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Brave New Classroom 2.0: A New Forum

Brave New Classroom 2.0, the next in a series of Britannica Blog forums, begins on Monday (October 20th) and I’ve just been asked to be an official commentator.

You might want to follow the discussion and comment as well. The description itself screams library!

The new classroom is about information, but not just information. It’s also about collaboration, about changing roles of student and teacher, and about challenges to the very idea of traditional authority. It may also be about a new cognitive model for learning that relies heavily on what has come to be called “multitasking.” Many educators voice ambivalence about the power of educational technologies to distract students and fragment their attention.

Do the new classroom technologies represent an educational breakthrough, a threat to teaching itself, or something in between? Utopian and dystopian visions tend to collide whenever the topic comes up.

The official bloggers have impressive credentials and it appears that their posts will run the gamut of opinions.  But, with the exception of Steve Hargadon, those listed credentials force me to wonder how many of the bloggers have spent any recent time in K12 classrooms, how many of them have spent any time using 2.0 tools as platforms for learning.

The participants and their planned first posts:

Michael Wesch: Dubbed “the explainer” by Wired magazine, Wesch is a cultural anthropologist at Kansas State University who studies the impacts of new media on human interaction. He has turned his attention in recent years to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society. His videos on technology, education, and information have been viewed over six million times and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences. Wesch is a member of Encyclopaedia Britannica’s editorial board.
Post: “A Vision of Students Today (& What Teachers Must Do)”

Mark Bauerlein: Professor of English, Emory University, and former research director for the National Endowment of the Arts. Author of the recently published The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future; Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30.
Post: “Turned On, Plugged In, Online, & Dumb: Student Failure Despite the Techno Revolution

Steve Hargadon: Director of the K12 Open Technologies Initiative at the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and founder of the Classroom 2.0 social network. Hargadon blogs, speaks, and consults on educational technology, free and open-source software, Web 2.0, computer reuse, and computing for low-income people.
Post: “Moving Toward Web 2.0 in K-12 Education

David Cole: Professor of Law, Georgetown University, legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, and a commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Former staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, where he litigated a number of major First Amendment cases.
Post: “Why I Ban Laptops in My Classroom

Michael B. Horn: Michael Horn is the Executive Director, Education and co-founder of Innosight Institute, a non-profit think tank devoted to applying the theories of disruptive innovation to problems in the social sector. He recently coauthored Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (McGraw-Hill: June 2008) with Harvard Business School professor and bestselling author Clayton M. Christensen and Curtis W. Johnson, president of The Citistates Group. The book uses the theories of disruptive innovation to diagnose the root causes of schools’ struggles and suggest a path forward to customize an education for every child in the way she learns.  Post: (title to come)

Please join me and add your own voice to the dialog!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Britannica Blog is tightly censored. Any reader comments incompatible with its commercial or ideological proclivities are excluded. Boycott Britannica censorship.


    This is completely untrue, and for such an accusation to come from a pseudonymous poster borders on smearing.

    Tell me what ideological “proclivities” are excluded from Britannica’s blog. We have had almost every point of view imaginable represented in discussions of politics, culture, current events, technology, science, and history. Britannica as an organization has been sharply and explicitly criticized by our bloggers and commenters, and those posts stand today.

    Like many blogs that want to maintain civil, intelligent, and manageable discourse, we have a set of guidelines posted. Adhere to them and your comment will appear.

    We also have an e-mail address you can write to if you think a comment of yours has been deleted unfairly. I don’t think we’ve ever heard from Mr./Ms. “Censi” with any such appeal. Instead he or she hurls vague accusations in public without details or evidence.

    Tom Panelas
    Encyclopaedia Britannica

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