jueves, 28 de junio de 2012

The Internet Tide Hits Alabama Newspapers

ON Nov. 11, 1918, as my dad used to tell me, a reporter named George Flournoy, who went by Gummy, stood in the window of the local daily paper, The Mobile Register, shouting the news of the armistice that ended World War I.

In 1929, after The Register announced it would accelerate updates on the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Athletics to ensure that “followers of the national game in this city shall not be many seconds behind each bit of action recorded,” Gummy relayed each play “by megaphone as rapidly as it is received over direct wires of The Associated Press.”

Gummy’s megaphone is back, in digital form. The Internet appeals to our desire to know, now, which is what the management of the newspaper where I work, The Mobile Press-Register, is banking on in its decision to go exclusively online four days a week — like our partner publications The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Who wants to wait for the whop of a rolled paper on the porch every morning when its contents can be had in real time, with just a click?

The physical editions aren’t disappearing entirely; Wednesday, Friday and Sunday papers will be offered in old-fashioned newsprint as well. But the news on other days will be available only on the Internet, for those who are wired. Which raises a question: Given how many Alabamians don’t have regular Internet access, what will they be missing?

Let’s play this history game: what stories of special interest to Alabamians, and the nation, were published in newspapers on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday?

The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham on Sept. 15, 1963, and the first attempt by civil rights advocates to march over Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965, both took place on Sundays. Monday newspapers gave the reports.

The Mobile native Hank Aaron hit his record-breaking 715th home run on April 8, 1974, a Monday. The triumph was told in Tuesday’s paper.

Tim Cook, of Robertsdale, was named the chief executive of Apple on Aug. 24, 2011, a Wednesday, headlined in Thursday’s papers. (Online readers got the news, of course, as soon as it happened.)

How will stories like these reach readers who are not connected to the Internet? TV and radio will deliver the basics. When President Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, a Friday, people clustered around their black-and-white TVs — but they immersed themselves in the details in their Saturday papers.

I was recently covering a story in nearby Prichard, Ala., a town of 23,000 people with 36 percent of them beneath the poverty line; it made national news last year when it was too broke to pay pensions. In casual conversation I asked the police chief, a forward-looking official who carries both a gun and an iPad, what percentage of the town has Internet access. He figured 25 percent.

How many Prichard residents read the newspaper itself? Far more than subscribe, I’d hazard to guess. I’ve written many stories about people and places in that community, and I know how papers get passed around at the barbershop, the church social, the front porch.

Countless folks I’ve profiled in my home state have been old, poor or seen as marginal; they live down rural lanes or speak English as a second language. Yet they clutch the paper when it’s in their hands. They are hungry, too, for news of their community, town, state and nation seven days a week.

Industry leaders are taking newspapers into uncharted territories. Many of their employees will be let go in this downsized Internet world, with its changing demands for skills and talent — in fact, I am one of 181 workers at my newspaper being laid off.

Will the papers succeed online? I’d more willingly lay down money at a Biloxi casino than bet on the outcome. I’m a 59-year-old human interest writer who likes to compose with a pen.

Of this I’m sure, though: Whether it’s through a commitment to public Wi-Fi service in every town, or giving tax deductions for family computers and online services, or offering free classes on how to operate what for many are still newfangled gadgets, attention must be paid.

Make sure everyone is in earshot.

Roy Hoffman is the author, most recently, of “Alabama Afternoons: Profiles and Conversations.”

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on June 28, 2012, on page A27 of the New York edition with the headline: Leaving Alabama Behind.

miércoles, 27 de junio de 2012

8 Nations the Leading Way in Online Education

Online education is quickly becoming a major phenomenon around the world. The ease and convenience it offers learners appeal to people just about everywhere, especially those who are trying to balance work, family, and other obligations with completing a degree or certification program. Yet certain nations have embraced online education more than others, leading the way both in terms of the number and variety of programs and new innovations to online learning itself. Here, we’ve highlighted some of the nations that are really stepping up the game when it comes to online education, though with the proliferation of high-speed nternet connections and a growing need for highly educated candidates in technical positions around the world, other nations likely aren’t far behind.

