Archive for the ‘MUVEs’ Category

Reflections on ONLINE EDUCA Berlin

December 7th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

For those of you who have not been there, On-line Educa Berlin, which claims to be Europe’s biggest event on Technology Enhanced Learning, is a mix between a party, a meet up, a trade exhibition and oh yes, a conference. this year there were once again over 2000 delegates, which, considering the price of the conference for non presenters is over 800 Euro and the general impact of the recession is impressive. Is e-learning standing up despite financial cutbacks? According to the organisers the largest ‘country group; was the Netherlands, followed by the UK, Finland and Norway – although I don’t know quite what this signifies.

Online-Educa is probably not the place to go for cutting edge research and development. Rather it tends ot rflect what is main-streaming and this make sit all the more interesting. the following is a highly impressionistic account fo this years trends / non trends and general goings-on.

Probably the biggest trend is the movement away from a  focus on VLEs towards looking at the use of social software for learning. And, linked to that, is a growing realisation or concern about the gap between the way (not just) young people are using social software for  communication, leisure, information seeking and learning and the way educational institutions are stumble trying to manage learning through the walled gardens of LMS systems and VLEs. Equally, many speakers pointed out the growing availability of  free resources for informal and self directed learning and the need for institutions to rethink their role and how they facilitate learning. None of this is new. What is new is that the idea has moved from being a fringe or minority viewpoint to at least entering the mainstream educational technology discourse. Indeed, in this respect it is interesting to see the recent Guardian newspaper article by Victor Keegan. Keegan says”

“  … YouTube is developing into a kind of University of the Grassroots. Instead of learning being a top-down process, dictated by institutions and governments, it is evolving into a bottom-up process driven by users.

If you want to learn, say, the Python programming language (often used in mobile phones) then your first move may not be to sign up at a local educational institution but instead to look at one of the YouTube videos and benefit from the reactions of other viewers. Education has been slower than other sectors to respond to the digital revolution but, as elsewhere, the direction is being dictated by users….

It is difficult to predict what effect all this will eventually have on education but it could be profound. It must be questionable whether you need three years to complete a PhD when you have instant access to so many archived books as a result of Google’s book-scanning programme. …But, increasingly, the basic street-wise skills people will need during the digital revolution may more easily, and certainly more quickly, be learned from the People’s University of the Internet than from an academic institution.”

In the sessions I attended, there seemed to be more of a focus on pedagogy or suing technology for tecahing and learning, than using technology as a starting point, as in sessions I attended in recent years. Equally, there was less product placement and less focus on corporate learning than in previous years: whether this is the result of the recession or because of a concious decision by the conference organisers I am not sure.

Last year there was a big buzz around Multi User Virtual environments such as Second Life. The bubble has burst this year: presenters were still enthusiastic about the potential for tecahing and learning but the feeling was that present commercial worlds were just not good enough (in this respect it is interesting that Linden Labs did not even have a stand).

Wandering around the extensive exhibition area there seemed to be little new. One surprising omission was the paucity of attention paid to the potential of mobile devices (apart from Blackboard promoting their mobile platform integration). Despite many of teh delegates sporting their iPhones few seemed to have thought about how they might be used for learning. However, perhaps that just is a reflection of Online-Educa: mobiles have not yet entered the mainstream!

Emerging Mondays Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE podcast

January 27th, 2009 by Dirk Stieglitz

This was a great Emerging Sounds of the Bazaar show. It features the UK Jisc Users and Innovation programme funded Moose and Open Habitat projects, both of which are looking at how Second Life and Multi User Virtual Environments can be used for teaching and learning.

In the second part of the show Vance Stevens talks about multiliteracies and Andreas Auwaerter, Doug Symington and Matt Montagne talk about EarthCast09, a 24 hour live radio show from around the globe to celebrate Earthday.

