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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cultivating the Imagination to Learn in a World of Constant Change, 14 Jun. 2011
Djouce (Dublin Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change (Paperback)
The new culture of learning comes from applying the boundaries and structures of a virtual or `real world' environment to harness the vast information resources on the web. A structured environment (which can be a classroom) provides the context where learners are motivated to make use of these resources, exchange information with people with similar interests and develop their own skills and talents. The authors cite the example of massive multiplayer online games such as World of Warcraft where a collective of users meet online, organise themselves to engage in challenges and aim to increase their proficiency in the game. The participants are motivated by imagination, challenges, feedback on their performance and rankings compared to others. This type of learning thrives on change and encourages learners to ask better questions to find out what they do not know.

John Seely Brown is well-known as a scholar and writer. He is the co-founder of the Institute of Research and Learning and director of the Xerox Parc Research Centre. His colleague Douglas Thomas is a professor with research interests in games and culture, interactive media and the intersection of technology and culture.

The book is easy to read. It would be interested to see some case studies of how the new culture of learning has been applied to formal education.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely and vital, 1 May 2011
To date I've saved 209 highlights, made 63 notes and blogged repeatedly about this reasoned and informed, well written book. In e-book form I've read it backwards (identifes valuable chunks) and read it through word search, 'play' being a key word/theme through-out with 166 occurences. Each case study tells a story though several more, especially on blogging, would be add further value. Always worth listening to John Seely Brown has done well to partner with Douglas Thomas.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Learning for the 21st century, 28 Mar. 2014
Mrs. M. Mcgrath (London, England) - See all my reviews
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Thomas and Brown provide a brilliant summary of what is happening to the world of learning in the internet era.

There was a time when the only ways to gain knowledge were limited and often convoluted. Knowledge was parcelled up by experts and delivered in a format that was suited to their way of thinking.

The limitless access to information that we now enjoy has democratised the learning process by making pretty much any information available to pretty much anyone.

This means that teaching and learning has new roles. The content provider is obligated to make their content as engaging and relevant as possible. The teacher has to be an enabler, helping learners to discover, interpret and use the content that is available to them and to judge its integrity. And finally, the learner takes on a much more accountable role in the process; they must assume responsibility for setting out and pursuing a learning journey, seeking input, coaching and mentoring to overcome the difficulties they encounter.

We are seeing this transformation happening all around us, every day. Just watch what happens when someone posts a problem they are tackling on Face book or Linked in - friends and colleagues pile in to help out, recommending sources of help and the like. Thomas and Brown, describe this phenomenon as 'Arc of Life Learning', and they see this as a healthy and life long pursuit.

This all requires a new way of thinking about the process of learning, but I find the new 'spin' almost entirely positive.

HIghly recommended book that is an easy read.
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