  1. United States:

    The US is the undisputed leader in online education in the world today, with hundreds of online colleges and thousands of online courses available to students. A 2011 study by the Sloan Consortium found that 6 million students in the US are taking at least one online course, nearly one third of all those enrolled in higher education. In fact, enrollments in online courses are outpacing those of higher education as a whole, with a 10% increase in online students between 2010 and 2011 compared to a just 2% rise overall. Of course, the US isn’t just the leader in terms of sheer numbers. It’s also been the model to follow in developing online delivery systems. Most prestigious universities in the US offer at least some courses online, and some have fully developed online degree programs, even at the master’s and doctoral levels. Even more influential are US open educational programs like those offered at MIT, which have been the international model to emulate.

  2. India:

    India is playing a major role in the growth of online learning opportunities that are popping up throughout Asia. Over the past few decades, India has developed numerous world-class universities and colleges which are fast becoming destinations for some of Asia’s best and brightest, and their online programs are experiencing a similar boom. Part of the explosion of interest has stemmed from economic concerns, as many simply can’t afford to take two or more years off of work to attend a traditional college. Online schools help to solve that problem, and with programs expecting to bring in a whopping $1 billion in revenue by the end of the decade, it’s clear that distance learning has staying power in India. While home-based schools are doing well, including the popular IITs and private schools like Sikkm-Manipal University, American universities are also bringing online ed to India, offering courses at MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Cornell to Indian students.

  3. China:

    Currently, China is home to almost 70 different online colleges, a number that will likely grow in the coming years in order to meet the high demand for online learning opportunities. China has a long history of distance education, beginning in the 1960s with courses that were delivered via radio and television, but the nation is fast becoming a leader in online education as well. While problems with internet access in rural areas and a proliferation of diploma mills have slowed progress being made in China, several major online education companies are seeing rapid growth, due largely to the increased demand for highly trained members of the global workforce coming from China. The online learning industry is expected to grow by leaps and bounds over the next few years, and with steady growth since 2006, it’s looking to meet all expectations.

  4. South Korea:

    When it comes to advancements in e-learning in Asian nations, South Korea is leading the pack, spurred on by the nation’s strong and growing high-tech industry and widespread high-speed internet access. In recent years, a number of universities in South Korea have begun offering online courses, and the country currently has 17 online colleges, all of which boast state-of-the-art facilities and software. Yet there have been some roadblocks to the success of online education in South Korea, largely stemming from the stigma online education still holds in South Korean society, where face-to-face education is highly valued. That may not stand in the way of development in this nation’s online education programs, however, as it plans to use its resources to not only teach Korean students, but those in other countries around the world, offering more courses in English and promoting their ability to deliver what they’re calling "smart learning." They’re also working to encourage more Korean students to enroll, pairing online courses with non-virtual activities on campus or in social settings. Time will tell whether or not the investment pays off for this tech-focused nation.

  5. Malaysia:

    Malaysia may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of online education, but the small Asian nation is forging ahead at full speed when it comes to opening up new opportunities for learning online. One of the nation’s biggest e-learning schools is Asia e University, based out of Kuala Lumpur. It has been a boon for people in underserved areas, many of which have abundant access to the internet but not universities or higher level degree programs. Asia e University doesn’t just reach Malaysians, however, offering education to 31 different Asian nations and partnering with an impressive number of schools to deliver blended and fully online programs, even developing an MBA program through the International Business School of Scandinavia in Denmark. While online education in Malaysia and Asia as a whole still has a long way to go, it’s clear that the country is going to be making waves in distance education for some time to come.