Cristina Costa hosted the chat room and collected the following links from the discussion:

Open Habitat
http://www.openhabitat.org/
http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/usersandinnovation/habitat.aspx

Dave White’s blog: http://tallblog.conted.ox.ac.uk/index.php/author/whited/

MOOSE
http://www.le.ac.uk/beyonddistance/moose/
http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/usersandinnovation/moose.aspx

ThoughtFest 2009
http://www.pontydysgu.org/thought-fest/

Multiliteracy EVO Session
http://goodbyegutenberg.pbwiki.com/Week5

Earthcasthon 2009
http://earthbridges.wikispaces.com/
email earthbridges community at earthbridges [at] gmail [dot] com if interested in participating in Earthcast09

You may want to continue the discussion about MUVES here:  http://tinyurl.com/akjte

The music for this show is from the french Rock-Reggae-Band Drunksouls. We feature their album On verra plus tard …. You can find this album and a lot more music on the great Creative Commons music site Jamendo.com.

We have the ideas and the technologies – what changes in the system do we need for Open Education?

December 17th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

The education system does not work

Last week in a post entitled “If PLEs are Incompatible with the System, how do we Change the System?”, I argued that our present systems are unable to keep up with the requirements of society and of industry for learning and knowledge development.  Curricula cannot keep pace with the speed of technological and social innovation and the skills and knowledge required by today’s technology cannot be delivered through a rigidly sytematised, market led educational system.  Present education systems cannot support lifelong learning and it will cost too much to extend the present model of institutional education to deliver the learning required by the present phase of capitalism.I could – and should – have added that in many countries there is still not free access to basic education – let alone to higher education. Even in advanced economies such as the UK students are expected to contribute towards the cost of their education resulting in many leaving higher education with large debts. There is an assumption that they will do this because of the premium this places on their earning power but research shows this premium to be eroding. And such a premium is based on the differential between them and those without higher education; if everyone has equal access to learning then such additional income would disappear.

An emergent alternative

If the present systems cannot be extended to deliver education for all and lifelong learning is there an alternative? I believe we have an emergent alternative based on the use of new technologies and on radical changes in pedagogy.

Open Educational Resources

Lets start with learning materials or educational resources. We are moving from a position of scarcity to one of abundance through the rapid development of Open Educational Resources and internet based media. Books, videos, audio,learning materials, research papers, journals can all be accessed through the internet. Critically the development of cheap sub laptop computers and of handheld devices (plus the soon to emerge, cheap electronic book readers) and increasing access to internet access, provide a wealth of easily accessible educational resources. Such media are socially and economically sustainable through the very numbers of people contributing to their development and publication. There are still issues over quality and discovery but these issues are far from unresolvable.

Social Networks

Secondly, social networks allow us a forum and social space for shared and peer group learning. We are no longer dependent on the classroom based expert learning model of the past. Just by following Twitter isit is possible to find every day streamed conferences and seminars with free online access. More importantly teh culture of free and open education is spreading. A number of educational social networking sites allow anyone to offer courses and anyone to attend. Whilst some are based on business models involving fees, it seems more likely we will move in the direction of free online education. Early Open Educational resource sites are increasingly looking at enhancing teaching and learning provision to support the materials they are posting online.But most critically, social networking allows us to find and collaborate with people who share a similar interest – and that can include a similar interest in learning. As early as 1970, Illich put forward a vision that people would send a postcard to a central address expressing there learning interests and that a mainframe computer would match up their interests with others and arrange them a meeting with such people. Now that process can be expidited through online social media and geographical location technologies could allow us to meet up face to face with those people with similar interests in our geographical vicinity.

Curricula

One of the barriers to such self driven and social learning has been centrally controlled and regulated curricula. Here too, the use of social media is leading to new ideas of community driven, emergent curricula based on the model of the Rhizome. Learning will not so much be driven by enrolment on a officially prescribed course or curricula, but in participation in learning as part of a community of practice where bodies and tenets of knowledge are changing, emergent and transparent.

