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The Coming Storm: Digital Natives Will Redefine the Nature of Learning and the Future Course of Institutions

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Posted on / by Alex Berger

The following is a re-production of a document I’ve assembled with my team as part of FusionVirtual’s ongoing push to revolutionize online education.  You can view the whitepaper in .pdf format HERE.   I value your feedback and am eager for a passionate discourse on the topic.  Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts and observations in the form of a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter or by e-mail.

FUSIONVIRTUAL POSITION PAPER

THE COMING STORM: DIGITAL NATIVES WILL REDEFINE THE NATURE OF LEARNING AND THE FUTURE COURSE OF INSTITUTIONS.

ABOUT THIS STUDY

This project is led and coordinated by Alex Berger, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of FusionVirtual. Berger is a digitally-literate, self-directed Millennial with trans-generational experience and perspective. In 2003, he began sharing his insights into the ways institutions have to change to be viable. He shared his extensive knowledge of advancements in information availability, and breakthroughs made by the online gaming community in the use of virtual environments. His honors thesis, Not Just A Game: How On-line Gaming Communities Are Shaping Social Capital, was circulated and verified by many leading educators and business leaders. His blogs and communications on his VirtualWayfarer.com site have kept him at the leading edge of change. He is an accomplished lecturer and delights in sharing his insights into the future.

As one of the most disciplined of the digitally literate, information-age leaders, Berger gathered together educators and business leaders and charged them with helping him focus FusionVirtual’s role in defining not only the future of institutions but, perhaps most important, identifying structural inhibitors to change. He stated that this must be done so leaders know how to make their way in the digital-information age.

INTRODUCTION

“In human history there has never been a time when the difference between generations has been so vast. In the last two decades computer literate, digitally skilled, information-age youth have begun to function in ways never before imagined. They are developing a new operating system for the acquisition and application of knowledge. They are changing our understanding of how things work and how things can be.

The generational differences that divide the past from this new present are so extreme that those with pre-digital, pre-information age mindsets must replace their outmoded literacy with new information. If they do this, they will be able to communicate with their children and function in the world as it is now.”

-E.F. Berger, Ed.D. 2008

This quote from an educational leader may seem extreme to those who have not rethought the foundations of their knowledge and begun their process of reeducation.

Let’s examine an example of significant change: Up until a decade ago – the 1990s – some group, a religion, an institution, or a professor controlled information. Whether it was locked-up by a religious hierarchy, a government, or an institution of higher education, it was controlled and doled out to those deemed worthy. Within what can be described as an instant in human time, through the Internet, information of all types became available to anyone with basic computer skills. As technology has advanced institutions and individuals have quickly begun to forfeit sole access and control. Those institutions or governments that try to limit what their subjects can know are fighting a losing battle for control. While the degree of their success varies widely, they will destroy the lives of countless people before they learn that regardless of the actions they take, they are delaying the inevitable. The reality of complete control is dead and has been replaced by the myth of absolute control.

This one major change in what and how we can learn has shaken institutions and governments to their roots. Institutions up to this time were able to control the way people thought by limiting their access to information or setting themselves up as authorities due to their privileged access to “truth.” Although many institutions continue to function as if they have exclusive rights to information, their death-knells are too loud to ignore.

Higher educational systems everywhere are institutions unable to continue as designed. All are based upon one-way communication. Even those few that attempt to be interactive still rely on conveying information that is limited to the knowledge and intent of the tellers and the curricula. Digitally literate individuals cannot – will not – function in these outmoded schools. Learning has jumped over the barriers of past practices and a whole new threshold of knowledge has been crossed.

Epistemology is being redefined. Credits, degrees and measures of academic mastery no longer have the same meaning because the information they were based on has been shown to be too limited or skewed.

NOTE: The ways modern generations are able to communicate have increased as never imagined. The effects of web technology on social inter-relationships have perhaps more impact on society than the changes brought about by the invention of the telephone at the beginning of the last century. In a future position paper we will address the schism this has created between generations and identify ways for leaders to bring their organizations into the Communication Age.

THE MASTERY OF FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS IS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED

The training aspects of schooling focus on essential skills which must be mastered. Most of these skills are developed in the early or elementary grades. However, training aspects are part of every level of learning. For example, the skills needed to access, analyze and apply law precedents are not taught in elementary school. They are part of the ongoing study of law. Training and mastery of skills is the key factor in the use of knowledge. Information without the learned skill sets necessary to analyze and evaluate the authenticity of data is useless.

