Stephen Downes picked up on a recent post of mine (Guerrilla Education: Teaching and Learning at the Speed of News [OLDaily] with the response:
“[S]hould we as academics be engaging with the news cycle in order to deliver informal, opportunistic ‘teaching’ at the point of need?” My answer: no. Not when ‘need’ is defined as ‘powerful’ or ‘influential’. Because then it’s not teaching, it’s just lobbying, or worse, pandering.
Okay – so here’s slightly more worked out example of one of the approaches I have in mind. In the original post, I mentioned “[a] sleeper podcast from John Naughton [that] picked up significant amounts of traffic … from the 40th anniversary of the internet.”
Here’s what John wrote (The Internet at 40)
From ‘Hot News’ on the Apple site this morning:
The Internet turns 40, June 9, 2009
You’re so used to paying bills, getting your news and weather, and doing more and more of your purchasing online, you probably think the Internet has been around forever. But it hasn’t. As you’ll learn from this program on Open University, the Internet turns 40 this year. How did it get started? Where is it taking us next? Find out by listening to these Internet pioneers on iTunes U…
It seems that the recording of my interview is #4 in the top 100 downloads
(I would embed the podcast here – John links to the version of it on the OU podcast site – but the site doesn’t currently support embed codes. As this is a hosted WordPress blog, if it supportd custom OU flashplayer embed codes, that wouldn’t be much good either: WordPress is quite restricted in the embed codes it supports [that is: WordPress blogs hosted on WordPress.com are limited in what you can embed – self-hosted WordPress installations can be configured to let you embed what you like…]. (In a meeting last week, my question as to whether we should offer Youtube embed codes (which are accepted in WordPress) as well as OU podcast player codes was not met with much support… Which means if an OU player embed code had been available, I couldn’t have *easily* used it anyway…(The workaround would be to grab the OU embed code into Vodpod, which is accepted by WordPress…. which gives me an idea – I couldn’t get Vodpod to work with the OU podcast site, but it does work with the nascent UK HE Steeple Podcast Portal:-))
Vodpod videos no longer available.
So what I am suggesting, in part, is not that necessarily that we pander to the news cycle (what would that mean, anyway, pander to it?), but that we do make content available that allows news readers to learn more about a topic.
[Hmmm… it seems like this video has disappeared from the Steeple site… ho hum, must be a Steeple thing… will try to see if i can get Vodpod to embed directly from OU podcasts site if i get a chance, assuming the KMi folks don’t block it, of course….]
Another example might be come from the rise in interest in news media making raw data available. Surely there is an opportunity here for educational institutions to provide educational material that explains how news readers can engage with this data (and conversely, how educators might make use of such data)? (This is actually something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot lately…)
Argghhhh – time to go: day 2 of the Isle of Wight Festival beckons… I would have written more but got distracted by the embed sidetrack… ;-)