Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Of course big companies upturn small towns and their communities!

On Radio National's Australia Talks tonight was a discussion and talk back session on the issue of the big chain supermarket Woolworths setting up in the iconic small town Mullumbimby. I tried to get through with my phone call, but like most people I guess, was left out and relegated to a very slowly moderated online forum. So here's my post here, just in case the ABC moderator has gone home for the night (as it seems she has).
Disappointed at the set up of the discussion. Of course Woolworths and mega businesses like them disrupt the local economy. Transport, parking, foot traffic, consumer demand, the market, even the culture of the people in a place is affected by Woolworths inevitable presence and their standardised business practice.

And surely we can see that offering young people a minimum wage simply assists Woolworths to be accepted in the community over a generation of branding awareness.. giving kids a skewed view of what employment means to a massive company they will never meet the owners of, be treated as human resource, as a precarious casual or part timer.. little wonder kids have difficulty developing an understanding their place and responsibility in community and society.

So I'm disappointed that the discussion questioned the impact of Woolworths and the whether it is negative. Of course it is!

But Woolworth's success in changing the culture and market in Australia is done. It is inevitable that they, and companies like them are coming to your town. So I hope more towns will work with that relentless energy and turn it to their favour. Suggests Product or Brand Displacement, where the company's presence is seemingly invisable in the community. No logo, no standardised employment or shopping experience.

How about a genuine effort on the part of Woolworths with its vast resources? Create a business that addresses these and many more concerns for the community with real sensitivity, that works into existing businesses, making themselves invisible, enhancing rather than competing, taking responsibility for the impacts they will have, rather than spinning it into a thing we apparently need or want - we don't.

Relating to the comment I've made are a couple of videos produced by ABC TV's Hungry Beast:


Product DISplacement (HUNGRY BEAST)

Monday, March 29, 2010

How did the open academic practice workshop go?

After the seminar on openness in academia, James and I collaborated on developing the first in a series of workshops about open academia in practice: copyright options and how to find, use and contribute free media resources.

Over the weekend and a bit before, James and I had fun getting an outline together on Wikiversity and a nice colourful blog/website to front end it all.

8 people attended, all creating a Wikiversity account and learned about copyright options, how to use the Creative Commons Search engine, and how to bring findings back to their Wikiversity user page.
  1. Madepercy 03:44, 29 March 2010 (UTC) Thanks James and Leigh, nice work, and you solved a few issues for me in the first few minutes!
  2. --TGreen 03:45, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  3. --A George 03:53, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  4. --PatTandy 03:58, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  5. --Mattbacondesign 04:02, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  6. --Vicki Deakin 04:05, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  7. --Fannyl 04:06, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
  8. --DMG, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I attempted to Ustream to workshop out, but the computer lab we used would not allow a connection to Ustream. So I recorded with my phone, uploading when I was at a usable Internet connection (home). Recordings as follows:
Over the next few days we will be soliciting feedback in the form of comments on the workshop blog.

In terms of promoting the workshop, a broadcast email was sent out by the Teaching and Learning Centre sent out the week before, posts where made on Yammer, another broadcast email was sent on the day by James, and I sent direct invites to the Copyright office and the Library a few days before. Among the 8 lecturers who attended, it was wonderful to see Pat Tandy from the library, and for her to confirm that the Library is ready to support lecturers finding open educational resources to replace restrictive resources.

Unfortunately I haven't heard anything back from the Copyright Office. To date my efforts to engage people responsible for the Intellectual Property and Copyright Policies remain unanswered. James, myself and a growing number of people in the University need the Policy to address some perceived and real barriers staff may have in using and publishing free education and research materials - not to mention the opportunity UC has to be a leading institution in Australia in the development of progressive IP and Copyright policy.

wikimedia commons: open academia workshop

In a workshop at the University of Canberra, looking at Creative Commons Search.

wikiversity: open academia workshop

In a workshop at the University of Canberra, looking at Creative Commons Search.

copyright: open academia workshop

In a workshop at the University of Canberra, looking at Creative Commons Search.

introduction - open academia workshop

In a workshop at the University of Canberra, looking at Creative Commons Search.