Upcoming generations of learners must be encouraged to explore tasks – learning to read, write, and compute, using the scientific method, plumbing a house, building a device, preparing a meal, and so forth. With the mastery of foundation skills they have an unlimited ability to access knowledge that will allow them to gather and combine sources of information and apply what they have learned to solve problems or gain greater understanding.

We can access information far beyond what the brightest minds could access only a decade ago. To do that, the educational institutions must ensure student mastery of foundation skills, ensure self-direction through self-discipline, and inculcate ‘universal’ social and cultural values. For example, in the US, this is known as “Americanization.”

Dr. Mark Jacobs, Dean of the Barrett Honor College at Arizona State University, stresses that true education must be interactive. We agree. We clarify this concept by adding that reading a book and answering the questions at the end of a chapter may help one pass a test, but only through active discussion and practical application, where learners must demonstrate their ability to turn the concept in their heads and apply it to other situations, does true education take place. Berger’s point of view is that listening to a ‘teller’, reading a book, viewing a PowerPoint, or going through copious information on the Internet and then “passing the course” by answering questions is not the way education works best. What works is the interaction between students and teachers, students and students, students and research resources, and students and scholars from anywhere they can be found, within set parameters that require the application of all that information to real problems and situations.

THE CHALLENGE

One might assume that institutional changes are so obviously necessary that those in leadership positions will redirect their organizations to serve the new types of learners. In fact, many leading institutions have begun to make necessary changes. Whole bodies of knowledge once controlled by academic institutions which, in essence, charged for the selective release or access to this information, are available to anyone through the Internet. Many institutions of higher learning are examining the use of virtual space and avatars to enhance educational opportunities.

Increased access to once carefully protected research and knowledge has resulted in combinations of data that was previously impossible. The economics of this type of change is of great concern. If a university cannot charge for access to information or access to those who have spent their lives researching new insights, then what can they charge students for? What is their role?

THERE IS NO PLACE TO STAND AND VIEW OUR SYSTEMS WITHOUT PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS AND BIAS. WE MUST SEE THE BIG PICTURE

To bring about the changes that will make systems and institutions viable, leaders and those who deliver the services must stand back and rethink and often redefine the structures they work within. In education that is very difficult. The conglomerate institution called education is vast, petrified by administrative facility, and peopled by workers who are reluctant to change. Political influences add to the dysfunctional aspects of schools. A century or more of habit, custom and self-protection supports an argument that, “It was good enough for me, it’s good enough for them.”

Some argue that the seeds of a nation’s destruction are within it. This is especially true of a nation that depends on a trained and educated populace. It is no surprise that in the U.S. those areas that are most regressive are the regions with skewed educational standards and inflexible religious strictures.

To assume that any amount of credible information will bring about change is naive. Many institutions and systems must be bypassed. Unable to deliver what is required, they will wither and die. It is no surprise that the largest competitor to traditional public and private universities are online higher education programs like the University of Phoenix. And it is not difficult to project that as these online, two- dimensional schools are not interactive, they have short life spans due to the lack of quality of their products.

This is a time of change. Those who do not identify their product and the nature of the students they work with, as well as the availability of information and the skills necessary to deal with it, not only kill their institutions, but severely damage the Nation. We must adapt and utilize a worldwide scope of knowledge. We must prepare students to interactively process, evaluate, and make a contribution by applying their knowledge.

INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE AND AMERICAN EDUCATION

There are phenomenal numbers of critiques of America’s schools. Few of these articles differentiate between elementary, middle, high school, and college, (although colleges are more often treated separately). Most articles reference schools as if they were all doing the same thing and need the same fix to be effective. Most fail to offer solutions along with their critiques. Unless each level of education and each area of subject matter (discipline) is examined and its purpose understood, change is impossible.

For our purpose we assume the reader understands the needs of the different levels of education. It is enough to say that necessary change at the elementary level may be quite different than changes needed in high schools.

We concluded that regardless of the nature of the changes, there are overarching structures, many put in place without consideration of training and educational needs, that block effective ways of serving learners. These are structural problems that affect all levels of education and are not specific to any one level or discipline. Rather than list structural problems that are in the way of effective change, we decided to identify those areas that must be adapted to education in the digital, information age.

