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William Lucas is a colleague at Otago Polytechnic. He teaches English to Adult migrants, and is the first social web contact I made at Otago. He and I share a serious concern for peak oil and often wonder what we should do in preparation for increasing economic and resource pressures down here in Dunedin…

William dropped off a CD copy of Robert Newman’s History of Oil today…

Now I’m recommending it to everyone here 🙂

At first, I didn’t know what to make of it… William noted that he was very funny… but at first I thought this guy wasn’t funny at all, boring, rapid fire, monotone,… what was William talking about… but I muted the useless TV (dunno why we bought that thing), put on my headphones and concentrated…

This guy is hilarious! All I had to do was tune in.. after that, I was absorbed.. and that’s a sign of a good performer in my books. But he’s more than a performer, he’s performance is a lecture, a call to action, an awakening, a very interesting point of view…

In the void that is the absence of anything sensible otherwise – Robert Newman offers very thought provoking and hard to ignore 100 mile an hour perspectives on the state of affairs in global politics, resource wars and depletion. But with a unique angle of comedy (for these topics anyway).

Well worth a watch. Up there with Zeitgeist, only better I reckon. Certainly better than the crap on your TV…

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Ken Burgin from Profitable Hospitality just posted a useful heads up to the Tourism and Hospitality Education Network this time to the Jing Project from Techsmith. Tis worth watching their video tour, though it didn’t stream down too well for me – dunno why they wouldn’t post it on Youtube and see it spread faster..? When I saw this, I thought back to the communication I was having with Techsmith back in October 2005. I haven’t found any attribution to me and the ideas I was conveying to them there.. maybe they’ve never heard of Creative Commons or maybe talking to me was so long ago and the Jing Project has come a long way since.. oh well. At any rate, it looks like a pretty neat little application.. if only I could post the recordings to Youtube and other video sites as well as their own…

Personally, I think I’ll stick with my tried and true method for creating and publishing screenrecordings.

  1. Camstudio (free and open source for Windows) for the screenrecording
  2. ScreenHunter to quickly grab stills out of the video and make a print version
  3. Videora or SuperC to compress the video for Internet
  4. Hey!Spread to distribute the video across multiple video hosting services

You can catch examples of my work at http://screencasting.blogspot.com (not all of them have the print out extras though)

Bill Kerr has begun what I hope will be an ongoing critique of Web2 in the more thorough and thoughtful BK way. Unlike the rise of general and non specific criticisms of the idea of Web2 that seems to have been emboldened by Keen’s book and attention, Bill manages to articulate his critique without calling a class of people monkeys.

It’s better that everyone has their own interactive medium and chaos reigns, than the alternative of Big Media or traditional School alone. If we want radical change in the media and education then there is no alternative but to go through chaos. “Web 2.0” won’t change School dramatically if it doesn’t also change society dramatically.

Bill then goes on to peg expertise as the more important question facing Web2. Personally I’m not so sure. As Weinberger points out, there’s plenty of room in the read/write web for experts to flourish, arguing that the popularity of web2 makes it harder to find experts doesn’t fit. The mistake that the critics seem to be making is persistently seeing web2 as one massive thing. Its a bit like saying Youtube is hopeless because its full of teenagers exploding soda and bikini this bikini that… some people see value in that for many reasons, and who knows what expertise that might lead to. But even if Youtube seems to be flooded with silly stuff, that has no impact what so ever on my Youtube experience, simply because I’m not much of a browser of Youtube. Personally my Youtube experience has nothing to do with Youtube as a whole, my Youtube experience is made up of recommendations from experts I already trust.

I don’t know if my attempt to explain why thousands or millions doesn’t equal nothing, or even if Youtube was a good example, but its enough to say that Weinberger, no! Benkler is more of an expert than I am.. I’m just doing my bit at pointing him out and helping Google help those who remain blinded by the massiveness.

I finally made it up to Dave Wiley in my terribly over crowded news reader… only to be let down by him 😦 I found a volley of blogged considerations and thoughts going on over at Dave’s blog (all these links so far) about the very same issues with Share Alike restrictions that I attempted to raise with the same network more than 2 months ago.

I blogged about it, I argued til blue in the face with the Wikiversity, Wikieducator and TALO crowd, I emailed and commented in on Dave asking for his thoughts on the issue as I prepared the article, I even spoke about these concerns at the same conference on the same day as David. But somehow all this has missed his valuable commentary, nor have any of the comments to David’s recently expressed concerns about the Share Alike license referred to my work on the issue… these are my peers, the ones I like to think I am connected to in some way, clearly the issue interests them – just not when they are raised by me…  its about now that I sink into a state of pathetic, self loathing depression as I realise I truly am just a raving ozzy living with a bunch of non plussed kiwis, and that I’m doomed to talk to myself and go crazy hermit doing so.