  6. United Kingdom:

    Online education in the U.K. has been around for quite some time, but it was only in 2011 that it started to see a real boost in interest. The government’s Online Learning Task Force recommended an investment of nearly $159 million dollars in online education in order to help the nation build its brand, develop better online educational resources, and become a major international player in the distance learning market. The funding recommendation is partly in response to increasing tuition costs in the U.K., much of which used to be covered by the government but now is turning many students away from higher education. The government hopes that more convenient and cheaper educational options will stem that trend. Currently, a few private, for-profit providers and the Open University are leading the charge in online education, but new funding could make public programs more successful and accessible to students.

  7. Australia:

    Distance education has become an increasingly popular option for Australians who want to head back to school without putting careers on hold, growth that was driven up even more by the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009. Over the past five years, the online education market in Australia has grown by almost 20% and is expected to be worth an estimated $4.68 billion this year. Currently, the major players in the Australian market are Kaplan, Seek Learning, and Open Universities Australia, though many smaller schools are also bringing in a fair amount of students as well. Even more growth is projected in online programs based in Australia that teach students from Asia, with the international market expected to grow to millions of students during the next 10 years, which if it comes to fruition will make Australia one of the world’s leading providers of online education.

  8. South Africa:

    South Africa is one nation that has begun to capitalize on all the benefits that digital education can offer. They’ve developed nationwide online resources like EduNet and Thutong and offer online courses at both the high school and college levels through institutions all over the country. In the past few years, the online higher education sector in South Africa has seen steady growth, but the demand for highly qualified teachers, which the country sorely needs, may drive online programs in teacher training much faster than other sectors. Currently, online education is still in its infancy in South Africa, but the government has demonstrated a dedication to improving and expending distance learning opportunities and programs like GetSmarter and UNISA Online are showing that these goals are viable in the current marketplace.

Taken From Online Universities

martes, 26 de junio de 2012

Fixing College Through Lower Costs and Better Technology

NO matter what the University of Virginia’s governing board decides today, when it is scheduled to determine the fate of the university’s ousted president, Teresa A. Sullivan, the intense interest in the case shows how much anxiety surrounds the future of higher education — especially the question of whether university leaders are moving too slowly to position their schools for a rapidly changing world (as some of Ms. Sullivan’s critics have suggested of her).

There is good reason for the anxiety. Setting aside the specifics of the Virginia drama, university leaders desperately need to transform how colleges do business. Higher education must make up for the mistakes it made in what I call the industry’s “lost decade,” from 1999 to 2009. Those years saw a surge in students pursuing higher education, driven partly by the colleges, which advertised heavily and created enticing new academic programs, services and fancy facilities.

The almost insatiable demand for a college credential meant that schools could raise their prices and families would go to almost any end, including taking on huge amounts of debt, to pay the bill. In 2003, only two colleges charged more than $40,000 a year for tuition, fees, and room and board; by 2009, 224 were above that mark. The total amount of outstanding student loan debt is now more than $1 trillion.

Students were not the only ones to go deeper into debt. So did schools, building lavish residence halls, recreational facilities and other amenities that contributed little to actual learning. The debt taken on by colleges has risen 88 percent since 2001, to $307 billion.

This heady period of growth occurred precisely when colleges had the financial flexibility to prepare for what was to come: fewer government dollars, a wave of financially needy students, a drop-off in the number of well-prepared high-school graduates who could afford to pay, and, of course, technological advances in teaching and learning. Instead, colleges continued to focus on their unsustainable model, assuming little would change.

Other information industries, from journalism to music to book publishing, enjoyed similar periods of success right before epic change enveloped them, seemingly overnight. We now know how those industries have been transformed by technology, resulting in the decline of the middleman — newspapers, record stores, bookstores and publishers.

Colleges and universities could be next, unless they act to mitigate the poor choices and inaction from the lost decade by looking for ways to lower costs, embrace technology and improve education.

One urgent need is to make better use of technology in the classroom. Despite resistance to the idea from academics, evidence suggests that technology can reduce costs, improve student performance and even tailor learning to individual students. The nonprofit National Center for Academic Transformation has redesigned courses on more than 200 campuses, cutting costs by an average of 37 percent, by using instructional software to reduce burdens on professors, frequent low-stakes online quizzes to gauge student progress, and alternative staffing (like undergraduate peer mentors).