As a guide to open, new thinking about overarching structures that inhibit or deny effective education for many children and erode the Nation’s need for an educated populace, let’s stand back and look at the K–12 structure and select one significant structure that must be changed.
K-12 education is mandatory except some children can opt-out of the system at age 14 (some states age 16) ending their education. With no place to go, these kids are turned loose to run wild in the streets. We understand that at one time kids could drop out because they were needed to work the family farm. Then things changed and there was no demand for unskilled, underage youth. It is interesting to note that in the ‘40s through ‘60s the military draft collected many of these young men and educated them. Then the draft ended. Dropouts run wild.

Today our core cities are filled with undirected, poorly educated, dropout youth who are a drain on society. The solution seems obvious. If a child did not survive in the traditional school setting, or if her family was dysfunctional and could not/would not support her, then what is needed to save her and children like her, and our society, are training and acculturation programs not unlike basic training and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Why haven’t programs for these damaged kids been created? Obviously because our society and its institutions are too entrenched and inflexible to change in response to critical issues. Why then will some assume that systemic problems that block what is needed for the digital, information age student be addressed and institutions modified? It would take forces greater than those allowed in a democracy to make it happen. Most institutions are so bound they cannot change. If they are unable to serve a changing population these petrified systems erode the competency of large numbers of citizens and gradually make participatory democracy impossible.

Hopefully, new leadership creates options that by-pass moribund systems. Perhaps through forced redirection? Perhaps through market forces that meet demand?
We believe the battle for change is half won when we are able to clearly identify the structural changes that must be made.

OVERARCHING CHANGES TO OUR THINKING AND MODIFICATION OF STRUCTURES IN THE WAY OF EFFECTIVENESS. BRAINSTORMING AND LISTING MAJOR CHANGES THAT ARE NECESSARY IF INSTITUTIONS ARE TO SURVIVE

Please note: The following lists are in no particular order. Each identified change can and will have volumes written about it. Herein we simply tag some necessary changes.

  1. The role of the teacher: What must change to meet the needs of digitally literate, information age students?
  2. One-way communication ends replaced by interactive communication.
  3. Teachers connect students to world resources.
  4. Teachers set the learning parameters for specific levels (courses and units within courses).
  5. Teachers keep individuals focused and the assigned group “class” individually centered.
  6. Teachers learn about and provide desired outcomes for each student.
  7. Teachers utilize virtual space as an extension of the classroom and as a way to work with students individually and in groups.
  8. Teachers extend their accessibility through the use of avatars.
  9. Teachers know the essential skills necessary for mastery of taught material and train individuals accordingly.
  10. Teachers identify student mastery of identified data by observing how each student is able to apply the concept to other situations.
  11. Teachers work as part of interdisciplinary teams.
  12. Although training may be done in isolation, the educational programs are always interactive.
  13. Teaching emphasis is on student mastery of basic skills necessary to function in the course, and the application of readily available data, not how to find information.
  14. The nature of evaluation changes – teachers do not use tests to punish or motivate students. Teachers use evaluation (tests of many types) as a diagnostic tool to determine the educational focus for each student.
  15. Teachers (educators) break out of the ‘time block’ system and use time as necessary to meet goals. Time-on-task is determined by the teacher and student, not a set schedule.
  16. Course length, within realistic parameters, is determined by the teacher to address student needs and learning styles.
  17. Teachers build their courses and instruction methods around the Learning Path: Introduction, Association, Involvement, Application, Internalization and Contribution. (Dr. Edward F. Berger)
  18. Teachers are highly skilled professionals. Their time is focused on students and instructional coordination. It is not used for patrolling, policing, or administrative tasks best done by support personnel.
  19. Changing the concept of classroom (place-based) education.
  20. Interactive learning takes place in many learning environments. For example, a dedicated classroom space may be used for face-to-face communication, group, and one-on-one interaction, or it may not be needed.
  21. Lecture halls are replaced/supplemented by presentation areas in virtual space.
  22. Students are grouped by achievement level and need, not chronological age.
  23. Placing every student at a desk, in a room, doing the same thing has no purpose beyond administrative facility.
  24. Virtual space “classrooms” can be utilized for 24/7 instruction and one-on-one instruction.
  25. Virtual space can be utilized for testing and mastery evaluation as well as attendance, tutoring, and socializing.
  26. Students may never enter a “place-based classroom” if their needs are met in monitored studies through the Internet or in virtual environments.
  27. Educational delivery is not determined by proximity to a school classroom – students may be anywhere.

FusionVirtual has presented this position paper to stimulate thought, share ideas, and help leaders identify the directions they must take to serve future generations and our Nation. Our work has just begun.