Participation in courses and programmes of learning also has a social element. But here too, we have an alternative model. Massive On-line Open Courses (MOOCs) offer a model for the scalable delivery of courses and programmes, and more importantly for the organisation of social interaction around such courses, both online through blogs, wikis, online seminars, internet radio, MUVEs etc. and face to face through geographically located study groups and circles.

Personal Learning Environments

A further piece in the jigsaw is the move towards Personal Learning Environments. PLEs are important in allowing individuals to organise and manage their own learning, regardless of where that learning takes place. PLEs can provide a framework for scaffolding and reflection on learning.

Changing the system

Put all the parts together and we have a new model, a model which can extend learning to all those who want it and support lifelong learning. A model which is affordable and scalable. But of course it requires imagination and change to implement such a model.

There are four key changes we need to take.

The first is in the role of teachers. Teachers are important for guiding and supporting learning. Teachers are a precious and scarce resource. Too much to their time at present is pent delivery front of the class learning and lecturing. If we could increase social and peer group learning and free up teachers time, then we should be able to provide open access for teachers to all who require such support.

The second is assessment. present methods and approaches to assessment are one of the biggest barriers to new and more radical pedagogic approaches. If assessment was seen as part of the learning process, rather than as a process of measuring what people do not know, assessment could become an integral and important part of a new system.If education and learning are integrated in society, then assessment can become authentic within everyday living and working situations.

The third is the role of schools and the design of learning environments. The schooling system has become institutionalised. the vast resources used to support and maintain school buildings and facilities could better be used supporting learning within the community. Schools should be opened to learners of all ages providing guidance and support for learning. But schools are not the only place in which we learn. It is widely accepted that much of our learning is informal. Yet we do little to enhance working and community environments to support that learning. The working environment is not juts the physical surrounding but the deign of work tasks and the work organisation. For learning to be effective we need opportunities to put that learning onto action. We need a holistic approahc to learning environments. A positive outcome of deschooling society is to introduce learning in the wider spheres of activity in our societies.

The final change is in accreditation. There is little point in developing learning in the workplace and in the community and encouraging the development of Open Educational Resources and Personal Learning environments, if access to future opportunities is reliant on accreditation which can only be obtained through participation in prescribed courses. Accreditation can and should be based on presentation of evidence of learning and competence, based on our e-Portfolios and participation in learning activities. Of course, this may require some forms of presentation, in electronic and other media and may require expert and peer testimonial. This is not so much of a technical change, but a change in how we view the validation and recognition of learning.

Of course these are radical chnages. But the main point of this post was to say that we have the ideas and the technologies to support an alternative to the present education systems, systems which are failing so many indiviidals and failing society as a whole.

Dragons Den – the podcast

November 25th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Here it is – the podcast of the live radio show.

On Monday we broke new ground with our Sounds of the Bazaar radio show. We produced a special issue of Emerging Sound of the Bazaar entitled ‘Into the Dragons Den’.  The programme was a fly on the wall special following the progress of a Dragons Den session organised by the Jisc Emerge project. What’s it all about? Emerge supports a range of projects funded by the Jisc Users and Innovation programme. The projects are mainly focused on developing social software for use in education. Part of the support process has been through a four stage development model. As part of that model, at different times during the project development, project developers get invited to a session where they are quizzed by ‘Dragons’ on the progress of their project.

The Dragons Den session featured on Sounds of the Bazaar podcast is the Preview project which is developing and piloting models for Problem Based Learning in Second Life. Maggie Savin-Baden represented the project. Paul Bailey and Chris Fowler were the dragons.

I’m not sure the Dragons roared. In fact, I think Maggie slayed the Dragons. But judge for yourself.

As always many thanks to all those who took part in the programme including our phone in guests. Production and music by Dirk Stieglitz. (NB – don’t be offput by the volume on the first minute – I got overexcited).

