The 2010 Horizon Report written in collaboration with The New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative reinforces the concepts that many educational leaders have been discussing. Devices are more portable now than they ever have been. Access to information is growing increasingly easier to obtain along with the ability to author to the web. The exponential growth of self-authoring media has exploded and everyone wants an audience. The Internet provides the most efficient method of distributing a person’s work.
One of the most explosive trends involves “people expecting to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want.” We now have the technology to place all the information in the world at our finger tips. For instance, Kindle offers an excellent medium to give readers easy access to a library of books anywhere and anytime. Moreover, the Kindle app allows your library to follow you on your laptop, netbook, tablet, or smart phone. People now have the capability of learning/reading on the bus or subway to school/work, while waiting at the doctor’s office, or relaxing at home. The technology potentially has no limits. Yet, let’s not forget iTunes U, all the Tubes, and Netflix. We can also view and listen to literature, documentaries, videos, and movies on any of our devices at any time.
Another common trend is “the work of students is increasingly seen as collaborative by nature...” and why not. When we go to work we collaborate with our colleagues. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything. I can’t be an expert in everything. I rely on the people I work with for help or at least direction to where I can research the information that I don’t know. Students should work together to build knowledge and discover content relationships. Moreover, “… there is more cross campus collaboration between departments.” I feel in some aspects that we need to throw down the barriers of segregating departments. When a student is working on a physics problem, they may need calculus to solve it. Most students struggle to put two and two together, because the content realms have been segregated their whole lives. It is very difficult for students to see how math relates to science which could also relate to English and so on. More collaboration is required for our students to make breakthroughs. We don’t work like that and the world doesn’t work like that, so why should we learn in this manner. We (teachers and professors) should throw aside our pride and work together more for the benefit of our students and our future. Let’s face it, the “…role of the academy and the way prepare students for their future lives is changing.”
With academy changing, our conceptual ideas and technologies must adapt to the shift. One of the most promising technologies evolving for education involves open content. I’m really excited to unlock the potential to this particular technology. With the current economic state and the cost of textbooks, I really foresee schools and universities moving towards open content. I realize the challenges with validity and reliability on open content. We will have to overcome these challenges with creative solutions. Open content allows professors and teachers to customize their lessons, based on selecting pieces of open content for the students to read. Authors, educators and innovators are currently producing legitimate open content that can be shared among us. Several universities, like MIT, open their content up to others in response to the rise in educational costs. In essence, someone who could not afford college could still learn the material. Smarthistory.com, Open Michigan content, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Looking for Whitman are just a few of thousands of successful open content projects just waiting for students and educators to take advantage of it. What I am trying to say is we need to take advantage of open content now, and I highly encourage everyone to investigate this unknown treasure.