netWorked Learning:connecting formal learning to the world

This morning at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am PDT (GMT -7) I shared some of my ideas about connecting the formal learning in universities to the wider, networked world to a group of learning professionals at Tartu University, in Estonia. This was part of School – From Teaching Institution to Learning Space which took place April 02 – 03, 2009 at the Estonian University of Life Sciences conference centre (Kreutzwaldi 1A, Tartu), Estonia.  Edited: you can watch all the conference presentation online (Video of my bit is now available here.)

First, there is always the challenge of plopping in to a conference – at the end no less – with no context of what has been discussed in the first few days. There were a lot of great looking sessions, both in Estonian and English. So I worried that I was duplicating, or worse, being irrelevant to the group.  Second, there is the literal and figuratively the distance. I have to say, the tech team on the ground was terrific to give me video of the audience interspersed with everything else. It was the best job of a Skyped in video conference that I’ve experienced to date. During the Q&A I could easily see and hear the folks there in Tartu.  My hats are off to Toomas and his technical team at the university.

The slides are below and some additional resources can be found  here.

The key idea that I was hoping to put forth is that in a rapidly changing world. it is essential to connect domain learning to its context in the world – including the network of people in that domain and the diversity of the application of the domain in the world. Today’s students are going out into a world of uncertain jobs, changing financial situations and — well — a tough world. The more connected they are to that world during their higher education, the better positioned they will be to work in that world.

What do you think?