Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Media Literacy: Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens - Sep 13 08

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"The growing complexity of technology and tools for designing learning leaves us at an interesting point: should educators/trainers become technologists? Or should the tools of design become so easy to use that technical skills are minimal? Or do we move the technology to specialized design teams and educators remain the subject matter experts?"(Source: George Siemens)

Photo credit: Stephan Ridgway

School, in most countries I have been to, is still an indoctrination gym where there is yet very little opportunity to learn the key skills a young person may need the most today: effective communication, critical thinking, analysis, source evaluation, game design, media literacy.

But nonetheless I fully realize how bad this educational system really is, my focus is often in looking ahead, at what I am dreaming to build rather than at reforming the institutions that shaped my abilities and leased the most open-minded years of my life. And this is where I should stop to reason a bit more.

Unless you and I take some serious time to stop bitching about our schools and start DOING something that, without trying to revolutionize academia, brings in new ways for learning and sharing knowledge together, things are likely not to get much better.

Like every week, connectivism evangelist and educational technologies expert George Siemens, brings in the most interesting issues, research, and news pointers to the stories and technologies that are drastically changing the way we live, learn and work.

If you like to be a change-agent into shaping how your tomorrow is going to be, this is a good place to start.

Intro by Robin Good


eLearning Resources and News

learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends

by George Siemens

Internet Optimists And Pessimists


The sign of a field beginning to mature, in my opinion, is that distinctions and terms become clearly demarcated. At the beginning of any discipline, the details are hardly a point of focus.

Instead, we see a "glob of stuff" as our effort is to understand what the entity is. As a discipline progresses, distinctions begin to emerge. And divisive or even polarizing discussions begin to emerge. As Sayre's Law states: "In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the stakes at issue".

To that end, a nice compilation of books advocating optimistic and pessimistic views of the internet.

The Future Of Search


Since about 2005, Google's continual release of new tools has gained greater attention than its search service. While much innovation in seen in Google Earth, GMail, Google Reader, Gears, etc., searching with Google is a similar experience as it was in 2000.

What are some of the challenges that need to be addressed in web search? A few considerations:

"In the next 10 years, we will see radical advances in modes of search: mobile devices offering us easier search, Internet capabilities deployed in more devices, and different ways of entering and expressing your queries by voice, natural language, picture, or song, just to name a few. It's clear that while keyword-based searching is incredibly powerful, it's also incredibly limiting."

Storytelling 101

Great example of blending presentations with storytelling: Storytelling 101 (via Workplace Learning Today). Lecturers, trainers, presenters, and anyone with a message to share, will find this as a useful guide. Alan Levine's 50(+) ways to tell a story is another valuable resource.

Multimedia Design


The growing complexity of technology and tools for designing learning leaves us at an interesting point: should educators/trainers become technologists? Or should the tools of design become so easy to use that technical skills are minimal? Or do we move the technology to specialized design teams and educators remain the subject matter experts?

Different institutions answer these questions differently. At University of Manitoba, responsibility for developing content still rests heavily on faculty, with some options for support of complex learning activities or simulations. We've used Pachyderm somewhat for faculty to create multimedia learning activities.

Today I came across a fairly new tool Xerte - also open source, but installation on your own server is required. The demonstration I attended was quite informative. The tool looks exceptionally easy to use (the interface was built on a previous scripting-based version directed at programmers), with lots of potential. Creating a simple interactive flash learning activity took a matter of minutes. Looking forward to exploring this tool more.

Twitter and CERN


Today, I had the pleasure of reading about the activation of the Large Hadron Collider on CERN's Twitter feed. Lovers of Twitter will hail this as significant. And for good reason. It is. It was a fascinating experience watching updates. I guess a bit like people hanging on international news via a telegraph a century ago. But in this case, accessible by everyone.

What If It Really Does All Change?


I have periodic moments - whether delusional or not is too soon to tell - where I'm struck by the enormous potential that many of our most foundational frameworks of society will unravel in the next several decades.

