Tonight was the start of ConnectED ’09 at Abilene Christian University. ConnectED is centered around the theme of enhancing learning through mobile devices. ACU has made major strides in incorporating mobile technology as part of their campus infrastructure. ACU’s ambitious efforts generated immense traction at the recent EDUCAUSE and judging by the size of the crowd at tonight’s keynote speech, they have stumbled onto something big, really big.
Speaking of the Keynote, the gentleman that presented tonight inspired me to rethink not the capacity of technology through automation or innovation but rather changing the way we TEACH with technology. Mr. Stephen Molyneux speech titled “Gutenberg 21” centered around the simple idea of text books and their utter failure in modern social design. Though a successful model that survived hundreds of years for knowledge transference, the text book is failing to reach a generation of new learners, the Neo-Millennials. This new generation of learners are accustomed to empowering themselves with the immense stream of information feed to them in their multiple formats. To force a Neo-Millennial to be feed a single stream of knowledge without enriched meta-information creates disinterest hence the failure of the traditional learner model.
Mr. Molyneux discuss efforts UK has made with their immense investment (~8 trillion US equivalent) to the advancement of technology for K-12. He talked about a push model design on education that empowers the active learner to assimilate new knowledge obtained through familiar data streams (podcast, wikis, blogs) and returned new knowledge back onto the same streams thus expanding the collective knowledge. The process is familiar to the learner and the inclusion of new knowledge becomes transparent. It may not sound radical as these methods are fairly common to a modern web user, but the efforts to engage our young learners in such a manner is refreshing. Needless to say, I enjoyed Mr. Molyneux speech.