John Seely Brown

just h
Before the keynote, an introduction by Chancellor Chu of the OH Board of Regents. 30% dropout rate in HS, 40% dropout in college - OH is undereducated and undercompetitive. Education is the solution.

We will need to use education in dramatically different ways. "Just in case" is untenable. Have to get out of the industrial paradigm. We need to address not how but what. OH's workers need not just skills and knowledge but attitudes and behaviors. Not just in case, beyond just in time, to just for you education.

JSB: This is a collage, not a formal talk - where is learning going in the digital age? A new landscape. Not K-16, but 8 to 80. Many of the skills we learned are obsolete or heading that way. Today's students are different, but they need to think systemically and collaboratively. Think career trajectories, not careers.

Last year China and India graduated 500,000 engineers. The US graduated 90,000. 40,000 returned to Asia. They have a passion to get ahead. They have a hunger to learn.

How do we tap the passion of today's communities of students? Need to leverage the resources of the Net to re-conceive learning. Create environments for kids to tinker, design, build collaboratively. In the digital world, tinkering has come back in a big way.

Do we understand today's digital kids? Small-screen devices with ubiquitous access to resources. But what creates meaning for them?

Ripping and remixing - open source culture, community - doing homework over IM. Friends not just next door, but worldwide.

I am what I create and others build on. Blurring the line between social life and academic life.

The atelier - architecture studio as a model. Work in progress is made public - the opposite of the academy. Cultural dynamic of collaborative problem-solving. Learning as enculturation into a practice. All students hear the "crit" - the master's review - of each project. Everyone hears the thinking that went into the project, sees the problem-solving process. Not learning about architecture, but how to BE an architect.

MIT - electricity and magnetism - killer course, high drop-out rate. Created a studio based on RPI's studio physics. 13 tables, 9 people per table. Lots of simulations - collaborative, hands-on experiments. Worked great in the pilot. Scaling it up, though.... test performance doubled, but the students hated it.

The faculty hadn't revamped their teaching practices. They rethought their classroom approach and the results have been dramatic - dropout rate for women dropped 80%.

Learning about is different from learning to be. Tacit, not explicit. Set in an epistemic frame - discipline-specific way of knowing.

Open Source movement has trained more computer scientists than any formal program. Writing code to be read. Enculturation to the community - reputation depends on what you create, and what you improve. (Wikipedians are another example. -cb) A form of cognitive apprenticeship.

Another example - The Decameron Web project at Brown. A scholarly discussion of scholars worldwide - as well as undergrad and graduate students - that enculturates students into the culture of Medieval Italian scholarship. New forms of peer review - post-review. What does this mean for tenure, though?

New forms of literacy - students (and teachers!)have to be able to write digital. What's the equivalent of the common grammar of film - cut, montage, flashback? Lucas - needs to be a new focus multimedia literacy. (depends on shared language, though - more on this later -cb) You can minor in MM at USC. Not teaching tools - how do you construct a visual argument? How do you communicate a complex thought?

A very powerful short video about an "underperforming" young asian woman (she "only" scored 1450 on her SAT) dealing with her shaming mother.

Now moving to games and play. Pattern-recognition, sense-making. Dealing with immense complexity, immediate feedback. Bottom-line oriented - top scores matter. If there's no learning, there's no fun. "I don't want to study Rome in school - I BUILD Rome every day in my online game, Ceasar III." A little arrogant, eh?

World of Warcraft - Serious play. 1.5 million players. There is a social life around the edge of the game. You have to build a guild in order to undertake a quest. Managing a guild is non-trivial, as players may be from anywhere in the world. Create a vision and values.

(aside - my battery is going fast, and I left my power supply at the hotel. bummer)

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