course tools and learning resources, both for issue, however. Within established should come out knowing X, it is very fee and free. Universities like ours will markets, there are other challenges. tempting to test to see if they do in fact continue their mission of providing Educational resources may exist but know it. To make sure they know it, support and accreditation, but the way without some construct for finding them, a teacher tells it to them a lot, makes in which we carry out that mission will many students and educators often them read about it, gives them short change dramatically in the coming cannot avail. Discoverability and a means quizzes about it, and finally examines years.” of managing unstructured information them to see if in fact they know X. are essential for access to have value.
  12. 12. 4 http://www.gatesfoundation.org/speeches-commentary/Pages/vicki-phillips-2008-education-forum-speech.aspx Interview Paula Nirschel Founder of the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women 12 In the confusion about learning objectives Teachers understand this dilemma which tend to be stated rather factually very well. Vicki Phillips, the Education (the student should know X), there is Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates always the underlying hope that the Foundation, says, “Teachers everywhere student might come away from the are eager for clearer, more compelling experience being able to do something standards that take the mystery out of he couldn’t do before. No one is interested what they’re supposed to be teaching.” 4 in actually having the students spouting X. But having that as one’s explicit In light of globalization, other standards objective tends to make sure that the also need to be addressed. Those goal is uppermost in everyone’s mind. wishing to transfer their degrees and accreditations to avail of cross border What did the writers of the previous opportunities often meet several objectives mean when they said: hurdles. The ability of the international “When you educate a woman, A. Student will be able to indentify community to agree trans-national you educate a village,” says Paula effective communication skills. qualifications would be a significant Nirschel founder of the Initiative to step in allowing those who live in small Educate Afghan Women (IEAW). She You know and I know that they meant states to compete more equitably began her organization in 2002 after there would be a test. But what would with peers from larger states. Open learning how Afghan women were the test be about? Well, it would pretty coursework may be one small step in denied education during the Taliban’s well have to be about the list of effective this direction, but the larger issue will seven-year reign over Afghanistan. “It communication skills that were given rest with government, international was haunting to see such oppression,” to the student. So you see the problem agencies and licensing boards. she says. Determined to find a way here. It isn’t that there will be a test to to expand educational access, she see if the student knows X. It is that The question of educational access created a program to secure four-year the curriculum now has to have some comprises each one of these dimensions, scholarships at U.S. universities for explicit statement about X that may not from the practical to the philosophical. some of Afghanistan’s highly motivated be so important to learn. Do we in fact Finding a means of addressing them will young women. learn to communicate by being able likely be a key element of 21st Century to say a set of rules about effective learning. “Education is critical because it opens communication? I don’t think so. I minds,” says Ms Nirschel. But she doubt that teachers that have to teach had to open a few minds of her own this think so either. Communication just to get the program started. She involves actually communicating, not spent weeks talking to administrators saying stuff about communicating.” and diplomats in central Asia, Afghanistan and the United States to overcome diplomatic, logistical and financial obstacles. Finally, a panel, including a U.S. State Department official, a member of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s administration and Kabul University’s president gained the necessary agreements, interviewed each candidate and
  13. 13. 13 submitted the finalists for the IEAW’s non-profit organizations, and a few Personalization review. have returned to the U.S. to continue We talk a lot about student-centric their graduate studies. “Forty years learning, but what does it mean? For With the IEAW’s help, what began as ago Afghan women had access to those gathered in Barcelona, an entering class of four has now grown education and the country was in much personalization of the learning process into a tight-knit group of 46 women less turmoil. Since then, the voice of half embraced several dimensions: in 20 different American colleges and of the country’s populace has been individual methods of learning, personal universities. Nearly seven years into silenced. My belief is that Afghanistan learning speed, and interaction between the experience, Ms Nirschel remains will only grow stronger when the learning processes and technology. In as committed as ever. “These Afghan voices of all of its people are heard.” our technology-enabled world, Web 2.0 women are incredible. They’re strong. applications offer students a powerful They’re bright, and they’re remarkably