-Alex Berger and the FusionVirtual team.

Need a copy that’s easier to print/read?  View the original whitepaper here.

Alex Berger

I am a travel blogger and photographer. I also am involved in academic research into the study abroad and backpacker communities.

6 Comments

  • Rkolbe
    August 31, 2010

    Nice article. I believe that educational institutions must change for one reason: students’ learning and achievement is based on the level of their involvement. Lectures and books have their place, but shouldn’t be the primary methods of learning, because they allows little, if any involvement by the student.
    I think the methodology of (structural) change should be toward interactive learning environments. Labs, or exploratory environments are the structures that engage learners. Teacher-student or student-student interactions should be reconstructed to engage around the learning in these labs (whether real or virtual).
    The interesting thing to me is that the approach I’m suggesting has almost nothing to do with the new communication paradigm. Instead, it’s based in learning experiments. The new paradigms only serve to support the approach, but the approach is not dependent upon them.

    Reply
  • AlexBerger
    August 31, 2010

    Rkolbe, thanks for the post. The truth of it is, education and learning hasn’t really changed that much. At least not the mechanics of it. What has changed is the tools and infrastructure (both current and possible) which we can apply to facilitate that education and learning. Within that greater goal, we always have to keep in mind that not everyone learns alike. Some are tactile, while some are auditory and yet others are visual or spatial.

    The question is, how willing we are to acknowledge that, and then what tools we have at hand to service all of those different aptitudes on an industrialized scale – which is to say one that doesn’t require 1 teacher for every 1-4 students.

    That said, while the fundamentals of how we learn may be the same, the process which gets us there and the delivery if the information itself is the part that is drastically influenced by the new communication paradigm. It gives us new tools to teach with. I always try and think of it in basic terms. For example, imagine learning/teaching before the invention of written language. While people would have essentially learned the same way, the way they discovered and referenced that information would have changed drastically. So, in effect I’d say we’re in agreement =)

    Reply
  • Titoxd @ Wikimedia
    August 31, 2010

    Sorry to break the echo chamber, but after reading this, I had a strong urge to comment and voice my disagreement with the stated position.

    Now, to introduce myself: I am one of the digital Millennials that are the core subject of this piece. I have been an administrator at the English Wikipedia for almost five years now, so I have seen avant-garde paradigms of education and information transfer be tested on the sixth most-visited website in the world. I am a avid user of social media, and have seen the benefits that increased interconnectivity can bring. Yet, in spite of all of these, I believe that there is a pressing need for the fundamental structure offered by institutions of higher education, and I vehemently disagree with your statement that “digitally literate individuals cannot – will not – function” in the existing educational framework. Many of the problems you hint at have deeper causes, and additional technological solutions will, at best, only obscure the fundamental issues causing the current situation.

    As you correctly point out, there are vast floods of information available at the tip of our fingertips – many of which was not available even ten years ago. Wikipedia is a prime example of that: today we broke through the 3.4 million article mark in the English version alone. However, when you look at the distribution of those articles, as Kittur and Chi (2009) did, a third of them were cataloged as “culture and the arts,” a euphemism for popular culture. The classical “hard” sciences (natural science, physical science, applied science, technology, mathematics and logic) comprise only 14% of the article base. So there are more articles about the Jessica Simpsons of the world than articles on basic fundamental topics. This is simply based on a fundamental truth: those who have the ability to use online resources are simply not motivated to use them for educational advancement. They are more than content with knowing they can find pictures of Britney’s cat, and never bother to learn about Schrödinger’s.

    You additionally mentioned the catastrophe that is occurring in the United States’ inner cities, but you put the blame on the “system” without considering the real culprit. This culprit is, again, motivation. Children of the core urban areas are being raised with the idea that education is useless, and have the impression that their time would be better used pandering to the idols of society. As an acquaintance pointed out to me as we discussed the benefits of education, it is uncool to build a rocket, but it is cool to be a rapper, since that will get you “bros and hos.” Unfortunately, this is more of a structural issue in society than any educational reform could ever aspire to resolve, especially with modern-day attacks on scientific reasoning based on religious or political dogma. Unfortunately, we may need another “Red scare” to propel us back to the point where engineering and applied sciences are held again in high regard, instead of as a line-item liability on a balance sheet.

