Eric Kunnen\’s GRCC Blog

Fall 2008 and the start-of-the-semester approaches…
August 1, 2008, 2:40 pm
Filed under: Conferences, Work Activities | Tags: , ,

It’s almost that time again, where summer break is over and everyone heads back to school… and the start-of-the-semester approaches…

The students coming through our doors were born in 1990 and will be graduating in 2012.  Beloit College has published an incoming profile of freshman “mindset list” since 2002.  They haven’t yet updated their list for this year, but here is a link to the 2011 list.  Highlighted in this list are things like:

  • They’re always texting 1 n other.
  • Thanks to MySpace and Facebook, autobiography can happen in real time.
  • Fox has always been a major network.

The reason I thought I would bring this up is because I believe it’s important to know, connect with, and understand the students that are coming to our institutions.

While listening to a keynote from New Media Consortium by Diana Oblinger, the president of EDUCAUSE.  It occurred to me, that it is becoming increasingly important to take a step back and place ourselves in our student’s shoes.  It’s time for educators to dive into the technology realm to better understand our students.

Attention faculty… if you haven’t yet, it’s time to create an account for yourself on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, LinkedIn, at the bare minimum.

Here are a few notes I took while listening to Diana Obliger’s opening keynote “Technology and the Global Commons” at NMC:

  • Context in which we teach has changed drastically.
  • Contextual constructivism learning is intertwined within the context in which we learn.
  • Community. We know our students are social learners.
  • We cannot overlook the fundamental differences we have between them (students) and us (faculty).
  • Today’s students are experiential learners, however, they are often not world-wise…
  • Assumptions can get you in trouble.

Are students learning in class?  How much time do they spend in class?

  • ONLY 7.7% of students time is spent in formal learning environments.
  • So who are the teachers?  And where are they?
  • If you look at the behavior of students most of them are learning through their social networks.  They are using MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, etc.
  • Students are learning in these environments, so as we look forward we need to look at these Web 2.0 spaces for awareness, examples, and ideas.


  • Games offer an opportunity to be part of the learning.
  • By college 100% of students have experience some type of electronic games.
  • There are over 710 million game players worldwide.
  • 5 hours is the amount of time an 8th grader plays video games per week.


  • YouTube
  • Finding things, creating things, mashups,
  • 57% of teens are media creators (blog, web, art, photos)
  • 33% share what they create online
  • 22% have their own web site
  • 19% have their own blog


  • Everyone contributes their expertise!


  • We don’t just receive information we learn by contributing.
  • Collective intelligence: everyone has something to contribute.
  • Knowledge is created not possessed.
  • Shift in emphasis that knowledge is a process not a product.
  • Social connections are important.
  • Needs include “skills for participation” not just individual skills.
  • “How does this relate back to how we design our learning experiences and structures for our students?”
  • Keep this new way of learning and participation in mind.  Focus on context.


  • Broadband is required…
  • The US is behind on broadband speed which negatively impacts education, health, economy.
  • The US doesn’t have a broadband policy/fund.
  • The environment is much more than databases and archives.
  • We have a participatory web culture.
  • Data deluge: data is doubling every year.
  • Open education resources are becoming more available.
  • Ubiquitous computing is a given.
  • We can use collections of information that allow us capabilities we have never had before.
  • Put learning first and infrastructure second.  Learning is based on students interactions with data and systems.
  • Learning is influenced by context.
  • The physical environment and space defines the context (lecture hall, movable furniture, group spaces, problem solving and team spaces).
  • We have a spectrum of experiences from formal to informal.


  • Experiences such as learning-by-doing may be more important than information.
  • Knowledge is distributed across a community rather than held by an individual.
  • Assessment through reputation, experiences, and accomplishments rather than tests.
  • Self-direct, informal, web based environments are important.


  • It is not possible to separate learning from context.
  • Context is an interaction between the learner and the surroundings.
  • Students build an understanding of context in context.
  • Context is both embedded and interactive.
  • Learning and context shape each other.


  • World to the desktop provide anytime/anywhere access to information.
  • Multi-user virtual environments allow interaction.
  • Ubiquitous computing provides wireless devices in the real world.


  • Professors are the orchestrators of collaborative knowledge creation.
  • Learning activities are flexible and focused on creating room for student creativity, social networking outside of traditional boundaries.
  • Loose institutional affiliation and relations; regional and institutional boundaries breakdown.
  • Students have a strong sense of ownership of education, co-creation of resources.

Here is a screenshot from the recorded keynote:

How can we better know our students and better design our learning environments, instruction, courses, services, and activities?


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I like your forward thinking. The statistical abstract is pretty intriguing, paints a pretty realistic picture. Education 3.0 isn’t so technical, just kind of evolved rhetoric around student-centered learning (that never happened anyway).

Comment by Michael Staton

Thanks Michael!

Right on… “student-centered” learning is in the end what we have always been talking about… finally some new Web 2.0 tools that can really carry that through to reality.

Comment by ekunnen

Here is the most recent Beloit “Mindset” list:

Comment by ekunnen

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Comment by svcn hapirkq

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