In the wake of Apple’s education event everyone is talking about the implications of the new technological possibilities for the future of learning. Yet, the revolutionary developments outside of Apple’s world of strangling license agreements and shiny but expensive hardware are generally overlooked. iTunes U is only a relatively limited extension of what has been around for about a decade now: open content. Even after the update Apple’s offerings are neither interactive, nor social. Open education thought-leader David Wiley, however, was right when he pointed out: ”If you didn’t need human interaction and someone to answer your questions, then the library would never have evolved into the university.”
Excerpted from a speech YG blogger Andrew gave at an official reception for international students in Hamburg this January. You can read it in full on Andrew’s blog Freetaste.
I am a student from another country, the Philippines to be more precise, and now living in Hamburg. And like some of you, I struggled or continue to struggle to speak German and to cope with the bitter cold winter. Like some of you, I like Franzbrötchen mit Streusel, bitte, but have never tried Labskaus. I can no longer say I am new to Germany. I first set foot on this country almost four years ago, not here in northern Germany, but down south in the small and beautiful university town of Freiburg, where I pursued my Master’s studies. Back then and up to now, as an international student, I still have the same worries: my visa running out, applying for scholarships, and wondering when I can finally hand in my thesis or dissertation.
To complete the B1 level (the halfway point in the language levels), we had a party with a veritable international food buffet from everyone’s contributions. While I’m happy to finally be wrapping up my intensive classes, and I’ve struggled with them from time to time, I felt a bit sad yesterday. We all had to say good-bye to each other, including to our instructor who has worked so hard for the duration of these classes. My routine is changing again. It seems strange to not be returning to class on Monday. And now the big question for me is…what next?
If there’s one stereotype about Germans that is very stubborn abroad, it’s that they are sticklers for paperwork; and like all stereotypes, it is not without at least a small grain of truth. After all, Germany is the land of Bescheide, Bescheinigungen, and Belege, a country where you won’t get very far without the right Scheine, Urkunden, and Zeugnisse. Yes, just the sheer amount of words for certificate/document should be enough to remind all of us that Germans take their paperwork seriously.
If there’s one thing Germany is good at apart from beer (and there are a few things), it’s museums. They might not be free like in the UK, but they are often of exceptional quality. After all, Germans take education, or Bildung as it is reverently referred to, very seriously, and museum visits are considered indispensable in acquiring it. That’s why Germany has a course of study at University level called Museumspädagogik, or “museum education,” offering training on how to bring visitors closer to the works they come into contact with.
Everyone has been talking about the volcano in Iceland, but let’s see the positive side: Thousands of tourists are stuck in Berlin and are allowed to spend more time seeing just how beautiful this city can be in spring. Thank you, volcano!
Many international students who should have been on a flight back home now can linger around Humboldt University and learn about exchange programs. At the cafeteria, I meet Luba Levkina and her friend Inga Matalinova, two girls who decided to do an exchange program without the help of the infamous ash cloud. Both went to school together in Russia. Read on to hear their experiences coming to Berlin.
Young Germany: Hello Luba, hello Inga, what brings you to Berlin?