new educational platform, to enrich and accomplished.” inform their learning experiences. The mission is as much cultural as it At Karl Fisch’s Arapahoe High School, is educational. In addition to stocking 9th grade teachers Maura Moritz and the fridges at Ramadan, the Institute Anne Smith assigned their class a ensures that the women gather book project this past January, one regularly during the year to form that entailed reading and discussion as connections and grow as a group. This well as an essay paper. The book was past year, they met in North Carolina’s Daniel Pink’s non-fiction work, A Whole Outer Banks. Most had never seen an New Mind. While discussion of good ocean and came from a country where literature is nothing new, what made female sports were banned. “So in this class different from many other North Carolina, we made up for lost 9th grade English classes is the way time and did everything from yoga to that Arapahoe leveraged technology to swimming to badminton,” said Ms expand the scope of discussion. Karl Nirschel. For women deprived of the Fisch explains. freedom to wear something as simple as a bathing suit or the sensory “During class, teachers break the pleasures of curling bare toes in the students into two groups, an inner circle sand, it proved an emotional experience. of six-to-eight kids and an outer circle comprising the rest of the students.” The women all return to Afghanistan The inner circle leads a discussion on a at the end of their studies where Paula particular part of the book. Two to three Nirschel hopes they will serve as role “remote bloggers” join this conversation models for other girls. “My dream is through a webcam and also take part that educated women will help progress in a live blog with the students in the the country of Afghanistan.” The outer circle. In addition, twice during the program’s first graduates have already unit students talked directly with Daniel begun that journey. One now works Pink, the author, through the internet for Afghan President Hamid Karzai. phone service, Skype, asking him to Two others joined Afghan-based expand on, and occasionally even challenging, this thinking.
  14. 14. 5 http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2009/ Interview Susan Metros Associate Vice Provost for Technology Enhanced Learning, Deputy Chief Information Officer, and Professor of Design Practice and Clinical Education at the University of Southern California (USC) 14 In all, over 30 professionals from around stayed with the project even after they the world added their insights to the had received their final grade. “Why? book discussion. “As we go through Because their work is out there; it’s a different chapters, we bring in people much more authentic and meaningful from different places,” says Mr Fisch. audience,” says Fisch. Parents and others can also tune in from wherever they happen to be since Openness, access and the ability to Arapahoe broadcasts the class through personalize the learning environment a UStream connection. “Last time,” are the gateway to student-centered says Mr. Fisch, “about 49 or 50 people learning. As the Arapahoe example dropped in to see what our kids were illustrates, students are wasting no time talking about. A few even jumped into leaping through. the live blog that the kids were doing.” Tools for Tailoring As a former visual design professor What was the result of weaving these Blogs are far from the only medium and now Deputy CIO at the USC in technologies into their class? Teachers expected to have a large impact Los Angeles, Susan Metros has spent say that the students, whose essays on learning, research and creative a lot of time exploring the intersection on the book are submitted in print expression. The 2009 Horizon Report between technology and education. and online form through a class wiki, announced six emerging technologies With so many emerging tools, Ms became far more aware that they were that they predict will significantly Metros understands their lure but producing work for a different, and shape instruction and personalized cautions, “One needs to use those often much larger, audience than they learning over coming decade.5 They tools for their inherent capabilities and were used to. This set expectations include mobiles and mobile device not just for the technology itself.’” She and personal accountability higher. “It’s applications; cloud computing; geo- laughs, adding, “So far, I’ve learned one thing to do a bad job on a paper based applications (i.e., applications it’s not too easy.” that only your teacher is going to see,” with embedded GPS applications); the says Mr. Fisch. “But when your paper personal and semantic web, and smart As chair of the 2009 Horizon Report, has the potential to be seen by anyone, objects. We spoke with Susan Metros, Ms Metros has an unusually good that really makes you think about the the project’s chair. vantage point to assess which quality of your work.” Several students technologies are likeliest to have the greatest impact on student-centric learning. In evaluating them, she returns to what has been a focal point of her thinking for some time. When it comes to literacy, she and her colleagues are convinced that while the ‘Three Rs’ of reading, writing and arithmetic will remain foundational, ‘Three Fs’ will top the list for the next generation of students. “Finding the information that one needs, filtering out what is useful, and focusing on how best to apply that information,” she explains.
