By exploring play, innovation, and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning, the authors create a vision of learning for the future that is achievable, scalable and one that grows along with the technology that fosters it and the people who engage with it. The result is a new form of culture in which knowledge is seen as fluid and evolving, the personal is both enhanced and refined in relation to the collective, and the ability to manage, negotiate and participate in the world is governed by the play of the imagination.
Typically, when we think of culture, we think of an existing, stable entity that changes and evolves over long periods of time. In A New Culture of Learning, Thomas and Brown explore a second sense of culture, one that responds to its surroundings organically. It not only adapts, it integrates change into its process as one of its environmental variables.
Quotes from the interview:
One of the key arguments we are making is that the role of educators needs to shift away from being expert in a particular area of knowledge, to becoming expert in the ability to create and shape new learning environments. In a way, that is a much more challenging, but also much more rewarding, role. You get to see students learn, discover, explore, play, and develop, which is the primary reason I think that most of us got into the job of teaching.
By returning to play as a modality of learning, we can see how a world in constant flux is no longer a challenge or hurdle to overcome; it becomes a limitless resource to engage, stimulate, and cultivate the imagination. Our argument brings to the fore the old aphorism "imagination is more important than knowledge." In a networked world, information is always available and getting easier and easier to access. Imagination, what you actually do with that information, is the new challenge.
while content may remain stable at some abstract level, the context in which it has meaning (and therefore its meaning) is open to near constant change. The kind of work you have been examining from the point of view of convergence culture is a prime example: users are not so much creating content as they are constantly reshaping context. The very idea of remix is about the productions of new meanings by reframing or shifting the context in which something means.
I've ordered the book. Douglas Thomas is on the faculty of the University of Southern California and John Seely Brown is a visiting scholar and advisor to USC. There's another reason to go back to San Diego next time I go to the US!