Archive for the ‘Wales Wide Web’ Category

Digital Literacies – another viewpoint

July 20th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

The definition of digital literacy is constantly evolving with a steady movement away from technical competences to an understanding based on social interactions. I like this latest interpretation from the Futurelab Handbook: Digital literacy across the curriculum (via Matt Lingard). However I wonder if there aren’t a couple of things missing. First is the issue of digital identities. Of course you could say that digital identities is all of the above. Bu8t I think that at the present time the ability to manage digital identities is one of the most critical issues facing young people. And I wonder if sharing should also be there. Sharing is a little differejnt than collaboration. Knowing what to share with who and for why is key to understanding the use of the social web.

Finally I wonder how long we can persist with the term digital literacy. The use of technologies is becoming so intertwined with young people’s daily life that it may be said to be just a part of literacy. Perhaps the only reason to persist with the distinction is to help the education system catch up in their understanding of this.

PLE2010 Conference – what did we achieve

July 17th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Dave shows off the super sized Manchester PLE
Photo Samscam

Its been a week off from the blog. Following the PLE2010 conference in Barcelona I took a short holiday. And since I have been back I have been fighting (unsuccessfully) a power failure in my office. So now I am squatting in a friend’s house and using my laptop.

I have much to say about the PLE2010 conference – I am not quite sure where to start.

Firstly it was a truly social conference – social in the both face to face and distant participants were involved in the different sessions. Social too, in the way the pre-conference discussions ran into the conference proper and then into the discussions at coffee breaks and in the evening. The formal conference was just one part of the whole event. And social in the use of media. Besides the live streaming of many sessions, it woudl appear the conference generated over 5000 tweets on the first day (the tweets are archived here).Indeed, for many of us it was the first chance to meet face to face people we have been collaborating with on line for a long time.

Much of this was down to the design of the conference. the pre-conference publicity and discuxxiosn had been focused on social media and in particualr twitter. And the programme design, from unkeynotes to cafe style sessions, debates amnd workshops, was signed to facilitate social interaction and participation. And it is encouraging that many have said they will relook at how they are organising conferences and draw on our ideas.

But what about the ideas? Firstly it was very heartening to see that we seemed to have moved beyond the stage of defining a PLE by what it is not i.e. not a VLE. Instead participants were looking outwards, at how to support learning. I am not sure how much we shared common understandings and meanings around PLEs (sadly I cannot find a record of the session which tried to arrive at such a common definition) but there seemed sufficient understanding for common debates.

One controversial issue was how far it was possible to provide an institutional PLE. This debate was driven by the folks from SAPO Campus in Portugal who are trying to do just that (and still managing to find time for late night and in depth analysis of the failings of the Portugese football team!). My own take is that I do not mind where the tools for a PLE come from as long as the leaner is in control.

Two ‘discourses’ particularly heartened me. The first was between educational researchers and practitioners and software and technical developers. This is an oft troubled discourse in the ed tech community. It may be that the common understandings around the idea of a PLE are allowing these different groups to work together in new ways. I particularly enjoyed the session on using Google Wave as a PLE and was impressed by the Talkingabout video sharing site. But what charatcterised these ideas – as in others I could not attend but heard from others about – was the innovation in appropriating technologies for pedagogic innovation.

Another – and more problematic but recurrent discourse was the issue of motivation. Participants were trying to develop PLEs with students inside the schooling and university systems. But surveys and anecdotal evidence suggests students are wary being overly focused on what work they need to do to pass exams, rather than exploring ideas and learning. And most students view direct didactic teaching as the best approach to passing their exams. As such they have little time for reflection or indeed little understanding as to why they should engage in such activity. This is problematic. We may consider their longer term learning important and thus view the development of meta-cognition and problem solving a priority. But perhaps inevitably under the present education systems their major concern is just to jump the next hurdle in the education race.

