Alex Hayes invited me to give a talk to the Open Training and Education Network (OTEN) and the Centre for Learning Innovation (CLI) at Strathfield on Thursday. I thought it went pretty well. I rattled on for about an hour about where I think the Internet is going, free and open source software and the Creative Commons, Web 2.0 technologies and trends, ideas on networked learning, and plenty of opinion and outspoken remarks about learning management system based work, learning object production, repositories, digital rights management, and the like. After I finished, the polite crowd then went into an hour long discussion about it all, with some of the most insightful comments I have yet heard from an audience asked to endure my dissing.

Alex is a new face in at the CLI and he is there to research and develop mLearning. He brought me in to talk about Web 2 and the possible convergences with mLearning. Alex and I have talked about this before, and I believe it even more now – web 2.0 is mLearning!

When you think about it, the opportunity to move everything you do, say and learn to web based applications, without needing to open a single desktop application (but for a browser), basically means that a person invested in such practices is very mobile and flexible indeed. All that person really needs is an Inter-networked connection to a device with a browser, and away they go. That device could be a crappy desktop PC in a back room of a forgotten Internet/Gaming cafe, or a free community WiFi connection for their on PDA while sitting in the church grounds over looking the city. The thin client/web application/WiFi era has arrived, and this should spell out some clear directions for mLearning.

But back to the talk with OTEN and CLI. I have to hand it to them, even though what I had to say and show directly challenges a lot of the work being done there, from what I could tell that did not result in a backlash or overly defensive behaviour at all. Perhaps they’d heard all this before and just needed a catalyst within their organisation, but I think that their open minded consideration of the ideas is a sign of a some-what healthy organisation, and an indication that changes may be possible – to embrace the read write web, and ideas like open networked learning. Unfortunately, not many people stayed behind to introduce themselves and invite me into projects, but Alex assures me that an impression was made, and the ideas are amongst them at least.

So good luck CLI, I will be watching with keen interest to see what projects you get up this year.

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