Building on Thomas Friedman's book "The World is Flat," Dr. Curt Bonk (Indiana University) offers an intriguing look at ten technology trends which he called educational openers. When combined, the first letter of each opener spells the acronym "WE-ALL-LEARN." This model helps make sense of the role of various technologies in open education, including open courseware, open-source software, open-access journals, open educational resources and open information communities.
As part of this, Bonk will discuss e-books, podcasts, streamed videos, online learning portals, social networking tools like Facebook and Ning, YouTube videos, wikis and virtual worlds. With such technologies, thousands of organizations and scholars are sharing their course materials, expertise and teaching ideas globally, thereby expanding learning opportunities and resources even further. As this occurs, members of the media, politicians, educators, students, parents and others are asking important questions about the quality of such contents.
Professor Bonk also addresses questions related to the digital divide and how those without Internet access still benefit immensely from these open learning tools and resources. The economic world of Friedman may be flatter, but the educational world is definitely more open than it was a decade or even a few years ago. Open up and enjoy it!