Final day in Austin today – last evening I had a chance to go out with Joel Greenberg, Director of Strategic Development at The Open University to listen to some music and chat about developments in the eLearning space at the Open University. A key interest of Joel’s is how we can harness the opportunities afforded through the whole social networking paradigm for the sake of education. At the OU they are actively working on creating online educational environments that resemble things like facebook, myspace and bebo etc.
It was with interest then that I read this morning on Jane’s blog about SuperCool School, a Facebook app that makes online learning social by democratizing the learning process and empowering everyone to demand, create and participate in live and interactive online classes. I haven’t had a good chance to look around it yet, so can’t really comment on what it is like – however, what appeals to me is that this is indeed evidence of what I think we’ll begin to see more of as people look to de-construct our current paradigm of classroom-based education and look for ways of democratising the experience, creating opportunities for more personalised learning to occur, where learners themselves are able to take responsibility for determining their own learning goals and tragectories, and where they may also be recognised for their expertise as ‘expert learners’, taking a role of guiding others in their learning.