Your chance to participate in tonight’s radio show

November 24th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Tonight we broadcast a Sounds of the Bazaar Soecial radio show ‘Into the Dragons Den’.  The programme is a fly on the wall special following the progress of a Dragons Den session organised by Emerge. The show goes out at 19.00 UK time, 20.00 Central European Time as the kick off for the Emerge online conference on Altered States: practitioners, innovation and institutions. Read on for details of how to listen to the show.

The Dragons Den session featured on Sounds of the Bazaar is the Preview project which is developing and piloting models for Problem Based Learning in Second Life. Maggie Savin-Baden will represent the project. Paul Bailey and Chris Fowler wil be the dragons. It is going to be great fun.

This programme will be a little different in format to previous Sounds of the Bazaar broadcasts. It is a documentary. And we want you to skype us with your reactions to the programme. Our skype line – just search for GrahamAttwell in skype – wil open at the start of the programme and will remain open until half an hour after the programme. It will also be open from 10.00 – 1300 UK time, 9.00 – 12.00 tomorrow, Tuesday, 25 November. We will record all your reactions and broadcast these as a follow up podcast. Please participate – it is a new experiment for us in broadcasting your views.

The programme will last about 45 minutes. To listen to the programme just go to http://radio.jiscemerge.org.uk/Emerge.m3u in your browser. The stream should open in your MP3 player of choice. And if you’d like to chat during the programme Cristina Costa will be in the chat room at http://tinyurl.com/soundschat. Just add your name in the text field (leaving the password field blank) and chat away.

Sounds of the Bazaar Special – Into the Dragons Den

November 20th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Next Monday we break new ground with our Sounds of the Bazaar radio show. We are producing a special issue of Emerging Sound of the Bazaar entitled ‘Into the Dragons Den’.  The programme is a fly on the wall special following the progress of a Dragons Den session organised by the Jisc Emerge project. What’s it all about? Emerge supports a range of projects funded by the Jisc Users and Innovation programme. The projects are mainly focused on developing social software for use in education. Part of the support process has been through a four stage development model. As part of that model, at different times during the project development, project developers get invited to a session where they are quizzed by ‘Dragons’ on the progress of their project.

The Dragons Den session featured on Sounds of the Bazaar is the Preview project which is developing and piloting models for Problem Based Learning in Second Life. Maggie Savin-Baden will represent the project. Paul Bailey and Chris Fowler wil be the dragons. It is going to be great fun.

The programme, whih will last about 45 minutes, goes out at 19.00 UK time, 20.00 Central European Time. To listen to the programme just go to http://radio.jiscemerge.org.uk/Emerge.m3u in your browser. The stream should open in your MP3 player of choice. And if you’d like to chat during the programme Crsitina Costa will be in the chat room at http://tinyurl.com/soundschat. Just add your name in the text field (leaving the password field blank) and chat away.

Old man gets lost in another world

June 25th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

A brilliant guest post from my esteemed friend John Pallister.

“I dropped into a bar last night, well actually I listened in to some folks talking about where they were going to go and I decide to have a look there. I lurked around in a corner for a while, then sat down at the bar and watched. It was a bit strange, the bar did not have a barman, it looked to be a help-yourself establishment. People, who I have to admit did look a bit strange, were helping themselves to some strange things and seemed to enjoy jumping around a lot. They all appeared to know each other and were chatting about some music that was playing in the background. I attempted a bit of chit chat, although my natural reserved stopped me from dancing on the bar. As usual, I very quickly cleared the bar with everyone whizzing off with some feeble excuse about having to build a tower! I wandered a bit and got lost. I ended up in an adult area with a scantily clad Avatar jumping around in front of me and singing. Now that does not often happen to me often, was I dreaming? How could a grown man, who has a thousand and one real interests, find himself wandering around in a virtual world?