Schools should also offer more online education. In just the past few months, several elite universities, including Stanford and Harvard, have announced multimillion-dollar efforts to provide several of their courses free, online, for everyone. Individual colleges should take advantage of this trend, perhaps ultimately shedding their lowest-quality courses (and their costs) and replacing them with the best courses offered by other institutions through loose federations or formal networks. This is the idea behind the New Paradigm Initiative, a group of 16 liberal-arts colleges in the South that have joined together to offer online and hybrid courses to students on any campus in the group.

Another key reform would be to reclaim academics as a top priority. Administrative expenses have grown faster than instruction on many campuses. In 2009, the consulting firm Bain & Company identified $112 million in annual savings just within the business operations at the University of California, Berkeley.

Academia also needs to cut back on low-quality graduate programs. Too many universities tried to become research institutions during the lost decade, adding graduate programs and research faculty, often using tuition dollars to finance their expansions. Today, too many of these programs remain far short of their goals, and their ambitions have come at a great cost to their core mission of educating undergraduates (as well as producing many dropouts and unemployed Ph.D.’s).

Finally, colleges should work to reduce the number of wasted credits. Most students take far more than the 120 credits required for a bachelor’s degree, partly because of poor advising and partly because colleges often refuse to accept credits from other institutions or for “prior learning.” Yet one-third of students today transfer from one college to another before earning a degree. Colleges make transferring credits difficult, often in the name of protecting academic quality, when often they are simply protecting their bottom line.

Higher education is a conservative, risk-averse industry. Add to this the fact that a majority of its leaders are nearing the safety net of retirement, and we have a recipe for the status quo. We can’t afford another lost decade.

Jeff Selingo, editorial director at The Chronicle of Higher Education, is writing a book on the future of higher education.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on June 26, 2012, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: Fixing College.

Public Universities See Familiar Fight at Virginia

The tumult at the University of Virginia — with the sudden ouster of President Teresa Sullivan on June 10, and the widespread anticipation that she will be reinstated on Tuesday — reflects a low-grade panic now spreading through much of public higher education.

“Is it possible to be a successful president of a public university?” mused Mark G. Yudof, the president of the University of California. “I’m not willing to say these jobs are impossible, but these are very difficult times. You want to be more efficient, but you don’t want to make changes so fast that you endanger academic values and traditions and alienate the faculty. But you can’t go too slow, or you alienate the board and the legislature. It’s a volatile mix.”

Across the nation, it has been a rocky year for public university presidents: Richard W. Lariviere, the president of the University of Oregon, was fired in November, despite strong faculty support, after pushing aggressively for more independence from the state. Amid similar strains — but voluntarily — Carolyn Martin left the University of Wisconsin to become president of the far smaller Amherst College. At the University of Illinois, a faculty mutiny helped spur President Michael Hogan’s resignation after less than two years on the job. And at the University of Texas this spring, there were rumblings that President Bill Powers was in danger after a clash with the board and the governor over his request for a tuition increase.

“Each situation is a little different, but the trend is apparent,” said Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education. “The staggering reduction in financial support from the state puts a lot of pressure on campus. There’s increasing politicization of governance. And there are rising expectations that universities will transform themselves very quickly, if not overnight. Somehow, they’re supposed to achieve dramatic improvement in learning productivity and at the same time reduce costs by using educational technology.”

M. Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and a past president of Michigan State University, says the job has gotten harder since his tenure there.

“Stressful times are hard times for C.E.O.’s and for boards,” he said. “And things are changing faster than they used to.”

Rapid change is a particularly jarring concept at the University of Virginia, an institution steeped in tradition, where the “Good Ole Song” is the de facto anthem, and campus is referred to as Grounds.

The litany around the University of Virginia is, “ ‘This is the way we always did it,’ ” said Carl W. Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, who attended law school at Virginia. “It’s still Mr. Jefferson’s university.”

