Thursday, October 15, 2009

Changes over 25 years

I just received an email from my graduate school, offering me a free "branded" email address via their Google Apps domain and a free ePortfolio via Epsilen. What a change since I was in that program, when we struggled with online communication using private proprietary systems, then CompuServe, AOL, etc. Of course, I was immersed in all of the changes over the last 25 years; I defended my dissertation in 1990, prior to public access to the Internet. Now I think about the changes in this decade, especially Web 2.0, and wonder what will happen in the next decade. It is pretty exciting to be a lifelong learner today, especially with Personal Learning Networks, facilitated by Twitter, Facebook, Ning, Google, RSS, etc.! I made the following statement at the end of my dissertation in 1990:
It has been my opinion that through the process of learning to use a personal computer, adult learners can gain a better understanding of their own learning processes. For some people, the process may awaken a spark or capacity for independent learning that may have been unrealized. Perhaps the process of learning to use a personal computer has the potential to enhance our self directed learning skills as well as our self-esteem and confidence in our own abilities as lifelong learners.
In the future, personal computers and interactive multimedia will provide a whole new environment for self-directed learning, not just for learning about the technology, but as a process to explore new bodies of knowledge. A computer providing access to vast storehouses of visual as well as textual data, will be the catalyst for a major change in adult, self-directed learning.
I believe this prediction has been realized today, only the details have changed: from personal computers to mobile devices, and we aren't just exploring knowledge... we are producing it!

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