Wednesday, January 30, 2013

From digital immigrants and digital natives to digital wisdom / Marc Prensky

"Most people prefer to walk backwards into the future. It's a posture that is maybe uncomfortable, but at least it allows us to look at familiar things as long as possible. 
Now what happens when you do that of course is you get hit by the truck of change."
Marc Prensky

"A lot of our kids say they come to school and they say when I come into the building I have to power down. They don't mean that devices. They mean their brains. Thy mean they get to do more powerful stuff outside of school than they do inside of school." 
Marc Prensky 

"Do our kid's have attention deficit disorder? A lot of people think so giving them ritalin and other drugs. Here is what the kids say: It's not attention deficit disorder, we are just not listening. - Engage me or enrage me -"
Marc Prensky

 This is a fantastic talk by Marc Prensky held at the Global Education Forum 2010
( Sadly there are a couple of short periods when he shows his presentation where you
can not hear the audio but I didn't mind. It is not that important to understand the talk. )

Marc seems to post all his essays and articles online. You can find them here: 
That's how I like it!

He also has a nice collection of all the videos about him posted on his webpage:

Don't forget to follow him on twitter: @marcprensky

From the #edcmooc wiki page: 

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Prensky, M. (2001).,%20digital%20immigrants%20-%20part1.pdf

"Sparking extensive debate, while working its way into common usage, Prensky’s metaphor of the native and the immigrant is one of the best-known accounts of the effects of the digital upon education. Offering a narrative of ‘native’ young people’s seamless integration with technology, and the revolutionary changes that information technology has brought, Prensky warns ‘immigrant’ teachers that they face irrelevance unless they figure out how to adapt their methods and approaches to new generations of learners. When reading this paper, try to identify the strategies that Prensky uses to make his argument - how does the language he uses work to persuade the reader? Who are ‘we’ and who are ‘they’? What associations do you have with the idea of the ‘native’ and the ‘immigrant’, and how helpful are these in understanding teacher-student relationships?"

I think he nailed it, in the sense that as an 'immigrant' it is hard to understand a different language.
Not because you don't understand the words but because of the subtle cultural differences expressed between the lines. Some things you just don't get. ( I spent some years in Argentina and I think it took me 3 years a until I started to understand what and how big the differences really are).
This 'we' and 'they" or 'immigrants' and natives' also expresses a common hostility that grows in these situations. For example: First I found it annoying that people always seemed to talked on top of each other. My frustration made me misunderstand the cultural circumstances. I had to be open and not assume this to be an impolite gesture to realize the beauty of the argentinian way of social gatherings.
Acknowledging my own limitations and the resulting frustration was necessary too.  :)

+Britt Watwood shared this great article:

From digital immigrants and digital natives to digital wisdom

"Digital wisdom transcends the generational divide defined by the immigrant/native distinction. Many digital immigrants exhibit digital wisdom.
The point is that while the need for wise people to discuss, define, compare, and evaluate perspectives is not changing, the means by which they do so and the quality of their efforts are growing more sophisticated because of digital technology. As a result, the unenhanced brain is well on its way to becoming insufficient for truly wise decision making. When we are all enhanced by implanted lie detectors, logic evaluators, and executive function and memory enhancements—all of which will likely arrive in our children's lifetimes—whoamong us will be considered wise? The advantage will go, almost certainly, to those who intelligently combine their innate capacities with their digital enhancements."

"So what constitutes digital wisdom? What habits do the digitally wise use to advance their capabilities and the capabilities of those around them? Can digital wisdom be taught?"

"Digital wisdom can be, and must be, learned and taught. As we offer more courses in digital literacy, we should also offer students guidance in developing digital wisdom. Parents and educators are digitally wise when they recognize this imperative and prepare the children in their care for the future—educators by letting students learn by using new technologies, putting themselves in the role of guides, context providers, and quality controllers, and parents by recognizing the extent to which the future will be mediated by technology and encouraging their children to use digital technology wisely."

"The digitally wise also realize that the ability to control digital technology, to bend it to their needs, is a key skill in the digital age. As a result, they are interested in programming, in the broadest sense of the word, that is, in making machines do what people want them to do."

Marc Prensky 

By Marc Prensky [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

#edcmooc #MarcPrensky #TechnologicalDeterminism #talks #videos #utopia

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Technological determinism / Neil Postman

"Every teacher should begin every course making a little speech to the students, that would go along these lines: Hey look I am a fallible human being so during the duration of this course I am bound to make lots of mistakes. I will say things that are untrue. I will give opinions that are unfounded.Your job as a student is to pay a lot of attention and try to identify when I made a mistake. And then try to show me and your classmates where I made that mistake." 

Neil Postman

"Textbooks present facts and information...and teach kids that subjects are boring, when in fact they are not." 

Neil Postman

These quotes make me happy and put his books on the top of my reading list. :)

And here are the most important parts about him in:

Chandler, D. (2002). Technological determinism. Web essay, Media and Communications Studies, University of Aberystwyth (Archived by WebCite® at

Technological Autonomy Page 02
'The Frankenstein Syndrome: One creates a machine
for a particular and limited purpose. But once the machine is built, we
discover, always to our surprise - that it has ideas of its own; that it is quite
capable not only of changing our habits but... of changing our habits of mind'
(Postman 1983, p. 23). Although Postman denies that that 'the effects of
technology' are always inevitable, he insists that they are 'always
unpredictable' (Postman 1983, p. 24).

