Media Literacy: Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens - Sept 12 09
In this weekly Media Literacy Digest, open education advocate George Siemens, reports on emergent media and technology issues and on the future impact that these new technologies may have on the way you work, learn and interact with others.
Photo credit: Cyprien Lomas
Inside this Media Literacy Digest:
- Reorganizing For The Online Environment - Many institutions are slow to react to technology. Systemic inefficiencies trail new opportunities and technological affordances.
- Google Internet Stats - Once data has been sucked into Google Giant Vacuum Cache, it is ripe for analysis. After a decade of collecting (and digitizing) Google has created an astonishing resource that is ripe for value exploitation.
- Passionate Creatives -
John Hagel talks about Passionate Creatives. For a growing segment of society, geography no longer restricts opportunity.
- Frequent Releases Change Software Engineering - Design of software and design of learning share similar attributes. I would go so far as to say that instructional design would benefit from considering how software design has changed over the last decade.
- The Cloud and Collaboration - Stephen Downes (in addition to hurling the odd grenade my way) consistently demonstrates the ability to provide innovative and critical commentary on concepts that many people accept on the surface.
- Virtual Learning Reports of The Demise of The VLE / LMS Are Greatly Exaggerated - The challenge with personal learning environments is most notable in how they fail to align with existing learning structures in schools and universities.
- Wiki Growth - How do you evaluate the impact of wikis on learning? Or, how do you research the contributions that wikis make to information creation and sharing?
eLearning Resources and News
learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends
by George Siemens
Reorganizing For The Online Environment
Many institutions are slow to react to technology. Systemic inefficiencies trail new opportunities and technological affordances.
For example, somewhere in the past at an unnamed institution, I developed a course for online delivery. We had many international students from Hong Kong and other Asian countries. The registration department at this organization handled enrollment and contacted learners with access information.
When the course started, I noticed limited interaction in the online forums. I emailed the students to encourage them to log in and post introductions. I received several replies: we do not have access information. I then contacted the registration department. "Has contact information been sent?" I asked. "Yes". "When?". "We sent it on Friday". "Oh, that is strange" I say "most students don't have the information". "Well, we only mailed the packages on Friday". "MAILED?!?". "Yes".
Oh well. We move slowly in new directions... at least until we feel threatened.
Many educators do not feel a sense of urgency around technology adoption. But many aspects of our organizations need to be adjusted to reflect what is possible with technology. Sometimes the answer is not clear (for example, Wikipedia's decision around how to record historical events).
At other times, the decision is really quite simple (i.e. email vs. mail). I wonder how much productivity people and organizations lose as result of failure to rethink existing "ways of doing things"...
Google Internet Stats
No company in the world has access to more data and more data processing power than Google.
Once data has been sucked into Google Giant Vacuum Cache, it is ripe for analysis. After a decade of collecting (and digitizing) Google has created an astonishing resource that is ripe for value exploitation.
Many organizations and companies have idly watched Google conquer a domain more completely than Alexandar the Great could have ever dreamed. It only makes sense that Google reveals a little bit of its long term intention: Google internet stats.
This is child's play at this stage, but more value-driven data analysis will be developed soon. The data is there. Mining is next. When you organize the worlds data, you are eventually able to organize the world according to your interests as well.
Many of us have suppressed our passions in an attempt to fit in and integrate ourselves into a world that expected stability, predictability and safety. But they remain in the margins of our lives or in the daydreams that distract us from our daily tasks. Our challenge is to re-discover and cultivate them, moving them from the margins into the center of our lives.
The article is a bit irritating at times - manifestos have a way of feeling dated once the emotions that drove their writing wears off - but captures a reality that I think many people experience daily.
For a growing segment of society, geography no longer restricts opportunity.
When I was at Red River College, I found great value in blogging as a means to connect with others outside of the college. There were only a few of us "online learning" folks at the campus...and many colleges / universities around the world also had a few. As a result, in pockets of two's and three's, a network of passionately creative people emerged around learning and technology.
Frequent Releases Change Software Engineering
Design of software and design of learning share similar attributes.
I would go so far as to say that instructional design would benefit from considering how software design has changed over the last decade.
Consider this article as a quick overview - Frequent releases change software engineering:
The main reason to consider frequent deployments is not the direct impact of getting software out to customers more quickly, but the indirect impact internally.
Frequent releases force changes in how an organization develops software. These changes ultimately reduce risk, speed development, and improve the product.
The Cloud and Collaboration
Stephen Downes (in addition to hurling the odd grenade my way) consistently demonstrates the ability to provide innovative and critical commentary on concepts that many people accept on the surface.
His most recent presentation on The Cloud and Collaboration is a good example.
The talk (short - only 20 minutes) juxtaposes neural architecture and functioning with existing models of collaboration in society. He makes a compelling argument: if we use the "global technological / networked brain" as an example, then we need to base it on an accurate understanding of how the brain actually works.
If it is neural structure we desire, then we need to rethink privileged / star individual mentality in society and in learning. As he puts it, there is no head neuron in the brain. Toward the end of the talk he moves into a discussion of socialism (unrelated, but humorous: Ze Frank on Labor Day and Socialism) and attributes of networks.
Virtual Learning Reports of The Demise of The VLE / LMS Are Greatly Exaggerated
Niall Sclater summarizes with anti / pro-learning management system rhetoric (I am proud to say that I have contributed to the rhetoric: LMS: Wrong place to start elearning and Learning or Management System?).
According to Niall:
Whether VLEs are any good at facilitating effective learning as well depends on the imagination and skills of those creating the content hosted by them and the activities facilitated by them. Meanwhile, denial-of-service attacks permitting, social networking sites and free learning content go from strength to strength for those with the time and inclination to engage with them.
The challenge with personal learning environments is most notable in how they fail to align with existing learning structures in schools and universities (see my earlier commentary on the systematization of education).
LMS' are used in corporations and schools because they support the existing structure. By supporting the existing structure, they also play a role in preserving it. A co-dependent addiction...
We installed Mediawiki and began experimenting. As a result, numerous faculty members have requested additional wiki installs for their classes and research.
The question becomes: how do you evaluate the impact of wikis on learning? Or, how do you research the contributions that wikis make to information creation and sharing? Or, for that matter, what would educators be using if they didn't have access to a hosted wiki and would it be better / worse?
- article / page connectedness (to other pages).
Research of this type is interesting, but fails to get at the bigger questions of impact.
What have wikis added that would not have been possible in their absence? Activity and co-authorship are basic metrics, similar to saying "Jane and Bob talked to each other four times during a group project in class". That is nice. Now what does it mean? What did that interaction contribute to learning?
About George Siemens
George Siemens is the Associate Director in the Learning Technologies Centre at the University of Manitoba. George blogs at www.elearnspace.org where he shares his vision on the educational landscape and the impact that media technologies have on the educational system. George Siemens is also the author of Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age and the book "Knowing Knowledge" where he developes a learning theory called connectivism which uses a network as the central metaphor for learning and focuses on knowledge as a way to making connections.
George Siemens -
Reorganizing For The Online Environment - Plevnjak
Google Internet Stats - Google
Passionate Creatives - Michele Piacquadio
The Cloud and Collaboration - Krisdog
Virtual Learning Reports Of The Demise Of The VLE / LMS Are Greatly Exaggerated -Ljupco Smokovski
Wiki Growth - No More Game Blogs
Wiki Growth - Michael Brown
Reference: Elearnspace [ Read more ]
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