The sudden decision by the Board of Visitors at the university to force out the president was especially surprising in that there was no charge of misbehavior, no long-simmering disagreement between the president and the board, and — even now — no clear explanation of why Helen E. Dragas, the rector, decided to move so fast.

On Friday, Ms. Dragas released a message purporting to offer “a fuller explanation” of the board’s move, a “more specific outline of the serious strategic challenges that alarmed us about the direction of the University.”

But the 10-point outline she offered — listing state and federal financing challenges, the changing role of technology, a rapidly changing health care environment, prioritization of scarce resources, faculty workload and the quality of the student experience, faculty compensation, research financing and the like — was almost generic, and would have applied to nearly every public university in the nation.

In the end, it seems, the fundamental disagreement at the University of Virginia concerned the approach to change that the president should take — either incremental, with buy-in from each of the constituencies, or more radical, imposed from the top.

Ms. Dragas has displayed a sense of urgency about pushing the university to find new revenue sources.

She has been especially concerned about pushing ahead in online learning, to keep up with Stanford, M.I.T. and other universities that have, just in the last year, begun to offer “massive open online courses,” or MOOCs, free to anyone with an Internet connection, carving out new territory in an area that most universities are just beginning to explore.

Ms. Dragas sent her board a newspaper editorial on the issue, in an e-mail headed “why we can’t afford to wait.” And in a June 10 statement about Dr. Sullivan’s ouster, Ms. Dragas said that the world “is simply moving too fast” for the University of Virginia to maintain its position “under a model of incremental marginal change.”

While many of the new MOOCs are enrolling more than 100,000 students, most, so far, have been from overseas — so that, at least for the time being, the real competition is with foreign universities, not American ones.

Nonetheless, the sheer scale of the new online courses has jolted every leading university into thinking about how online learning may transform higher education: Will there be much demand for each university to develop its own courses, when a state-of-the-art version from a prestigious university is available online? Will employers accept a set of certificates from online courses as a traditional diploma? Will families pay ever-higher tuition if a free online alternative exists? Does it make sense for universities to invest in brick-and-mortar branch campuses, in the United States or abroad, when they can so easily take courses to students everywhere via the Internet?

Dr. Sullivan said that online education was no panacea — and indeed, was “surprisingly expensive, has limited revenue potential and unless carefully managed can undermine the quality of instruction.”

And while she agreed that she is, indeed, an incrementalist, she stressed that that did not mean she lacked a strategic plan.

“Corporate-style, top-down leadership does not work in a great university,” she said. “Sustained change with buy-in does work.”

Many public university presidents, past and present, said that those on the boards of the leading universities — typically business executives without much experience in academia — do not always understand the complexities of leading a large research university, and the degree to which a president can succeed only by persuading.

“Everybody thinks university presidents are hierarchical and top-down,” said Donna E. Shalala, president of the University of Miami, and a former president of the University of Wisconsin and secretary of health and human services. “But we are not corporate chieftains, and we cannot rule from the sky. We are more like tugboat captains, trying to get our ships aligned and pulling them in the right direction.”

The great research universities, she said, have achieved their dominant position in the world through shared faculty governance, and leaving faculty both academic and research freedom.

“It was a lot easier to run a cabinet department than the University of Wisconsin,” Ms. Shalala said. “There are a lot of different constituencies at a university, and the president cannot be successful without buy-in from all of them.”

A version of this article appeared in print on June 26, 2012, on page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: For Many Public Universities, Fight at Virginia Is All Too Familiar.

sábado, 23 de junio de 2012

La Jornada en Internet: Crean alumnos del IPN software educativo

La Jornada en Internet: Crean alumnos del IPN software educativo:

"Los jóvenes politécnicos refirieron que aunque actualmente existe software educativo comercial que apoya la enseñanza de las matemáticas, no hay ningún dispositivo móvil que facilite la enseñanza-aprendizaje de la Probabilidad y la Estadística de manera presencial, de tal manera que el profesor y los alumnos puedan tener comunicación verbal y bidireccional mediante el uso del iPad."

