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OPEN: How we’ll work, live and learn in the future By David Price

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A review of OPEN: How we’ll work, live and learn in the future by David Price, Crux Publishing, 2013. ISBN: B00FLYFS98

In OPEN, David Price champions a revolution in education, intertwining social, economic, and environmental global events with the disruptive emerging technologies of the Internet and mobile devices, which are influencing, and being influenced by, a transformation in learning. With his conversational narrative style, replete with illustrations and examples, Price draws the reader in and makes complex ideas noteworthy and accessible. OPEN is the kind of book one can settle down with, in anticipation of an afternoon of interesting reading.

In discussing emerging trends, the first chapters of this book are disruptive and create a sense of an urgent need to radically reshape how we learn in our education and work institutions. Price optimistically urges readers to embrace the unavoidable change and be open to uncertain and emerging trends in learning. The concept of “open” is described as a set of actions and values that include sharing, trust, openness and freedom in democratized spaces that lead us to 21st century learning. In the final part of the book, Price challenges the reader to become engaged, to learn about learning, and to consider how the future of learning might differ from our current, more traditional, formal approaches to learning. He calls for a paradigm shift to make learning more innovative, effective, engaging and impactful. The book concludes with practical advice to the reader on how to move toward embracing and becoming open.

Price’s passionate conversational presentation of his analysis, while engaging and compelling, presents as somewhat conclusory despite the scant use of research on learning and technology. The rich use of examples and statements of fact would be more even compelling with additional references to help the reader research and reach the same conclusions. A deeper reflection of the complexity of the potential problems created by disruptive technologies would also add to his argument. Without these, the reader is challenged to assess the validity of the important arguments presented. Price acknowledges that we are in the uncharted territory of change; therefore taking action should also involve thoughtful direction for research to better understand and map the influential forces of disruptive technologies and discover additional contributing factors that will impact contemporary and future learning.

Photo: Dave Donald

First published in Education Canada, March 2014