Sunday, October 28, 2007

OpenEd Week 9:Thoughts After reading "The World Is Flat (Updated and Expanded): A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century"

My big day in my life yesterday! We had a wonderful wedding and everyons was happy. My husband and I will start our new life together. Cherish each other all life long!

QUESTIONS: What can the open education movement learn from the book you chose to read? Elaborate on at least three points. Which of the ideas presented in the book did you find hardest to believe or agree with? Why?

In the book, the author indicates that, “While the dynamic force in Globalization 1.0 was countries globalizing and the dynamic force in Globalization 2.0 was companies globalizing, the dynamic force in Globalization 3.0-the thing that gives it its unique character-is the newfound power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally.” The technology, society, and economy change enormously over centuries; while education makes very small progress in the past. Open education movement which advocates enhancing the capability of individual learning in an open environment than the traditional education of being corded in the classrooms just started not long ago. Education is something without borders between countries and does not need to be differentiated in companies, but it is different for each individual, so that open education movement should be considered very important and in urgent need for the whole society. The task of open education movement now is to make the education borderless among countries, companies, universities and help creativity and individuation of each learner. Ideally, we think education is borderless, but in practice, we face some big problems like different countries have different language. How can you teach a student who is from Span without any English background? Do we teach all the people in the world to use a common language, or we translate all the educational materials into many different languages? We can’t achieve the first goal, so we have to try the second one which is what we are working on right now― projects in MIT, USU, Rice, and some other universities are trying to expand as many as translations in their OCW. Of course, language is not the only obstacle; there are lots more for now and later.

The combination of PCs, software, and global fiber-optic network form a flat world. We all know that the open educational movement is also built on those technologies. All the people in the world can share their ideas no matter white or non-white-group of individuals. Open educational movement driven primarily by the western people same as Globalization 1.0 and 2.0; I think because it is flattening and shrinking the world, open educational movement is going to be more and more driven not only by individuals but also by a much more diverse - non-Western, non-white-group of individuals just like Globalization 3.0. Open educational movement is getting mature in developed countries, but it just started in some developing countries especially big country like China. It seems harder to make meaningful progress in Asian countries even developed country like Japan because of the cultural and government issues in those countries. It may take a while for the open educational movement innovators to solve those problems.

Another viewpoint, open educational movement will end the educational system of student-centered, teacher-serve. The students will have opportunities to choose what they are willing to learn and they can also become teachers to share their thoughts with the people all over the world. Teachers can turn to students, students can be teachers; but they do not have to be in the same classroom, information can be transferred fast and easily by networks. Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, Rss Feeds and some other new things become very popular and start to be put in to practice in regular courses like the class we are in right now. When I heard this in another class, it is amazing that if you do some damages on some well-known topics on Wikipedia, they can be corrected as soon as five minutes or even less. It is hard for us to predict the future of open educational movement because we are the beginners and leaders, but after a few years, people from developing countries can see how it goes and just follow the steps.

Now, I would like to shift my focus on the development of my home country—China. If we say our develop path is to expand outsource, consolidate manufacture, and reinforce training specialists; then the education of developed countries turns to train service people with integration. In the future five to ten years, the economy of China will keep increasing fast, and no one will neglect the opportunities from Chinese market. Well then for our companies, our education, our individuals, what can we do to tackle this change? The problem of the Chinese students now is not only lack of real-world practice, and also low of Emotional Quotient. There is no doubt that if we don’t quite change our traditional examination-oriented education system, our future is not optimize. What here in the U.S. now, we can immediately make it happen in China. Open educational movement becomes popular in the developed countries; we should take it serious into our educational system. If we still reply too much on the government, not from the market, we ensure it is hard to be success.

I also checked the Chinese vision of this book; some parts have been taken out from the original vision because of some political issue. And on some Chinese forums about this book, most people cannot agree with the author because they think this book is misleading people to the wrong direction. I agree most parts of this book: I can feel when I was in China, many things are American brands; and when I am in the U.S., everything is made in China. But this can only means the fast-growing technology makes the world become flat; there are lots of issues rather than technology we have come across such as culture, politics, ethics, and so on. And those are the hardest problems in the real world we have to deal with in order to achieve our goals. Something seems impossible to change by individuals; then we need to find another way for reaching the same goal. I recommend reading Globalization, Transforming Technology: A Critical Theory Revised, and Beck's Theory of the Risk Society and Its Complications. You may have different view after reading those books.


Megan Haggerty said...

Congratulations on your wedding! I hope you have time for a wonderful honeymoon. - your colleague from the Open Education course, Megan.

alessandro giorni said...

Congratulations too!!!!
Auguri e figli maschi!!!!
(Best wishes and male children!!!!)

Cindy said...

Congratulations! These are the truly important things in life - take care of each other!!

Cindy (from the Open Ed course).

Greg said...

Congratulations Jessie,

I wish you the best in your new marriage!


Elisa - ITALY said...

First of all, congratulations for your new life, be always as happy as you are now :-)))
Now, my comment: you have pointed out how difficult it is for OER projects to be really borderless. I agree with you, even though it is not only a question of language barriers but also of cultural ones.
When I have to teach Italian as a foreign language to Chinese instead of European students for example, I have to adapt my methodology, not only the contents, to suit my students' needs and learning habits.

Lucinda said...

Congratulations for you and your husband~! 祝 百年好合唷~! :)