The human network

Elh08 Plp

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Slides from Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, 21st Century Collaborative, USA, prsentation at ELH2008: 21 steps for 21st century learning. I liked slide 26 a lot.

Sheryl began her presentation by alerting us to the 21st Century Learning wiki she’d been developing at and her willingness to share the resources she’d been developing . ‘Take my stuff. Use it. Learn from it. We want to open doors for all children’.

She began by showing a video from Cisco called the ‘Human Network’. It’s online here:

Sheryl talked about the move towards web 3.0 (singularity) Web 2.0 was disruptive enough but ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet’. She described web 3.0 as ‘artificial intelligence’, of Second Life, World of Warcraft and said that 80% of all Fortune 500 companies will be using immersive worlds in the future.

Two major trends about the future that Sheryl emphasized were, ‘Social and intellectual capital are the new economic values in the world economy’ (the new economy will be held together and advanced through the building of relationships’) The new digital divide, she argued, will be between those who can collaborate and those who can’t.

The second trend was that ‘technology will increase the speed of communication and the pace of advancement or decline’ and she referred specifically to ustream here (

She spoke about the growth of personal learning networks, just in time learning that is immediate and accessible that is built through a range of tools and building a community in and out of the classrooms. She asked ‘are you clickable?’ She then argued that our students need to be ‘clickable’ to have a positive online presence that will help them in the future, to empower them as global citizens that are ‘google-able’. It’s a similar argument to the one I’ve heard that Will Richardson has made recently; that developing an online digital presence is just as important as educating kids about not having a negative ‘digital footprint’.

‘Schools are a node on the network of learning’. Teaching and learning has to be re-thought, needs to be multi-literate, collaborative and move from a deficit based instruction to a strength based one.

She also showed a powerful video, ‘Learning to change, changing to learn’ which talked about the end of education and the beginning of learning. Not business as usual, but ‘business as unusual’.

She argued for a co-created and collaborative social community with multiple opportunities for member feedback and ownership; a different emphasis on the meaning of community. The driving engine of the collaborative culture is ‘the team’ who works together. They’re the best way to re-culture schools. From this, Sherryl talked about the model for this that she’s been developing: ‘Powerful Learning Practice’, a model that a number of schools in Australian are getting involved with in what Sherryl called ‘champion building’.

Sherryl finished with a list of tools: K12Online, Ustream, Ning, Wikispaces, Delicious, Plurk, Twitter, Elluminate and good old RSS.

It was a great session; visionary and forward looking, enthusiastic and positive.