The University of NSW recently launched its own channel on YouTube – the first Australian institution to do so. It’s no surprise given most students entering university today have virtually grown up online.
While it’s a great marketing strategy, it recognises where today’s students are. Although the channel will broadcast some lecturers in an attempt to reach potential students, it captures the ubquitous nature and popularity of Web 2.0.
This is the democratisation of knowledge – no longer contained within lecture theatres or classrooms but shared. Learning becomes accessible, anywhere, anytime. Transportable, transparent, relevant and exciting.
The University of NSW is to be applauded but we still lag behind. iTunes has developed a store dedicated to education called University. It’s ‘the campus that never sleeps’ – allowing universities across the US to upload audio/video lectures, interviews, debates, presentations for students – any age, anywhere. And it’s free. It’s astounding and exciting to think that a cohort of students and teachers from a school western Sydney can watch a biology lecture from MIT.
The challenge for us is to open our K-12 classrooms to a new audience – to share knowledge as professionals and to showcase quality learning and teaching as we move from isolated classrooms to a connected global learning environment.