Creative Commons Search

In a workshop at the University of Canberra, looking at Creative Commons Search.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Everything you need to teach and learn online Part 2: Blogger

Part 2 of a series of videos looking at everything you'd need to teach and learn online. This recording was made via mobile phone, live streamed to uStream - sorry for the quality, but I think it gives the idea. There are many very good screen recordings in Youtube on how to do different things with Blogger, so this is just an over view with a few comments along the way. I'm thinking to record another version of this, especially if I get specific questions or comments suggesting what I should also mention with regards to Blogger.

Everything you need to teach and learn online p2: Blogger

Part 2 of a series of videos looking at everything you'd need to teach and learn online. This recording was made via mobile phone, live streamed to uStream - sorry for the quality, but I think it gives the idea. There are many very good screen recordings in Youtube on how to do different things with Blogger, so this is just an over view with a few comments along the way. I'm thinking to record another version of this, especially if I get specific questions or comments suggesting what I should also mention with regards to Blogger.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Is the Wikimedia Foundation going to close Wikiversity?

Jimmy Wales dropped in on a Wikiversity discussion about his deletion and account blocking activities on Wikiversity recently. There were concerns about him over stretching his authority by deleting pages without following Wikiversity protocols of discussion before deletion. Typical to discussion in these large wikis, there are a lot of threads to follow, revealing some very profound examples of civil discourse (hats off to SB_Johnny), right along side some not so profound. Deletion is a very contentious issue on all the big wikis.

In that discussion Jimmy has called on Wikiversity to set up stronger policies for deterring what he sees as "trolls, breaching experiments (experiments designed to test the strength of Wiki policies), and attacks on Wikipedians". That discussion appeared to get a little heated and Jimmy dropped what appeared to be a threat:
I am currently discussing the closure of Wikiversity with the board. That is an unlikely outcome, but I mention it because I really want to press the point that the scope of Wikiversity has to be restricted to genuine OER. I think that my actions here are strongly supportive of the genuine community who want to do that, making it clear to them that they have very strong support for making it happen. Some may feel that Wikiversity should be a place for silly and juvenile experimentation. If people want to discuss such things, there is an entire Internet open to them - they should not hijack Wikiversity for these purposes.--Jimbo Wales 14:49, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
I've come into the conversation a little late, but I am shaken by Jimmy's threat. One it polarises a complex issue into two simplistic extremes, belittling the other and inflating his own; two it suggests that Jimmy and others have a clear and set idea about what Wikiversity should be; and three the now obvious possibility of Wikiversity being closed by people outside the Wikiversity volunteer base!

I have no insight into the details or even much of the background of such a thing being considered by the Board, but I sure hope it is being recorded somewhere even if it was just an idle threat from a guy getting a little frustrated and over exercising his power and influence in a debate.

Disempowering Wikiversity volunteers

If it was a simple throw away remark by Jimmy, the punch in the threat (closing Wikiversity unless they fall into line) causes my commitment to Wikiversity, indeed the Foundation to waver. More importantly however, it undermines the community building in Wikiversity if others react to the threat like I do.

Just last week I was involved in several conversations with staff at the University of Canberra about how we might engage with Wikiversity and sister projects more directly in our work. I was giving advice, assurances and pointing to examples of good and bad work. All those discussions ended very favorably towards investing resources into education and research projects using the big wikis. But a remark like this from Jimmy suggesting far from strong support for Wikiversity obviously puts a dampener on that for now.

For what its worth, I have asked Jimmy to ask the Board to give a strong reassurance of their commitment to Wikiversity before my colleagues and I continue with our investment considerations. As impotent as that will sound, It is horrible to think the Board's minds might already be made up on a closure, or on what Wikiversity WILL become... because what happens now is a slow and protracted weakening of those who remain in the way of such a move.

