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A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change Paperback – January 4, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1456458881 ISBN-10: 1456458884 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (January 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456458884
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456458881
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.8 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Douglas Thomas is an associate professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. His research focuses on the intersections of technology and culture. It has been funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, and the Annenberg Center for Communication.

Doug is also the author of the book Hacker Culture and a coauthor or coeditor of several other books, including Technological Visions: The Hopes and Fears that Shape New Technologies and Cybercrime: Law Enforcement, Security and Surveillance in the Information Age. He is the founding editor of Games and Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media, an international, interdisciplinary journal focused on games research.

John Seely Brown is a visiting scholar and an adviser to the provost at the University of Southern California and an independent cochairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge. He is an author or a coauthor of several books, including The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion; The Only Sustainable Edge; and The Social Life of Information, which has been translated into nine languages. He has also authored or coauthored more than 100 papers in scientific journals.

Prior to his current position, John was the chief scientist of Xerox and, for nearly two decades, the director of the company's Palo Alto Research Center. He was also a cofounder of the Institute for Research on Learning. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education.

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Customer Reviews

When play happens while learning it creates a context in which information, ideas and passions grow.
Kare Anderson
This book is essential reading not only for educators, but for anyone who hopes to thrive in the 21st century.
Joi Ito
Would definitely recommend to anyone even remotely interested in learning, education, the digital future.
P. Jacobson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 95 people found the following review helpful By informed_c on August 3, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can't in good conscience recommend this book. It is weak, simplistic and in some cases flat wrong.

I was hoping this work would reflect the same reasoned insightful treatment Seely Brown and colleagues provided in earlier works such as "The Social Life of Information".
But this book - if you can even call it that - is 180° in tone and tenor from that earlier work. The only thing this book does is make it clear that people who write pop management tomes should stick to what they know and leave the important issues of learning and education to those who know how - not just know about.

Thomas and Brown offer some enticing examples of what they call "The New Culture of Learning" but the subsequent discussion is simply a stringing together of aphorisms, overly enthusiastic interpretations of anecdotes and an almost total lack of familiarity with cognition, learning and education research. Their "evidence" is almost all anecdotal based on their own limited experience. It is most noteworthy by the absence of truly key work by recognized experts, scientists and the very academics they criticize. But this doesn't seem to be a problem for the authors. They preach. predict and prescribe with abandon.

Using terms from The Social Life of Information, these authors preach from a standpoint of "knowing about" rather than "knowing how". The fact that they hold positions at a university does not make them educators. To me - this work smacks of a rushed attempt to crank out something to sell consulting and speaking services - not a serious view of learning. It is rife with trendy thoughts - not a serious work examining actual trends. There really is nothing new here and quite a bit that is very old - yet no credit is given to original sources.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jamian Reed on January 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Standardized educational systems face the great challenge of adapting to a time where facts, knowledge, research, methods, tools, interpretations, applications, and contexts available regarding any piece of information are expanding and changing by the moment. "A New Culture of Learning" gives insights into how, what, and why we learn in the information age, including a powerful message that we "know more than we can say" when learning is approached intuitively, with intrinsic motivation, and with the interplay between peers learning and working naturally toward common goals. How the educational system can guide and evaluate such tacit learning, which seems more effective and valuable in many contexts than rote memorization, seems to be the core of the dilemma the system faces. As a medical student at an institution undergoing some radical changes to the curriculum structure, I'm making sure a few copies get into the hands of the administration.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anybody who cares about how we might engage a world of increasing complexity, uncertainty, and possibility needs to read this book. Educators especially need to pay attention.

We want to instill a passion for learning, but we typically address our desire by first thinking about designs - of syllabi, curricula, distribution requirements and more. Thomas and Brown invite us to change our starting point by asking how people learn today in a world with unprecedented access to information.

The authors invite us to recall that disturbing memory - even when America was poised to invade Iraq, most US citizens could not find Iraq on the map. But some, Thomas and Brown suggest, would simply draw on their internet facility to find the answer. While we should expect more of a citizenry in what they know, we should also think anew about how people learn.

Yes, people learn in classrooms, but the authors encourage us to think about how people develop their knowledge beyond the classroom. Colleges are great not just for what the professors offer, but what the students do with their assignments off hours. To be immersed in a world of learning, as Thomas and Brown say, is the real inspiration I recall from my college days at Davidson, and what I now see among my students at Brown. But thirty years make a difference.

My college learning depended on terrific anchors - an honor code that assured integrity, a set of distribution requirements that inspired breadth, and a college culture that could move my passion from golf to sociology. Today's culture of learning, the authors propose, flows more, relying less on preexisting stocks of knowledge or fixed cultures of intellectual authority and more on a passion for learning that itself is a form of play.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Kare Anderson VINE VOICE on January 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
Haven't some of your most meaningful memories been of times when you accomplished something greater with others? Didn't it bring you closer in the flow of camaraderie - even when someone in your group didn't act right - like you?'

What we learn from those times is vital in an information-flooded, connected world - and that's a good thing.

The most common and satisfying ways we learn and invent are not from sitting in a classroom seat being taught or trained. The world is too complex and fluid now to keep up with everything all by yourself. That doesn't mean that we aren't sought-after for our mastery of a topic or skill. It simply means we stay relevant when we engage in projects with diverse others, learning and experimenting as we go. Like children we still learn best by observing, imitating, re-mixing, making fresh mistakes and, most of all, by playing and using our imagination - with others.

That's why this book by two long time lovers of social learning-by-doing is so relevant today for students of all ages, in school, at work and involved with the causes and projects that most matter to us.

While their book is aimed at transforming learning in schools every concept I read can be equally applied to any part of our lives - lived well with others.

If you'd like to see the next chapters of your life as the kind of adventure story you co-create with others and want a bigger voice in the role you play - literally - read and share this book with those you think will make engrossing, imaginative playmates.
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