On Friday April 25, 2008, graduate students in architecture working with Professor Lars Botin from Aalborg University Denmark 'met' with graduate students in education working with Dan Gilbert for an inter-disciplinary, globally collaborative session on designing learning in public places. This event was a direct result from the relationship that Dan and Lars built while Lars was a visiting scholar in Wallenberg Hall in the summer and fall of 2007.
The core issue that students in Denmark and California discussed was learning in public places such as town squares, parks, and other public places. Together, students discussed strategies for how to make compelling cases for learning experiences in public places and ideas on how to keep the learner at the center of the design of any public space.
We connected using Polycom Viewstation videoconferencing devices on both sides. In more and more cases, however, global collaborators are using 'desktop' tools such as Skype, iChat, and Marratech to facilitate global collaboration from their own laptops at no or extremely low costs. One important implication is that cost is no longer a barrier for global collaboration - to carry this out, faculty, staff, and students should think about whom they know around the world and how their partners' input might support learning. With a clear rationale and a willing partner, the technology logistics can come together relatively quickly.