Exploring Our World Meets Mark Thomas

For the last year and a half I’ve been working with Jenny to host “Exploring Our World” out of St. Clements Church with the older Youth Group kids.  This is billed (defensively, by me) as a “Secular Enrichment Class on Sundry Exciting Topics,” but essentially means I get to talk with intelligent and interested highschoolers about neuroscience, astronomy, ethics, and music.  Programming, for the most part, has been semi-prepared (read: spontaneously inspired) (alternatively, read: slapdash—deleted as applicable based on the results after the fact, typically), but we’ve just started a couple of long-term projects that I’ll be following here and wanted to tell you about.

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Trans-dimensional Knowledge Forum!

I’ve spoken before about the two archetypes of Internet-based distance education: asynchronous (typically using message boards, email, etc., and allowing participants to contribute at times of their convenience) and synchronous (text or video chat, immersive environments, etc., which permit instantaneous communication and feedback, but require participants to adhere to a common meeting schedule like a traditional classroom).  My interest is mainly in the latter, but there are awfully neat asynchronous environments being designed at OISE and elsewhere to plumb the affordances of time-independent communication, such as deep organization, refinement, and archival of ideas while the communities involved collaborate to build knowledge.  We’ll be talking with Stian and Marlene Scardamalia at my research meeting in an hour or so about Knowledge Forum, which you can learn about quickly with Stian’s video, below.

A Demonstration of Knowledge Forum (v2) from Stian Haklev on Vimeo.

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