OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

K is for Kindle

Visible to anyone in the world
  • Kindle

  • David Kolb (Kolb’s learning cycle)

  • Daphne Koller

  • Agnes Kukulska-Hulme

  • Knowledge (exchange, acquisition, workers … )

  • Khan Academy

  • Kerewella

If you have an interest in e-learning you will certainly have heard about the Khan Academy. The narrative is simple, though somehow predictable in the US that an Investment Banker makes a video explain 'math' to his nephew that is so successful that it goes viral, he quits his job and with $1m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation goes on to create thousands of video clips that now occupy many classrooms across North America. This supposedly heralds the 'flipped classroom' where pupils do their video and interactive learning (now) as homework and spend one to one time with teachers in class. The reality is a significant 'blend' of the technology-enhanced learning and the classroom with teacher as expert. Not revolution, just evolution. Less significant than is made out - in any case, we've had BBC Bitesize for at least 14 years: I wrote a review of the online education market in 2001 - in Great Britain there is no market as the BBC fills it.

I go for Kindle with my K. It was the first 'gadget' I bought to support my online learning with the OU some three years ago. I didn't have a smart phone, or even a laptop at the time, and certainly no iPad. I depend so much on my Kindle that I know have two - traditional and the new paperwhite that arrived yesterday. I love knowing how many minutes it will take me to finish a chapter; this timing adjusts as my reading speed and habits are logged. I race through books in this way. I like to be carried by the content and not frankly know that as a hardback such a 385+ publication may look daunting. I just read. Reading will in all likelihood be my 'R' too - it remains, to my mind, the fastest and most efficient way to transfer knowledge from an expert to a student. Faster and more effective than a video, than a podcast or some sluggish, quickly dated interactive, gamified version of the text. Just find someone who knows their subject well and can write.

I attend the inaugral lecture of Prof. Agnes KH. If you wonder if e-learning is a transient term (it is), then I believe 'm-learning' has already come and gone. My desktop is my ipad, is my iPhone, is my laptop ... is someone else's device. All are my 'university in my pocket'. Mobility and portability my transcend into wearability, but in the learning context it is just that - learning. I wrote as much in a review of a KH book on Amazon and got flamed. I gave up and removed my review; someone took it personally.

Daphne Koller gives an impressive TED lecture of MOOCs. Catch the MOOC thing while there's a buzz - it will be gone before you've noticed otherwise. Once again, a complex term that can only change into something better and will in any case rapidly dissolve into the way we learn online in a multitude of ways.



Permalink Add your comment
Share post