May 24, 2006

Will Richardson: What are the changes in the read-write web?

Img_1338 From closed to open
Content could be, should be, open and free. Take a look at the book I co-authored, Coming of Age: it took time, time is money, but everyone gave of their time to produce something which we thought was worthwhile. MIT Open Courseware covers 500 complete courses, including assessments and video lectures, and give it away for free. Anyone can get an MIT education - without the certificate - with all the quality of the course. Wikibooks is just another example of the real experts - teachers and students - writing their own textbooks for free, sharing their knowledge with the world in an open, free website.

Rip, Mix, Learn
We can take info from any number of sources and remix it. Take a look at H20, which I wrote about back last year. It even calls its reading lists "playlists". Take content you like, find a place to bring it all together, and publish your remix. (And just like the music industry, advertise it anywhere you can (bottom of emails for example)!)

From one teacher to many
Using something like 43 things you can find out about anything from people who, somewhere else in the world, have also found stuff out about that subject.

From sometime learning to anytime learning
We have to learn not to push information any more. We have to teach our students how to pull information that is relevant to them. They no longer have to take it from us anyway. With Google, they can access the world of information from their mbile phone, palm, PC...

From working alone to working together
"It's insane to make kids do their own work" Working together, finding and making connections, learning how to work in a collaborative world (because that's what's out there in the business world) is all that matters. And good things happen from collaboration. Just look at Wikipedia. If there's something wrong correct it. If there's a language the article is not written in, add it.

From an audience of one to an audience of many
I work for my worldwide audience or I work for the grade my lone teacher is going to slam on it? The answer seems simple - we want kids to be doing the former.

Students teach
Use the power of the blog, where everyone is on an equal footing to start off, to empower your students. Look at Dell Hell as an example of what happens when one guy gets annoyed by an abuse of a position of power.

From text to multimedia
We can, it's better, it's more engaging. Nuff said.

Syndication of what others are reading, doing, thinking. Save time and have things delivered to your computer.

From know what to know where learning
Knowing stuff is not important any more. We can find any information we want through the web,  through the web on our mobile phones. Why do we ban mobile phones from the classroom and the exam hall? Surely, in the real world, that's what they would do if they want to find something out. It's what I do when I want to find something out. Do I really need to be able to remember everything that I want to use now and then in my life?


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"Why do we ban mobile phones from the classroom and the exam hall? Surely, in the real world, that's what they would do if they want to find something out."

For 30 years, I have been boring people with my arguments in favour of open-book (and later open-media) exams. I have always believed that the current system favours the child with a good memory over the child with good understanding. Let's face it - if the child doesn't "get" the question/problem/challenge, no amount of media in the world will help him.

I've toyed with ideas like getting the kids to cite sources, provide bibliographies, and so forth but have to admit that I haven't gotten any further down that road. Surely though, learning to reference and give credit where it's due is both a valuable skill and a moral obligation?

Just look at Wikipedia. If there's something wrong correct it.
Great in theory. But I've heard of people having a trying time when their "expert" entries are edited by (how shall we say?) people whose expertise doesn't quite match their enthusiasm. This can result in an infuriating cycle of changing/restoring.

Well, you can always say 'great in theory, but...' about everything and then never do anything. The fact is that millions of people find this way of working useful, whether it's using the wikipedia or just using a wiki. The ScotEduBlogs wiki is one example of a wiki keeping community together.

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Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

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