Archive for March, 2006

ITK’06 conference blog reportage

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

Interactive Technology in Education (ITK) –conference is the largest conference in Finland about information- and communication technology in educational use. This year the theme is Carpe Diem – create the future. There are some interesting presentations including several blogging related presentations this year. I’m also sitting with representatives from the finnish media in the Web 2.0 keynote panel on thursday evening.

Last year I blogged about Graham Attwell. There I talked to several people how nice it would be if such contributions in the social web were visible to other conference participants. This is all about turning the static conference site into a live and dynamic one. I decided to do something about it this year and the conference manager Jarmo Viteli was very open to my ideas. My insporation has been Les Blogs from France. Here is a picture from that conference:

I will be blogging there and a few of my friends will join me. It’s the first conference in Finland which acknowledges the presence of participants from the social web. For this reason I incorporated a feed aggregator as part of the conference website. Participants have the ability to register their own blog in the service to make their own writings about the conference visible on the conference site. Flickr and del.icio.us services can be used with the tag itk06 to display images and weblinks to other participants.

I look forward to incorporate similar features to other conferences as well. If you are planning to run a conference and would like to make it more interesting to participants by utilizing the possibilities of the social web, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I’m most likely writing in english but during the event my blog might also include finnish blog posts (for example podcasts) or finnish translations of my writings. I was wondering if I should start a new blog only in finnish, but I decided to write in english anyway to stick to what I’ve been doing so far.

We’ll see you at ITK’06, on 5th – 7th of April 2006 at Hotel Aulanko, Hämeenlinna, Finland!

Webfolios for learning are here already

Saturday, March 11th, 2006

Robin Good in his latest article, “Electronic Portfolios: What Are They?” summarizes quite well what webfolios for learning are all about. Stephen Downes the Grandmaster of Reflection best summarizes how e-portfolios differ from personal content management systems:

“If your view of portfolios is just something akin to a content management system, don’t bother. But if it’s the student’s personal and continuing presence in an online community of discourse, then you are on to something.”

What best provides such a webfolio and online presence nowadays is blogs. Lately I have provided speeches on the fact that blogs are probably the best tools available for personal learning and knowledge work, as it provides a socially connected place for reflection on action.

Here in Finland I see some discussions about electronic portfolios and some initiatives to build such tools. For all the good work out there I have to say, best webfolio tools are already here: the unification of personal weblog, wiki and social networking (using for example, FOAF). My friends at Elgg build such a webfolio system and they call it “learning landscape” (PDF document, explains the relationship of blogs with e-portfolios).

Here is a concept map of how they vision an Elgg-based learning landscape to look like:

It’s a huge mashup (excellent Zdnet video explaining what’s that buzzword), so it’s totally Web 2.0 compatible. It’s not limited to tools it provides like many other e-portfolio applications but rather, operates inside your online presence. It’s evolving all the time and looks a lot better than 6 months ago. Give it a shot.

In other news, I added email subscriptions and a tag cloud in my blogs sidebar. Those functionalities are mashups of external services providing added functionality to my blog software. There is a huge new market opening up for such small micro-webservices.

Grandmaster is taking a Hiatus

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

My great teacher, Stephen Downes has gone underground.

Dear Stephen,

thanks for the past year I’ve had the opportunity to interact with you in great memorable events I will never forget. You brought me the idea to leverage the network to open access to the best teachers in the world for people who need them the most; one of the greatest teachers ever being you yourself, bringing light to the dark alleys of online learning. Your clear wording, philosophy and openness in heart has been my guide. If knowledge work kung-fu ever existed, it was you who was the great grandmaster of reflection.

All the best.