    Many of the solutions you hint at can be traced back to an archaic view of existing higher education procedures. While it is certainly true that many introductory college classes must be one-dimensional on the surface due to their massive size, these are usually targeted at a broader population that sees education as a chore that must be completed, instead of as an opportunity to learn. Of the population of students who start lecture-hall courses, how many of them were present throughout the course? How many chose not to attend it, and preferred to only show up to midterms and finals? How many chose to attend because it was a good place to take a nap? (I have heard this before, I am not making this up.) Of the regular attendees, how many asked questions during the course? Of the regular attendees, how many took advantage of office hours – and I may add, office hours that professors set up specifically to offer one-on-one opportunities for students to contact them? Heck, how many sent an email to their instructor asking questions? The fraction is dismally low. There are plenty of opportunities, but they are simply wasted as they are not sought. I cannot see what online societies would offer that would modify the reluctance to take advantage of chances that already exist.

    Finally, high-quality educational institutions are distinguished by one metric: The amount of guidance they offer to their students. This excludes the growing crop of diploma mills that leave students with a fancy, framed roll of toilet paper and a burning hole in their wallet. In the vast sea of data that we all have available today, unsuspecting individuals can find themselves lost while trying to discover the best starting point for a fact-seeking journey. Furthermore, they can be purposefully misguided by malicious misdirections and manipulations of truth created to advance a political goal. Universities that provide direction on how to spot what I affectionately call blatant unadulterated bullshit from reality, and offer insight on how to find that ourselves are invaluable in modern society. Without them, who is going to provide the basic research we need to stay ahead in a global stage? Without highly-trusted institutions, who is going to counter the rising current of manipulation for personal and/or political gain? The dude who looks like the Minotaur in Second Life?

    If the long esoteric verbosity culminated in communicative ennui, the brief version of the preceding rant is: If there are any changes that must occur, they are the changes that make science and technology a desirable profession. They are the changes that encourage logic and discourse. They are the changes that motivate individuals to learn, and to take advantage of the learning opportunities that might be presented to them. And higher education’s purpose in such a society will not be one of limiting access to information: instead, institutions will be charged with the vital task of sifting out misdirections and leading the way in a new wave of critical thinking. A new wave that is necessary for global progress in the 21st century.

    Reply
    • AlexBerger
      September 3, 2010

      Thanks for the comment and taking the time to post an in-depth response! I apologize for the brief delay in getting back to you – I’ve been responding to several in-depth e-mails the post generated. I’ll respond by Paragraph number (P#). Trying to keep this brief as a comment so please forgive any lack of depth.

      P#1 – No response needed.

      P#2 – First, it’s worth clarifying a point. Though the common dialogue confuses the two, Millennials and Digital Natives are NOT one and the same. They are two very different generations. This is significant because in addition to the difference between Millennials and Digital Natives, Millennials are in effect digital transitionals which vary widely in their use and relationship with technology. Without specific examples of where you believe the technology will exacerbate the problem instead of help alleviate it I can’t go into greater depth, beyond clarifying the fundamental difference in technological relationship outlined above. Additionally, while a phenomenal pillar of the social web, Wikipedia is a collaborative resource tool but not necessarily a collaborative social tool. It’s in effect a crowd-sourced text book. That’s very different than a resource providing real time, customized, AI powered tutoring, collaborative 3D conferencing etc.

      P#3 – The main point here you make is, “This is simply based on a fundamental truth: those who have the ability to use online resources are simply not motivated to use them for educational advancement.” I disagree completely. I think you’re misinterpreting what you’re seeing. Scientific principles are, relative to all knowledge, limited. There’s only one periodic table or Pythagorean Theorem. There are thousands of Pop stars. You note that the sciences only make up 14% of the article base, but fail to include historical information and personalities. I’m fairly certain that with inclusion those numbers would jump significantly, though they will still fall short of the more modern social and cultural entries.

      Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind the educational environment in the US. Remember that about 20% of Americans don’t have a High School Degree and that only about 30% of Americans have a College Degree.

      P#4 – I agree with the lion’s share of your points but disagree with respect to the source of the American Intellectual’s woes. The problem is that we’ve allowed our culture to embrace an anti-intellectual stance which props up the ignorant, the violent, and the lucky while demeaning our intellectual community. A large portion of the problem is definitely based in recent political and religious attacks but a lot of it is also fostered by the academic community itself. Keep in mind that the people shaping our culture – the ones who really have control – are for the most part intellectuals. I’d suggest that a lot of the anti-intellectual sentiment actually stems from our K-12 programs which have prioritized things like athletics while villainizing more academic pursuits. When schools stop sending the message that it’s better to be an all start football player than a brown nosing math club member, then we can begin to expect changes. It’s tragic really that one of the main sources of anti-intellectualism is a major academic institution. If that 4th grade teacher instills a passion in a young student to become a Rocket Scientist instead of a Rockstar you’ll see a very different life-path unfold.

