John Seely Brown – Patrick reporting

October 30, 2007

Ok – we have now really kicked off the first session with Andy introducing the conference and building up to John Seely Brown’s keynote. John has gone for the title “Open Learning Broadly Construed.” John wrote a major review on the Open Participatory Learning Initiative”.He started off by stating that this feels a bit like “coals to Newcastle”. I think therefore I am becomes “We participate therefore we are”. Understanding is socially constructed. Claim that the sense of the study group is where real learning happens – with a match a match from study groups. One of the simplest this to do with second life is set up study groups in second life. E.g of reaching out from University of Michigan to the social networks of their students.Learning is not the same as knowledge so the claim is not to ignore the generation aspect but to focus on the learning. The example he used is the architectural studio as “atelier form of learning”. In the studio work in progress is made public and feedback is very open. Academic world is driven much more by privacy. I have been greatly interested in the use of patterns in architecture and I wonder if there is a connection to be made with the wider practice of architects.]Learning in this sort of environment as enculturation into a practice. With the learning about as the explicit tip of the iceberg with the tacit bit below representing the learning to be. MIT did try to make one of its electricity and magnetism into a “technology enabled active learning”. The impact was on both teaching and assessment – to remove the competition element. Another e.g. is the open use of remote telescopes – which has impacted on the way that the sky is studied.Do we understand our kids? But do we even understand how we learn and learnt? This led into a praise of tinkering and the playing with technology. John’s observation of tinkering ending in the 1980’s cognitively impenetrable technology. With a return in 1995 in gaming and open source – and a more gender neutral version of tinkering as well. Tinkering is the foundation of tacit learning (Polyani book – Tacit Knowledge). A position of “attending from” rather than attending to.  This from comes from connecting with internal knowledge triggered by tinkering. The digital examples for ht young generation range from youtube through the modding to telling your own story in a personal Truman show.Open Source as participatory learning platform – the enculturation required to join a community being a key element. PrinciplesWriting code to be read (and so it is tinkerable)Engagement through useful additionsSocial capital mattersRemix looking at amateur anime. Building the back story to support professional anime. This all links into Web2.0 and the Brewing Perfect Storm of all of these things coming together. John then summed this up as Open Participatory Learning Ecosystem. John and Dan has now dropped the Infrastructure label (as in the past I was cited as an opponent of that label I have to approve). A plea for feedback loops galore – and the opening up of research to answer the questions about how this all come together through intertwining (knowledge creation, learning and mentoring). E.g. all major research should look at speenind part of their grant to open these up to student participation.This can also be viewed at the society level as a move from scarcity to abundance taking us through manufacturing, to consumer and on to creator economy. A neat link was then made to the long tail of niche communities. The link is then to the passionate about topics – those who want to learn and do more. Education actually has lived in this area for ages but for those who come. Now in the Internet the community probably exists for all the niches that you can thin of, if you can find them.Three big ideas to end:1. Active blending learning v researching. Getting people to cross over.2. Radical change of point of view – from stocks to flow. This is a view of a much less stable world for learning. Learning 2.0 – learning on demand.3. Creation becomes re-creation. Move to a culture of learning. This would then thrive on participatory lifelong learning.If we can pull this off then we could actually address continuous/lifelong learning.


5 Responses to “John Seely Brown – Patrick reporting”

  1. cohere Says:

    I’ve just blogged his talk, including a Dialogue Map of his talk, at:

    Simon Buckingham Shum

  2. erikduval Says:

    Another blog post about this talk, mainly as a mindmap:

  3. Grainne Says:

    Eric Duval has also done a mind map – would be interesting to compare the two!

  4. Grainne Says:

    OOpppps ‘I must read whats on the page’ ‘I must read whats on the page’ ‘I must read whats on the page’ just realised you were already aware of Eric’s post 😉

  5. simonfj Says:

    Just a link to the original Conference Material
    Merry Christmas Patrick

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