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Emanuel  Pastreich

Kyung Hee University

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We have various efforts at distance learning, but they tend to be teacher-centric. Let us link up young people around the world.

There are young people in the Fukushima region who would love to have a chance to interact with their peers around the world. What can we do to help them? Or just organize exchanges between students. No need for a professor.

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  • Jun 3 2011: Emanuel,
    Recently I have enjoyed being part of group discussions on Linkedin. I think the concept would work in experiential and student centred discussion groups but I would consider having academics monitor discussion in case it goes off the rails. Thoughts should be free as you suggest but having group norms which are controlled does keep things on track longer.

    I have been lucky enough to listen to cutting edge ideas in continuous improvement and having these groups as a sounding board while working through problems would fit with a situational leadership model, as well as institute a learning culture in connected groups. Perhaps Ted needs to pull together the skillsets to set up the virtual classroom you suggest. Having guest speakers from Ted or from a mentor organisation would be something that would add value. I wouldnt worry about age as a membership criteria though as education should be life long.
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    Jun 2 2011: This is a great idea. Internet technology can provide an aid for this. It can create a platform where students from all over the world can meet and exchange what they know with others and in turn get what they seek. However, there needs to be mentors who can tell the students whether their learning is headed the right way. Plus students need challenges that when overcome will tell them that they have learnt what they sought to learn. Websites like SecondLife I presume can help in this direction.

    However there are two constraints here:
    1) Who will create, fund and manage these platforms so that it is self sustaining?
    2) This solution works only for those who have access to the internet resources.

    How do we reach out to students who do not have access to internet?

    Ashley Kramer suggest pen-pal relationship. May be it will help but without knowing more details on how it works, I cannot add to that idea.
    • Jun 2 2011: Srini, It seems that mobile phone availability, with all its internet and multi-media capabilities, is growing rapidly in developing countries and rural areas. They have better opportunities now than at any other time in history, and this will only improve in the years to come. Perhaps it could be managed by funding from a UN (UNESCO) type organization.
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    Jun 2 2011: Well, Skype would be a viable option as long as they had internet, or you could coordinate a pen-pal relationship that is structured with philosophical or life questions. This allows for the students to interact on a higher level, permitting them to make use of analytical and critical thinking skills as well as increasing their global scope. I think it's a brilliant initial idea, indeed!