I was asked to give some tips about learning online to Suleiman, an 23-yr old Congolese refugee in Nairobi. My wife met him while she was an intern at the UNHCR. With his charm and wit, he was able to convince my wife and back in Holland she arranged funds, my previous laptop, and a friend (Esther Gaarlandt) who coordinates the funds in Kenya, for him to get an education. He is now finishing his first year in Computer Science, and he wants to continue learning and doing things during summer time, and wants to get a degree next year. My first email to him is below, which gives an overview of possibilities of online learning, particularly tech/programming related (because that was what he asked for), and what I think constitutes a good and comprehensive online learning program.
Sfard, A. (1998). On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one. Educational Researcher, 27(2), 4–13.
The modern university has forfeited its chance to provide a simple setting for encounters which are both autonomous and anarchic, focused yet unplanned and ebullient, and has chosen instead to manage the process by which so-called research and instruction are produced.
Interesting to read this, knowing it is written long before the Internet became available:
But the idea remains the same: they should be able to meet around a problem chosen and defined by their own initiative. Creative, exploratory learning requires peers currently puzzled about the same terms or problems. Large universities make the futile attempt to match them by multiplying their courses, and they generally fail since they are bound to curriculum, course structure, and bureaucratic administration. In schools, including universities, most resources are spent to purchase the time and motivation of a limited number of people to take up predetermined problems in a ritually defined setting. The most radical alternative to school would be a network or service which gave each man the same opportunity to share his current concern with others motivated by the same concern.
Let me give, as an example of what I mean, a description of how an intellectual match might work in New York City. Each man, at any given moment and at a minimum price, could identify himself to a computer with his address and telephone number, indicating the book, article, film, or recording on which he seeks a partner for discussion. Within days he could receive by mail the list of others who recently had taken the same initiative. This list would enable him by telephone to arrange for a meeting with persons who initially would be known exclusively by the fact that they requested a dialogue about the same subject.
Illich - Deschooling Society
— door Maurits Martijn
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