A conflict of interest?

I think it also has to be noted that there is a potential conflict of interest on the Wikimedia Foundation Staff and Advisory Board that might be having some influence on the WMF Board discussions that Jimmy refers to.
What is deletion in Wikiversity anyway?

All of this recent storm in a tea cup stems from a concern Jimmy (and no doubt others) have that Wikiversity is too permissive. This is an accusation I find a little rich after discovering very explicit images on Wikimedia Commons that remained for years before eventually being removed. In that instance it was another Foundation wiki compromising Wikiversity through its permissiveness, but I didn't see Jimmy in there deleting pages or calling for strong policy or else.

I'm actually a no-deletion, less policy kind-a-guy myself. Take this page on Russian Roulette (a drinking game). It was recently nominated for deletion because it was perceived to be outside the scope of Wikiversity. On the one hand you can see why.. its educational value at first was pretty low brow, but James Neill made a minor edit to bring it within acceptable boundaries, and voted not to delete it. A link to Alternatives to partying was added and so begun a teachable moment in that page. It now has the beginnings of sections on the risks and considerations of binge drinking; a quest for links to research into drinking culture, games and alcohol abuse; and another section for counseling and self help resources for people with destructive drinking habits. I mean, the potential educational value of this page is endless, imagine if it was deleted Jimmy Wales style?

But pages like Russian Roulette are politically harmless compared to a perception that Wikiversity harbours misfits out to slur Wikipedia and the top brass. The relative permissiveness on Wikiversity is seen to be the problem, not the policies and culture of the other wikis that are creating so much bad will. And there's a problem for Wikiversity developing policy in tune with the other WMF wikis. Its not a wiki encyclopedia, or even a book or any other reference material. Its a wiki (uni)versity, meaning its scope and academic freedom is potentially limitless. I think that could well be a great thing, but does the $6million Board think so, and can they take the blows they attract if this sort of of freedom is to continue?

There's something fascinatingly dark about wikis

There is some research out there about these governance issues with the wikis. All through these wikis is a dark reflection of the great political and group struggles of humanity. A simple and maybe even a little unfair a comparison would be to Animal Farm. All these individual efforts amounting to something so big that the implications become individually massive, and we start believing in a sort of revolution. But we install, permit or need a power structure that replaces that which was over thrown. At the same time all our identities become entwined in this something so big that's made of us, it stands for something well beyond our actual self. Its a recipe for another conflict and another revolution. Something I'll have to read more about before I will understand it.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

More deschooling for conviviality and equity

Graham Attwell has found a copy of a 1971 New York Review of Books article written by Ivan Illich, entitled ‘A Special supplement: Education without School: How it Can Be Done‘. Graham recognises the direct relevance to educational work in the Internet, and does a good job summarising the article.

I tried to leave a comment on Graham's Wordpress, but as happens on so many Wordpress blogs - due to their struggle to manage spam, my comment was lost. I should have paused, copied, and posted on my own blog anyway.

All I was trying to comment was to point Graham into what I have on Illich to date. Instead, I've gone through my memory and created this delicious tag stream below:

I hope someday, a furious and passionate discussion will take place around the writing of Illich again. I've been waiting a while, still looking for it. At the very least I hope his writing may become part of EdTech and Open Education's common dialogue and shared experience. We'll see...

Monday, March 08, 2010


Kill the ego

Recently I was a cry baby over Jon Mott not citing my writings on the LMS. Jon was quick to address my complaint and put a sentence and footnote in for one of my more well known 2005 rants.

A discussion has followed.

Jim Groom questions the need to give specific attribution in his post, Credit where credit is due?
I’m also not too sure the issue of credit isn’t in many ways at the root of some of the more problematic issues tied up with traditional ways we have thought about teaching, learning, and scholarship more generally.
Jim links to Joss Winn's post, Towards a Manifesto for Sharing to support the idea that a formal system of referencing works against the natural and social aspects of the mediums we are communicating in, and possibly reinforces the dogma we are railing against.

