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William Lucas, a language teacher here at Otago Polytechnic has been experimenting with chatbots for language tuition. I popped around yesterday and spun me out with JabberWacky and sat back with a grin watching me talk to a robot.

Amazingly, William’s class has already taught a robot what the capital of New Zealand is, it even asks back the same question in a variety of ways.

I’m impressed with William’s adoption of the tool – normally thought of a spammer device – now as a language tuition device. Highly recommend watching the ABC video on it.

Related to this is what Peter Enderby points out in the Tourism Hospitality network. A 3D rendered animation that speaks the news aggregated from leading news sources, then pops out to other characters to read out blog posts like in the filed journalists! Again, well worth watching the video yo fully comprehend this. this technology could just as easily replace a teacher on many levels!!

News At Seven screenshot

News At Seven is a system that automatically generates a virtual news show. Totally autonomous, it collects, parses, edits and organizes news stories and then passes the formatted content to an artificial anchor for presentation. Using the resources present on the web, the system goes beyond the straight text of the news stories to also retrieve relevant images and blogs with commentary on the topics to be presented.


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Another inspiring post from Artichoke, giving me yet another great reason to go to Brazil next year – to meet Ricardo Semler. A man enacting a concept that is only just now unfolding for me. Democratic schools and industry. Semler has founded a democratic school called Escola Lumiar in Sao Paulo.

Lumiar International School is testing the new concepts building a space of socially mixed classes, freedom and democracy as the grounds for the formation of the balanced citizen, the individual able to learn how to learn, to take responsibility for his/her own choices and to determine the course and scope of his/her education. As equal members of a democratic community, the students are actively involved in the events of daily life.

I think I could find more ideas for the Stepping out from under the umbrellas idea for training sector reform.

And this video depicts a new school in the US.

Thanks Sean FitzGerald for finding it in our long lost email exchanges…

and this from the Australian Catholic System:

Talks about 24hr school
related video http://heyjude.blip.tv/file/92772

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Wikiversity is taking votes for their logo. This is the only one I would wear on a t-shirt. The others look like some polluted snow flake or something. Make sure you cast a vote – a. to show your support for wikiversity, b. to make sure the better logo wins 🙂

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Stanley makes a good summary of his thoughts out of Global Summit, and is hopefully going to articulate something of an ecological perspective towards learning sometime soon.

He points out the common interpretation people are taking away from the teaching is dead idea, the feeling that perhaps I meant to say teaching is dead, long live teaching. Unfortunately that is quite the opposite to what I should have said, but I accept that by using correlations with “painting is dead, long live painting” I have perhaps mislead people in my thinking about teaching.

Imagine a paragraph about teaching and learning, but without the word and concept of teacher/ing. I think by calling it ““teaching is dead, long live learning”” I mean to point out that learning occurs without teaching. Basically reinforce Illich and many other’s who say that most if not all of our learning does or can occur outside the power of Teaching. Many people talk about the need for teachers to become learners again, in an effort to fit them in with this new age. To that I would respond and say, the day teachers stop being learners is the day they can no longer be teachers.

So what good is the concept of teaching? Is it not enough to simply work with the idea of learning? Where some learners are in a temporary position to assist other learners. Or more importantly, what do we loose by ceasing to use the word teacher? Does the meaning or interpretation of my blog change if I were to call it simply Learning Online? Can’t the teaching bit just be implicit?

What I am trying to say I think is that by ditinguishing the concept of teaching as a practice that is different to learning, we straight away break the the process of learning. By identifying someone as a teacher and another as a learner – there, it is broken. The practice of teaching still exists of course, but it is no longer the full time, entitled practice we give it today. The teacher is gone, replaced by a learner.

This would work well in a research organisation, where the practice of research (learning) is directly connected with the practice of showing others what is being learned. What we end up with then, is a progression of learning where teaching is absorbed as a small event used for learning. Basic knowledge and skills are demonstrated and mentored by those working intermediately, and intermediate learners learn from advanced learners.

teaching is simply a part of learning. Such a small part, or such an everywhere occurrence that it is barely worth mentioning.

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Slides with full audio recorded from global summit

The word realpolitik makes me picture this man.

John Connell used ‘realpolitik’ to criticise my talk and perspective, teaching is dead – long live learning. I appreciate the criticism actually, John recommends further reading for me, and makes me perhaps realise that I didn’t speak enough about the ‘real’ work I do within an institution.

John writes:

…but loathing is not in itself enough to make a difference to the inertia that resides in the structures and processes that make up most state education systems around the world. He is right, absolutely, that Illich’s notion of the Learning Web was created more than a generation before the maturation of the technology that now makes his vision achievable, but he shares Illich’’s inability, ultimately, to engage with the real political and institutional issues that would make a difference.

So to say I am not engaged with institutional issues is ignoring what I am outside the talk. I wish I had of pointed to it more. It is true that back at Otago Polytechnic my points are tempered somewhat, but the principles and ideals remain the same. I am searching for ways to deschool inside my organisation, so what is this realpolitik John is refering to? Is it simply power politics?

