Monday, August 31, 2009

The educational landscape is flat

My one take-away LSS from Avenue Q was Trekkie Monster's mantra: The internet is for porn.


While that may be true for most, the internet has proven extremely useful for geeky SAHM moms like myself to keep up to date with the latest global issues and trends. The internet has shrunk the world to the point where one need not fly thousands of miles to see Thomas Friedman expound on his theory that The World is Flat or learn from Kamal Meattle the exact number of plants needed to grow fresh air in an crowded office environment.

Thanks to the internet and the generosity of certain think-tanks and universities, lectures by global movers and shakers are now accessible to the public: for FREE.

My favorite sites at the moment are the following:

1. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design).
TED is a small non-profit organization which hosts annual conferences in Long Beach and Oxford, bringing together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). Videos of these talks are available online at www.ted.com. I love their mission - to build a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other. Topics range from the environment to art to what makes us happy.

Must view video: Sir Ken Robinson's talk about "how we are educating our kids out of their creative capacities".




2. FORA.TV
Hot on the heels of TED is Fora.tv whose mission is to "gather the web's largest collection of unmediated video drawn from live events, lectures, and debates going on all the time at the world's top universities, think tanks and conferences. We present this provocative, big-idea content for anyone to watch, interact with, and share --when, where, and how they want." Be sure to catch George Kembel's lecture on Awakening Creativity.





3. Academic Earth

There is a revolution happening in campuses around the world and this is being led by the edupunks who espouse a do-it-yourself philosophy with regards to education. MIT was the first to lead the pack -- posting videotaped lectures on ocw.mit.edu. Other Ivy League schools such as UC Berkeley, Carnegie Melon and Yale have followed suit.

It was just a matter of time before someone had the brilliant idea of aggregating all these videos on to one website. Academic Earth now allows you to audit classes from various universities in the comfort of your own home.

As Thomas Friedman said, The World IS Flat.

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