Stephen Downes picks the issue up equating the academic process as an inherent power play taking away from the communities that foster the original ideas, using the ideas but severing the original connection through notions of acceptable reference material.
...But I wouldn't feel too bad, Leigh - there's no reference to any of my work in their either. That's what academia does, though. It whitewashes the original work and presents it as a genuine made-in-the-USA "discovery" with corporate-friendly references, patents to follow, no doubt.
Mike Caulfield helps Stephen with his point
I think there is a problem with the system. If you want to get something published, you have to choose to source stuff to peer reviewed journals, not blogs. This results in a sort of idea laundering that serves to hide the fact these ideas are coming from those crazy bloggers that everyone derides. And because these articles don't redirect people into the conversation that produced the ideas in the first place, it keeps the people dependent on EDUCAUSE reports dependent on EDUCAUSE reports. Which is, of course, the entire point of the current conventions.
But earlier in the same post, Mike supports Jim's original sentiments:
I don’t want our blog world to become a copy of the frozen sterile and gridlocked academic discourse we are fleeing. I want it to continue to be a conversation, and not to start reaching a 1:1 content to footnote ratio. I don’t want us to start bulking up our posts with ridiculously detached prose in an effort to be “citable”. (Heck, this post is way too long by my standards).

But at the same time, you can’t imagine how painful it will be for me to now sit in meetings with people from IT and have them quite literally try to educate me about this new thing called “Loosely Coupled Assessment”. And believe me, this will happen. It has before.
Jon has been posting short sometimes sharp comments too.. this one back on Jim's blog raises an interesting side angle:
I wonder if this concern for credit had anything to do with the abject failure of my Wikipedia challenge a couple of years back.
In which he outs Jim's call for humility with a very poor track record of Wikipedia edits. What's equally interesting is Jon's investigation into other A-lister contributions (or lack there of) to Wikipedia.

On this front I'm happy to say I have a pretty good contribution record across a number of Wikimedia Foundation projects including Wikipedia, Books and Versity, and go as far as saying such a record is an important feature on one's credibility rating :)

There is a lot to think about in all this discussion, but really the original concern I had was that my work didn't rate a mention anymore, especially if the criticisms of the LMS are finally going to mean something :(

I've since been reassured, but how reassured?

While it is about integrity, the connections and historic record, its equally if not more about that moral and human need for recognition, for occasionally doing something remarkable, and for just knowing that people know you're there and what you did. We all need it, we should do more to give it, otherwise we all disappear in a cacophony of untraceable sound bites, academic make believe, and institutionalisation/corporatisation.

Dependence, independence, interdependence

Harold Jarche, Jane Hart and Stephen Downes have been discussing learning generalised into concepts of dependent learning, independent learning, interdependent learning.

I like things in threes, and wanted to try these out in a practical sense of how people work their learning.

One of the more important principles I have set myself is independence. When I show a teacher how to do something, my goal for them (whether or not they share the goal at the time) is for them to achieve relative independence from me and the organisation they are affiliated with. Some of the more contentious examples of this thinking involve my discouragement of the use of an LMS or organisational email. The argument goes something like this:

Why would people, in an increasingly casualised teaching and research work force, invest time in learning a system that makes them dependent on and limited by their employer - especially if the functionality of that system is surpassed by external tools that also serve to give that person independence and the organisation gains as well?

Similarly, why should a student invest time in a system that makes them dependent on the organisation they are not likely to keep a relationship with for longer than 3 or 4 years, often much less - especially if the functionality of that system is surpassed by external tools that serve to give that person independence and the organisation gains as well?

It is easy to explain with email. You join or enroll with an organisation and for reasons that are not clear, they issue you with an email address with its own password and its own peculiar ways of operating. Inexperienced in the trappings of dependence, you build up a reputation, a network, even your professional reputation in that email system, only to be faced with a big problem when it comes time to leave that organisation. All the functionality of that email system can be surpassed using your own email address that frees you from the risk of dependence.

