Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The World Is Open

I've been reading the World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education by Curtis Bonk (aka TravelinEdMan) in preparation for our upcoming event at SCoPE. Well, I would have read it in any case because I've been a Bonk fan for awhile. If you have ever listened to Curt speak, or read some of his work, you'll know that he has a knack for organizing complex ideas into a simple framework, often using lists like this 2009 article: The World is Open for Reason: Make that 30 Reasons! Or the WE-ALL-LEARN model outlined in the book:

Web Searching in the World of e-Books
E-Learning and Blended Learning
Availability of Open Source and Free Software
Leveraged Resources and OpenCourseWare
Learning Object Repositories and Portals
Learner Participation in Open Information Communities
Electronic Collaboration
Alternate Reality Learning
Real-Time Mobility and Portability
Networks of Personalized Learning

So, in a true Bonk style, I'll give the you 10 reasons why I admire Curt's work.
  1. He weaves interesting stories throughout his work. It's like sitting on the front porch swing and listening to a story teller.
  2. He doesn't work alone. He is always communicating, always networking, always seeking out more people to connect to.
  3. He doesn't take credit for all of the ideas he writes about. Case in point: 5 pages of acknowledgments in The World is Open, including the Twelve Girls Band from China "for their mesmerizing CD, Eastern Energy, which I listened to over 250 times while writing this book."
  4. He's so organized! I mean he counted the number of times he listened to that CD! 
  5. He asks a lot of questions, and because he really wants to know the answers.
  6. He's so entertaining. Expect him to show up in costume, or carrying a box of props to a talk. This YouTube video just cracks me up.
  7. He writes about interesting topics, and uses real-life examples.
  8. He's a practitioner. He can write about teaching because that's what he does.
  9. He is always paying attention to your interests, and introducing you to other people with similar interests. When you meet him expect to hear "Oh! you really need to talk to so and so...here's her email address"(which he'll happen to have at his fingertips. I mentioned he's organized.)
  10. He spreads the word about people doing good work. I learned all about Lucifer Chu and the Opensource Opencourseware Prototype System (OOPS) project through Curt, and was then introduced to him (by Curt, of course...see #9!) at the 2005 eLearn conference in Vancouver. And, of course, I'm flattered that he includes my work and SCoPE on his list. He even sent me an autographed copy of his book. :-) 

So plan to attend the SCoPE event for The World is Open Q&A where you'll get to meet Curt, and ask him questions about his book or anything else you want to know about the impact of technology on learning. Guaranteed he'll have answers!
  • Where: Elluminate
  • When: December 21, 2009 at 2:00 PST (your time zone)
  • How to prepare: If you don't have the book, visit the World is Open blog to access the book prequel and postscript, links to the original articles, many book excerpts, and Web resources. Or if you don't have time to read, come anyway! 
  • Dress: Informal

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