Monday, September 22, 2014

The Challenges of Participatory Culture with Dr Henry Jenkins

Dr Jenkins paper was one of our core reading's last week on OKMOOC.  A long paper.  An education all on its own.  I used to think that 'gaming' on the Internet was what youngsters did to while away the time.  I recall two 20 something's who worked at Payserv who spent their lunch hours challenging each other in some kind of 'Internet Warfare'.  They've both gone elsewhere, one of them now a most sought after Internet specialist who has more work than he can handle.  Not sure what happened to the other.

But now I have learned that Internet games are tools for learning in a much more interactive and enjoyable way than listening to some boring teacher telling us about the history of William the Conqueror.  My history teacher wrote on my school report way back in 1961 "David fritters away his time".  Largely true, I did.  I was bored stiff learning nothing more than how to regurgitate dates of historical events of English history that meant little or nothing to me in a school in Africa.  Now I enjoy learning history through movies and exciting, enjoyable readings.

What I learned from Dr Jenkins paper is that much more needs to be done to help the learners of today become the leaders of tomorrow and that he has many ideas of how that can be done.

For my part I have been building a 'Corporate Governance' course for Payserv Zimbabwe leaders.  Because one of the learners is in Zambia and the others are in Zimbabwe I have developed it 'on-line' and provided learners with links to various sites, asking them to research on such topics as leadership, corruption and ethics in business, while providing them with some of the less interesting aspects of the course - for example a copy of ZIMCODE - the proposed corporate code of conduct that has been sitting gathering dust for the past two years, politicians afraid perhaps to legalise it because far too many of them flout all the rules laid therein.

For me it has been an interesting experiment.  I have invited the learners to collaborate, to share their findings but there is some reluctance to do so.  Perhaps it is the ego at work that is preventing this sharing.  But we have made a start and there is more to come.

In the meantime I am enjoying the learning experience with Stanford and hopefully I can improve the quality of my 'online courses'

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