PLAYBACK: The Year to Come in Digital Media and Learning


12.24.11 | In this week’s PLAYBACK, we’ve assembled what to look for in 2012, including more online courses, more control over YouTube in the classroom, and more encouragement for students to write and edit for Wikipedia.

Rethinking Learning: Howard Rheingold calls Steve Hargadon, who runs the educator community Teacher 2.0, “the Charlie Rose of technology, learning and teaching” for his rich history of interviews with some of education’s most well-known names. In this video, Rheingold talks with Hargadon about “rethinking learning” with the digital media and learning community. Some excerpts are posted at DMLcentral.


MIT Offers More Online Courses, for Free: For the past decade, MIT has offered free online classes through OpenCourseWare. In the spring of 2012, MIT intends to launch an experimental prototype version of MITx, an open-learning infrastructure that will expand course offerings and allow learners to obtain “certification of mastery of MIT material.” MIT also plans on making the software infrastructure available to all educational institutions.

Credentials will come with a fee, but don’t expect a MIT certificate. According to the MITx FAQ, “MIT plans to create a not-for-profit body within the Institute that will offer certification for online learners of MIT coursework. That body will carry a distinct name to avoid confusion.”

OpenCourseWare, which is expected to continue in its current form, now includes close to 2,100 MIT courses and has been used by more than 100 million people.

Like Facebook, for Learning: Edmodo, the social learning network for teachers and students, recently received a financial boost from the venture-capital firms of LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and former Facebook vice president Matt Cohler. Both men also joined Edmodo’s board of directors.

“Just as LinkedIn is the professional graph for work and Facebook is the social graph for your friends, Edmodo is the educational graph for learning. The graph provides the platform for teachers to bring selections of the web to the classroom,” Hoffman said in a statement.

Edmodo launched in 2008 and is now in more than 60,000 schools. Will the latest flurry of stories about inappropriate teacher conduct on Facebook prompt schools to consider more controllable alternatives, such as Edmodo? No matter what, here’s hoping that digital literacy and discussions about best practices become a requirement for students and teachers.

Wikipedia Welcomed?: Wikipedia turned 10 earlier this year, a momentous occasion we marked by looking at who uses the site and who contributes content. May 2012 be the year in which more students are encouraged to go to Wikipedia, not purely for research but to write and edit articles, honing their public voice and collaboration skills.

Controlling YouTube in the Classroom: More schools may be more open to embracing YouTube now that Google has given schools more control over what students can view. Available only in the United States and Canada, the recently launched YouTube for Schools provides access to hundreds of thousands of free educational videos on YouTube EDU, gathered from educational institutions, PBS and TED, and YouTube partners, including Khan Academy and Steve Spangler Science.

Teachers and administrators can create playlists of videos that are viewable only within their school’s network. And while teachers can login and watch any videos they want, students can only view YouTube EDU videos plus videos their school has added. Comments are deleted, and the search function is limited.

“This marks a major advance in the unfolding story. By cordoning off YouTube searches instead of just blocking them, elementary and secondary teachers can start using YouTube to support their lessons,” Angela Lin, the head of YouTube Edu, told The New York Times, which has posted some examples.

Back in September, YouTube launched YouTube Teachers, which we wrote about here.

Click and Save: As someone who routinely has dozens of tabs open for later reading/blogging, I’m personally excited about the development trend of content shifting tools that save and streamline articles for reading on other devices.

Some people know how to completely disconnect over the holidays (looking at you with envy, danah boyd). I tend to think of what I can catch up with. On this break, I’m aiming to clean up tags in Evernote and Delicious and delete content that’s no longer needed. I may also look more closely at Diigo, which is growing in popularity in learning circles due to its increased emphasis on collaboration, and decide whether to transfer saved articles from Delicious.

Whatever your plans, online or off, we wish you a peaceful holiday and a ridiculously happy new year!

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