The book “A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change” by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown discusses how the current educational system is failing to prepare students for a rapidly changing world. The authors propose a new model of learning that is based on curiosity, imagination, and play. They argue that the internet has transformed the way we learn and that traditional methods of education are no longer effective. Instead, they suggest that we embrace the new culture of learning, which values exploration and experimentation, and encourages students to take ownership of their own learning. The book offers numerous examples of how this new approach to learning is already being practiced in various fields, and concludes by suggesting ways in which we can all become lifelong learners in this new era of constant change.
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 co-chairman 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.
Five of the most important arguments presented in “A New Culture of Learning”:
- The internet has changed the way we learn – The authors argue that the internet has fundamentally transformed the way we learn and that traditional educational models are no longer adequate for preparing students for a world of constant change. They suggest that the internet has made knowledge more accessible and has facilitated new modes of collaboration and communication that have transformed the way we learn.
- Curiosity and imagination are essential for learning – The authors argue that traditional educational models often focus on rote memorization and standardized testing, which can stifle creativity and curiosity. In contrast, they suggest that a new culture of learning values exploration, experimentation, and creativity, and encourages learners to follow their passions and pursue their interests.
- Play is an important component of learning – The authors argue that play is an essential component of learning and that it can facilitate the development of important skills such as collaboration, communication, and problem-solving. They suggest that play can help learners develop a mindset of experimentation and risk-taking that is essential for success in a rapidly changing world.
- Learners must take ownership of their own learning – The authors suggest that traditional educational models often place too much emphasis on teachers and textbooks, and not enough on empowering learners to take ownership of their own learning. They argue that a new culture of learning values self-directed learning and encourages learners to take an active role in their own education.
- Lifelong learning is essential in a world of constant change – The authors argue that the pace of change in the modern world is accelerating rapidly, and that the skills and knowledge that are necessary for success today may be obsolete tomorrow. They suggest that a new culture of learning values lifelong learning and encourages individuals to continuously adapt and learn in order to stay competitive in a rapidly changing world.