Karen Collias on the Future of Online Learning

Karen ColliasOn this month’s interview on Education Talk Radio, hosted by edweb.net, Karen Collias, founder of Knowledge without Borders, shared some insight on how online learning communities can be used to expand the knowledge base of educators, worldwide.  Karen has broad and extensive experience in the field of education, including a PhD from Columbia University, global education experience in Russia, work experience with the Smithsonian Science Center, educational consulting positions and roles as a teacher and professor.  Her organization, Knowledge Without Borders, provides a global forum for educators, students, artists, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists to interact and collaborate to inspire creativity and innovation.  Karen identified these two goals as the main needs of today’s workforce and an important part of the connected educator movement.

Karen elaborated on the benefits of educators using online platforms, explaining that one of the obstacles teachers face is the boundary between teacher education and the real world of the classroom.  Independent online communities can serve as a vehicle for pre-service teachers to connect with in-service teachers.  In doing so, these pre-service teachers can get a virtual glimpse into the classroom.   Education-specific communities also help teachers see themselves as professionals and learn together with others who have similar interests.  Karen makes the point that having independent online communities helps educators distinguish between a classroom and a professional development environment.

Beyond breaking the boundaries of teacher education and real-world classrooms, online communities give educators further reach, exposing them to educators in different disciplines and geographic locations.  Through these communities, teachers (particularly pre-service teachers) can communicate directly with in-service teachers in different types of education, such as special education, administration, and library studies.  This access helps education students chart the right career path for themselves.  However, this service extends beyond subject matter expert exposure for pre-service teachers.  In-service teachers can also use these online platforms to connect their students with esteemed experts in their field of study.

Karen and Knowledge Without Borders are leaders in the generational shift in educational technology.  Online forums such as the one she has developed provide a space for veteran educators and new teachers to collaborate and learn from one another.  If you are an educator who would like to take advantage of the learning and collaboration opportunities provided by Knowledge Without Borders, you can visit Karen’s site here.  Additionally, you can follow Karen on Twitter, @KarenCollias.

Original Air Date: 2/14/14

The edWeb Monthly Show on Education Talk Radio is hosted by Larry Jacobs with Lisa Schmucki, founder and CEO of edWeb.net.

Listen to the interview below.