Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, May 26, 2008

Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media: An Opinionated Digest by George Siemens - May. 26 08

Understanding new technologies, media and the emerging social media panorama takes more than just a subscription to Wired or having a page on MySpace or Facebook. The real learning, as I often say, comes from exploration. You really need to go out and try out what it means to network with like minded people, share your best online discoveries and publish your ideas for others to learn from.

Photo credit: Linda Bucklin

And, this is what George Siemens does by bringing you back insightful pointers, innovative viewpoints and new perspectives over the fast-changing panorama of new media and technologies.

To learn more about it, here his weekly digest:




New York Times Embraces Link Journalism

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Teaching and learning as traditionally presented in the classroom is managed from a fairly singular perspective - the educator's. Sure, books and readings provide different viewpoints, but often these were also selected by the educator.

Perhaps the most significant contribution the web has made to society - outside of providing increased access to information - is the forced consideration of perspectives and opinions outside of our own. While we might not always take advantage of it, each link is a simple access point to a new perspective.

We can build echo chambers if we so desire, but the ability to encounter random views and perspectives is valuable and worth pursuing in its own right. A similar occurrence in traditional media: New York Times Embraces Link Journalism: "In a traditional newspaper article, all of these facts and analysis would have been synthesized, but the reader wouldn't have had the opportunity to read for themselves the source material. This post does what journalism is supposed to do -- empower people with facts, understanding, and perspective about important issues."

Why Traditional Advertising Formats Fail On The Web


I've been largely conditioned to ignore advertisements online. Flashing banners are mildly irritating. However, when I'm looking for information through search or reading an article, I find ads valuable. The often direct me to resources I'm already interested in finding. Other media separates ads from intent. Online advertising that works blends intent and ads. That's why Google has succeeded so well with its context-relevant approach. Why Traditional Advertising Formats Fail On The Web:

"...most online advertising creates NO value for consumers.

Search advertising, because it is relevant to what users are already searching for, creates enormous value. But the search advertising is largely about helping people buy what they already know they want."

The Tyranny of Content


I was presenting to a group in Niagara Falls last week, and made the point that "curriculum is the least valuable part of our education system". After the talk, an individual approached me and said he was quite upset with my comment. He said curriculum was both a product and a process and cited Grundy in this regard. And he was right.

My concern is that most people see curriculum as content - as a book on the shelf or a binder of course notes. The process aspect of curriculum is not one that many educators consider. So, I should have said "content" instead of "curriculum". Next time :).

But on the subject of content - The Tyranny of Content " Of course, the scientists were worried that they need to cover a certain amount of material during each quarter.

I pointed out that they're being fearful, that they've fallen prey to what more progressive practitioners have called "the tyranny of content." That they need to be teaching students to learn, not stuffing their brains full of facts that they'll promptly forget immediately after the third "midterm.""

Over 2300 Learning Tools


Jane Hart at Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies has been putting together a list of learning tools and technologies. Her directory now includes over 2300 tools.

Great place for educators, marketers, people who are randomly bored, to get some new ideas and approaches to teaching and communicating. Jane has split the tools out in "free" and "non-free" categories.

McMaster and Lulu


This is interesting - McMaster University is involved in one of the fine "old book digitization" projects popularized by Google and duplicated by Microsoft. McMaster University Library is taking a slightly different approach. In addition to digitization, the books can be purchased through the print-on-demand service Lulu.

eLearning Africa


On Monday, I leave for eLearning Africa in Accra, Ghana. I'm looking forward to gaining a better perspective of what's occurring with learning and technology in other areas of the world. In a recent presentation, Sugata Mitra suggested the impact of learning technologies is more pronounced in areas of the world where access has previously been very limited. Opportunities to improve quality of life are significant in these developing countries. While I am presenting on "A Narrative of Learning for a World Without Boundaries" (short interview based on the presentation is here), I'm most looking forward to my role as a learner...

Modeling collaboration: Researching Professional Development and Learners Needs pus.gif

As part of our online conference - Shaping our Future, Heather Kanuka and I will be presenting later this morning on Modeling collaboration: Researching professional development and learners needs. The live presentation can be accessed here (no fee) beginning at 11:00 am CST.

A Seismic Shift in Epistemology


The idea is important but the execution is flawed and a bit delayed: A Seismic Shift in Epistemology

"The epistemology that leads to validity of knowledge in Web 2.0 media such as Wikipedia is peer-review from people seen, by the community of contributors, as having unbiased perspectives."

I have rather significant issues with how epistemology, consensus, and knowledge are treated in this article. I'm not fully convinced knowledge is collectively created. By my definition, most of what the author treats as knowledge is more like information. And if the discussion is primarily about information, epistemology as used does not apply either.

So, I'm conflicted. I like the distinction the author tries to make, but due to fundamental disagreements in how information, knowledge, and epistemology are treated, the article is more of an entrance into the conversation than one that can be used to shape the larger discourse. As is often the case, we can find a better more complete effort addressing the subject in the edublog space, in this case, Stephen Downes' Connective Knowledge article.

Assuming Too Much...


It's easy to get immersed in new technologies and lose sight of the reality for most people. While I may blog, twitter, flickr, skype, second life, etc., most people do not. Even at academic conferences, the adoption of technology is limited. Or non-existent.

A small percentage of the population actually uses these tools. This number is growing, but to date, the hype exceeds the reality. I see it a bit like the stock market. When a company is vastly overvalued, due to hype, it is a function of the future potential investors are betting on. The hype of educational technology is the equivalent. We are betting on the transformative aspect of participative tools...

A short article addressing this hype theme - Assuming too much about the web we know:

"It's too easy to start making assumptions - assumptions about general awareness, about the number of people who really know what's happening in "our" online world. Viewed from the comfort of our living room, bookmarked pages and social circles, the Web looks pretty small and awareness looks pretty big. It's too easy to assume that people have heard about the tools and sites we use everyday. But they haven't. In real terms, no one has."


Originally written by George Siemens and published as weekly email digest on eLearning Resources and News. First published on May 25th 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 Blog [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Monday, May 26 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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