Jan 15, 2007

Carmun, Education

[M]etabrain [E]ntry [L]og:

So far we've predominantly been discovering better ways of representing standard course materials on webpages. This corresponds to the first phase of a new form of media: that of a new way to do old things. "Cell phones are like landlines without cords." At some point a paradigm shift occurs, and the new form of media isn't "Old Media With Feature X" but a separate thing in its own right, and gets used in apps that weren't even on the radar before; smartphones, SMS, and location-based messaging, for example. The two phenomena snowball into each other, and soon enough the world is chang'd, at least in some small way.

We're seeing the beginnings of a transformation for education as seen through the internet corresponding to just this kind of shift, where we move beyond the "put the old class material on html" and into... what? I don't know, but here are three trends I've got my eyes on; ambient information, communities of apprenticeship, and public reflection. I'll cover each of these in a separate post later on, with the disclaimer (courtesy of my friend David) that it's tough to predict a horizon that's shrinking towards you; a few years from now we'll probably look at these posts and laugh.

In the meantime, take a peek at Carmun. It's a web 2.0 startup designed to help students track and share reference lists - for instance, if I'm taking a course in educational theory, I can put articles and books from class in Carmun and they'll be there for seamless referencing and bibliography creation later on when I'm writing my final paper. Better yet, if you take the same course next semester and ask me about good books to read on the subject, I can send you my reference list via Carmun (with links to the original papers and everything) instead of copy-pasting my pdf's endnotes into an email (where you'd have to laboriously re-search for each article in JSTOR anyway). You can write notes on papers and books, rate and tag them, and generally use it as an all-purpose reading list for whatever you're interested in learning.