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Ah yes Graham, I share your.. story.
As Alahka puts it in your comments, you can lead a horse to water… or as I have exhaled from time to time, flogging the dead horse that died in the trough!
I think though, it is incentives and time we need to encourage and support those teachers to first use the tools for their own learning. If they can’t do that, then I’m not sure we should be risking their incompetence on the lives of others who are either coerced into their charge, or pay huge fees for their services.
I met Tony Hirst on Facebook. He had made a nice little RSS reader FB application for Open University courses and helped me make one for Otago Polytech. Luckily I grabbed his blog before I ditched FB and all the contacts I had made in it. But I’ve been so slow in keeping up with my reader that I haven’t been watching Tony’s work.. until tonight! Man!! Talk about some tricky mashup! Check out his Yahoo Pipe that effectively turns Yale’s Open Courseware pages that have no RSS, into an RSS feed! I have a new found interest in Pipes. But if you struggle to see the importance of that how-to, check out his How-do-I video search tool! Nice work Tony
I am having trouble getting my comments to appear on Teemu’s blog, so I’ll post them here and perhaps drag other’s into the debate kicking and screaming 🙂
Teemu Leinonen posts an interesting summary of an idea for a presentation at the next Future of Learning in a Networked World non-conference. As an aside, I really like the connection between criminals and FLNW people 🙂 I like that alot in a strange type of way…
In it Teemu re-enters the networks and groups debate positing that networks form groups and that groups learn non formally as apposed to informally and therefore networked learning equals non formal learning. I might have got this wrong, so you better read Teemu’s post and set me straight if I have.. Harold Jarche come’s in on it as well.
If I have the right end of the stick then I wonder, does it follow that networked learning be non-formal? If we take Teemu’s analogy of people who identify as criminals 🙂 They are networked by virtue of their occupation or cultural setting, they network by way of the legal system, the places they frequent, or the people they harass. They group based on common interests and complimentary perspectives within this cultural setting. Some might form a small group around the idea of drug production, others around a robbery, others around gang violence.. etc. It is in this group setting that they form within the network that they learn non formally. It is no longer at this point, networked learning.. The network part is separate to the group part and so is separate from the non formal learning part that Teemu tries to connect with networked learning. Networked learning and non formal learning can appear to be connected if we look at networking . grouping and learning as a sequence, but they are not necessarily… networked learning (and so the informal learning) is more like the hidden curriculum Teemu and others refer to elsewhere. It is the intangibles that emerge from the network or cultural setting. The formation of groups. The grouped, non formal learning is different.
So, for example – the edublogasphere.. is a network of bloggers writing about education. They are networked by virtue of their common use of the Internet and blogs to communicate.. but they are not grouped at this point. They learn from each other still, but it is more distant than in a group or non formal learning process. FLNW is a group that emerged when nodes within that network connected and more strongly bonded to a point where they wanted to meet around a common objective. But the learning that goes on in that group is different to the informal or hidden learning that goes on in the networks. So to imply that networked learning is the same as group or non formal learning is not recognising the difference between a network and a group.
Ah…! here we go again 🙂 it is an interesting discussion and I hope we are all willing to have another belt at it.
I reckon it rests on what we find acceptable to call a network 🙂 I am happy with a network being a largely ungrouped, informal and mostly distant connection between individuals, information, media, groups and other nodes. I suspect that Teemu is not happy with this. I wouldn’t call my group of friends a network, and I recognise the people in FLNW less as a network and more as a group with a different set of benefits to me, mostly friendship!
The pub is another interesting analogy that Teemu makes in the comments to his post. I might go to the pub as an individual for the chance to be around other people and talk about what ever.. the quality of Finnish beer perhaps.. for me at this point as an individual entering the pub, this is a type of networked learning and is very much informal. Later, and maybe after quite a few rounds of Finnish beer I might find myself in a group, learning in a whole different way. Likely (being a Finnish pub, I will find I am with a group if criminals! 🙂
It is the same as if I go to the blogasphere and set up my own blog to talk about education. I don’t really mind who I meet and talk with, all I hope to do is connect nodes of information, ideas, media and even persons for some obscure benefit to something ill-defined.. curiosity. I could happily exist like this for the rest of my time on the blogasphere, or I could reach in further and attempt to make stronger connections and even join or form a group such as FLNW. Through such a group we might develop shared objectives and learning, but at this point the group exists where before it did not. I think this is where the two forms of learning are very different (but equally valid) in one hand we have a networked learning and largely being informal, in the other we have a group learning and largely being non formal.
I think it is important to make this distinction because we are all very used to forms of group and non formal learning like classes and schools, families, and group identities, and very few of us learn how to exist and benefit in a network, and perhaps at times needlessly look for a group to join. I think our lack of appreciation of networked and informal learning is a blind spot in common understandings of learning and education.
This course has 3 elements to its development
- Developers blog that documents content being developed, research in her subject area, and notes on her own professional development.
- Production of instructional media in the form of videos and slide presentations
- Wikieducator development in the form of a course page, resource lists for each topic, and learning activities for each topic.
Progress on the developers blog
http://hortykim.wordpress.com has developed into a personal and humorous account of Kim’s adventures in this project. Clearly Kim has become confident in publishing both video and hypertext to the web and takes pride in her abilities to do so. Kim has kept regular notes on meetings, and development work. Of note is the move from having a media expert in to record and edit instructional videos to her DIY and ‘on the fly’ videos. In my opinion the DIY is ultimately the most sustainable model of content development, involving media skills equivalent to other teacher skills sets such as photo copying and slide presentations.
KT: Focus on designing learning activities for each of the learning objectives in the course and post initial ideas to her blog. Seek out ideas from other teachers, and seek feedback to own ideas
LB: Continue to provide support in teh form of comments and ideas for activities, and instruction on how-to manage publishing of media.