This scenario plays out across almost all the dwindling systems provided by the organisation. With the quality of external, utility even "cloud" based systems already surpassing what can be provided by the organisation, the question of should I use external systems can be answered by what both stand to loose and gain. What do you lose or gain by asserting independence? What does your organisation lose or gain by your assertion of independence?
  • Do you use their restrictive Internet, or bring your own in via a wireless USB key?
  • Do you build up a profile page on the organisation's website, or simply link it to your Linkedin profile or stream your own site into it via RSS and embed codes?
  • Do you build your teaching and/or learning inside their learning management system, or do you build it outside on more popular channels under your own name, and link it in to the LMS if you have to?
  • Do you publish research only on the restricted journal or do you negotiate release so you can link another copy on your own web?
  • Do you use the lecture recording system, or put it out on your own uStream or Livestream channel with the connected functionality and cross posting features?
The list goes on.

Even those who have come to see the benefits of using external platforms fall into the same institutionalised trappings however. Recently I attended a seminar by James Neill for an initiative at UC called Hothouse. James arrived ready with his own uStream channel, but the host had also arrived with a uStream channel for the Hothouse. Confronted with the choice, James accepted to stream over the Hothouse channel, thereby surrendering his independence and accepting dependence on the Hothouse project. As it would turn out, the Hothouse forgot to click record on their stream, and so Jame's lost doubly, and the Hothouse gained very little.

An alternative would have been for James to stream on his own channel, and to link to and mention the Hothouse in his talk. The Hothouse could add James' recording to their own playlist, offsetting a variety of liabilities, and benefiting from the immediate exposure to James' network. James would also benefit from exposure to the Hothouse network while accepting responsibility for his own presentation. Hothouse gets networded, Jame's keeps independence. Its a win win situation. See also Out from under the umbrellas, and What would it be like to be the rain.

An institution, even an initiative within the Institution, has more to gain by networking. Take for example the Otago Polytechnic's Youtube channel. I set that channel up not to upload videos, but to collect and create playlists of any videos found on Youtube about Otago Polytechnic. The desire for an Institutional identity is still served, but without weakening a network and asking individuals to forgo their own identity for the sake of a collective. See also groups vs networks.

Where I personally draw the line in this independence, is in setting up my own domain. My personal challenge and long term experiment is to see how far I get free ranging, and how well I can manage an online identity that is distributed across free online services. I still follow the rules of thumb in terms of backup, but by cross posting rather than saving on my unreliable hard drives or servers. I agree however, that ultimate independence is in setting up your own domain and managing your own media. It doesn't have to be at the exclusion of popular channels, but that is more hassle and cost than I'm prepared to take right now. See also Tools for Conviviality.

Going Naked - Openism and Freedom in Academia

On Friday, James Neill presented Going Naked - Openism and Freedom in Academia to a small group at the University of Canberra. The talk and responses were broadcast via uStream, but the host for the session appears to have forgotten to click record. Luckily James took notes on the Wikiversity page.

Interest in open education and research practices seems to be growing at the University, particularly it seems within the Faculty of Health (the largest number of people at the session).

Jame's talk set down a case for staff at UC adopting open educational practices.

  • Questioning the assertion that there is an altogether trend towards openness
  • Concerns of commercial exploitation of openness
  • What is the relavence of a University in the face of openness?
  • Why does the university not engage staff in the review of policy?
  • How much does the use of restricted content cost UC each year?

  • The Teaching and Learning Centre to find out the annual fees paid to CAL, and if possible - a break down of that fee.
  • The Teaching and Learning Centre to find out why only external agencies review UC policy, what agency reviewed UC's IP policy, and what their review was.
  • Leigh and James to run Workshops on how to source free content and reuse it in a free way
  • Leigh and James to propose the Faculty of Health lead the university and adopt a default open education and research position.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

US$500 Million to OER for the next 10 years!

