John Seely Brown Keynote Speech

October 30, 2007

John Seely Brown Second Life slideOriginally uploaded by openlearn2007I can barely hear him because I’m sitting at the back of the room. Just realised he is talking about how to get out of here in case of a fire. So, just some housekeeping rules so far. This guy is perhaps the chair? Oh yes he is, here comes John Seely Brown who supposedly does stuff on technology and on learning. Ann was saying earlier that his talk should be good.Oh good he has a big voice! He sounds American – “Bringing coals from Newcastle” is his analogy to being here at Openlearn or is it in the UK?What on earth is Cartesian learning? – “I think therefore I am”. Anyway, it seems to be something that you don’t want to have – pretty much an information transmissive learning view. He is moving towards the social view of learning as being the correct kind … “we participate therefore we are” … this type of learning is messier. So, does this mean that open-learn should work towards being a social learning place – but to me at the moment it seems a lot more individual learning unless the MSG tools are used extensively.According to him collaborative study groups is the best as he says the “the social construction of understanding is real”. He mentions the real ones on the campus and also on the virtual worlds such as second life (my pciture is a bit blurred) and talking about being linked in suh as on blogs facebook and mypace and LinkedIn.This is an interesting concept “Can we turn everyone into being both a learners and a teacher?” He indicates that nothing clarifies better than explaining … indeed but in individual learning when someone reads Openlearn materials they’re being a teacher and a learner to themselves as they have to explain these things to themselves in order to understand it. So, here they are also making self-explanations, perhaps through groups, deeper self-explanations or more pointed questions can be asked meaning that the student has to self-explained better or maybe in a group it is no longer self-explain but group-explain?I missed something, he’s onto theatelier form of learning not sure what this is … but it has something to do with an architecture studio and about putting work-in-progress in a public forum – is this still learning or researching? Ahh … he says about beyond textbook learning – Openlearn material as it stands is quite textbook-like …He is talking about trying to “learning to be” rather than “learning about” and this comes about through productive inquiry – but how do they do this? As most materials are textbook in nature, does this mean something more like problem-based learning?Something interesting here – technology enabled active learning (teal) – is this in anyway related to problem-based learning but with technology instead? I think it is sort of problem-based learning, in the electricity and magnetism course the students have a box of electronics things in front of them, I’m guessing they got to put it together? Ahh, they want the students to learn and teach others but the problem is assessment as students are like crabs basically they just want to keep the other down and not teach the other students … so, marking on a curve assessment is thrown out.He talks about students getting remote access through the Faulkes telescope project and getting data which they can analyse … hmm… sort of a remote observation huh?He mentions another project called the Decameron web for learning history I think, in which students can engage and critique papers as well as real researchers. He indicates that this web encourages the students have a small window into the scholarship of this field (basically learn how to take criticism constructively and argue your point).So, are all these projects he is mentioning how open learning should really be rather than how OpenLearn as envisage it as providing OU materials to the students on the web and hoping they form a community and engage in the materials?Oh … I like this …. He says that tinkering as learning platform … therefore when we tinker with our printers or computers or cars and we come up with parts which we have no idea how to put back together … then we are learning (probably how to destroy stuff :D). But guess with warranty and guarantee – tinkering is not allowed. But OpenLearn allows you to tinker with the materials … change it to suit your purpose and tear it apart and think about it. He thinks that open-source materials are quite like tinkering.Life in the digital world is about cultural participation: tinkering, building, remixing and sharing … its about consuming and producing at the same times such as on youtube, facebook etc. (forgot the others he mentioned!)Alright back on … was playing around with Flickr to deal with my photos … so missed some stuff (one should never have internet at your disposal!) But somethings I picked up that the open-source materials were good for tinkering and there were a lot of web 2.0 stuff that can be used. So, now he is onto the brewing perfect storm of opportunity … tying in things such as OER, eScience, eHumanities and web 2.0 technology and learning along with open participatory learning (oh great – missed that as well … my phone started to ring – how embarrassing!!!).He wants the learning to move from a manufacturing economy to that of a creator economy … there is an in between on that is called consumer society … is that where we are at now?He is talking about now tapping the abundant digital resources for informal/informal learning – OpenLearn is highlighted there.Can’t see the graph on about a long tail distribution of the networked age … it looks very red! … but that is about all I can see… ahh … think he is talking about storage … perhaps digital storage is almost limitless? Whilst physical storage is more difficult … not quite sure what’s he talking about – I’m making up what I think he’s saying – but getting my interpretation based on his example of Amazon trying to service the long tail (not sure who that is!) – is it an niche then? I’m getting so confused – probably one should not have phones ringing or playing with Flickr to follow a discussion :D.I think the long tail is the rise of an ecology of learning – the short tail (??) must be current learning trends?Ok something on active-blending and now something he says that is radical … about stocks and flows (don’t understand the stocks so much but the flows talk about the participating in productive inquiry – I think he likes this – and also situational based tacit – have no idea what this second one is!).He is saying the flows are what we need in a rapidly changing world – are we really changing that rapidly? This is getting a bit long now … the post and the talk … it’s pass 10:30 now … I could do with a cup of tea and a biscuit :D. Oh good, he’s done … we got questions now or are we going to coffee … oh questions are being put off … although it would be nice for the questions – I think the lure of tea might be stronger :D.I think my penchant for individual and cognitive learning is showing up in this post. 

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4 Responses to “John Seely Brown Keynote Speech”

  1. r3becca Says:

    “What on earth is Cartesian learning?”
    I didn’t know, so I googled it. Amazingly, only 15 references came up – and this blog entry is number 11!
    None of the things I found were particularly useful, but it seems to be to do with knowledge transfer. I teach, you learn. Don’t know what that has to do with Descartes, though. Possibly because he conceptualised knowledge as a set of ideas?

  2. James Says:

    Hilarious! Much the most enjoyable of the 4 or 5 blog accounts I’ve of this keynote. 🙂


  3. […] – so pointless for me to replicate all that here. The sessions I found most interesting were… John Seely Brown, Alan Cann, Erik Duval, Ray Corrigan and Tony […]


  4. […] so pointless for me to replicate all that here. The sessions I found most interesting were… John Seely Brown, Alan Cann, Erik Duval, Ray Corrigan and Tony […]


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