‘Learning on Web: Open Education and Revolution of Learning’, A ‘Must’ Book


Dr. Iiyoshi  whom I have introduced to you last year (blog, Ref.1) (in Japanese) and Mr. Umeda  blog) (in Japanese) who is sending out messages from Silicon Valley such as his book ‘Going Through the Web Age (Web Jidai Wo Yuku)’ (by the way, he is also a great writer on shogi game (Japanese chess game))recently co-authored and published ‘Learning on Web (‘Web de Manabu)’ (in Japanese). The book offers lots of ‘eye-opening’ information, very rich in content, and I recommend strongly to all educators and people who are interested in learning or (their) children’s education.

‘Learning on Web’ gives you the idea and sense of how education, starting with the epoc-making OpenCourseWare of MIT (included in the Top50 websites in recent Times magazine), has become ‘Open’, how amazing the speed and power of the trend of the ‘Web age’ is.

As I have been pointing out repeatedly even in many public ‘occasions’  (Ref.1, 2), Internet is a tool that ‘empowers individuals’ with an impact comparable to the printing technology invented by Gutenberg in the 15th century.  Internet enables individuals in broader area to access and/or ‘share’ to broader audience.  It expands globally regardless of country border or time.  Conseqently, new ‘inquiries’ will be raised by many more people, ‘questioning of the (traditional) authorities’ will follow.  Thus, this change continues to move forward but never backwards.  Nations, companies, institutions which fail to adapt itself to this change, or attempts to oppose it will inevitably have to suffer more damages.  I regard this as the essence of ‘globalization’.

iTune, iPod, IPhone, and iPad are some good recent examples.  Just by thinking what industrial sectors resisted, or how these products changed society or the global world, and what eventually became of those resisting power, you will well understand what I mean.
In other words, this ‘Learning on Web’ is not only giving information on the new world changes of education to educators, but also reminding them of their responsibilities and questioning how they performed.

However, if you see this book as ‘empowerment of individuals’, ‘Learning on Web’ is asking actively to all students (recipients of education) and learners (who are willing to learn) what kind of education they want, introducing them to new educational opportunities and tools for learning, possibilities of discoveries that make them better and grow.

Also, I sense in this book a concern for Japan which appears to be resting in isolation from the change of the world.  I imagine that this is because that the two authors have been away from Japan for long years, have built their careers outside Japan as an indepedent individual, and therefore are increasingly becoming frustrated and even sorry  (in Japanese) for closed Japan which remains incapable of changing in this rapidly globalizing world, and also reflect their deep love, ‘patriotism’ (not ‘nationalism’) for Japan.

I recommend this book to all people, a ‘must’ reading to all grown ups who are concerned with education.

By the way, the outline of this book and the points they intended to make are given in the blogs of Mr. Umeda and Dr. Iiyoshi  which I have introduced to you above.  Many of the resource sites introduced in this book are shown in a list in this blog. Even if you do not have the book ‘Learning on Web’ at hand, these blogs will help you visit many valuable sites.

It is wonderful to know that there are so many, many people who are devoted to education and nurturing people of the ‘world’.