  15. 15. 15 She relays this story from her early Community and look at the structure. They look at the cracks and interstices. Real insight, real days of teaching. “Many years ago, I constraints brilliance often comes from within those was preparing to test my students on openings. That is because constraint a typography formula that they were As one Barcelona participant humorously is an impetus for learning.” The same supposed to have memorized. Just remarked, “Learners not only need to might be said for education. Subversion before class started, I stopped by learn to learn, they must also learn to occurs in the joints, but you still need a veterinary science lecture that a realize that they are learning.” This may the structure. professor was giving on the subject be where institutions come in. of feline anemia. Now, I wasn’t the People who are truly lifetime learners slightest bit interested in this subject, Although education is becoming more may have made that connection. Their but the word was that he was using open, multi-faceted and malleable, formal learning through educational computers. And, since this was the personalization is not, nor should be institutions gives them a foundation that era before even Macintosh, I went synonymous with comfortable. Left to they can apply throughout their lives. over to see what it was all about. The our own devices in a purely self-directed They recognize that there is value in professor opened his talk by saying, world, one is less likely to be stretched both the self-directed and institutional ‘What’s important is not what you and challenged. Constraints in the form dimension to learning. Sometimes, the know, but rather knowing where to of competition, standards and a proven temptation is to place the formal and find it.’ He then proceeded to show a application of knowledge provide a informal instruction at odds with each, very simple database that housed a necessary tension as well as grounding. when the real question may not be large set of materials on feline anemia, which one is better, but how can the a resource that saved his having to If critical thinking and problem solving two worlds best affect and shape each remember everything. Afterward, I went skills are foundational for success in the other. back to my class and said ‘You have 21st Century, then the role of the university two choices. You can write down might well be to teach scholarship. The need for deeper and better the copysetting formula or you can That could mean putting an old-fangled partnerships tell me where you’d go to learn how notion into a new-fangled context. The to do it.’ Although I still don’t know word university is derived from the Latin Human nature is resistant to change. the first thing about feline anemia, universitas magistrorum et scholarium, Academia is no exception. Too often, that professor’s notion of learning roughly meaning “community of teachers culture, funding, legal requirements, drastically changed the way I taught.” and scholars.” For its ability to marry assessments, legacy systems and content with context, it is perhaps the customary ways of doing things, In today’s ubiquitous information ultimate community. combine to fend off new strategies. environment, knowing where to find Too often as well, there can be little the answer can be challenging in itself. Yet, the very discipline inherent in incentive for educators to innovate “We need to kick the habit of supplying teaching scholarship may be its greatest instructional methods. students with all the information we value. Student-centric learning may think they’ll need and instead give function best within the necessary To resolve some of these issues, students a framework for piecing constraints of institutional expectations partnerships need to deepen across together what it is they must learn and academic requirements. As Lev the educational spectrum. Today, and why.” While acknowledging Gonick, the CIO at Case Western there is often a gap. Higher education institutional and other constraints, she Reserve University and Barcelona has led significant advances in open believes that “We are at the precipice participant observed, “When architects courseware and its applications. Yet, of great change. I look forward to look for where they can make a there is often little linkage with primary seeing it unfold.” breakthrough in design, they don’t and secondary schools. If we are to be truly student-centric, we must
