In keeping with the goals of the NMC Summer Conference (June 10-14), Oblinger's address focused on where and how Web 2.0 and "Learning 3.0" will bring new opportunities for learners that will accommodate preferences and the need to work in a collaborative dynamic.
Stressing the notion of "contextual constructivism," Oblinger discussed how students now expect to connect with each other and to participate in experiential learning activities. Learning takes place as much in informal settings as in the formal "classroom" (face to face or virtual), in those situations, social networks are of paramount importance.
Learning environments have changed, asserted Oblinger, and models of ideal instruction have followed. For example, instead of passively reading texts, students prefer to work with the information. A culture of participatory knowledge creation has emerged, and amateurs are often accepted as authorities (wikis, etc.), and information is viewed as something to be mashed up and integrated with web applications.
While the new paradigm has truly opened new opportunities for learners, it is dependent upon access, cautioned Oblinger. America needs a broadband policy in order to assure universal access.
The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus - NMC Summer Conference, Princeton, NJ