Microsoft and Apple believe that your digital life is as important as your real one. That's why the two companies are betting time and resources to develop a technology to help you manage all your personal information across different devices.
Photo credit: lumingopereira
The goal of Live Mesh and MobileMe is to have all your personal data privately stored in a virtual environment, the "cloud", which takes care of syncing all your content across your mobile phone, your laptop, or your PDA.
Say you have a calendar appointment planned in your home computer, but not on your mobile phone. These virtual platforms "see" that appointment is missing, and add it to your mobile calendar, so that you don't have to worry about synchronizing all of these different devices together.
Learning, education and media technologies scholar George Siemens analyzes such technology-driven trends to understand what issues we may have to confront with in the near future and how to best prepare yourself for them.
In this weekly digest, George Siemens brings back many interesting news stories, facts, and reports about new technologies, helping those seeking to get the opportunity to get a broader and more comprehensive understanding of the disruptive changes our society is going through.
Intro by Daniele Bazzano
learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends
by George Siemens
Signal Hill is one of the few publications I read on the market state of education. In their most recent publication (.pdf), they detail a recent conference call with Blackboard, DeVry, Capella, and others.
Overall message: the for-profit education market has an optimistic outlook.
I’m interested in how aware most university / college leaders are about the prominence of many of these companies. For-profit universities may have started by focusing on graduate-level education. They are now active in research. Laureate, for example, is the largest recipient of government research grants for private institutions in Chile.
Everyone involved in educational technology could add to this list (or create their own for that matter): 10 most annoying phrases in academic technology.
What do I know about Google? Not enough.
I’ve created a wiki page on Google: Hidden Ideology of Search for a workshop I’ve delivered in the past. But, like most people, I don’t have a deep understanding of what makes the company tick, where it’s going, and what it’s doing.
I enjoy reading edubloggers. From my experience, conversations now occurring with edubloggers is several years ahead of what happens in journals and conferences. I can’t think of a more innovative, intellectually fertile space.
Over the last several months, however, I’ve been evaluating the diversity of my reading. Almost overwhelmingly, I read blogs with a left-leaning slant. Now, there could be various reasons for this:
I’m not interested in defending or condemning the proliferation of certain political and societal views among edubloggers. I greatly respect and value the discussions and innovative ideas produced with this network. It does, however, point a weakness in my network: I lack needed diversity in my reading about education.
During the recent US election, I made a habit of reading blogs and writers from both parties and broad range of political perspectives.
The key, after all, is to understand other people’s views, not necessarily to condemn them. Which leads me to my question: any suggestions on quality blogs within education that espouse a conservative view?
Measuring Up 2008 (.pdf) is a report on state of the American higher education system. Lessons can be gleaned for other countries, particularly with regards to costs as barriers.
Tuition has increased by 439% between 1982 and 2006, far out pacing the increases other costs in society (medical care only increased an anemic (in contrast) 251% during the same time period - see p. 8 of the report).
While online learning has many more advantages beyond a reduction of costs (in theory at least - costs are often as high, or even more so, in online learning versus face-to-face), figures as high as those cited in this report are grounds for exploring cost reductions through online education.
Whenever people are able to connect and collaborate, engage in conversations, share expertise, and access information, the impact on a society (or quality of life to individuals) can be enormous. This is obviously true for developed countries. But can the same be said about developing countries?
Does giving internet access to a poor farmer in South America, Africa, or in poorer regions of Canada, US, or Europe, benefit? Don’t people need the basics of life first? Yes. And no.
Web 2.0 in Africa (via Elearning Africa blog) suggests web 2.0 tools can assist farmers in regions such as Uganda gain and share important knowledge about farming. Rather than external experts being the main providers of information, farmers share information about banana growing / harvesting with each other. Reminds me of E. M. Forster’s statement “only connect”. The rest progresses from there…
He takes a critical look at evidence (or lack of it) that supports the concept of net generation learners. His blog title is obviously intended to be controversial, but his views are well considered. His main message: evidence to date does not support broad assumptions about different traits/characteristics of learners who have been raised in a technologically rich environment.
From a recent post (he is quoting a research report from UK):
“The findings show that many young students are far from being the epitomic global, connected, socially-networked technologically-fluent digital native who has little patience for passive and linear forms of learning.
Students use a limited range of technologies for formal and informal learning. These are mainly established ICTs - institutional VLE, Google and Wikipedia and mobile phones. Students make limited, recreational use of social technologies such as media sharing tools and social networking.”
Apparently, by 2017, personal networks will consist of over 1000 devices. I’m not sure how they came up with that number, but it seems realistic.
Most of us already deal with hundreds of devices on a daily basis. They’re not all networked yet… but they will be. The key to effective functioning with these multiple devices will be in how they are connected and in how we can use that connectedness in making decisions. Obviously, we need something more than just tying these devices together.
We need new approach to managing the overwhelming information they will produce. That’s partly as software problem and partly a conceptual shift. As I’ve stated before, as information becomes more complex and abundant, we will begin to rely to a greater degree on technology to perform a grunt cognition role by deciphering and presenting patterns for us to consider.
About the author
To learn more about George Siemens and to access extensive information and resources on elearning check out www.elearnspace.org. Explore also George Siemens connectivism site for resources on the changing nature of learning and check out his new book "Knowing Knowledge".
George Siemens -
Signal Hill: Education Report - Signal Hill
10 Most Annoying Phrases in Academic Technology - Tomasz Trojanowski
Stuff You Didn’t Know About Google - Google
Diversity in My Reading Habits - Janaka Dharmasena
Measuring Up 2008 - Measuring Up 2008
Web 2.0 in Africa - Bolton Council
More Net Gen Nonsense - Mark Bullen
Networks of Everything - Juan Fuertes