Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media: An Opinionated Digest by George Siemens - Mar.15 08

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Learning better, understanding deeper, finding new ways to share and educate others are some of the key focus areas George Siemens takes us to during this weekly digest of interesting bits, news, tools and resources he collects and introduces in his daily blog posts.

Photo credit: Artzone

In this week highlights, George picks a wide horizon of interesting stories, new announcements and issues you may not have been able to catch during the past seven days.

If you are interested in seeing how the world of education, knowledge management, collaboration and media technologies converge and cross-pollinate each other, this may be a good starting point.


Downes Presentations


I'm a bit behind in listening to Stephen Downes' presentations - here are a few recent sessions:

Learning 2050 (audio) - good discussion of the importance of everyone contributing to the creative act...and how learning is the aggregation of the creative activities of others. Jeff Utecht also emphasizes the importance of not just consuming content but actively producing it.

...and Personal Learning

Peer Review via Blogs?


I've posted before on the unfortunately narrow view some (Latin for "most") educators have of peer review (and the accompanying angst of non-traditional peer review).

While expert, blind peer review will obviously continue be a primary mode of assessing ideas and research, informal and developmental review can be achieved through social web tools. The Wired Campus has a short article on a professor experimenting with blogs as a formative peer review process.

More than 100 Free Places to Learn Online - and Counting


Great resource
, providing a sampling of how much learning material is available for informal and formal learning: More than 100 Free Places to Learn Online - and Counting

New Technology: Speaking without, well, Speaking


Techchrunch linked to this interesting innovation on speaking without voice. My first reaction - that can't be real.

But, it comes from a fairly reputable source, we're a few weeks away from April 1, so I conclude it must be true. Basically, we don't need to audibly speak to broadcast our voice. Our thoughts being vocalized without vocal cords - it's thought controlled (watch the short video to see how it works). Given the nature of some of my thoughts during meetings, I don't think it's an innovation I'd like to adopt :).

Conferences Connections: Rewiring the Circuit


Conferences are changing rapidly...a few years ago I was struggling to get wireless access at a conference, and now Twitter, Second Life, blogs, wikis, and podcasts abound. The keynote is not king.

Royalty is found - as seen by cult-like conferences such as Northern Voice - in the connections formed with colleagues and friends. Peter Tittenberger, Terry Anderson, and I recently published an article with EDUCAUSE on the theme of changing conferences: Conference Connections: Rewiring the Circuit

The Year the Audience Keynoted


I'm somewhat torn on this: The year the audience keynoted. Background: while interviewing Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Sarah Lacey didn't ask the questions audience members found interesting.

As such, they essentially took over the interview. Much of the criticism is directed at Sarah, which I think is unfair. It takes effort (courage??) to get in front of a large group of people and conduct an interview.

To chastise her for "not doing a good job" seems unfair. It's easy to have off days - I have many presentations I would like to go back and do again. The real issue here is that conference organizers failed to acknowledge the talent and interest of the audience.

The problem resides with organizers, not the interviewer. Unfortunately this is being cast as a "mob rule" situation, which is only partly true. It's really about failed expectations.



Great resource - 19.20.21 - on how society has changed and will continue to change in urbanization. And note where the majority of the big cities will be located...

Learning Long Distance


Nothing too new in this article - Learning Long Distance. But I link to it not because of what it says (i.e. distance and online education are growing), but rather due to who is saying it.

Considering the source
(University Affairs), it represents a growing understanding of the value of online learning by traditional institutions. Of personal interest, the concluding quote in the article - "Distance education is leading the the transformation of how people teach and how people learn at the university level in advanced economies" - is the key concept as far as I'm concerned.

A first generation view of learning technology is often focused on how it helps the student/employee gain access to learning opportunities. The second generation view needs to be focused on how learning technology changes the institution itself.
(via Downes)

Battles for Souls and Such


Times of transition create mixed messages: User-generated? Expert-reviewed? Open source? Proprietary? While we have been partly taught to think of developments and innovations in light of VHS/Beta-Max or presidential campaigns (i.e. clear winner, clear loser), in the development of wikipedia or open source software, I think this is a false conflict. But the winner/loser thinking still prevails, as exhibited by a recent article, Revenge of the Experts :

"In short, the expert is back.

The revival comes amid mounting demand for a more reliable, bankable Web. "People are beginning to recognize that the world is too dangerous a place for faulty information"".

...and in a slightly related vein:
The Battle for Wikipedia's Soul:

"But Wikipedia is facing an identity crisis as it is torn between two alternative futures. It can either strive to encompass every aspect of human knowledge, no matter how trivial; or it can adopt a more stringent editorial policy and ban articles on trivial subjects, in the hope that this will enhance its reputation as a trustworthy and credible reference source.

These two conflicting visions are at the heart of a bitter struggle inside Wikipedia between "inclusionists", who believe that applying strict editorial criteria will dampen contributors' enthusiasm for the project, and "deletionists" who argue that Wikipedia should be more cautious and selective about its entries."

Photo credits:
Downes Presentations: Stephen Downes
Peer Review via Blogs?: Marcin Balcerzak
More than 100 Free Places to Learn Online - and Counting: Mission to Learn
New Technology: Speaking without, well, Speaking: NewScientistTech
Conferences Connections: Rewiring the Circuit: Educause
The Year the Audience Keynoted: Wired-Underwired
19-20-21: 19-20-21
Learning Long Distance: University Affairs
Battles for Souls and Such: Angel of Magic


Originally written by George Siemens and published as weekly email digest on eLearning Resources and News. First published on March 14th 2008.


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
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posted by Robin Good on Saturday, March 15 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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