  16. 16. Interview Michael Horn Co-founder and Executive Director of Innosight Institute. In 2008, he along with Clayton Christensen and Curtis Johnson co-authored Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Work Disrupting Class 16 recognize that while time is fixed in show, many experts advised ‘you can’t the formal education environment, the teach young people anything if they amount of learning that takes place are not on your lap or in a classroom.’ can vary widely. Better partnership But then we thought about it. We knew across the educational sector and that TV was admittedly a fairly primitive between public and private entities is technology, but we also knew that we one means of addressing this. Indeed, had this amazing opportunity to reach the ability to partner with others children who might otherwise not have invested in leveraging technology for the access to preschool education. As it advancement of learning may be where turned out, the program succeeded the biggest breakthroughs will come in beyond our wildest dreams in reaching forcing systemic change. this goal. I learned then that while our resources may be limited, our ideas do not have to be.” Disruptive innovation The book extends Clayton Christensen’s theories on disruptive and organizational The same can be said of 21st Century educational models. If they are to innovation. Unlike sustaining change undergo a seismic shift, as some innovations, which improve a company’s existing product or market suspect, many new ideas will be position, disruptive innovations During the Symposium in Barcelona, needed. Forty years after the launch come in from the side, usually with a Linda Roberts, on the Board of of Sesame Street, Ms Roberts is still simpler and more affordable product Directors for Curriki, said that when exploring new ways for technology that often isn’t quite as good as the it comes to driving change, it is to improve the reach of education. original. As such, it tends to take often too easy to get discouraged by Roberts points to the Curriki Project root in markets that are underserved the question, ‘How do you make a and the creation of open and shared and less demanding. Over time, difference on a large scale given the curriculum resources with educators the disruptions typically improve, limitations of the tools or systems that across the globe, linked together by often quickly, and become able to we have now?’ web 2.0 technology. She believes handle more complicated problems. that Curriki and other efforts could At that point, they converge on the Roberts said, “In 1968, I was part of the transform opportunities for learning. To mainstream market and supplant team that developed Sesame Street, give us a taste of what else is in store, older ways of doing things. a program intended to help US kids we thought it might be helpful to speak get ready for school. In designing the to someone familiar with disruption. Mr Horn and his colleagues believe that computers will change how people learn. Among their findings are that customized learning will help many more students succeed in school; student-centric classrooms will increase the demand for new technology; and disruptive innovation may ease roadblocks that have traditionally impaired educational reform. “Such changes are already underway,” says Mr Horn. “By the
  17. 17. 17 year 2019, 25% of U.S. high school other marketplace,” says Mr Horn. students will take classes online.” “They are the last ones to recognize the potential disruption and make a Even though much of Disrupting Class meaningful new business model from it.” is focused on the K-12 environment, Mr Horn believes the concepts are Ultimately, Mr Horn sees online relevant to higher education as well. education and the rise of corporate “We see far more disruptions occurring universities as major forces of change. in the higher education space than we In the U.S., loans and financial aid do in the K-12 arena because there allow consumers to make tradeoffs is less regulation and more freedom they wouldn’t normally be able to of movement.” He is particularly make. “That’s one of the artificial passionate about online education, constraints that prevents online which he considers a major innovation learning from blowing up completely and one central to lifelong learning. in the higher education space,” he “Community colleges were disruptive said. The current economic malaise to state universities and now online may change this equation. “We universities are disrupting both. I hope have already seen a spike in online it continues to migrate to a more enrollments as people start thinking individualized student experience. about these tradeoffs.” That part of the equation,” he says, “remains untapped.” Disruption may also take aim at the traditional four-year branded degree program. In fact, Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn have both told Harvard Business School (of which they are a professor and an alumni, respectively) that it is being disrupted. “HBS still doesn’t believe it,” says Mr Horn, “but at some point you become the student and say ‘do I want to pay $200,000 for two years of business school when I can work for a top company and get a better education for what I need?’” “The reason that some top tier educators are reluctant to embrace some forms of open coursework is the same reason that incumbent organizations get disrupted in every