My only personal disappointment was that the major focus for PLE development and implementation for the vast majority of participants was for learners within schools and universities. There was limited interest in work based learning or in learning outside teh existing systems – the very areas where I think PLEs have the greatest potential.

Indeed, I think we have to consider the wider issue of where to locate the PLE debate. Clearly it is not just another instance of educational technology. But neither can it be easily subsumed in considerations of pedagogic approaches to the use of ICT for learning. I increasingly feel that the whole issue of PLEs is closely related to the ongoing discussions around open education. The very promise of PLEs is to understand the use of technology for learning in a new way, in a context where learning becomes part of society and is free and open to all.

But now there is a lot of work to be done. We have over 70 papers and many offers of publications. Most participants seemed to assume that PLE2011 was already on the cards (watch this blog for more news on that). And the bigger question is how we can use the ideas and networks generated by the conference to build a collective community of practice based on networking and sharing. Any thoughts or ideas  very welcome.

Live from Barcelona

July 7th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Just a quick note from the PLE2010 conference in Barcelona. We will be starting our Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE radio show (see news story below) at 1915 CET not 1830 as previously advertised.

UPDATE

Here are the podcast versions of our two live radio shows from the PLE-Conference in Barcelona. More details will follow.

Enjoy it!

The PLE2010 unKeynote – how you can take part

July 7th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

This morning I met face to face with Alec Couros together with whom I am delivering the unKeynote presentation to the PLE2010 conference in Barcelonatomorrow morning.

We have crowd sourced the presentation. In response to the nine questions we posted 10 days ago, we have received over 25 replies, including slides, text, audio and video content. We have put all the slides together which will be the basis for the unKeynote tomorrow. You are all invited to take part. We will have roving microphones for those of you lucky enough to be with us in Barcelona. And for those of you who cannot be her face to face, just ask your comments or ask questions using the #PLE_BCN hash tag. Cristina Costa and Joyce Seitzinger (better known to the Twitterati as Catspyjamasnz) will be monitoring the twitterfeed and bringing to our attention your tweets. We are going to work with three screens – one for the crowd sourced slides, one for twitter and a third for our skrbl boards. For each of the key questions we have set up an open Scrbl board for participants. And if you don’t want to wait until tomorrow – you can contribute your ideas on the skrbl boards now. Here are the questions and the urls for the scrbl boards. The unKeynote runs from 9.15 to 1015 CET tomorrow (Thursday morning) and there are rumours it will be streamed (watch the hashtag tweets for details).

UPDATE – you can watch live stream from here – http://eventv.projectescitilab.eu/index.html

  1. With all of the available Web 2.0 tools, is there a need for “educational technology”? – http://skrbl.com/142175278
  2. What are the implications of PLEs/PL on traditional modes/structures of education? – http://skrbl.com/142176866
  3. What are the key attributes of a healthy PLE/PLN? – http://skrbl.com/142177071
  4. What pedagogies are inspired by PLEs (e.g., networked learning, connected learning)? Give examples of where PLEs/PLNs have transformed practice.- http://skrbl.com/142177180
  5. What are the implications of PLEs/PLNs beyond bringing educational technology into the classroom, and specifically toward workplace/professional learning? – http://skrbl.com/142177251
  6. If PLEs/PLNs are becoming the norm, what does it mean for teachers/trainers (or the extension: what does it mean for training teachers & trainers)?- http://skrbl.com/142177326
  7. As our networks continue to grow, what strategies should we have in managing our contacts, our connections, and our attention? Or, extension, how scalable are PLEs/PLNs? – http://skrbl.com/142177391
  8. Can we start thinking beyond PLEs/PLNs as models? Are we simply at a transitional stage? What will be the next, new model for learning in society? (e.g., where are we headed?) – http://skrbl.com/142177468

And after the presentation we will be publishing our works and yours – together!