If I hold onto the principles and ideals that John has philosophicalal and emotional sympathy for, AND I stick to coming up with ideas for it in my work inside an institution, what is missing? I’d point to my ideas evolving in the posts Out from under the umbrellas and what would it be like to be the rain. They are ideas that I am reasonably comfortable with philosophically, and they are ideas I am really working on at Otago Politechnic. I hope John will make comment on those ideas.


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I’m quite relieved to have finished my talk. Seemed to go well, great that Education.au are audio recording and publishing as we go too. Unfortunately the main access to the files is through EdNA groups – which requires a user name and password 😦 but a little birdy showed me where the media is being stored wide open. Here’s a feed coming out of the bloggers of the conference.

Here’s some recordings I can see in the open media list so far:
My talk
Doug Brown
George Siemens
Robert Cailliau
Robert Cappie Wood

So that’s day one over. I’ve meet some pretty cool and inspiring people.
I switched on fella from education au by the name of Mike Seyfang
. And another edu blogging teacher from South Australia who I’ve forgotten the name and link but will track down and put here later. And Greg Whitby of the 24hr open school fame – as discussed in TALO recently. Here’s a link to a video I recorded of Greg talking about his work with Catholic Schools in NSW.

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Andrew Cappie Wood, Director General of the NSW Department of unEducation is up on stage to start us off.
I’m as bored as I could possibly be, holding back the urge to shout out at every corner of talk about centralised provision, managed learning, oh boy… but if I drop my eyes down from Cappie, about 5 yards in front of me is Greg Whitby, executive director of schools in the Parramatta diocese. You know – that 24 hour school:

The traditional classroom concept will disappear, replaced by “learning spaces”. The school will be referred to as a “learning community” and teachers will be known as “learning advisers”, Mr Whitby said. “The walls of a classroom become redundant because students are able to access real-time, any-time learning.”

I was going to try and get ou to the school and see if I could grab a quick interview. But Greg is here and I’ll be very interested to hear his views of NSW D(u)ET.

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So! here we are, at the very fancy Shangri-La Hotel under the coat hanger in Sydney, for Education.au’s Global Summit. Sunshine went to dinner and sat next to George Siemens and Charles Jennings. We had a long awaited discussion about ye old LMS, and I got to flex my work in progress, out from under the umbrellas/what would it be like to be the rain.

I must say I’m quite intimidated by this Summit. The list of people coming is mostly big wigs and policy makers, in a 5 star setting, with high caliber speakers. What am I doing here!

I put teaching is dead up quite some time ago – hoping for more suggestions and feedback. Its been so long that it feels like old hat by the time I get up, and I’ve been so distracted by other events in the lead up to this that I haven’t had much time to think about it more fully. But, to hell with it! I’ll just have to get up and blurt it out in the usual scorched earth, Leigh Blackall fashion.

Here’s the teaching is dead slides into a video on Blip.tv, and YouTube, slides on flickr and bubbleshare.

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So I’m back in Australia, sitting in a friends house in the Blue Mountains, looking out his window over the National Park, watching the mist roll on by, contemplating an image I might use for a talk at the Global Summit. ‘bloip’ goes skype as a Stephan messages me a link to that only-good-for-fire-starting rag, The Sydney Morning Herald.

Vandalism and Violence on You Tube – by Catherine Munro

PARENTS are being warned to monitor their children’s viewing of YouTube, the hugely popular video site that is carrying scenes of teenage violence and vandalism…

…Fighting in Australian schools also features, along with demonstrations of how to spray graffiti on the outside of moving trains.

The site was impossible to access at public schools, an Education Department spokesman said…

…Adolescence psychologist (sic) Michael Carr-Gregg said the craze threatened to encourage copycat behaviour and urged all schools to ban the use of camera phones…

…”It’s nasty stuff,” Dr Carr-Gregg told The Sun-Herald. “I have seen some stuff which involved girls kicking each other on the ground, which made me want to vomit. In the background you can hear the person shouting ‘I’ve got it’ as they film.”…

…The massive price Google paid for YouTube reflects how keen IT players are to shore up access to the millions of people who access the site every day…

…But the so-called “new media” is proving difficult to regulate…

…”No reform package can stop the migration of consumers from traditional media into more exciting and more flexible formats,” Mr Berg wrote.

Not a scrap of concern as to the evidence of violence in schools, not a mention. Just a dull attack at the “so called new media” from a mysterious Cat Munroe – a few seconds of searching didn’t turn her up, she probably doesn’t even exist – just a name to pin press releases from the NSW Department of Uneducation to. I feel sorry for Michael Carr-Gregg though, in the absence of Cat, he’s the next in line – and an easy target at that. Knowing how anonymous rag news works, they probably quoted Carr-Greg out of context… surely a doctor wouldn’t be so narrow minded!

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