Mashing up education

The end of the textbook should be nigh. Connected by the internet, teachers and students can build their customized, mashed-up core content out of a dynamic flow of websites, original writing, news feeds, and multimedia analysis.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

Writing on the Connectivism Blog, George Siemens considers the obvious question rarely asked: How will the same forces that have unsettled music, film, government, and corporate America deal with education?

it just strikes me that as educators, we are not grasping (or prepared for) the depth of the change that is occurring under our feet. If it's happened (breaking apart the center) in every other industry - movies, music, software, business - what makes us think that our educational structures are immune? And what does it mean to us? What should we be doing now to prepare our institutions? Ourselves? Our learners?

Towards that end, Siemens is welcoming the end of the textbook and the creation of iTunes view to content:

I don't use textbooks in my courses. I use a combination of my own writings, augmented with websites, and supported through dialogue and learner to learner interaction. My intent is to provide learners a diverse set of voices. A textbook is most often a one-sided view of the knowledge of a particular space (and, in certain fields, they can be dated by the time they are published). I don't view content as something that learners need to consume in order to learn. As I've stated before...learning is like opening a door, not filling a container. Content is something that is created in the process of learning, not only in advance of learning.

We can now acquire our information in any manner that we desire. Learning, seen as content consumption, doesn't fit this model anymore. Learners piece together (connect) various content and conversation elements to create an integrated (though at time contradictory) network of issues and concerns. Our learning and information acquisition is a mashup. We take pieces, add pieces, dialogue, reframe, rethink, connect, and ultimately, we end up with some type of pattern (meme?) that symbolizes what's happening "out there" and what it means to us. And it changes daily. Instead of a CD with the songs of only one artist, we have iPods with a full range of music, video, audio files/books, images, etc. Our classrooms, instead of the pre-packaged views of an instructor or designers should include similar diverse elements.

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