'via Blog this'

martes, 19 de junio de 2012

Democracia en la Educación

De acuerdo a Stephen Downes*, para que un Sistema Educativo sea democrático, tanto el Sistema como los Recursos Educativos deben estar estructurados para maximizar la aplicación de los cuatro principios siguientes:

Autonomía. Hasta donde sea posible, los estudiantes deben ser guíados y ellos mismos deben aprender a guiarse a sí mismos de acuerdo a sus propias metas, objetivos, propósitos, objetivos o valores.

Diversidad.  Un sistema educativo no debe proponerse crear profesionistas iguales, con exactamente los mismos conocimientos y aprendizajes, sino que debe fomentar y promover la creatividad individual y la diversidad entre los estudiantes, de  tal forma que cada profesionista en la Sociedad represente una perspectiva individual, con una experiencia única y personal, la cual conformará su contribución a la Sociedad donde se desenvuelve.

Apertura. Los estudiantes deben ser libres para entrar y salir del Sistema Educativo y debe existir dentro del mismo un flujo libre de ideas y artefactos. Esto no debe imposibilitar la posibilidad de hacer uso de la privacidad o de que grupos completos deseén aprender juntos aparte del colectivo, la apertura funciona en ambos sentidos y el estudiante debe ser capaz de pasar de una a otra alternativa. El sistema no debe impedir la apertura y tampoco debe expulsar a nadie de la opción educativa.

Interactividad. Se reconoce en primer lugar que el aprendizaje es resultado de una inmersión del estudiante en una comunidad o en la sociedad, y segundo, el conocimiento de una comunidad o de la sociedad misma, aún el que resulta de algún desarrollo individual, es resultado de las interacciones acumuladas en la sociedad como un todo.

Estos principios constituyen una guía de acción para democratizar la Educación. Cuando se deba decidir sobre pedagogías, estrategias educativas o tecnologías, debe hacerse a la luz de si fomentan o no la aplicación de los principios anteriores.

* Stephen Downes, http://halfanhour.blogspot.com.es/2010/10/what-is-democracy-in-education.html 


sábado, 16 de junio de 2012

A Cellphone for Every Woman - NYTimes.com

A Cellphone for Every Woman - NYTimes.com:

"AS world leaders gather next week in Brazil for the Rio+20 summit meeting on sustainable development, poverty fighting will be high on the agenda. Gender inequity should be, as well. In a world where women hold less than 20 percent of all legislative seats, 70 percent of the poorest people — those who live on less than $1.25 a day — are women, and 4 million more women die each year than men, a result of poor families’ preferences for male infants and underinvestment in women’s and girls’ health."

'via Blog this'

viernes, 15 de junio de 2012

¿Es la enseñanza un obstáculo para el aprendizaje?

Reflexiones derivadas de la lectura del artículo "ANTI-ENSEÑANZA: Confrontando la crisis del sentido" de Michael Wesch, para el curso ExplorArTIC.

Todos los que hemos sido alguna vez estudiantes tenemos siempre presente lo siguiente: estudiamos para aprobar los exámenes, asistimos a la Universidad para obtener un grado académico. En el medio universitario esta práctica se ha convertido en responder a la pregunta: qué necesitamos saber para enfrentar con éxito cada exámen. Esto es lo que guía nuestro paso por el campus (figura 1).