This strikes me as potentially pretty huge news for open educational developers in the United States.
The [US] Department of Education has a role in stimulating the development and use of OER in ways that address pressing education issues. The federal government has proposed to invest $50 million per year for the next 10 years in creating an Online Skills Lab to develop exemplary next-generation instructional tools and resources for community colleges and workforce development programs. These materials will be available for use or adaptation with the least restrictive Creative Commons license. This work is expected to give further impetus to calls for open standards, system utilities, and competency-based assessments. (For more information on the Online Skills Lab, see the Learning section of this plan.)
50 Million per year! That's a potentially massive step up in pace for the USA, and a huge incentive to publishers and producers to get with it. David Wiley and co will now have their work cut out for them watching the progress and calling out the BS, wheel reinventions, double handling and corruption. A very important job it will be too, because this puts the USA way out in front for setting the International OER agenda.

Source: Creative Commons Blog

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Educause catches the anti LMS thread, causes me to look back

Well shit hey! Educause published a paper calling the LMS out!

Envisioning the Post-LMS Era: The Open Learning Network. By Jonathan Mott

I was sad to see my name not in the references, perhaps 2005 was too long ago! Perhaps blog posts don't rate, perhaps its just me.. anyway, here's an impotent addition to the bibliography that's missing :)

December 2004. The Post LMS Age
May 2005. Everything you need to teach and learn online
May 2005. Graffiti is OK - BlogTalk DownUnder 2005
June 2005. More against the LMS
July 2005. Networked Learning
August 2005. EdNA Groups or the Open Network
September 2005. Lawsuit forces Web 2 learning strategies
September 2005. ePortfolios - I don't get it?
Nov 2005. Die LMS Die, you too PLE
Dec 2005. LMS Comic
Jan 2006. Learning should be free, its an education that can cost
February 2006. Host your own or hold a third party? Change needed as per usual
March 2006. Education, reactionaries, determinism and singularity
April 2006. Digital Network Literacy
April 2006. A snapshot of networked learning
May 2006. What's in a name? Why some succeed and others fail
July 2006. Technological Change and Systemic Change
September 2006. Groups and/or networks... the future of learning in a networked world
October 2006. Out from under the umbrellas
October 2006. What would it be like to be the rain
November 2006. Flogging the dead horse that died in the trough
2007 and 08 are a blur.. lost to the Wordpress blog, self censored due to work place conflicts
January 2009. LMS, VLEs.. oh PLEs what next? ePortfolios?
February 2009. Migrating from Blackboard to Moodle (via the web)

Can teachers come anywhere close to measuring learning?

A colleague here at UC is engaging with my ideas, commenting and sending links to research. I very much appreciate the engagement, the over all silence and disengagement from work colleagues is always a disappointment.

Recently I was sent a link to another one of those annoying formats only researchers like to use, the PDF, writing up a study done by Adam Friedman and Tina Heafer called "You Think for Me, So I Don't Have To." The Effect of a Technology-Enhanced, Inquiry Learning Environment on Student Learning in 11th-Grade United States History.

I think the study was bogus, but more interestingly - points to the inherent problems and bias in teaching practice and the research of its impact on learning.

The abstract:
In a study investigating the effects of student engagement in inquiry learning through the development of Web sites, nearly every student reported having enjoyed the project, and the majority scored an A or B for their project grade. However, neither enjoyment nor high achievement on this performance task necessarily translated into high scores on the unit test. Therefore, this paper explores why success in a technology rich inquiry environment did not translate to measurable changes in student learning. Results demonstrated that students were not accustomed to this type of pedagogy and that the assessment did not match the task.
I was looking all over the paper for some more detail on what they thought inquiry learning was in a school context, what they though "the Internet" was, what they meant by students creating "websites", and what they mean when they refer to "use of technology" in social studies. I like to think I know what all that means in a school context, and that has no similarity to what it means in real life, and real inquiry learning.

