Curt Bonk is in town. Curt, his son Alex, and Curt’s doc student, YaTing Teng, joined me for lunch on Fourth Street in Berkeley. Curt is a professor at Indiana who gives presentations and advice on online learning around the globe (Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Germany, and a half dozen other countries popped up in conversation today). He is most energetic person I know, in spite of not drinking coffee.
Universities need more Curts. From his teaching philosophy:
As a learning environment theorist, I believe that experts, technology tools, peers, teachers, curriculum, self-reflection, and assessment all impact learning. Effective use of these resources can result in active student learning. In using my student-centered teaching philosophy, I try to include some active learning and student choice within every lecture or lab activity. A visitor to any of my classes would note that I use various combinations of tasks such as concept mapping, timelines, taxonomies, summary writing, jeopardy quizzes, fireside chats, Web searching, scavenger hunts, group activities, portfolios, conference-style presentations, scholarly journal creations, etc. As a result of my continued attempts to marry these pedagogical strategies to videoconferencing and Web-based education courses, I have been invited to present my ideas in numerous national and international talks and presentations. The audiences have included higher education faculty and presidents, doctoral students, practicing teachers, and corporate trainers.
Curt excitedly described a new company he had just visited, “Scribd.”
Scribd (skribb’d) is a free, web-based self-publishing platform and document exchange community that enables anyone to easily publish, distribute, share, and discover electronic books, documents, presentations, newsletters, photo albums, and more.
Here’s how Scribd works. I uploaded the magazine article below. Scribd converted my pdf into their iPaper format. I grabbed the embed code and pasted it below. This entire process consumed less than a minute! The experience gave me a rush like the first time I used broadband. See below. Then go try this for yourself.
After lunch, I gave a brief tour of the Fourth Street neighborhood. I pointed out the World War II periscope factory and the first Hear Music store. We passed by a Peet’s Coffee store (The founders of Starbucks apprenticed under Berkeley’s Alfred Peet).
Next we stopped by a Berkeley pet store.