Archive for November, 2006

Blackboard re-invented eLearning 2.0

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Ok, this is great (or not). E-learning 2.0 was re-explained and re-invented by Blackboard (Rich Caccavale) just a minute ago here at Online Educa Berlin. While at it, Rich said we need to capitalize on informal learning, it’s the next thing to do. Then he reads stuff that Stephen Downes has written on eLearning 2.0 and advocates it’s importance, reading a lenghty piece aloud. Check out Stephen Downes blog for his view on Blackboard. Few minutes after they announce their social bookmarking tool. Then they claim we have to focus on assessment of all of this. Is it informal anymore if we try to assess it?

310423391 0eab6f2a58 m Blackboard re invented eLearning 2.0

I was sitting right next to Jay Cross and we really felt the Blackboard keychains strangling our necks. “Do you have a patent on that”?

It’s not a problem that companies get into this, it’s healthy for the community. But re-inventing the tools by giving an impression that the idea is their own or otherwise representing them in a light that they are “eLearning 2.0″ or “social bookmarking” trying to cash in on the hype, is totally ridiculous.

You can see my photos of the slides here.

Changing nature of Knowledge at Online Educa

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Well, here I am sitting in the _huge_ plenary session room in Berlin, Germany. I arrived at Online-Educa last night, the largest eLearning conference in the world. The first thing I got was a Blackboard keychain with my name on it. I wonder if it’s somehow cursed so I wont get it off my neck icon wink Changing nature of Knowledge at Online Educa Seems like Blackboard is well represented here, as is Fronter (over 50% penetration in Scandinavian schools, I believe), Microsoft and IBM.

Yesterday I also visited Germany’s fastest growing Web 2.0 company, StudiVZ.net. Over 1 million users in a year. More on that later.

George Siemens opened his presentation in his usual relaxed easy going way talking 200 words in a minute. I once created a Podcast with him and he is the only one so far who I’ve never had to edit at all. Very fluent speaker.

Things are speeding up. Previously we were positively surprised to get ten emails a day, now we don’t want any email at all.

We are constantly virtualizing ourselves. With RFID and other initiatives (QR code and Thinglink comes to mind) we are creating an internet of things. To cope with the constantly shifting nature of knowledge, we collect our knowledge in our friends. We distribute what we know on a network. George says we have to get comfortable with computers being a second brain for ourselves (i.e. to utilize the possibilities of pattern recognition). We have to move from knowledge abundance to coping with knowledge.

Courses were great for fields where knowledge is stable. Unfortunately a lot of the knowledge we need and use is constantly changing. In some fields if you are doing decisions based on knowledge acquired years ago, you are in serious problems.

Some organizations go 100% LMS and a few years later go 100% away from LMS. It is clear that there is no one size fits all answer to coping with knowledge. Every company and educator needs to be constantly reflecting and changing things rather than waiting
for someone else to do those changes. We all need to be researchers.

I think George didn’t mention connectivism even once, although he did talk about things related to connectivism. It’s possible I didn’t pay enough attention but I wonder if that’s really the case, is it possible that the critisism the theory has received was one reason George did not talk about it?

Fronter fellow just announced Open Source 2.0… I also noticed Mr. Cardinali re-invented eLearning 2.0 (originally by Stephen Downes) in an article that came in my conference bag, so did Blackboard in their presentation (also saying “we have to capitalize on informal learning…”). What’s next?

My presentation at EC-TEL’06

Friday, November 10th, 2006

Recently I gave a presentation at EC-TEL’06, the first european conference on Technology Enhanced Learning. I was able to start some interesting conversations on the role of structures, networks, decentralization, innovation and learning related to TEL. Earlier on the morning Scott Wilson underlined similar issues in his presentation, pointing out that we create all kinds of systems (LMS, Scorm, ePortofolios…) for those who we educate and yet we still don’t use any of that stuff for our personal learning as a research & toolmaking community (this was demonstrated with a quick hands-up questionaire for the audience).

My talk is a remix of my previous talk at EU eLearning conference, with some additional ideas and a bit different perspective that occured to me during the conference. I was a bit worried that we look too much into efficiency in relation to TEL, while we should also take innovation, learning and constant change into account, that require very different approaches to how the knowledge working environment is designed. I wanted to underline that black and white thinking is dangerous and we need to syntesize both sides of the coin.

Screencast [FLASH, 14,5MB]
Podcast [MP3, 5MB]
Slides [PDF, 3,3MB]

The nice fellow who introduces me in the beginning is Dr. Volker Zimmermann.