Students created "websites", what sort of websites exactly? Websites all out on their own where no one would see, or editing Wikipedia articles or creating Wikibooks - where everyone will see and evidently engage, leading to authentic engagement with the Internet, networked learning and continuous inquiry learning. In the absence of a qualifying statement in the paper, I'm able to assume that the teachers in the school, like most I've met, think uncritically on the feasibility of any of this truly taking place in a school context. Saying they used the Internet in this study, to consume information so as to create obscure websites amounts to saying they used all the world to create a cardboard poster with scissors and glue for a 5 minute show and tell in their safe little classroom.

And get this P204:

Despite the availability of primary and secondary sources for students on a Web site
developed by the researchers, many students spent a significant amount of time searching
for images using search engines and electronic encyclopedias, particularly Google images
(http://www.images.google.com) and Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.com). These
sites were often the first place students sought information about and images of World
War II. Researchers as well as the teacher had to remind students that there had been a
Web site designed to provide them with resources to complete their Web site
development class.

If only their teachers and the researchers they cited, used Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons a little hey! The places the students (indeed everyone!) go to could be the same place the teachers want them to go! Perhaps the students instinctively knew the content the teachers had gathered was bogus in copyright, and too difficult to reuse, fraught with unreliable URLs, and very poor rez images based on the extent of the teacher's Google Image Search abilities.. :) LOL

I guess my reading of it comes down to this. It seems the researchers and the teachers didn't consider the bias that their generalisations brought to the question. They didn't elaborate on the things being used in the measure, such as "The Internet", "Create websites", "Use technology", coupled with an uncritical view of common educational practice such as assigning work that amounts to inauthentic guess-what-the-teacher-wants tasks. Inquiry learning by way of the Internet? Somehow I doubt its possible in schools.

But this criticism goes deep into the cultural make up of institutionalised education doesn't it? We don't teach and learn in the real world, we create replicas and simulations, within impossible time frames, to formulate a schizophrenic appreciation of the world that fits our bureaucratic processes.

How would I do it differently? Using the popular Internet to teach and learn would be a start I guess. And try this old post for size: Teaching has nothing to do with technology

I hope this usual ranting critique doesn't turn my newly engaged colleague away. Maybe I've got this study all wrong!?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

AFLF Innovations application - Using the popular Internet in teaching and learning

In less than 48 hours and in partnership between UCNISS and CIT, we've submitted an application to the Australian Flexible Learning Framework ACT, for their eLearning Innovations Fund.
Google Search, Youtube and Wikipedia are within the top 10 most visited websites in Australia, and are well configured for mobile as well as desktop access. The open nature of the data held at these sites makes for ease of reusability and customisation. We know with some certainty that students refer to these sites for learning over most other sources, but there are issues and concerns relating to the reliability of the information. This project will collect and review information on those channels relating to the Diploma of Sport Development and Certificates 3 and 4 of Fitness, developing collections, adding supplementary material, and designing learning activities for the reliable use and engagement with such material.

In a face to face setting, students will analyse their unit outlines and assessments to identify key words and concepts for use in Google searches. They will be shown how to refine search results by linking through networked media, socially recommended media, and "see also" links. By creating their own accounts on Youtube and Wikipedia, they will be shown how to organise and customise information to their needs, followed by discussions on the importance and methods of reviewing and critiquing the information. To fully comprehend the user generated nature of Youtube and Wikipedia, students will be asked to adopt a Wikipedia article and make contributions following the Wikipedia standards and guidelines, as well as upload instructional videos to Youtube that demonstrate their understanding on a particular topic or competency. Finally, they will be shown the work of their teachers, who have developed collections and playlists along with a series of learning activities that use content on Youtube and Wikipedia, and invited to join an ongoing community of practice committed to reviewing, editing and adding reliable new content related to the subject areas on a longer term basis.
Fingers crossed...