Saturday, January 14, 2006

Open Training and Education Network (OTEN) and Centre for Learning Innovation (CLI) - meet open networked mlearning

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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Artichoke said...

How comfortable we are when challenged is the real test of a "critical thinker" and of a critical thinking institution (if that is not an oxymoron). Anger, hostility, misrepresentation, undermining, bullying and exclusion are far more common defensive kneejerk reactions. Is why I have always loved Illich for his candour when invited to address the CIASP conference.

"Ladies and Gentlemen:

For the past six years I have become known for my increasing opposition to the presence of any and all North American "dogooders" in Latin America. I am sure you know of my present efforts to obtain the voluntary withdrawal of all North American volunteer armies from Latin America - missionaries, Peace Corps members and groups like yours, a "division" organized for the benevolent invasion of Mexico. You were aware of these things when you invited me - of all people - to be the main speaker at your annual convention. This is amazing! I can only conclude that your invitation means one of at least three things:
Some among you might have reached the conclusion that CIASP should either dissolve altogether, or take the promotion of voluntary aid to the Mexican poor out of its institutional purpose. Therefore you might have invited me here to help others reach this same decision.

You might also have invited me because you want to learn how to deal with people who think the way I do - how to dispute them successfully. It has now become quite common to invite Black Power spokesmen to address Lions Clubs. A "dove" must always be included in a public dispute organized to increase U.S. belligerence.

And finally, you might have invited me here hoping that you would be able to agree with most of what I say, and then go ahead in good faith and work this summer in Mexican villages. This last possibility is only open to those who do not listen, or who cannot understand me.

I did not come here to argue. I am here to tell you, if possible to convince you, and hopefully, to stop you, from pretentiously imposing yourselves on Mexicans."
Illich in "To Hell with Good Intentions"

And I do think that the simplicity of the mlearning concept means you are onto something here.

Leigh Blackall said...

Beautiful! I'm inspired to tell next time. Thanks Art'. But who are you!?

Stephanie Rieger said...

Here's a link to a great podcast about mobile. Warning: it's somewhat business focussed but goes a long way in explaining (in a very approachable way) why the mobile industry is the way it is and what we (as users and consudmers) can realistically expect will happen content-wise, in the years to come. We listened to it yesterday and, although we don't agree with everything he says, it gave us a lot to think about. (And there's an awesome quote about 4 minutes into it about how there are more mobile devices than cars, TVs etc.) (look for the talk by Tom Hume at the bottom of the page.)

Leigh Blackall said...

Thanks Stephanie, am downloaing the whoping 43 meg file now. That should tell you how much I trust your recomendations ;)

I've also added it to my bookmarks, along with 69 other delicious users, under mLearning - I see you have also. Great, but didn't use the mLearning tag...? Perhaps I better listen to it before I decide if its related to mLearning...?

alexanderhayes said...

Hi Leigh. Indeed it was an interesting session at CLI.

I was inspired with the feedback that has been blocking my inbox for the last couple of days.

Again your candid, frank, open and honest to goodness approach to people on the 'inside' has been talked about and debated since with zest, excitement and down right disturbance noted in some peoples reaction to your presentation.

I'm taking you up on a Skype out to explore what the 'concept' of mlearning might look like in 5 years and following on from what we discussed the other day.

Ta. Looking forward to more discussions and where your going to drag us all in 2006.