Progress on media production
An extensive collection of video has been produced, ranging from DIY to expert, and covering many of the topics in the course including chainsaw maintenance, pruning fruit trees, weeds management, nomenclature and health and safety. Points of note:
As well as video, some slide presentations have been loaded to Slideshare.net more to follow.
Photos and images continue to be loaded to Flickr with a view to the comment and note features of the Flickr site being used in activities.
LB: List all videos in the resource pages for each learning objective on the wiki
LB: Assist with optimising available presentations ready for loading to Slideshare.
KT: Use videos, slides and photos in learning activities. Keep talking with Leigh about ideas and capture ideas to developer blog
- Hortykim Blip.tv show page
- Videos backed up to the Archive.org
- Presentations on Slideshare.net
- Photos on Flickr
Progress on the Wikieducator
Progress on the Wiki has been on the whole slower than planned. Some concerns from other teachers in the department about how open the course content should be recently caused a sense of uncertainty, and learning activities used by other teachers has been difficult to obtain. This has effectively left one person to gather or create resources and devise learning activities causing progress to be slow. The structure of the course content on the wiki is reasonably complete.
LB: Continue working on the structure to simplify navigation and to place less emphasis on the formal aspects of the content such as the unit pages.
KT: Continue writing up learning activities for each of the objectives, drawing from the resources and add them to the developer blog and/or the wiki
LB: Monitor progress, offer suggestions and help write activities. When all learning objectives have 2 or more learning activities, incorporate them into the course page so as to help simplify navigation.
What follows are notes and to-do lists for the Travel and Tourism course developments here at Otago Polytechnic.
The course has 3 aspects to its development
- Content in the form of activities and lesson plans on Wikieducator
- Course blogs for the presentation of the activities and the communication around them
- Staff blogs for the establishment of online communication skills and industry expertise
Progress on Wiki
The structural design for the wiki is near complete, with usability and visual design commencing this week. Usability and visual design will include:
- Course pages will simplify navigation to resources and activities.
- Wording will be made personalised
- Graphics to enhance attractiveness and offer visual ques for quick reference
- LB: Learning Objective, Resource and Activity subpages need to be created for a number of new course pages.
- HJ: Start writing activity pages for all of the learning objectives. Include aim, activity, resources.
- SC: Conceptualise visual style and graphics for the wiki
- HJ, SC and LB: Wiki pages for courses starting in February must be completed by mid January ready for use in staff training
- Travel and Tourism main page
- Tour Guiding
- Travel Operations
- Conference and Events
- Cook Islands Tourism
- Sustainable Tourism
- Tourism Enterprises
- Adventure Tourism
- Wholesale Tour Operations
- Reception Services
Progress on course blogs
All course blogs have been set up on edublogs.org using the courses listed on the Travel and Tourism main wiki page. Graphics and banners are currently being developed for each. Course blogs must be ready to use before start of Febuary.
- LB: Give Hillary admin access to all blogs
- LB and SC: When course pages on wiki are finished (check with HJ) copy content onto course blog about pages
- HJ: Focus on finishing the course pages in wiki
- SC: To develop a number of banners for each blog for consideration by staff
- Conference and Events
- Tour guiding
- Travel operations
- Cook Islands Tourism
- Sustainable Tourism
- Tourism Enterprises
- Adventure Tourism
- Wholesale tour operations
- Reception services
Progress on staff blogs
4 staff have set up blogs on wordpress and are currently exploring the features and learning how to use them effectively. Some of the staff have set up RSS readers and are starting to check each others blogs and comment in. When blogs start to reach a competent standard, active networking will begin.
- LB: Check in on blogs and offer support
- HJ: Provide incentives to staff blogging
- SE: Continue to support learning
- HJ: Coordinate intensive learning sessions throughouut January and February
So, as I said I would do in my last post, I read the critiques, discussions and reviews of the Cape Town Declaration before actually reading it, and all that did was set me up for utter disappointment. What I expected was a dense and in depth declaration, but what I found turned out to be not much more than 900 word letter to the editor! Sorry if that hits some as a bit harsh, I appreciate the effort, but like Stephen I struggle to see the benefit of it. What it did inspire me to do is check the Wikipedia for any mention of it, and to review the status of the WP entry on OER.. hmm, there’s something the Cape Town think tank could have worked on…
Of course Stephen can’t be the one to ask it, but of the group that was called in to pen the declaration, why was Stephen Downes not one of them? Stephen is on record talking about open education since way back. I see there were some big names included but not our SD! He would have been an extremely valuable (if challenging) addition to the group. But if I know Stephen at all – he probably wouldn’t have accepted the invitation 🙂
So, the Cape Town Declaration – both product and process has let me down… and as if BotheredByBees sensed my disappointment across the Tasman there in Australia, he has posted a link to an article by Ahrash Bissell for the CCLearnin initiative called Towards a Global Learning Commons. It is a fast paced, engaging, and broad reaching article that skims the surface of a number of important issues facing the Open Educational Resource movement.
But I’m equally dismayed that with all its posturing, this article comes to us in PDF only! And a two column one at that!! WTF? Thanks to that, it makes it quite difficult to cut and paste parts of it out or more.. so I won’t bother to speak into it other than to say that it is quite inspirational, touches on a number of important issues, and is an enjoyable read (apart from the 2 column PDF 😦 .
Just get past the usual intro to OER (but do read it), and focus in from the Problems and Solutions part on. From my experience as someone engaged in trying to lead an institution towards OER, this article touches on some of the issues we face.
But darn it! why did they do that silly PDF thing 😦 and where’s the clear copyright statement on it? Oh here it is: Copyright © 2007 by Educational Technology Publications, Inc., used with permission… jeez!