The World is Open

I like working in a library.  It is my job to take recommendations on books, investigate them and buy the ones that are appropriate for the school’s library.  The people that recommend books are experts in their fields.  I have science teachers, math teachers, english teachers, art teachers and many others who know way more about their field than I do recommending books.  The down side is that I have to learn to read way faster if I’m going to read everything we buy, let alone read everything that is recommended!

Sometimes I get to stumble on a book that I just can’t put down.  The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education is one of those books.  The author, Curtis J. Bonk, is an educational technology evangelist.  He is a devout proponent of the value of technology in education.  He uses the acronym We All Learn as a springboard for his discussion of the impact that technology is having on education.  This is how the acronym is defined:

W – web searching in the world of e-books
E – e-learning and blended learning
A – availability of open source and free software
L – leveraged resources and OpenCourseWare
L – learner participation in Open Information Communities
E – electronic collaboration
A – alternate reality learning
R – real-time mobility and portability
N – networks of personalized learning

Each of these sections are given a full chapter with examples from a variety of institutions or companies that have implemented or developed these technologies.  Bonk is able to add a twist to even the most traditional (if that word can be used in the context of educational technology) applications of the concepts that he is dealing with.

I find some familiar in each chapter but am often confronted with a way of using technology or a way of thinking about education that shifts my thinking in significant ways.  What I like is that Bonk is an education evangelist first and a technology advocate second.  He seems to be constantly looking at teaching in ways that were not possible in the past due to limitations in cost, location or time.  Technology can reduce or eliminate these constraints in many instances making access to information across the ages more readily available and viewpoints from every corner of the globe accessable without the huge monitary and time expense.

The complants about the book are minor.  At times Bonk is a little too evangelical for my tastes, but I get over this easily.  As with any print publication, it is out of date before it hits the ebook stores, but the trends are relevant even if the statistics are slightly out of date (the book was published in 2009).  Finally, I have to treat the book like coffee.  One cup at a time so that I can process the information properly and never to close to bed time or my brain won’t shut off when I go to bed!

If you are interested in the book, it is available in hard cover and in ebook formats from all of your regular ebook suppliers.

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