I’m an outsider, alienated, incomprehensible, irrelevant and dismissed by the ones I respect the most, and remembered for the contributions I like least.

It just occurred to me that Second Life is a bit like playing Barbie Dolls… admit it! you played and dressed up Barbie just as much as your little sister!

Not much in that really – replace Barbie with lego, or Gi Jo or any other little extension of your mind’s space if you’re a little sensitive to the connotations of Barbie. I suspect it has already been talked about at length already.. I haven’t looked yet, just logging it here for now…

This is not intended as a put down to SL – exactly the opposite actually. Must look into the possible connection and what playing through such objects has to offer our ideas about learning… clearly, playing with dolls offers a lot for kids, and more and more I wonder just how different adult education is or isn’t..

I’m having a great old time with Slideshare’s new audio synch feature. Have been reviving old presentations from 2005. Here’s ye old Networked Learning with a nice soundtrack from Melissa Welch.

Slideshare just became the killer app for teachers! Synchronised audio with slides!! Thanks Alan for the heads up.

For example:

Google alerted me to a new connection the other day. This time it is US linguist and edu blogger Mike Caulfield. Mike’s post that sent a Google Alert to me was about his discovery of a ring of others criticising the Learning Management System. Apart from being interesting to see what Mike makes of his discovery of our little network of LMS nay saying, he links out to a very interesting perpective he has on why the LMS is no good:

So it’s no surprise that the modern LMS developed under what I would call a “container model”.  We “upload files to” it. We have discussions “in” it. And if the “outside world” needs to see something “in there”, we give them “access”.

And the students? Well, they’re “in there” too. At least the piece of the student that belongs to that class is. You know, the English major slice. The part of the student that is a science minor is in another box, and the part of a student that is looking for a job or hanging out with friends doesn’t have a box at all.

So here’s one of the paradoxes of HASA-based LMS systems:  they follow the grain of of our thought, and at the same time they profoundly fracture our experience. The unintentional message of the HASA LMS is what goes on in class stays in class — that it is seperated zoologically from the personal and the professional aspects of a students character.

Its great to have Mike in the loop now. I’m going to enjoy reading what else he discovers in our footprints, and enjoy more his linguistic takes on the LMS and other things!

Welcome Mike 🙂

Thanks to Artichoke and Rose for the heads up to what is for me absolutely hands down, one of the best presentations about connected knowledge I have seen in a long time.
Serendipity 2.0: Missing Third Places of Learning – Teemu Arina

[Someday Sunshine and I will find our way to Finland and everything will be ok…]

I thoroughly recommend watching the 30 minute screenrecording of the presentation. Not only is it a fascinating and refreshing perspective on the ideas of connected knowledge, the images and even the accent will make it fascinating.

Thanks to Teemu for putting so much work into it, for communicating to me in the only language I can understand, and for giving me more access to the kind of thinking going on in Finland.

This is high order stuff for me.. and while I enjoy being in that space – I watched this in work time, research. All the way through I was trying to relate the observations and ideas into my own context. Adult education and training, mostly with vocational goals. Teemu showed at least 2 very thought provoking examples of projects applying his line of thinking. One of which was Network Oasis.

netWork Oasis is a collaborative working, learning and development environment. It is a space designed to inspire spontaneous and guided encounters of different individuals. Versatile environment welcomes actors, specialists and groups from various companies, research and development organizations and communities. Billing is based on the actual logged usage of the facilities. The price includes all 1200 m2 of space and services. Laptop and a cell phone are the only necessary tools for working – Internet, printers etc. are provided by the services.

That is something I can look at more closely and see how solid I can get the concepts before testing them out here, in lil old Dunedin…

Teemu finished his presentation with these questions:

  • What does it extend?
  • What does it make obsolete?
  • What is retrieved?
  • What does it reverse into, if over-extended?

My attempt to answer them in my own vocational education and training context before I’ve had any time to reflect on them:

What does connected knowledge technology extend in vocational education and training?

The ability of a business, company or organisation to service the education and training needs of itself, through informal learning models, but facilitated through technologies. In saying that however, some sectors will be a long time coming compared to others. Office work and organisational work and the like could be the first – already having the sorts of technology available to them, and being the closest to being conceptually ready to adopt these methods. Trades and industry maybe some of the last cabs off the rank, if at all as many have very little access to the types of technology available now to connect knowledge, or the media literacy levels available to make the most of it. I could (and hope I am) be wrong about this though. The hospitality and service sectors are an interesting possibility… but I’m aware that Teemu is pushing me to think for more informally and less compartmentalised with knowledge and skills development… I am, its just hard.. community building within and across sectors maybe a way to establish fertile ground for connected learning.

