“What kind of vicious game is being played here, and who are the sinners and who the sinned against?” – Postman and Weingartner, “Pursuing Relevance: where is the problem?”
HOW DID INSTITUTIONS DESIGNED FOR LEARNING become so widely hated by people who love learning? It’s been almost two years (spring 2007) since Dr Michael Wesch of Kansas State University invited the 200 students in his “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology” class to tell the world what they think of their education by helping him script a video for YouTube.
The result was the disheartening portrayal of disengagement below (viewed almost 3 million times worldwide as of today):
ACCORDING TO USABILITY GURU Jakob Nielsen (Alertbox June 9, 2008), the differences between print/TV and Web can be summarized as lean-back vs lean-forward:
Print/TV is a passive medium. While reading publications or watching TV, readers/viewers want to be entertained. They are in relaxation mode and vegging out; they don’t want to make choices. People expect you to construct their experience for them. Readers/viewers are willing to follow the author’s lead.
The Web is an active medium. On the Web, users are engaged and want to go places and get things done. Users want to construct their own experience by piecing together content from multiple sources, emphasizing their desires in the current moment.
Therefore, the writing style for Print/TV vs Web is:
Linear vs. non-linear.
Author-driven vs. reader-driven.
Storytelling vs. ruthless pursuit of actionable content.
STUDENTS, DO YOU GO ONLINE while attending a face-to-face (f2f) class? Where do you surf and what do you use? So far, has going online helped or hindered you (the learner), other learners and/or the instructor? What happens when your phones have Internet access too?
Most likely, your class is NOT going to be as exciting as this one (left), where the professor gamely laid on a bed of nails while someone else tried to break a cement block on him with a sledgehammer! In such a case, you are likely to be distracted by a backchannel.
As Chris Lott put it, “…regardless of what a participant has at hand– a backchannel, a laptop, a cell phone, a book, or a set of Legos– they are not and never will direct 100% of their attention forward and they will find ways to create the attention cycles that characterize engagement. I was able to ignore… incompetent teachers just fine back when the only thing digital [we] had access to was a watch.” Read the rest of this entry »
HOW IMPORTANT ARE SOCIAL MEDIA and how widespread is the usage of social media among educational institutions and commercial organizations? Two recent studies by Dr Nora Barnes and Eric Mattson, as reported on Robin Good’s site, suggest that:
The Inc. 500 companies know far more about social media than one might predict,
Social media have arrived in American colleges, and
The use of social in the ivory tower is outpacing even the business world.
Sixty-one percent of the academic respondents use at least one form of social media. Four of the six social media have similar adoption rates to those of corporations. Blogging is the most common form among academia, at a 33% usage rate — 14% higher than that of the Inc. 500 respondents! Wikis, on the other hand, are used by only 3% of admissions departments compared with 17% of responding businesses in the Inc. 500. (See figure below.) Read the rest of this entry »