A podcast lecture that deserves a listen

Count me among the edublogger huns who, in their reflexive efforts to deflate the hype, are known to disparage the practice of recording lectures as fodder for podcasts. But if the speaker is good enough, then bring it on. Today’s exhibit: John Willinsky at the UBC Okanagan Learning Conference a couple of weeks back. (Download file – 60 min – 56.7 MB MP3)

Dr. Willinsky has a ridiculously long and impressive history of scholarly achievement, and he’s the founder of the open access Public Knowledge Project. For present purposes, what’s most important to know is that he’s one of the best speakers I’ve seen anywhere. He’s fluent (working without PowerPoint or notes), erudite and funny as hell. I never pass up the chance to see him speak, and am never disappointed.

This keynote finds Willinsky in fine form. He discusses the power of the human voice, the revolution in knowledge, the “pure, unadulterated self-interest” of open access in scholarship, riffs extensively on wikis and weblogs (first time I had heard him go at length on these subjects) and intersperses the lecture with compelling historical digressions and frequent wisecracks. I hate to reduce his points, but to me the grand theme is the imperative (and potential) for technology to facilitate genuine learning in service of an education that transcends skills training.

I’ve listened twice (thank you long bus commute), and can’t recommend it strongly enough. If more talks were this good, I’d be hyping podcast lectures shamelessly.

Via Jim Sibley at Adventures in Instructional Support.

UPDATE (May 16): For those of you hesitant to commit to a full hour (however awesome) Hugh Blackmer has extracted four bite-sized snippets:

…a whole new relationship to the access to knowledge… 1:33
…why would people construct knowledge on that basis? (re: Wikipedia) 1:45
…learning is nothing unless it’s a contribution to others… 0:52
…pure, unadulterated self interest… (re: open access journals) 2:00

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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