Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Media Literacy: Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens - Aug 16 08

Sponsored Links

The more I proceed, the more I see how badly it is needed: media literacy. Understanding what information is, making sense of the different communication paradigms, from interpersonal to mass and social media, the creation of reality and consensus, the role and use of new technologies are all very critical elements of the puzzle we all are trying to solve: Communicating and understanding better the world we live in.

Photo credit: D'Arcy Norman

George Siemens, Master New Media official guest guide on media literacy, not only takes you through another fascinating journey to the issues, tools and content resources that can stretch and bend your present technology and media view, but has also accepted my invitation to be a special guest inside a one-on-one short video interview I will do with him in the coming days.

This is a great opportunity to hear George in first person and to ask him directly the toughest questions you may have. In fact, the best contribution and thank you you can provide to the work he has so kindly contributed here, is for you to add some relevant questions in the comments section at the end of this article, so that I will be able to throw them at him directly in our next week video interview.

Here another fascinating journey into making sense of media and new technologies around you:


eLearning Resources and News

learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends

by George Siemens

Workplace Learning


I try and follow a diverse range of blogs - in particular between academic and corporate environments. For some reason, I have an easier time finding academic blogs. A group of corporate bloggers recently launched a new service that I hope will offer much to correct this imbalance: Workplace Learning Today. A great initiative.

The Future Of Science


What are important directions in science? Michael Nielsen tackles this question in The Future of Science. He considers the importance of openness in science, but provides a useful overview of why academics so often do not share resources and information:

"These failures of science online are all examples where scientists show a surprising reluctance to share knowledge that could be useful to others.

This is ironic, for the value of cultural openness was understood centuries ago by many of the founders of modern science; indeed, the journal system is perhaps the most open system for the transmission of knowledge that could be built with 17th century media...

We should aim to create an open scientific culture where as much information as possible is moved out of people's heads and labs, onto the network, and into tools which can help us structure and filter the information. This means everything - data, scientific opinions, questions, ideas, folk knowledge, workflows, and everything else - the works.

Information not on the network can't do any good. Ideally, we'll achieve a kind of extreme openness."

I applaud the vision. I'm less convinced of the possible reality. Universities are still contributing significantly to development of new knowledge, but corporations are playing a greater and greater role. And Universities are aggressively building commercialization strategies for new inventions/patents. Some knowledge will be open. Much of it will be closed.

Do we end up with a tiered system? Really important (however that's defined) cutting-edge knowledge is closed, the less important stuff is open?

Online Universities


It's a good time to be in education. Especially online education. Numerous factors - multiple careers, distributed workforce, non-sequential learners, fuel prices, convenience, and degree creep - influence growing acceptance of online universities.

The Chronicle comments on a new book evaluating perceptions of online learning:

"Higher education, he said in the interview, needs to take notice and adapt. These days, he said, students are much more likely to have experienced other cultures firsthand, either as tourists or because they have immigrated from someplace else. Whether college for them is a traditional complex of buildings or an interactive online message board, said Mr. Zogby, "there is a different student on campus.""

Sloan-C reported similar results in Online Nation (.pdf). Online learning is gaining acceptance and continuing to experience significant growth.



According to a recent report, Facebook continues its rapid growth, overtaking MySpace. Overall, social networking shows stronger growth than the rest of the internet.

I'm somewhat surprised at Facebook's growth. The company has stumbled significantly and yet continues to gain users.

Much like Microsoft introduced word processing and spreadsheets to non-techies through ease of use (ok, ease of use is debatable) and integration with other tools, Facebook pulls together many previously separate applications into an easy to use platform.

Presentation: Madison


Last week, I was in Madison for the 24th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning. Most conferences I attend have only been around for a few years, so it was rather neat to see a conference with this type of longevity. I discovered a person who rivals Jay Cross' ability to network and know roughly everyone: Curt Bonk. Great conference.

My presentation is available: Connectivism: A vision for education. I'm going to put a new disclaimer on speaking arrangements: I reserve the right to absolutely change the focus of my talk if I find something more relevant than when I put the abstract together six months ago :).

A concept map of the presentation topics is available. As are resources tagged in delicious.

Six Degrees


It's official: just over 40 years after Milgram conducted his famous Six Degrees of Separation experiment, we are once again informed that the world is small. Or, perhaps more accurately, the world is a series of small worlds.

A recent large-scale social network analysis by Microsoft researchers revealed that we are separated from almost anyone else by only about 6.6 hops or connections. The study was confined to instant message interactions.

I've never quite understood the appeal of the six-degrees experiment. Yes, it's cool to know that I can connect with anyone in the world in about six steps. But, then again, with email, I can connect to anyone in the world with one step (assuming they have an email address as well). How many of us are actually introduced to others through six or more connections?

"Hi Jane, this is Bob. My friend Mary knows someone named John who knows someone named Edgar who knows someone name Susan who knows someone name PeggySue who would really like to meet with you."

Does that ever happen? Hasn't happened to me.

Science Dissemination Using Open Access

Get your own - Open publication

Science Dissemination using Open Access is a book I would have liked to encounter before my panel with Curt Bonk on Web 2.0 and Scholarship.

The topics in the book are reflective of the major changes impacting traditional dissemination of research, including tools such as webcasting, Open Journal System, and DSpace. Some parts are a bit soft - such as the discussion on using Google Ads to generate revenue for your journal - but overall, it's a good introduction to open access.

How News Shapes The Way We View The World

This is a fascinating video How the news shapes the way we view the world. The video was posted sometime in March, but the message is interesting. I personally don't fully equate the news we encounter with the way we see the world.

I engage in very limited viewing of traditional news sources. However, for the sake of original reporting, the dramatic reduction of foreign news bureaus is obviously a problem.

But I wonder if William Dutton's notion of the Fifth Estate isn't partly the solution.

Why do we need foreign offices when we can get the information directly from people who are in the situation and can present activities from a non-filtered view. News is changing...but I'm not fully convinced it is entirely for the worse.

Exceptionally well-written articles (especially in investigative journalism) may be under challenge in this model - and that would be a significant loss.

But the numerous other opportunities for people to learn about world events through less centralized means are a significant addition to our potential to remain informed about the world.

On Being Connected


Being connected provides great opportunities. And carries challenges. Some suggest a debilitating aspect to connectivity: "I'm so connected that I'm paralysed!". Others suggest connectivity creates homophily.

Being connected doesn't change human nature by itself. If anything, connectedness holds up a mirror to humanity and provides an image of what really exists.

Connectedness in itself if not capable of solving the broader concerns that assail humanity. But, being able to connected with individuals from around the world can create a new level of complex thought and interaction that gives us a better chance of solving those complex problems...



YouTube appears to the be new metric or determinant of success (i.e. number of hits, presence). Having a YouTube channel is now as necessary as having a blog was 3 or 4 years ago. I was reviewing the new OpenUniversity channel when I came across this link to OpenLearn.

OpenLearn has the ambitious goal of not just making learning resources available, but also providing the tools that enable learners to remix and reuse existing content. An exciting prospect. As we discovered with the web, access is step 1. All the fun stuff happens when we have the ability to create and recreate.


Originally written by George Siemens and published as weekly email digest on eLearning Resources and News. First published on August 15th 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 [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
blog comments powered by Disqus
posted by Giovanni Panasiti on Saturday, August 16 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Search this site for more with 








    Curated by

    New media explorer
    Communication designer


    POP Newsletter

    Robin Good's Newsletter for Professional Online Publishers  



    Real Time Web Analytics