Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Media Literacy: Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens - Jan 24 09

Sponsored Links

Location-aware devices, the importance of good visuals, generational distinctions, and open educational resources are just some of the fascinating topics included in this week issue of this Media Literacy digest.

Photo credit: Mr_Stein

How can you define and group completely different individuals together? Just because they're all the same age, or they praise the same God it doesn't mean they all belong to the same category.

How do you track the shifting mindset of an entire society? Could you clearly point out a single characteristic that marks our society in a way or another? Would you say we are in the process of a becoming more generous?

To answer some of these open questions and to understand better these times of deep transformation, George Siemens brings you once again unique pointers, rare places, and quality resources to help you make greater sense of what is truly happening all around you.


eLearning Resources and News

learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends

by George Siemens


Informal Learning Becomes Formal


Josh Bersin declares Informal learning becomes formal:

"I am now 100% convinced that "informal learning" has become "formal." That is, if you want to build a high-impact, cost-effective, modern training organization you must "formally adopt" informal learning."

Jay Cross has been advocating for informal learning longer than most... his blog and book are great starting points.

Paying attention to existing networks of information exchange and socialization (outside of formal training and classrooms) has the opportunity to yield valuable returns to organizations.


Britannica and Wikipedia


Britannica has announced the rather inevitable inclusion of reader suggestions under the banner of "more participation, collaboration from experts and readers".

Disruptions and innovations either carve out an entirely new field, or they are co-opted by existing fields - consider the blogs that are now common on almost every newspaper website or the ireporter feature at CNN.

I applaud Britannica's decision to encourage more participation from readers. I'm not convinced it will be successful, however. A wikipedia edit has the gratification of immediacy. From the description of Britannica's initiative, a period of time is required before edits are incorporated. That might not be a huge issue for people who are passionate about the topic.

But, participation is only part of the appeal of Wikipedia. Access is the biggest element. A Google search for "quick and dirty" information is the biggest value I find with Wikipedia.

I signed up - and paid - for a Britannica subscription last year. The interface was awkward, the search feature didn't provide results as useful as Google's, and the need to sign in was a pain. If Britannica wishes to succeed with this initiative, it has to not only solve the participation problem, but also the Google problem of quick search and ease of access to Wikipedia.


PLEs and NRC


Congratulations to Stephen Downes and NRC! In yesterday's OLDaily, Stephen mentions approval for what looks like a large project on personal learning environments (PLEs).

I couldn't find a detailed description of the project, but from the hiring requirements (five positions) and length (three years), it's reasonable to assume significant financial resources have been allocated.

I'm familiar with smaller research projects around PLEs and the odd journal issue devoted to exploring the concept. The project Stephen is managing - due to size and length - is a milestone.

The informal theorizing of educational technologists requires a research base if PLEs are to move outside of our small network. I hope that NRC will be transparent in this project. A good opportunity exists to form a distributed research network, in addition to the core team, to brainstorm, reflect, evaluate, discuss, etc.


Location, Location


Location-aware devices hold promise for learning (simple things like walking past an old building and being able to see - on your phone - images of the building as it was being constructed, notable events, a history of ownership, even real estate listings for similar buildings).

Location awareness comes with a privacy issues. Most of us have been gently lulled into a complacent demeanor on privacy issues - we need one of those "big incidents" to focus our awareness on what we are revealing in our blogging, networking and tweeting.

How big are GPS and location-awareness technologies going to be? A few thoughts:

  • Location-based dating

  • Inside the GPS Revolution: 10 Applications That Make the Most of Location:
    "Inside the GPS revolution it's more than maps and driving directions: location-aware phones and apps now deliver the hidden information that lets users make connections and interact with the world in ways they never imagined.

    The future is here and it's in your pocket."

  • I am here:
    "The location-aware future - good, bad, and sleazy - is here. Thanks to the iPhone 3G and, to a lesser extent, Google's Android phone, millions of people are now walking around with a gizmo in their pocket that not only knows where they are but also plugs into the Internet to share that info, merge it with online databases, and find out what - and who - is in the immediate vicinity...

    Simply put, location changes everything. This one input - our coordinates - has the potential to change all the outputs."


On Being Rather Pathetic With Visuals


I have been blessed with an astonishing inability to draw or create visuals. Periodically, I will use Gliffy or Fireworks and create a graphic. The resulting image will reveal the severity of my condition.

In spite of this, I am committed to improving my use of visuals in expressing ideas. I turned, of course, to Twitter to see what gems of visual thinking I could glean from the network.

Here are a few of the resources others provided:


Generation G


Generational distinctions are usually flawed. It's comical to take an entire group and define them by select attributes.

To some degree, an era can be defined by a vague feel / spirit (the 1960's, 70's, 80's still conjure strong images of music, culture, and spirit... but even then, that spirit varies from country to country. I suspect Cindi Lauper wasn't huge in Afghanistan).

Where generational distinctions are largely futile, trying to define the changing mindset of an entire society is even more challenging. Yet, even with that broad dismissal of generational /trend stereotyping, I found this article on Generation G interesting (language warning in the opening images).

Periods of enormous upheaval and change can bring out the best or the worst in humanity. I would like to believe, as this article unscientifically asserts, that the developing mindset of our era is a shift toward "generosity".


Open Educational Resources


Scott Leslie is hosting a three-week SCoPE discussion on open educational resources. No charge to participate.

Scott's discussion will go much deeper than the short presentation I delivered last week on open educational resources: recording and slides.

Originally written by George Siemens for elearnspace and first published on January 23rd 2009 in his newsletter eLearning Resources and News.

About the author


To learn more about George Siemens and to access extensive information and resources on elearning check out Explore also George Siemens connectivism site for resources on the changing nature of learning and check out his new book "Knowing Knowledge".

Photo credits:
Informal Learning Becomes Formal - podius
Britannica and Wikipedia - epiac
Location, Location - Irina Tischenko
On Being Rather Pathetic With Visuals - graphicpho
Generation G - Yuri Arcurs
Open Educational Resources - Jiri Kabele

George Siemens -
Reference: eLearnSpace [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
blog comments powered by Disqus
posted by Daniele Bazzano on Saturday, January 24 2009, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Search this site for more with 








    Curated by

    New media explorer
    Communication designer


    POP Newsletter

    Robin Good's Newsletter for Professional Online Publishers  



    Real Time Web Analytics