Figura 1. El sistema educativo ideal

Pero esto es lo que ha generado nuestro sistema educativo, en todos los niveles escolares, es nuestra cultura de la educación formal. Hace poco encontraba en Internet una queja de una educadora de nivel medio superior: “soy profesora, yo enseño, no soy una autómata y mis estudiantes tampoco lo son, son personas, me niego a que mis estudiantes repliquen el contenido de los libros de texto, no estoy aquí para aplicar evaluaciones cuantitativas sin sentido sobre un aprendizaje que es más bien cualitativo”.
En la Universidad donde trabajo estamos acostumbrados a recibir órdenes, a los profesores se nos trata como obreros o empleados de oficina, uno de mis colegas, Doctor en Ciencias me dijo hace poco: “estamos obligados a obedecer a las autoridades universitarias, a la Universidad, es la que nos paga y punto”. El nivel más bajo de esta pirámide autoritaria son los estudiantes. Como profesores hemos aceptado un sistema educativo que produce esta cultura de la educación formal en todos los niveles. El fracaso escolar no es atribuíble a los estudiantes ni a los profesores, sino al Sistema.
La base, el pilar de nuestro sistema educativo es la clase magistral. Los estudiantes deben sentarse en los pupitres ordenadamente, mantener un código rígido de conducta y obedecer siempre al profesor, la autoridad. Esto ocurre a lo largo de todo nuestro periplo educativo, obedecemos, somos adiestrados.
El sistema educativo está avocado a la enseñanza y no al aprendizaje. Todo gira en derredor de este precepto, la pedagogía, la formación de los nuevos maestros, el aprendizaje de los estudiantes, se trata de enseñar para que los alumnos aprendan, craso error, pues el sistema tiene como objetivo central mejorar la calidad de la enseñanza en lugar de enfocarse a la calidad del aprendizaje de los estudiantes.
El año pasado, la rectora de una Universidad pública de España cuyo nombre desafortunadamente no recuerdo, mencionaba en una entrevista que la Universidad misma no podría renovarse, la comunidad universitaria es parte del sistema educativo, “pedirle a la Universidad que se transforme es como pedirle a los cadáveres que transformen su propio cementerio”.
Afortunadamente vivimos en una época en que las formas de aprendizaje mediadas por Internet, rebasan con mucho a las formas de enseñanza que nuestro sistema educativo insiste en mantener. Los estudiantes y los jóvenes educadores tienen mucho por hacer, democratizar la educación, transformarla, convertirla quizá en comunidades globalizadas de aprendizajes, donde no exista una autoridad (el profesor) y un conjunto de ignorantes (los alumnos), sino una comunidad donde todos aprendemos y compartimos, como en la antigüedad y quizás también el sistema educativo no insista el controlar el aprendizaje, vivimos en una etapa de cambios importantes, no solo en la educación.



jueves, 14 de junio de 2012

10 Ways I Use the Internet to Stay in Touch with Friends

Keeping in touch with friends used to be a pretty low-tech affair. You saw them at school or work, called them on the house phone, and even wrote and mailed letters to them. That’s wrote, as in with a writing implement, on paper even. Nowadays there are a lot more options, none of which require you to come in actual contact with any of your friends. Here are 10 ways I use the internet to stay in touch with my friends:

  1. Email – Even this option has become somewhat passé these days, what with the advent of the social networking sites, and other options, as described below. This still is, however, the best way to send info without the risk of getting tied up for half the day.
  2. Facebook – Posting updates and photos is a great way to keep everyone up to speed on what’s going on with me, and vice versa, without having any genuine contact with them. It’s also a real asset when trying to locate them. Speaking of which …
  3. Search Tools – Websites and search engines are an invaluable aid in tracking down old friends. It’s like hiring your own private investigator, without the cost or human interaction. Using these tools along with your friend networks can help locate most everyone you know.
  4. Twitter – Another quick and effective way to keep friends posted. Tweets are short and sweet, and can be followed with RSS feeds, so you don’t need to be logged in on a browser to stay abreast.
  5. IM – Instant messaging lets me chat one-on-one with friends when jumping into a social network just isn’t feasible, desirable, or when I need help avoiding distractions when I’m trying to be productive.
  6. Skype – A nice blend of videoconferencing and messaging that saves a ton of money on that old standby option – POTS (plain old telephone service). It’s mobile, and you can use it to IM your friends as well.
  7. YouTube – Remember when you used to invite friends over to watch movies of your summer vacation? Now you just download an app that lets you send the video straight to YouTube and, voila, your drunken skinny-dipping episode in Barbados goes viral overnight.
  8. Blog – I used to pull out a journal in my bedroom to write down my thoughts and feelings, and then tuck it back under the bed for safe-keeping. Now I pay a web host to post them all online, on a blog that anyone can access. Good times.
  9. Forums – I also keep in touch with friends I’ve made within various interest groups via the forums available on those groups’ websites. It’s a great way to plan meetings, discuss issues, or just shoot the breeze.
  10. MMORPGs – Massively multi-player online role-playing games. Because, honestly, what better way to keep up with your friends than to gather them all together in one place to mercilessly destroy them with all manner of weapons, spells and potions, eh?
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Cambio de paradigma en el aula: del salón de clases a la Internet