Personal Learning Environment multi media goodness

July 6th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

In Monday’s edition of weeks series of blog posts around the PLE2010 conference being held in Barcelona, I commented on the use of social media. Indeed, from the level of on-line activity the conference has already started! You can pick up on what is happening through following the #PLE_2010 hash tag. And the #PLE_BCN daily newspaper – http://paper.li/tag/PLE_BCN provides a surprisingly rich picture of what is going on. But here are a few posts which have caught my eye.

Firstly George Couros has blogged that he is “honoured to be asked to moderate a session at the PLE Conference in Barcelona (#PLE_BCN on Twitter) to talk about what exactly is a Personal Learning Environment.  In this session, myself and 3 other educators (Cristina Costa, Ilona Buchem and Wolfgang Reinhardt) that are located all over the world, will work with participants to figure out a definition for the PLE term. ” George has posted the following diagramme to start the discussion.
PLE diagramme

Sia Vogel has contributed the following Prezi towards Alec Couros’s and my joint unkeynote presentation.

PLE_BCN Conference Jordi Adell from epdrntr on Vimeo.

Jordi will be doing a joint keynote with Ismael Pena Lopez. Here is his contribution.

That is all I have time for today. More tomorrow – live from Barcelona.

How do we capture and share our community learning?

July 5th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Well it is PLE2010 Conference week so no apologies is that is the theme of the week. And in pre-conference reflection mood I wanted to reflect on some of the things we have done well and some we have done less well.

Fist of all, PLE2010 has some 70 or so presentations and over 100 delegates. Considering we set out with no large organisations or associations backing the conference I think this is pretty good. The conference has been put together through the hard work of a fairly inexperienced organising committee backed by the experience and enthusiasm of the community – edupunk working at its best!

And most of the publicity has been generated not through traditional media but through the4 us eof social media especially Twitter – just look at #PLE_BCN for proof. There are still barriers to the do it yourself cvonference model – we had big problems setting up payments systems that worked> And whilst the opens ource EasyChair system is sort of OK it does have its quirks (it would be very useful if someone could do some more work on the software).

As I told yesterday, I am very happy about our mix of traditional calls fo contribution (needed for researchers to gain travel grants form institutions with more unconferencing formats for presentation. I am sure the event is going to be a lot of fun.

The issue I think we have not paid sufficient attention to is what we do with the outcomes of the conference. True all the papers etc. are available as on-line proceedings. But how do we represent the outcomes of the different sessions to the wider community? How can we capture ideas and use such ideas in practice and in future research? How can we use the conference as a live event in our community generating new shared knowledge and experience?

Face to face events are valuable, not just for the participants, but for the community as a whole. But I am not sure we make best use of them at the moment. Your ideas would as ever be very welcome.

Looking forward to seeing some of you in Barcelona. 🙂

How we share our ideas #PLE_BCN

July 4th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Share photos on twitter with Twitpicjust created my personal #ple_bcn badge. cool idea to let you... on TwitpicMy badge for the PLE Conference, Barcelona, July 2010 on Twitpic

Participants at the PLe2010 conference have been invited to make their own conference badges. These have been shared on TwitPic

When we launched the PLe2010 conference way back last September we were determined it would not be just another conference. Twenty minute paper presentations, endless slides with bullet points, limited discussion. Yes, we wanted people to have a good time in the evenings but how could we move those evening knowledge sharing sessions inside the conference.

Unconferencing formats such as BarCamps or TeachMeets have generated much enthusiasm and creativity. But for researchers, especially young or emergent researchers, to secure funding for attending international conferences and events, many institutions demand the presentation of an academic paper.

So, we tried to get the best of both worlds. We appointed an academic board and all papers were subjected to a two person blind review process. We then grouped the various contributions by theme and language and went on to appoint chairs for each session. We wrote to each chair asking them to contact the presenters in their session and to agree a format for the session. We left the final format to the chair and presenters but indicated we wished for the sessions to involve all participants in as far as was possible. And we got some great proposals. Here is a selection of some of the formats which have been proposed for the different sessions at PLE20010.

Speed Learning Cafe (Jane Challinor)

  1. Chair starts with brief introduction to the process and asks audience to divide into three groups /tables
  2. There is then a 10 minute presentation  by each of three presenters (Chair keeps time with stopwatch throughout!!)
  3. Each presenter then goes to sit with a group at one of the three tables, which are  covered in blank paper & supplied with marker pens
  4. The presenters begin a conversation with their table using a single SPECIFIC – but not CLOSEDquestion relating to their specific research/interest. The aim is to gather some additional thoughts/learning or questions from the group on the theme of the workshop.
  5. Audience and presenters write notes on the table based on the conversation in the form of further questions/ thoughts
  6. Groups change to second table/ presenter after 5 minutes. Repeat steps 5 & 6
  7. Groups change to third table/ presenter after 5 minutes. Repeat steps 5 & 6
  8. Each presenter in turn summarises the conversations (3 – 5 key learning points from the session)
  9. Thank you & goodbye!! – Chair

Poster Session (Graham Attwell)

We will provide participants 10 minutes to look at the posters

Each of you will be invited to introduce your poster for 5 minutes

There will be space for participants to ask questions..

Participants will be invited to write down issues arising from your posters on a sticky note.

We will then group the issues and depending on the number of groups rate the importance.

We will then form groups for discussing those issues and hold a brief plenary at the end

Speed / learning café (Cristina Costa)

What does that mean?

It means that you will have 7 minutes to present your paper, focusing on the main key points (only 1 slide is allowed!… that is if you are using slides at all. You can use whatever you want!) It may sound a bit mad, but the fact is that short presentations are more focused and therefore more appealing to the listener.

The presentations will be followed by rotating groups discussions, as delegates will take turns participating in the discussions started by your presentations (hence the importance of making your presentation thought provoking).

Each discussion will last for 10 minutes. Every 10 minutes delegates will move to the next table. In each table there will be a laptop (please bring one along if you have one!) so that participants can annotate their discussions in a wiki page.

The session will end with a short presentation (3 minutes) by each group about the conclusions they have reached.

Paper Session (Maria Perifanou)

Time available for the session: 75min

Introduction of the presenters: 2min

Presentation of the findings of your research: 15min

Conclusion of the presentation with some questions for the audience asking for their feedback ( possible problems that you have faced during your research, future research questions….): 10min

Questions from the audience: 10min

Time for work for the participants: 20 min. The participants will be divided in groups. Each group will have to do a quick reasearch regarding the integration of technology in the education (and in everyday life) in their countries with a focus on the PLE concept. Are students on the way for the development of their PLEs or is it something that looks like a “dream” for the future
based on the findings of their research?

Presentation of the groups work findings – comparison of them with the findings of your research: 15min

End of the session: Conclusions 3min

Paper Session (Isamel Pena Lopez)

I see the common denominator of the session is _support_ in the sense of “let’s tell our ‘supportees’ what does work so they can put it into practice”. Which means:

1.- there are some problems in my learning process that need being addressed

2.- solutions to fix these problems that do not work

3.- solutions that do

4.- (and likely) an assessment on how these solutions that work were

4a.—— put into practice

4b.—— their performance evaluated

My proposal.

GOAL: Instead of everyone telling their story, let’s try to end up with a shared one.
GOAL: let’s have it written so people can take it away with them

15:45 I would begin with an über-short presentation of everyone of you. That is not more than 6 minutes (2 per presenting group). And a presentation of how we will proceed. Total, 10′. I sit up with a blank powerpoint.

15:55 Each group has 3′ to explain what problems (point 1 aforementioned) they are addressing. I put them on the powerpoint without attribution, so I can merge them, rephrase them, avoid repetitions, etc.

16:04 Same with point 2.

16:13 Same with point 3.

16:22 Same with point 4a.

16:31 Same with point 4b.

16:40 We review the (now) shared presentation, let everyone in the room speak out their thoughts, add things, delete others, etc.

17:00 End of session.

Paper Session (Maria Perifanou)

4 presentations,  8min each (32min total) + 3 min (12min total) for the conclusion of each presentation with a presenter’s question to the audience for feedback  (maybe a research question for the future, something that troubles him/her in his research).

Participants write sticky notes at the same time -5min participants to add sticky notes (also
presenters can add issues for their feedback) -3min for 4 groups division  (12min in total)
-15min groups work -4min each group to report back (16min in total) -2min for presenters’ feedback to the 4 groups:  (8min in total)

Defintion of plagiarism continue to plague academic community

July 2nd, 2010 by Graham Attwell

I have been writing a fairly boring report today, and as a distraction, reading more of my Twitter  messages than usually. And on of them, I cannot remember why, directed me to the Times Higher Education web site. And I noticed an article about plagiarism.

The article is pretty routine. It reports on a study in Sweden which “found that when a problem was identified, academics were reluctant to label it plagiarism, instead choosing words such as “unacceptable”.

“The staff held extremely heterogeneous views about the examples and also had different explanations for those views. No two lecturers gave the same response,” Dr Pecorari said.”

The article goes on to say: “But the different explanations given by participants in the study for finding, or failing to find, plagiarism also exposed a lack of common understanding, she argued.

In a bid to address the problem, academics in the US are attempting to draw up an international definition of plagiarism. Speaking at the conference, Teresa Fishman, director of the International Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University in South Carolina, set out a model definition.

It rules that plagiarism occurs if an author “uses words, ideas or work products, attributable to an identifiable person or source, without attributing the work to the source from which it was obtained, in a situation in which there was a legitimate expectation of original authorship, in order to obtain benefit, credit or gain.”

Dr Fishman said that plagiarism was not theft, copyright infringement or fraud, and should not be confused with poor citation skills.”

A find this fascinating at a whole series of levels. I have always argued that the meaning of plagiarism is culturally and socially derived and changes over time. And just agreeing a common definition does not overcome the different cultural meanings associated with it. Indeed, in line with Jenny Hughes work on pragmatics and semantics and featured on this blog over the last two weeks, it is not so much the paradigm of plagiarism that we should be looking at to understand its meaning but the syntagmatic relations between say, the idea of  plagiarism, ideas of tecahing and learning and especially concepts of copyright. And this is confirmed as an academic catfight breaks out in the comments.. To give a flavour:

“The position of some “experts” on plagiarism directly contravenes the law, contravenes the accepted university rules and even their own words”

“What makes some “experts” on plagiarism to falsify what the law of plagiarism and the universally accepted rules of academia actually say?”

“surely that shows that views on plagiarism are culturally contingent and academics in one country drawing up an “international definition” is an inherently flawed idea?”

“if your undergraduates are so incapable of ‘original authorship’ that they cannot even summarise others’ work competently without copying it out, you are royally screwed.”

“Dr. Fishman, that plagiarism ITSELF constitutes a fraud, has been explained and confirmed uncountable number of times and included in academic policies. If you are making a point to deny this, you have to have a novel reason for this. May I ask you to say what this reason is?”

And so on. It is all very polite but it is clear that we cannot define plagiarism without understanding the cultural and social background to the idea itself. Lets face it, if plagiarism (and present day copyright laws, had been around in the times of Shakespeare, his plays would never have been performed or published.

Context and the design of Personal Learning Environments

July 1st, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Part two of my new paper on Personal Learning environments, focusing on context, and written for the PLE2010 conference in Barcelona next week.

How can the idea of context help us in designing work based Personal Learning Environments? First, given the varied definitions, it might be apposite to explain what we mean by a PLE. PLEs can be seen as the spaces in which people interact and communicate and whose ultimate result is learning and the development of collective know-how. In terms of technology, PLEs are made-up of a collection of loosely coupled tools, including Web 2.0 technologies, used for working, learning, reflection and collaboration with others.

As such, PLEs offer some solutions to the issue of the fluid and relational nature of context. PLEs, unlike traditional educational technology are mobile, flexible and not context dependent. They can move from one domain to another and make connections between them. Secondly PLEs can support and facilitate a greater variety of relationships than traditional educational media. These include relationships within and between networks and communities of practice and support for collaborative working. PLEs shift the axis of control from the teacher to the learners and thus alter balance of power within learning discourses. And, perhaps critically, PLEs support a greater range of learning discourses than traditional educational technology.

PLEs are able to link knowledge assets with people, communities and informal knowledge (Agostini et al, 2003) and support the development of social networks for learning (Fischer, 1995). Razavi and Iverson (2006) suggest integrating weblogs, ePortfolios, and social networking functionality both for enhanced e-learning and knowledge management, and for developing communities of practice. A PLE can use social software for informal learning which is learner driven, problem-based and motivated by interest – not as a process triggered by a single learning provider, but as a continuing activity.

So far we have stressed the utility of PLEs in being flexible and adaptable to different contexts. In a work based context, the ‘Learning in Process’ project (Schmidt, 2005) and the APOSDLE project (Lindstaedt, and Mayer, 2006) have attempted to develop embedded, or work-integrated, learning support where learning opportunities (learning objects, documents, checklists and also colleagues) are recommended based on a virtual understanding of the learner’s context.

However, while these development activities acknowledge the importance of collaboration, community engagement and of embedding learning into working and living processes, they have not so far addressed the linkage of individual learning processes and the further development of both individual and collective understanding as the knowledge and learning processes (Attwell. Barnes, Bimrose and Brown, 2008). In order to achieve that transition (to what we term a ‘community of innovation’), processes of reflection and formative assessment have a critical role to play.

Personal Learning Environments are by definition individual. However it is possible to provide tools and services to support individuals in developing their own environment. In looking at the needs of careers guidance advisors for learning Attwell, Barnes, Bimrose and Brown, (2008) say a PLE should be based on a set of tools to allow personal access to resources from multiple sources, and to support knowledge creation and communication. Based on an scoping of knowledge development needs, an initial list of possible functions for a PLE have been suggested, including: access/search for information and knowledge; aggregate and scaffold by combining information and knowledge; manipulate, rearrange and repurpose knowledge artefacts; analyse information to develop knowledge; reflect, question, challenge, seek clarification, form and defend opinions; present ideas, learning and knowledge in different ways and for different purposes; represent the underpinning knowledge structures of different artefacts and support the dynamic re-rendering of such structures; share by supporting individuals in their learning and knowledge; networking by creating a collaborative learning environment.

People tagging

However, rather than seeking to build a monolithic application which can meet all these needs, a better approach may be to seek to develop tools and services which can meet learning needs related to particular aspects of such needs. And in developing such a tool, it is useful to reflect on the different aspects of context involved in the potential use of such tools.  The European Commission supported Mature project is seeking to research and develop Personal Learning and Maturing Environments and Organisation Learning and Maturing Environments to support knowledge development and ‘maturing’ in organisations. The project has developed a number of use cases and demonstrators, following a participatory design process and aiming at supporting learning in context for careers guidance advisors.

One such demonstrator is a ‘people tagging’ application (Braun, Kunzmann and Schmidt, 2010). According to the project report “Knowing-who is an essential element for efficient knowledge maturing processes, e.g. for finding the right person to talk to. Take the scenario of where a novice Personal Adviser (P.A.) needs to respond to a client query. The P.A. does not feel sufficiently confident to respond adequately, so needs to contact a colleague who is more knowledgeable, for support. The key problems would be:

  • How does the P.A. find the right person to contact
  • How can the P.A. find people inside, and even outside, the employing organisation?
  • How can colleagues who might be able to support the P.A. be identified and contacted quickly and efficiently?

Typically, employee directories, which simply list staff and their areas of expertise, are insufficient. One reason is that information contained in the directories is outdated; or it is not described in an appropriate manner; or it focuses too much on ‘experts’; and they often do not include external contacts (Schmidt & Kunzmann 2007).

Also Human Resource Development needs to have sufficient information about the needs and current capabilities of current employees to make the right decisions. In service delivery contexts that must be responsive to the changing needs of clients, like Connexions services, it is necessary to establish precisely what additional skills and competencies are required to keep up with new developments. The people tagging tool would provide a clear indication of:

  • What type of expertise is needed?
  • How much of the requisite expertise already exists within the organisation?”

At a technical level the demonstrator includes:

  • A bookmarking widget for annotating persons, which can be invoked as a bookmarklet
  • A browsing component for navigating annotated people based on the vocabulary
  • An employee list and profile visualization of annotated people
  • A search component for searching for people
  • A collaborative real-time editor of the shared vocabulary that allows for consolidating tags and introducing hierarchical relationships
  • An analysis component for displaying trends based on search and tagging behaviour.

The application seeks to meet the challenge of aligning the maturing of ontological knowledge with the development of the knowledge about people in the organization (and possibly beyond).

Early evaluation results suggest that people tagging is accepted by employees in general, and that they view it as beneficial on average. The evaluation “has also revealed that we have to be careful when designing such a people tagging system and need to consider affective barriers, the organizational context, and other motivational aspects so that it can become successful and sustainable. Therefore we need to develop a design framework (and respective technical enablement) for people tagging systems as socio-technical systems that covers aspects like control, transparency, scope etc. This design framework needs to be backed by a flexible implementation.”

Technology Enhanced Boundary Objects

A further approach to supporting Personal Learning environments for careers guidance professional is based on the development of Technology Enhanced Boundary Objects (TEBOs). Mazzoni and Gaffuri (2009) consider that PLEs as such may be seen as boundary objects in acting to support transitions within a Zone of Proximal Development between knowledge acquired in formal educational contexts and knowledge required for performance or practice within the workplace. Alan Brown (2009) refers to an approach to designing technologically enhanced boundary objects that promote boundary crossing for careers practitioners.

Careers practitioners use labour market information in their practice of advising clients about potential career options. Much of this labour Markey information is gathered from official statistics, providing, for example, details of numbers employed in different professionals at varying degree of granularity, job centre vacancies in time series data at a fine granular level and pay levels in different occupations at a regional level, as well as information about education and training routes, job descriptions and future career predictions. However much of this data is produced as part of the various governmental departments statistical services and is difficult to search for and above all to interpret. Most problematic is the issue of meaning making when related to providing careers advice, information and guidance. The data sits in the boundaries of practice of careers workers and equally at the ordinary of the practice of collating and providing data. Our intention is to develop technology enhanced boundary objects as a series of infographs, dynamic graphical displays, visualisations and simulations to scaffold careers guidance workers in the process of meaning making of such data.

Whilst we are presently working with static data, much of the data is now being provided online with an API to a SPARQL query interface, allowing interrogation of live data. This is part of the open data initiative, led by Nick Shabolt and Tim Berners Lee in the UK. Berners Lee (2010) has recently said that linked data lies at the heart of the semantic web. Our aim is to connect the TEBO to live data through the SPARQL interface and to visualise and represent that data in forms which would allow careers guidance workers and clients to make intelligent meaning of that data in terms of the shared practice of providing and acting on guidance. Such a TEBO could form a key element in a Personal Learning environment for careers guidance practitioners. A further step in exploring PLE services and applications would be to link the TEBO to people tagging services allowing careers practitioners to find those with particular expertise and experience in interpreting labour market data and relating this to careers opportunities at a local level.

There has been considerable interest in the potential of Mash Up Personal Learning Environments (Wild, Mödritscher and Sigurdarson, 2008). as a means of providing flexible access to different tools. Other commentators have focused on the use of social software for learners to develop their own PLEs. Our research into PLEs and knowledge maturing in organisations does not contradict either of these approaches. However, it suggests that PLE tools need to take into account the contexts in which learning takes place, including knowledge assets, people and communities and especially the context of practice. In reality a PLE may be comprised of both general communication and knowledge sharing tools as well as specialist tools designed to meet the particular needs of a community.

Conclusions

In seeking to design a work based PLE it is necessary to understand the contexts in which learning take place and the different discourses associated with that learning. A PLE is both able to transpose the different contexts in which learning takes place and can move from one domain to another and make connections between them. support and facilitate a greater variety of relationships than traditional educational media. At them same time a PLE is able to support a range of learning discourses including discourses taking place within and between different communities if practice. An understanding of the contexts in which learning takes place and of those different learning discourses provides that basis for designing key tools which can form the centre of a work based PLE. Above all a PLE can respond to the demands of fluid and relational discourses in providing scaffolding for meaning making related to practice.

References

Attwell G. Barnes S.A., Bimrose J. and Brown A, (2008), Maturing Learning: Mashup Personal Learning Environments, CEUR Workshops proceedings, Aachen, Germany

Berners Lee T. (2010) Open Linked Data for a Global Community, presentation at Gov 2.0 Expo 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga1aSJXCFe0&feature=player_embedded, accessed June 25, 2010

Braun S. Kunzmann C. Schmidt A. (2010) People Tagging & Ontology Maturing: Towards Collaborative Competence Management, In: David Randall and Pascal Salembier (eds.): From CSCW to Web2.0: European Developments in Collaborative Design Selected Papers from COOP08, Computer Supported Cooperative Work Springer,

Brown A. (2009) Boundary crossing and boundary objects – ‘Technologically Enhanced Boundary Objects’. Unpublished paper for the Mature IP Project

Lindstaedt, S., & Mayer, H. (2006). A storyboard of the APOSDLE vision. Paper presented at the 1st European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, Crete (1-4 October 2006)

Mazzoni E. and Gaffuri P .(2009) Personal Learning environments for Overcoming Knowledge Boundaries between activity Systems in emerging adulthood, eLearning papers, http://www.elearningpapers.eu/index.php?page=doc&doc_id=14400&doclng=6&vol=15, accessed December 26, 2009

Schmidt A., Kunzmann C. (2007) Sustainable Competency-Oriented Human Resource Development with Ontology-Based Competency Catalogs, In: Miriam Cunningham and Paul Cunningham (eds.): eChallenges 2007, 2007, http://publications.professional-learning.eu/schmidt_kunzmann_sustainable-competence-management_eChallenges07.pdf, accessed 27 June, 2010

Schmidt, A. (2005) Knowledge Maturing and the Continuity of Context as a Unifying Concept for Integrating Knowledge Management and ELearning. In: Proceedings I-KNOW ’05, Graz, 2005.

Wild, F., Mödritscher, F., & Sigurdarson, S. (2008). Designing for Change: Mash-Up Personal Learning Environments. elearning papers, 9. 1-15. Retrieved from http://www.elearningeuropa.info/out/?doc_id=15055&rsr_id=15972

Wilson, S., Liber, O., Johnson, M., Beauvoir, P., Sharples, P., & Milligan, C. (2006). Personal learning environments challenging the dominant design of educational systems. Paper presented at the ECTEL Workshops 2006, Heraklion, Crete (1-4 October 2006

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    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.


    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time


    Postgrad pressure

    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”


    Teenagers online in the USA

    According to Pew Internet 95% of teenagers in the USA now report they have a smartphone or access to one. These mobile connections are in turn fueling more-persistent online activities: 45% of teens now say they are online on a near-constant basis.

    Roughly half (51%) of 13 to 17 year olds say they use Facebook, notably lower than the shares who use YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat.

    The survey also finds there is no clear consensus among teens about the effect that social media has on the lives of young people today. Minorities of teens describe that effect as mostly positive (31%) or mostly negative (24%), but the largest share (45%) says that effect has been neither positive nor negative.


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