Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Media Literacy: Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens - Feb 7 09

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Geo-brodcasting, university leadership, and the shift from routine-oriented to more creative jobs are just some of the fascinating topics covered by George Siemens in this weekly issue of Media Literacy Digest.

Photo credit: D'Arcy Norman

In this issue:

  • George Siemens deals with a brand new feature of Google Maps, Latitude, which allows you to know where your friends are at a specific moment. Using the GPS signal of your mobile phone you can pinpoint their location (or share yours), and let selected people find you for a good chat or grab a cup of coffee.
  • What is really interesting of geo-broadcasting features like Latitude tough, is that you have yet another way to share your interests with people that "can be a basis for effective and contextual information provision."

If you want to make greater sense of where education and technology are heading in the near future, this digest brings you to places, facts and resources to have a better understanding of the disruptive changes that our society is facing.

Intro by Daniele Bazzano


eLearning Resources and News

learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends

by George Siemens


On the Value of Assessment...


Marks are really rather arbitrary. I have this fear, when marking, that I'll double mark a paper / project submitted by a student (i.e. I'll mark it once with comments and a grade... and then, because I forgot I had already marked it, do the same again)... and provide completely different comments or even a different grade.

A prof at U of Ottawa decided to take a different approach: Give every student an A+ at the start of the course. In his words:

It was not his job, as he explained later, to rank their skills for future employers, or train them to be "information transfer machines," regurgitating facts on demand. Released from the pressure to ace the test, they would become "scientists, not automatons," he reasoned.

Of course, the tenured prof was fired.

The use of grading for evaluating students is recent, all owed to William Farish.

UPDATE: Just noticed D'Arcy Norman had already posted on this: "As we continue moving toward a more individual and portfolio-driven assessment of a person's abilities, philosophies, and educational contexts, grades become less meaningful anyway."


Ontario in The Creative Age


Ontario in the creative age (.pdf)
makes the somewhat obvious argument that Ontario (and many parts of the developed world) are experiencing a "shift from more routine-oriented to creativity-oriented jobs that place a premium on analytical and social intelligence skills".

The authors then suggest that no region / country has yet made the transition to an economy based on creativity and intelligence... and that current global situations may serve to accelerate the need for this to happen.

In Canada, almost 80% of jobs are services-based, showing a steady decline of goods-producing jobs since 1946 (p. 9). What is required, according to the report, is greater emphasis on analytic and social intelligence skills (though they fail to detail how they assigned percentile groups of each domain). It's worth reading, but does slip into "let's write buzzword statements so we'll be quoted in newspapers" (such as "Economic development is driven by 3Ts - tolerance, talent, and technology") occasionally.




The history of humanity reveals information as something we have had to pursue. Through philosophy, research, libraries, and universities, information had to be intentionally sought to be known (by the individual).

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that we are today moving toward a system where information knows us. Well, maybe "know" is over-stating it. But many of my information interactions are not ones that I have to initiate. Simple services like Google Alerts, personal bots (more popular a few years ago) and more complex social network tools (like Diigo) provide a steady stream of information.

The patterns that we exhibit in our interactions with information and with others (i.e. facebook), when known by certain software / services, can be a basis for effective and contextual information provision.

GPS will likely continue to improve information quality. Why shouldn't my history of search be combined with my interactions on facebook and used as a basis to provide me with important information (i.e. my iphone says:

"George, three months ago you searched for history of human rights, then you joined a similar group on facebook... just around the corner is a museum dedicated to the cause... and, for that matter, so are Joe and Jane that you've emailed several times over the last year, but have never met").

Ok, perhaps that would be unnerving. But, still, geo-broadcasting combined with the information trails we leave online could serve as valuable source of relevant information.


University Leadership


Blindingly obvious statement: how we access information and interact with each other has (disruptive) implications for educational institutions as well as leadership models.

Openness and transparency, as guiding principles for organizational design, are now readily acknowledged by business leaders and educators. The recent American election and current spirit of the new administration reflected these ideals. What is to come of university leadership in this climate?

The wiki-way and university leadership states:

"At the heart of new university leadership is the reframing of the leader (professor, department chair, dean, vice president, president) as less than perfect, without perfect knowledge, and in pursuit of persistent improvement."

As goes information so goes society's organizations (business, universities, schools, politics). How soon can we expect to see fundamental change? I'm pessimistic on change cycles. It seems, as General Motors attests, that we can recognize the need for change for decades before we respond. And then change is considered only when survival is at stake.


Online Conference on Improving Traditional Conferences


Just a quick reminder - AACE is hosting an online conference on improving face-to-face conferences: Partial speaker list... main conference site and sign up for mailing list... and ning site. The conference is free and online. Feb 18-20.

Originally written by George Siemens for elearnspace and first published on February 7th 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:
William Farish - On the Value of Assessment... - Graça Victoria
Ontario in the Creative Age - Aleksan Ghojoyan
University Leadership - Volodymyr Kyrylyuk
Online Conference on Improving Traditional Conferences - Kari Høglund

George Siemens -
Reference: eLearnSpace [ Read more ]
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posted by Daniele Bazzano on Saturday, February 7 2009, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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