Howard Rheingold talks about being Net Smart

The Circulating Ideas podcast recently featured a fascinating discussion with author and digital literacy expert Howard Rheingold. Rheingold’s book Net Smart explores literacy in a digital age and touches on some of the skills that are critical for learning, particularly in regards to online information access.

You can download Steve Thomas’ interview with Howard Rheingold from the Circulating Ideas podcast stream (Itunes).  In the interview Rheingold speaks about the role of Wikipedia in research, Facebook’s threat to an open web culture and some of the skills that all learners need to find reliable and authoritive information online. Rheingold also advocates for the importance of librarians in teaching critical literacy skills and modelling effective research techniques.

For more of Howard Rheingold’s thoughts about the topic you might also read an interview with him by Henry Jenkins entitled How did Howard Rheingold get so Net Smart? You can find links to the three part interview below and keep up to date with Howard’s work through his website and on Twitter.

How did Howard Rheingold get so Net Smart? Interview: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


21st Century learning

Continuing on with Professor Stephen Heppell’s talk on 21st Century learning at the State Library of Victoria on Monday 10th November, Stephen outlined the 21st Century as ‘people centric’ where ‘helping people help each other’ is leading to the mass social construction of knowledge. People adding entries and editing Wikipedia, creating content in LibraryThing, YouTube, Flickr and the like (my examples) means that we (and our students) ‘are in a world we haven’t met before’. Stephen says ‘it’s time for schools to run, not follow’.

A recent UK survey by Ipsos asked students how they were currently learning in school. The responses were something like:

  1. Copying from books or the whiteboard (approximately 50% of respondents).
  2. Taking notes from a long teacher talk (approximately 30% of respondents).
  3. Copying from the Internet (approximately 20% of respondents).

When asked how they would like to learn, the responses were:

  1. Learning in groups.
  2. Learn by doing practical things.
  3. Learning with friends.
  4. Learn by using a computer.

When asked what they would like their teachers to be able to do, they responded:

  1. Edit a Wikipedia entry.
  2. Upload a video to YouTube and make a comment.
  3. Subscribe to a podcast.
  4. Manage groups in Flickr (and be able to spell Flickr).
  5. Select a safe online payment site.
  6. Turn mobile phone predictive text on/off.

Certainly food for thought, not only for teachers but also for school administrators. For a recording of Stephen’s session with Victoria’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Knowledge Bank, click here.

To read more about what Stephen has been involved in, his thoughts and projects, please follow these links: