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Educa On-line Berlin

December 1st, 2006 by Graham Attwell

I’ve been in berlin since Tuesday for the annual Educa On-line conference. Pretty hectic but I’ve sneaked off for a few minutes to write a quick blog entry.

Educa On-line is a funny conference. the main reason people go to to meet other people and others go for the same reason. About 2000 delegates – it is a great social occasion. Having said that with so many people it is not so easy to find people – I chaired a workshop on Communities of Practice on Wednesday and haven’t managed to find the other participants since the event.

Educa is not really an research conference – it is more of a corporate event. Having said that I have attended some great presentations of which two stand out. The first is Peter Rees Jones’ presentation on e-Portfolios and Service Oriented Architectures in education. At last – someone has broken down the ‘wall’ of different services and shown what services mean form a practice point of view. If you can find it – watch this presentation. And I went to a session entitled “A conversation with George Siemens’. Great session – george just sat on the table and answered questions for an hour and a half. Thoroughly enjoyable and a great e-learning experience.

It is encouraging to see much more attention being paid to learning taking place outside the formal learning environment and context – be it school or work. There is a minor buzz over informal learning and communities of practice and signs of some progress in this area.

The second trend is a bit harder to read. All the big companies are embracing in rhetoric web 2 and e-l;earning 2.0. Blackboard even had teh cheek to cite Stephen Downes (and to wrongly attribute Scott Wilson’s well known diagramme to Stephen!).

Fronter have in their promo material that their produce is ‘e-leanring 2.0 ready’, whatever that might possibly mean. This is just bullshit. The reality is that they are incorporating blogs and wikis as part of their software but their is no change in the overall approach to learning, or indeed in the overall functionality. Then of course they will be able to go along to institutional policy makers and say you do not need social software because we already do it.

Fronter themselves even claim to be Open Source, when it is patently obvious that by any normal definition they are not. Still, this represents a sea change in that it is now seen that being open source is a positive marketing feature!

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