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Günter Krumme, Department of Geography, University of
Washington, Seattle, WA 98195.
Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org. Building Learning Webs for Economic Geography.
Economic, organizational and technological changes mandate reconsideration of learning environments. A user-friendly Internet questions educational conventions: Do we still need inflexible semesters, classrooms, class-periods or textbooks? Does the new technology provide discipline-specific opportunities for enhanced learning?
A few broad principles govern my evolving learning webs:
(1) The boundary-spanning Internet provides endless opportunities for enhanced learning. We move seamlessly from courses to programs, to community-based and lifelong learning; from textbook to online resources; from single prof to second opinions. Ideas lose their protection and are checked against competing ideas and evidence.
(2) Information technologies themselves become important class content through their impact on telecommunications, telework and service employment. Students' jobs, remote-learning experiences and daily logistic challenges provide valuable cases for discussion.
(3) Students' own learning initiatives and self-management closely relate to entrepreneurship and professional creativity. Students start hypothetical, technology-supported businesses or become "consultants" with opportunities to volunteer their diverse backgrounds and computer skills in class.
(4) Collaboration, enabled by Internet-based classroom extensions, supersedes hierarchical task organization and allows two-way discussions, constructive feedback and multi-channel learning mechanisms favored by modern activities.
(5) Active-learning "projects" mirror increased project-orientation of businesses. Source materials want to be found, while students acquire research and project management skills. Timelines, "deliverables" and "billable hours" demand efficient structure, support and communication of projects via the Web.
Flow charts, Web documents and student responses illustrate the pervasive Internet presence in my classes.
Keyword: Internet, learning webs, economic geography
Learning Web: An integrated system of Internet-based, hypertextually organized course or program materials, resources, links to resources and communication opportunities designed to facilitate learning environments and processes in the classroom and beyond.
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