Lisa's annotations and question for Alec Couros' "Teaching and Learning in a Networked World" (2010)


Alec posts videos, photos, and slides on various places on the web. Why do you think he does this?

What does it mean that we have a part to play in creating our own digital identity?

Alec says any kid with a computer can make his own videos and edit them. What would be the point of that?

One of the YouTube videos is of Antoine Dodson on the news talking about rape, made into a video. How does the popularity of the resulting song help us understand the networked society?

How does the current reality change our views of literacy, professional development, and community?

Should a culture of sharing be created for academic content and ideas? If so, how?


In "Teaching and Learning in a Networked World" (17 Nov 2010) , Alec Couros talks about:

What you find if you Google him, vs where he lives ("the blur"): blog, Twitter, YouTube, Slideshare, and in his open courses. He takes his digital identity in his own hands, and jokes about people calling him a "techno-communist" because he promotes openness and the use of free tools.

Academics need to be residents of the internet as opposed to just visitors, to use the tools more.


Alec presents info about himself, and his belief in school. Getting his first computer as a kid let him be a "publisher", and he got into code from magazines. Now we'd call it "informal learning", as opposed to formal education.


We now have access to hardware, software and networks. Morgan Stanley reports mobile is exceeding desktop to access networks. Open content is now available from universities, free lectures and free courses and resources (like at Khan Academy). Creative Commons is significant in helping attribute and share work, and many Web 2.0 sites host content.

Participatory media

With sites like Wikipedia, anyone creates the news. Facebook and txt messaging with parents, when anyone has a voice and can create something, it's a shift. Now crowds recording with cell phones and posting media. There's a shift in how we mediate our reality. Videos go viral on YouTube, some are useless but some are interesting for understanding humanity. danah boyd says we need to pay attention to persistence of stuff posted online, the fact that it can be duplicated, searchability, scalability and geolocation. These need to be understood in school. The person who created something isn't necessarily who uploads it or use it.

Networks (21:56)

Not a new concept - six degrees of separation brought back by Stanley Milgram, Howard Rheingold's virtual community view says network understanding is an important literacy. Networks redefine communities, "friends", enable learning. Can be inspired by people who aren't teachers, aren't in your profession, like Ze Frank making Earth Sandwiches with people on opposite sides of the world from each other. The person who understands Facebook has more political power, people can travel by couch surfing, funds for causes can be raised by publicizing an issue or problem, composers like Eric Whitacre can create virtual choirs, Twitter can be used for professional development. Henry Jenkins talks about participatory culture and access.


Alec learns from lots of teachers who blog, like Royan Lee, Rodd Lucier, Danika Barker, focused on Ontario because that's where he's speaking.

The Road Ahead

Will Richardson: 21st Century Learning - explore what happens to traditional concepts of teaching when we can learn anything any time?

1. Embrace our reality: we are now connected and social media is here to stay, so what does it mean to be literate now? how is the context for learning changing? how do we leverage the new affordances?

Example: Karl Fisch reverses instruction, with lectures on YouTube and collaboration in class.

2. Connect with others: colleagues who are local, and more internationally. Build a personal learning network, as with Twitter.

3. Create a culture of sharing: in schools, within the structure, sharing resources (David Wiley's "open content" -- without sharing there is not education). Change cell phone and internet filtering policies in school; can now use a laptop to create a wifi network in the classroom. When teachers have a good reason to use it, should be able to. We are transitiioning from private to public, and closed to open.

Stephen Downes wrote for Huffington Post, should move beyond the idea of education as being something provided for us, and toward something we create for ourselves. Schools are valuable, but schools need to make the transition or will be only one node of possibilities instead of the primary node for learning. We are on the cusp of a revolution and can contribute to that.