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Muve 1

A. I am your friend. I don’t work in education. You are talking to me about the idea that we all learn from each other, in all kinds of contexts, and that this can often be richer than more formal classroom based learning. I am sceptical. Tell me about an informal learning experience you have had online in which collaboration was involved, show me a concrete example to help me to see what you mean.

First I will not address directly the question, but rather I am going to argue about the knowledge society (we live on) and about one of its distinctive marks, ... the internet. It is the 3rd great educational invention (after the written alphabet and the --printing-- press). The internet provides not only a huge universal library, but also offers access to new teaching methods (distance or time not been really a problem and methods that can be targeted to fit the individual). Also, it grants access to huge amounts of data. All of that at my desk, controlled by my fingertips. No wonder knowledge duplicates nowadays every two years and by 2010 every 72 hours. The Internet is the knowledge instrument.

Second, let us borrow a definition of Informal Learning (from the internet) where we've found: Learning that takes place outside a dedicated learning environment and which arises from the activities and interests of individuals and groups. The lifelong process by which every individual acquires and accumulates knowledge, skills, attitudes and insights from daily experiences and exposure to the environment – at home, at work, at play: from the example and attitude of families and friends; from travel, reading newspapers and books; or by listening to the radio or viewing films or television. Generally informal education is unorganized, unsystematic and even unintentional at times, yet accounts for the great bulk of any person’s total lifetime learning.

As so, informal learning occurs all life long, all over and even without being conscious about it. The most clear example is how we learn to talk our mother language. Coming back to the knowledge society (and maybe as basic as the mother tongue in the XXI century) is the computer literacy must of our children develop with nothing more than trail and error (and maybe a bunch of viruses and computer formatting)

B. We all explore new technologies, some grab our attention more than others, some seem revolutionary, others simply bore us. Tell us about that new tool, or set of tools, you have just discovered that really excites you, talk about the potential it has to change your work. What do you want to do with it?

It excites me using the internet as a complement to my courses. The webpages, the groups and the wikis that let me pose concepts and ideas in millions of different ways, but also that let me learn from my students in the exchange that now is, by far, richer.

It excites me even more, and this is just intuition, the open source initiative, specially on social networks and community building. Very powerful resources not only for the "elites", but for the ordinary to construct better learning support environments.

C. Do you see yourself as a pioneer? Do you think you are more innovative than others in your organization? Do you think your organization is lagging behind? Tell us how you feel about this?

No, I don't see myself as a pioneer, but yes I see myself as a creative person, not afraid of mistakes and committed to learning, sharing and innovating and, as so, I consider myself to be more innovator than the average of my colleagues. I also feel my university is not really committed with the new possibilities the internet offers. So, up to now, it is more individuals efforts than an institution's policy. Therefore, yes, the university is lagging behind in these matters.

Greetings,

William

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