TV has fragmented in the form of YouTube. Newspapers are similarly reduced to single articles read via Google News. And why would someone write a book these days (as I'm in the process of doing)?

Do you ever get the sense that the framework that we now call a book - a cohesive structure of hopefully coherent thought - can be duplicated in a distributed manner online? For example, how is the act of writing a book different from blogging for a few years? All the content of a book is in the experience - but it's not as coherent as a book and it's filled with more clutter and tangents. But a book-like framework can be seen to exist.

A unified field theory of publishing in the networked era advocates a similar view:

"The emergence of the web turned this vision of the book of the future as a solid, albeit multimedia object completely upside down and inside out. Multimedia is engaging, especially in a format that encourages reflection, but locating discourse inside of a dynamic network promises even more profound changes".

For The Brain, Remembering Is Like Reliving


Scientists have managed to record individual brain cells processing/accessing memories: For the Brain, Remembering Is Like Reliving.

Main point: remembering is very similar to doing. Similar patterns of activation exist on recall as they do during the completion of the activity that is being recorded.

Educators obviously know this in theory: want a student to remember something? Get them to do something - interact, build, create. Still, it's intriguing to see the continual developments in understanding (and having evidence for) how our brains work. We'll continue to see much more of this.

Do You Challenge Queue-Jumpers and Line-Cutters?


What does research on our reactions to people who cut in line have to do with online learning. Very little (unless you want to push things a bit and ask how our reactions to rude behaviour differ in online or face-to-face environments). However, it's interesting to note that we spend about 4 years of our lives standing in line... if you travel, I'm guessing it's much more.

The meekness of responses to cutting in line seems quite surprising - Do You Challenge Queue-Jumpers and Line-Cutters?

Social Networking In Higher Education


Social networking is still part of the hype cycle of educational technology tools. And for good reason. Involvement in a network can be a surprising waste of time... and a surprisingly effective way to learn.

Social Networking in higher education looks at various common tools like Facebook and Twitter, and concludes "We're incredibly excited about the things we can do in online and distance education with social networking..."

As is often the case, the real story is where the action isn't. It's where the action will be. And I see that as the methods and approaches that we use to design curriculum, education, and our institutions. How long do we explore new tools and concepts until we are forced to consider the very spaces in which they occur?

The Dominance Of The Elite?


Gerry McGovern writes: "Web 2.0 is part of the shift away from the dominance of the elite to the innovation of the collective."

The statement is accurate in principle but false in practice. People still like to be individuals. Sites like (remember the vision of hundreds of academics writing a textbook together? Yeah, well, that kinda bombed) indicate the value of individuality.

There is enormous value in building on the work of others, in creating together. But the experience has to preserve the individual. The collective is not a space of innovation. Individuals who are networked and building on each others idea is what drives innovation.

The collective can enact the innovation, but not create it.

Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies


I was sure I had mentioned this project before - Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies. However, I can't find record of it. So, rather than ignore this valuable resource (put together by Curt Bonk and a global group), I'll risk linking more than once :).

The last year has brought about a tremendous surge in interest in emerging technologies. I don't fully understand why. What's different this year than in the previous 8? Oh well, whatever it is, resources like the one listed above will become increasingly valuable as more educators discover the opportunities of extending interaction and content creation to the network.

Photo credits:
Internet Optimists And Pessimists - Zach
The Future Of Search - Google
Multimedia Design - The University of Nottingham
What If It Really Does All Change? - Dzmitry Stankevich
For The Brain, Remembering Is Like Reliving - Marc Dietrich
Do You Challenge Queue-Jumpers and Line-Cutters? - Tom Mc Nemar
Social Networking In Higher Education - Marc Dietrich
The Dominance Of The Elite? - topalov
Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies - WELT

Originally written by George Siemens for elearnspace and first published on September 11th 2008 as weekly email digest on 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".

George Siemens -
Reference: eLearnSpace [ Read more ]
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posted by Daniele Bazzano on Saturday, September 13 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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