Technological Neutrality Page 02
Abraham Maslow, the psychologist, once said that to someone who has only a hammer, 
the whole world looks like a nail. And Neil Postman adds that 'to a man with a pencil,
everything looks like a list. To a man with a camera, everything looks like an
image. To a man with a computer, everything looks like data' (Postman 1993,
p. 14).

He argues that:
(1) because of the symbolic forms in which information is encoded,
different media have different intellectual and emotional biases;
(2) because of the accessibility and speed of their information, different
media have different political biases;
(3) because of their physical form, different media have different
sensory biases;
(4) because of the conditions in which we attend to them, different
media have different social biases;
(5) because of their technical and economic structure, different media
have different content biases.
(Postman 1979, p. 193)

Postman insists that 'the printing press, the computer, and television are not
therefore simply machines which convey information. They are metaphors
through which we conceptualize reality in one way or another. They will
classify the world for us, sequence it, frame it, enlarge it, reduce it, argue a
case for what it is like. Through these media metaphors, we do not see the
world as it is. We see it as our coding systems are. Such is the power of the
form of information' (Postman 1979, p. 39).

Postman, Neil (1979): Teaching as a Conserving Activity. New York:
Postman, Neil (1983): The Disappearance of Childhood. London: W H
Postman, Neil (1993): Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to
Technology. New York: Vintage

Here is another article:

Postman, Neil. THE END OF EDUCATION: Redefining the Value of School . Knopf, New York,. 2013-01-29. URL: Accessed: 2013-01-29. (Archived by WebCite® at

And you can find more great articles and links on

Neil Postman

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#edcmooc #articles #talks #videos #NeilPostman #TechnologicalDeterminism

Monday, January 28, 2013

The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined - Salman Khan

“While I’m around, Khan Academy will be free,” Khan says. 

"The new world is not about selling or having a gate to knowledge," he said. "It's about having a relationship with the user."

When I did my first MOOC 'Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World'
I was very frustrated and angry about the fact that after the course ended, they took down everything: the whole forums and the wiki page including all the information and links we students collected.
It doesn't make any sense to me and to be honest I find it offensive. The only reason I could think of was coursera trying to create a 'business model'. That's another reason why you should set up
your own blog and save the information that is valuable for you.

Or as my friend Marcio Gualtieri put it:
"You can't change the world (in a positive way) and have a "business model". I hope that MOOCs
read this book, because from my interaction with them I have the impression that they just don't get it."


I love the quote Salman Khan puts in the beginning of his book:

Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time. - Rabindranatha Tagore

You can read the Introduction to his new book here:

And here is another nice talk:

Be sure to also check out the heart warming Khan Academy student stories:

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 #edcmooc #SalmanKhan #talks #videos #articles #utopia

Technology is the Answer: What was the Question? Daniel, J. (2002).

I want to share with you Suga Mitra's TED talk about the 'Hole in the Wall' project mentioned in Professor Daniel's inspiring speech

Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education:

"Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education -- the best teachers and schools don't exist where they're needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching."

Amara Video Link 42 Subtitles

Another beautiful and more recent project by 'One Laptop per Child' in the same spirit:

Given Tablets but No Teachers, Ethiopian Children Teach Themselves 

"Earlier this year, OLPC workers dropped off closed boxes containing the tablets, taped shut, with no instruction. “I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, 
one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, 
they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android,” Negroponte said. “Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, 
and had hacked Android.”

I enjoyed reading this speech very much and in my opinion it is as relevant as it was 10 years ago.
My favorite part was the one about the donkeys:

"Another example of the need for broad thinking about technology comes from Latin America.
How do you get children to school in a rural, mountainous region when they live a good way away
and you don't want them to arrive at school already tired out? The answer was that you get hold of some donkeys. The problem is that it is difficult to buy donkeys under the United Nations procurement guidelines. These guidelines require performance specifications, tendering and suchlike.
The solution is to hire the donkeys as consultants, which is fine under the UN rules.
Donkeys also have one great advantage compared to human consultants - they do not write reports."

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 #edcmooc #TED #videos #autodidacticism #articles

Aaron Swartz Memorial at the Internet Archive

I highly recommend to take 90 minutes and listen. I believe what happened to Aaron and what he fought for is at the heart of the learning revolution.
The text of @carlmalamud's passionate defense of Aaron Swartz: 
"I see the army of Mahatma Gandhi walking peacefully to the sea to make salt for the people. 
I see the army of Martin Luther King walking peacefully but with determination to Washington to demand their rights because change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, it comes through continuous struggle."

Amara Video Link with Subtitles

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#aaronswartz    #publicdomain    #opensource    #creativecommons  #openaccess  #edcmooc


Hello everybody!

My name is Céline and I am an self-taught animator/illustrator, who loves learning and wants to spent her life doing meaningful work. I already finished my first MOOC (Fantasy and Science Fiction The Human Mind Our Modern World), and now have high hopes about this one. When I was young I hated school and only realized late (around age 25 and through the use of a computer), that I love learning. It made a wonderful difference in my life and I want to help others experience the same. I believe online sharing of knowledge and communication can make this world a better place.
I invite you to see my latest work for TED and look forward to meet you all!
E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC #edcmooc

Today (11. Feb 2013) I started a new course I am super excited about!
Learning Creative Learning #medialabcourse

The courses run parallel and I think fit beautifully, but if you are looking for something specific use the lables or search for the #hashtags.

Please use a HD Quality setting to watch this movie.
(little gear symbol at the lower right side of the player)