Saturday, June 16, 2007

New Landscapes of Learning

Once upon a time, not so long ago, if you asked any individual where one would go to "learn," you would quickly be told with no uncertain doubt, "school." Schools were the primary place of learning, teachers where the foremost conduits of information. Children simply went to school to learn and be taught.

Once upon a time, if you wanted to tap into higher education, you would have to pay untold amounts of tuition fees, travel great distances, and shoulder your way through uninteresting lectures and predetermined curriculum. But, what if you could customize your education? What if you could dive into the courses you wanted, pause for personal research and exploration, only to pick back up where you left off? With the advances of the digital cultures at hand this is more than a bizarre question.

Currently the landscapes of learning are undergoing significant transition. Individuals are once again experiencing the art of self-discovery learning and exploration. However, much of this is taking place "outside" of the classrooms. How our educational systems intuitively and creatively interact with these present realities will considerably influence the future of educational systems and institutions.

Currently, you can tap into half of the nation's top 500 schools and universities. How? Our good friends at Apple, it's called "iTunes University."

iTunes University is a collection of podcasts and vodcasts created by university professors. All of these are made available - for free. Free university lectures on topics of my choice? This is simply amazing! You can search by School, Topic, or Subject. As such, you can begin to customize your own educational experience. Just yesterday I took part of a Communications Class at Stanford University and then jolted over to Seattle Pacific University to watch a special lecture by Dr. N.T. Wright. Talking about a "Personalized Learning Environment" right in front of you. Tuition: Free. Where will you go? May the explorations of learning begin afresh and anew.

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