      Lastly, you mention the need for a Red Scare like event. I’d argue we’ve already had a number of like-kind events from our disputes with China to North Korea and Iran, etc.

      P#5 – This essentially comes down to accountability and involvement. If I told you to sit down twice a week in a room full of distractions and told you to focus and read a dry text book for 1.5 hours non-stop how would you respond? Frankly, you’d want to sleep. You’d be disinterested and given the opportunity you’d skip out, especially if there was a minimal or delayed opportunity cost. That’s essentially what most of these lectures are. Add to that the social pressure on not asking questions out of fear of looking stupid or slowing the class down and you’ve got the current recipe for disappointment. Which is made that much worse by the allocated time set aside for Q&A which is usually at the end of class and in one clump. The whole point is that technology provides an alternative for a more interactive, immersive, and less socially limiting environment. One that allows for real time communication and inquiry. Office hours are another prime example of basic opportunity cost. They don’t align with people’s academic behavior, schedule and have a high opportunity cost. I always did my homework the night before – that made it impossible to get an e-mail response from a professor in a timely fashion and meant that office hours were only good after the fact….in essence for reviewing material that we’d already moved beyond. That’s completely different than technology aided interaction which is more real time and as a result more relevant.

      There are a ton of examples out there of how much more responsive and engaged students are when they’re in a more interactive environment. I recently read this article which is a prime example: http://climate.nasa.gov/blogs/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowBlog&NewsID=352 and the web is loaded with like kind experiences. Further, as a counter to your comments earlier about Wikipedia and people’s lack of curiosity – one need only look elsewhere to places like WebMD, Yahoo Answers and Ask Reddit to find people an mass seeking out answers, questions and expertise.

      I look at it this way: An opportunity does not necessarily mean it’s a good opportunity. If I’m talking to someone and won’t let them get a word in then wait until they have a mouth full of hamburger or soda to pause – that’s technically an opportunity, but it’s not a good one or one that’s particularly relevant for the individual and condition at the time. Especially if that pause only lasts briefly before I dive back into my narrative – well before the time they’d need to finish chewing or swallow their soda.

      P#6 – For the most part I agree with you here. Though, in addition to guidance I’d also add the expertise and quality of the instructors and faculty. All the guidance in the world is worthless without a solid set of tools to act on that guidance. The trick here is that we have to be open and flexible to new technologies and mediums – you note the Minotaur in Second Life…and yet, Harvard has a campus in Second Life that comes with all of Second Life’s prestige and guidance. I’d say that the problem isn’t so much the new mediums as it is the challenges that face any new emerging technology/science/frontier and that is the abundance of charlatans, crooks and bullshit.

      Though, I also agree that the value of the pure game dynamic – eg the Minotaur in Second Life – is limited. Far too many academics have focused on trying to re-tool games as educational resources. The reality is that the technology behind the game is immensely valuable, but that it’s time to take a more professional approach to that technology. We can strip away the Minotaur and yet keep/build upon the dynamics that make software like Second Life immensely valuable for online education and distance learning.

      P#7 – “If there are any changes that must occur, they are the changes that make science and technology a desirable profession.” this will not happen so long as the academic environment is one that’s more conducive to nap taking, than intelligent thought and critical thinking. Cultural perception reflects and responds to the current flaws within the system. Not vice versa. Educational institutions should never serve to limit information or access to it, they need to – must – serve as guides which provide a basic insight into the fundamentals while providing training in the skills necessary to analyze, identify, critique, and locate knowledge and information. Any attempt to limit access or information only results in being identified and labeled as antiquated and out of date.

      Hopefully the above helps clarify some of the concepts outlined in the post and some of the points of disagreement you identified. I apologize for the difficult formatting limitations posed by the comment system and tiny comment box.

      Reply
  • Surya Tibrewala
    August 31, 2010

    Hallelujah!!

    Reply
  • AlexBerger
    September 3, 2010

    Thanks for reading Surya. I’ve responded to Titoxd’s post above. Not sure if it will notify you or not, but I believe you may find my response relevant/interesting.

    Reply

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