What does connected knowledge make obsolete in vocational training and education?

Well, if informal and networked learning models became popular and successful for workbased learning initiatives, vocational education and training services could become a lot more unnecessary. Within the voc ed service sector itself, traditional curriculum will slowly dissolve into more integrated and relevant micro learning, with holistic learning principles and ethics being left to … dunno what…

What is retrieved in connected knowledge models for vocational education and training.

I think the apprenticeship model will become the familiar vehicle to promote connected learning. Only the master will be a distributed role over a network, or local community of learners or trades association.

What will be lost or what will be the negative if we go too far with connected learning practices?

We disrupt local knowledge workers at a pace, rate and philosophy that alienates them even though they are or would be valuable to this new practice. We risk adverse affects of assessing and awarding approval to practice when skills or experience are not as good as thought (but the social and open learning should counter this). We get caught up in techno futurism and loose site of many current and historical issues that need to be delt with. And we think in terms of data or ethics that are foreign to our number 1 learning space – family and local community…

Janet Hawtin in TALO sent through URLs to the slides of a workshop for the Education Network Australia by Ken Price…

Web 2.0 and education: best friends or worst enemies

[seems there are still many people in our “leading” education agencies still waking up to this Web2 thing while some of the “early adopters” start pulling each other apart Keen style.]

Ken’s presentation is a good overview. Does the usual (but necessary) overkill-to-hammer-the-point-home on the many many useful tools out there, but more importantly he posits a few questions and considerations… nothing too heady… nothing that questions the very fabric of education and the like.. just everyday questions for everyday people getting by day by day.

About half way through he posits the idea that schools go through 5 stages when presented with a technology:

  1. Some online tool becomes available freely available
  2. Students use it at home and school
  3. Some educators may (validly or otherwise) see this tool as a threat. They respond by restricting, renouncing or simply banning it.
  4. Tool becomes widespread in wider community (Gladwell’s Tipping Point reached?). Student use or expectation reaches critical mass, education sees its potential and the need to provide it securely
  5. Education responds with a secure and manageable replacement… And everyone breathes a sigh of relief….

Now, I’m not sure if Ken was hinting at something there with that last line ending in a … , and later in the presentation it becomes a little clearer, but I’m personally not feeling clear enough on this…

It does appear in education to be the common road to take – responding with a “secure and manageable replacement”. Why is that the default, and why am I the only one who continues to take issue with that?

Ken shows a long long list of free web based tools with examples of their uses (as we all do). I didn’t see any “secure, manageable, replacements” in his list, and I certainly can’t imagine a school, or even a centrally controlled agency of the State like EdNA or Department of Ed successfully “managing a secure replacement”. The only example I can think of is email, (I won’t even acknowledge the arsed up attempts with LMS and SharePoint!) and even email is going back the other way as we all start adopting gMail accounts for the better functionality than the State email provides. I know for sure that if they did try and provide a manageable and secure replacement, it’d take so long to get through, and be so crippled and unpopular by the end of the process, (the millions of dollars spent by NSW on webservices anyone? check the history, what a flop!) that it could never even hope to be web2 (needing popular participation and all!). What is this security we keep noding to as though we all know what it is? Is it a mish mash of network computer security and duty of care? I reckon its the terrorism we all know is waiting at every airport and bus stop… fear – paralysing fear.

Ken does list risks later on though… are these the things he/we refer to when we say secure?

  •  Where is your data?
  •  Who else can get to it?
  •  Does the application encourage inappropriate use?
  • What happens if the service provider has technical problems, goes out of business?
  • Usernames and passwords – how to manage them all?
  • Security risk if you use same username/pwd as on your own systems? Need for different levels of password
  • Data volume and bandwidth requirements

These are risks, some of them I think we just need to get over really, but all of them have a range of management strategies possible in the practice of Web2 before we expect our underpaid, and over worked IT managers to provide a “manageable and secure replacement” – that by the way, should be as cool and popular as all the web2 tools we are already using…

Poor guy, by the time he gets through all the red tape to get a project going that simply investigates this web2 thing (because he hasn’t found time to keep on top of the RSS feeds the past 3 years), the deal he’s been negotiating with Microsoft Sharepoint, Elluminate and Blackboard over the past few years has finally started to look possible… and by the time he gets all his staff up to speed with this Web2 bubble, it will have tp’d off to the Second Life and virtual worlds crew who will have figured out a way to integrate Web2 with Web3D and the 2nd wave teachers watching Ken will be asking for a “manageable and secure version” of Web3D too!

Ken’s presentation is worth looking at. Its nicely self contained so you don’t feel like you need him there to talk you through it. It raises some good questions – perhaps tries to answer them too much, and covers a good range of issues for schools to be thinking about.. while the rest of us think about how to get those issues out of schools.