Media Literacy: Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens - Jan 3 09
In this first 2009 issue of Media Literacy digest George Siemens focuses on cloud computing, connections in social networks, changes in education, and on a cool resource for education technology-related conferences.
Photo credit: Cyprien Lomas
And to make 2009 an opportunity for personal change and innovation, George Siemens has decided to experiment a new way of dealing with his everyday tech life by embracing the cloud computing lifestyle.
What does that mean? Cloud computing is a way of referring to using software and data that do not reside locally on your computer, but which reside on public commercial services accessible from anywhere you have an Internet connection. So, no need to be confined to your own machine to access your data, you just can use any computer connected to the Internet et voilà, you're set.
The jump to cloud computing is often much smaller than one would think as many have already adopted web-based software and tools which are now integral part of their workflow. Take Gmail, Flickr or YouTube; both the software and the data in these cases are all in the cloud.
And if you are not quite ready yet for the dive into the cloud, you can still go home with some cool new tools to try out immediately. Dr. Siemens features in fact to a brand new software list by Jane Hart with the likely-to-be top tools you may want to consider for adoption in 2009.
To dive in, is the only wise step if you want to make you greater sense of the disruptive changes that our society is facing.
eLearning Resources and News
learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends
by George Siemens
Year of the Cloud
Cloud computing has been a common, but somewhat subdued, topic on technology sites. The cloud metaphor is appealing, though what it exactly means is still somewhat unsettled.
In a technological sense, cloud computing refers to a service-view of computing, where technical details are largely hidden from end users. Which means, it is driven by financial considerations, as companies can extend their infrastructure without heavy investments in personnel or technology.
I'm more interested in the impact of cloud computing. How will my communication and information processing habits change when I don't need to confine myself to a particular computer? What types of software do I need when I don't want to be tied to a particular laptop? So, I've decided to embrace the cloud.
On my University of Manitoba blog, I'll be posting my experience to move to device neutral computing... where I have access to what I need as long as I have an internet connection. First post - Year of the Cloud: "My goal: to be device neutral by the end of 2009. Any data accessible in any device from anywhere."
What Will Change Everything?
Every year, The Edge asks prominent individuals a big question.
This year, with the humble introduction of "New tools equal new perceptions. Through science we create technology and in using our new tools we recreate ourselves" (sounds like McLuhan's "We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us"), The Edge asks: What will change everything?
Responses cover enormous territory, including the mind, human nature, technology, biology, and more. A bit of skepticism is found as well - nothing will change everything. Edtech folks will find a bit of hope in At Last: Technology will change education
It's not light reading, but well worth the time.
Top 10 Future Tools
In her recent post, she turns her attention from looking at the most popular tools today and focuses on what she feels will be the top tools of 2009. Most of the tools listed assume traditional desktop / laptop access to the internet.
I think 2009 will be a year where mobile applications continue their enormous growth. In the last several months, I have shifted significantly from my laptop to my mobile (for maps, gmail, twitter, Facebook, news, tracking financial markets).
This Thing Called Depth
End of the year / start of the new year reflections always seem to centre on meaning and depth. We desire to eliminate meaningless and shallow pursuits in favor of more substantial ones.
John Connell asks how to best move to greater depth:
"Do we need the bloggers' equivalent of the Slow Movement? Authentic blogging? Critical blogging? Reflective blogging? Blogging09?"
"I did some counting yesterday. Totalled up all of the blog posts and comments on those posts for the last three years, and found a pretty interesting relationship. Seems the less I write, the more people comment."
A healthy sign of maturity for any field is the recognition, partly reflected in Perry's scheme of intellectual and ethical development, that a larger reality exists outside of the field where we personally spend most of our time.
New literacies do not necessarily replace what was important previously. Previously important literacies are at least partly subsumed in new literacies. The maturation of blogging is partly found in main stream media adopting blogs. The other critical ingredient in maturing the field will be found in bloggers participating in previous publication forums (journals, books, etc.).
Twitter, Networks, and "Following" People
The popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and other social software has resulted in a popularization of network terminology. How networks work and how information flows is understood experientially by anyone who has used the software.
As a result, the networking concepts long explored by sociologists and mathematicians are now being explored by Twitter users: How am I connected to others? Who do I need to connect to? What is the balance between having only a few vs. many connections?
Valdis Krebs offers his position on finding the right mix between diversity and depth:
"Strategically I am building a small, yet efficient, group that reaches out into the many diverse information pools I am interested in. I know I am finding good people to follow on Twitter by the number of great exchanges that emerge on many topics. Think before you follow, use your time and ties wisely!"
NY Times and Visualizations
We have hit our scale limit in managing information. We need new processes to make sense of abundance. One approach is found in the use of social networks for filtering important ideas and concepts. A technical approach is found in data visualization.
Bill Ives links to the NY Times Visualization Lab. The site is based on IBM's Many Eyes, and allows visitors to create and share visualizations. Visualization will become more prominent, as will our need for literacy with reading and creating different representations of data.
Educational Technology Conferences
Clayton R. Wright compiles the most comprehensive list of educational technology conferences. With his permission, I have posted his list for ed tech conferences from Jan-Aug 2009 (.doc). Great resource!
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 -
Year of the Cloud - piksel
What Will Change Everything? - maria gritsai
Top 10 Future Tools - Kirsty Pargeter
This Thing Called Depth - Erik Reis
Twitter, Networks, and "Following" People - ndnl
NY Times and Visualizations - The New York Times
Educational Technology Conferences - Clayton R. Wright
Reference: eLearnSpace [ Read more ]
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