A lo largo de mi carrera como profesor universitario escribí una gran cantidad de apuntes de apoyo a mis cursos, más de 30, mismos que entregaba a mis alumnos puntualmente para que los pudieran fotocopiar y tuviesen así el material, teoría y ejemplos de lo que desarrollaríamos en clases. Transcribí o traduje contenidos de libros que dificilmente tendrían los estudiantes y tampoco la Universidad.
En las Universidades nos pagan por enseñar más no por aprender. Debo enseñar a los alumnos. Esto es lo que practiqué durante muchos años. Ahora intento pasar de ocupar la mayor parte de mi tiempo en pensar y redactar contenidos a organizar un curso abierto basado en la comunicación multidireccional, donde los estudiantes serán quienes piensen, pregunten, aprendan, compartan, discutan, enseñen y escriban sus propios contenidos, pero lo más importante, la comunicación para el aprendizaje pasará de ser unidireccional a multi-direccional gracias a Internet (figuras 1 y 2).

Figura 1. Comunicación unidireccional

 Figura 2. Comunicación multidireccional
En el modelo unidireccional el estudiante es un consumidor pasivo de conocimientos y no cuenta con las habilidades necesarias para desarrollar su propio aprendizaje. En cambio en el modelo multidireccional el estudiante interactúa con sus propios compañeros, con otros estudiantes y profesores al través de la Internet conformando una red de aprendizaje y práctica en la que se incluye también su propio profesor quien actúa como facilitador o guía de estudios.
Ahora, cuando las comunidades de aprendizaje y los cursos en línea invaden Internet, yo, como aprendiz confieso estar feliz y preocupado. El nivel de los cursos en línea correspondientes a mi área de interés ha crecido y avanzado. Encuentro por ejemplo un curso para aprender a programar un automóvil robot mediante técnicas de inferencia probabilística que imparte gratuitamente Sebastian Thrun, el mismo profesor que impartió el año pasado junto con Peter Norvig, Director de Investigación en Google, el famoso curso de Inteligencia Artificial para más de 160,000 interesados alrededor del mundo. Los pre-requisitos para el nuevo curso de Sebastian Thrun son: Programación avanzada en Python, Matemáticas e Inferencia Probabilística con técnicas avanzadas y recientes.
Uno de los nuevos objetivos en mis cursos consiste en que los estudiantes se integren a estas comunidades, que se conecten poco a poco y participen. Entendámoslo así: en una aldea X existe un taller de reparación y construcción de zapatos al cual ingresa un nuevo aprendiz, el cual va a convivir tanto con los artesanos expertos como con otros aprendices más o menos expertos, así, el nuevo aprendiz estará incorporando en la práctica su propio conocimiento y desarrollará también las habilidades necesarias para progresar en su área de interés.
Tengo entonces un desafío por delante, muy cuesta arriba. Innovar. Cambiar de paradigma. Este desafío me permitirá cambiar mi rol de profesor a guía de aprendizajes y me convierte en la práctica en un aprendiz un poco más experto que mis alumnos, soy un guía o curador de información para las asignaturas que tengo a mi cargo en la Universidad. Mi nueva labor consiste en guiar a los estudiantes para que apliquen esta forma de entender el futuro, en comunidades globalizadas, el sueño de Marshall McLuhan, la aldea global, e integrarse en ellas.