  18. 18. Conclusion: An invitation to action 18 As the first decade of the 21st Century worth? Will this answer have bearing draws to a close, a few irrefutable on current tuition models, particularly dynamics are taking shape. The learning in countries such as the United States process is changing faster than where skyrocketing prices and the institutional readiness. Required skillsets global economic downturn have made are changing. Societal, cultural and university unaffordable for many? If economic factors are changing. And, pricing models do change, who will set of course, technology is changing. This the price? environment is reshaping pedagogy. Means and modes of instruction are Standards across borders. New opening up, becoming more transparent, international standards and trans-national dynamic, multi directional and, above qualifications need to be developed all, student-led. and agreed among the developing world and the G20. Right now, board Significant challenges confront all of us, certifications and accreditation students, teachers, and the community requirements can vary widely across at large. Yet, we are reminded that real the world. This can place undue burden brilliance often only emerges in the midst on those with degrees from emerging of turmoil. Nicholas Negroponte, the markets wishing to transfer those skills well-known MIT futurist, said that the to jobs in the developed world. ‘next big thing’ comes “...Not [through] bandwagons, fashions or [individual] Personalized learning networks. Will fields - but [through] working at the edges, personalized learning foster new forms and in the intersections of disciplines.” of assessment and credentialing? Can we envision a time when students and We hope this paper encourages many employees use micro-credits to establish conversations at the edges of things. certification in niche vocational areas? If Although excited by the ideas expressed so, who will lead that development? in this report, we know that there are considerations we must surely have Open education. Is education ready to missed, ideas that may well be superior open up? Who needs to be engaged in and concepts that have yet to be properly the discussion if meaningful change is explored – perspectives that are in your to happen? own head or come from your own experience. We can’t wait to hear them. Making change happen. Taking on board Michael Horn’s and Clayton We leave you with these few questions Christensen’s Disruptive Innovation and invite your comments on how to precepts, the most successful attempts upgrade the education ‘value proposition’ at radical change occur from the for the 21st Century. outside-in. What does this mean for the educational community? What might Valuing and evaluating education. serve as the best pilot projects? If insight is the currency of our technology-enabled knowledge economy, what is a good education
  19. 19. Who took part in Open EdTech 2008? 19 Advisory Committee Participants Begoña Gros, Vice Rector for Innovation, Rob Abel, Chief Executive, IMS Global Learning Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Consortium. Catalonia, UOC). Marc Alier, Professor and Developer of Vijay Kumar, Senior Associate Dean, and open-source solutions for education and mobile Director, Office of Educational Innovation and devices, Technical University of Catalonia. Technology, MIT. Magí Almirall, Director, Office of Learning Julià Minguillón, Associate Director, Internet Technologies, UOC. Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), UOC. Xavi Aracil, ComuniLab, Office of Learning Rafael Macau, Director, IT, Multimedia Technologies, UOC. and Telecommunications Department, UOC. Elena Barberà, Psychology and Educational Albert Sangrà, Director, Education and ICT Sciences Department, UOC. programme, UOC, and EDEN (European Distance and E-Learning Network) Executive Committee Giovanni Bonaiuti, Researcher, Learning member. Technology Laboratory, Education Science Department, University of Florence. Llorenç Valverde, Vice Rector for Technology, UOC. Mark Bullen, Associate Dean, Curriculum and Instructor Development, BCIT Learning and Teaching Centre, British Columbia Institute of Technology. Tom Caswell, eduCommons Project Manager, OpenCourseWare Consortium. Susan D’Antoni, Programme Specialist, Open Educational Resources Project, Division for Education Strategies and Capacity Building, Education Sector, UNESCO. Claudio Dondi, President, European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning (EFQUEL), President of SCIENTER, Research and Innovation for Education, and Member of the Board of the MENON Research and Innovation Network EEIG. Antonio Fini, Electronics and Telecommunications Department, University of Florence. Muriel Garreta, Labs for Learning, Office of Learning Technologies, UOC. Lev Gonick, Vice President, Information Technology Services, Chief Information Officer, Case Western Reserve University. Joel Greenberg, Director of Strategic Development, Learning and Teaching Solutions, Open University, UK. Begoña Gros, Vice Rector for Innovation, UOC.