During the past two years I have been on quite a steep learning curve. The need, as a partner in the MOSEP project, to collaborate with colleagues from across Europe forced me to master Skype; Net-meeting; Eluminate Live; Media Wiki; blogging; social bookmarking and collaborative writing etc. I became engaged in a number of social networks and got into the habit of following people who had similar interests. I soon realised that it did not really matter if, having contributed something to a discussion, forum or a Blog, you did not receive a response. I realised that the vast majority of people were lurkers and that people were in fact reading what I was writing and occasionally, were using it to help them with their thinking. So there was a reason for me to participate and contribute. I also found that writing things down did in fact help to move my own thinking forward. I began to follow and contribute to communities, setting up a group and most recently experimenting with micro-blogging.

In the process of following the Jisc Emerge http://elgg.jiscemerge.org.uk/ community I ended up in Second Life last night. I teleported to a Bar on the Emerge Island. I had to apply all of my Functional ICT skills to master the Second Life interface, I did not really practice my Functional English skills but I did listen to others demonstrating their skills, with one person showing that she recognised her responsibility to move a discussion forward, attempting to engage me in the discussion by employing a range of techniques. The exploding Harveywallbanger was a new one to me! I listened to people agreeing how they would work as a team; reflecting on their own strengths; developing a shared understanding of what it was that they were going to work together to achieve; reflecting on their personal strengths and weaknesses and how they might contribute to the work of the team; etc. I was watching people, in a virtual world practising and developing their Functional and Personal Learning and Thinking skills. Had I managed to keep up with them, I am sure that I would have witnessed more as they built the Tower, although I suspect that they went on to a disco – ‘magic dance ball’?

I am beginning to see more and more potential in these environments for learning – but a bit like Twitter I am overcapacity!

IBM Centre occupied by protesting avatars

March 28th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

ibmsl

Photo: RSU: Some rights reserved

Caption: ‘IBM workers and friends protest at the IBM Business Center in virtual world Second Life, amidst concerns that IBM are outsourcing thousands of staff without proper consultation or securities.’

Protesters occupied the IBM Centre for two hours. It greatly heartens me to see such creative and socially constructive use of new technologies. For more about yesterdays demonstration see the IBM Virtual Protest Official Blog.

Support IBM workers in SL

March 26th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Global decision from companies need Global action from employees, we saw that with the virtual strike and now we can do it with a virtual demonstration. The national unions, works councils and IWIS (IBM Workers International Solidarity) global network are organizing a global virtual demonstration against the outsourcing contract.

IBM is misusing outsourcing contracts to reduce his own workforce in a cheap way. In this kind of contract, IBM is selling not only services and machines but also persons. We can see that recently on the AT&T contract.” say the IBM Second Life Strike Organisation.

Tonight the unions are organising “a training course to learn how to:

  • enter Second Life and to move around (for beginners),
  • use the “IBM demonstration kit”
  • and… get ready for the GLOBAL ACTION DAY against IBM’s FORCED-OUTSOURCED JOBS….that will take place TOMORROW.”

Th action starts tonight at 2100 hours at “Union Island” (search “Union Island” in the search menu once you’re in Second Life and click “Teleport”). Tomorrows demonstration takes place from 1800 – 2200 Central european Time. The meeting point is Commonwealth Island. The unions are asking for support from Second Life friends. I’ll be there. Hope to see you too.

 

Sounds of the Bazaar 14

November 14th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

This edition of Sounds of the Bazaar came out a couple of weeks ago. But it was just before we launched this web site. So I am republishing it now, for those of you who may have missed the original on the Bazaar site.  And, don’t forget, Sounds of Bazaar can also be obtained from the iTunes store.

Welcome to the second of our special series of autumn shows. This series is being produced in conjunction with Online Educa Berlin. Each edition we feature some of the themes and speakers form this years Online Educa conference, being held at the end of November in Berlin.

In this show we feature two contributors to Educa. Ruth Rominger is Director of Learning Design at Monterey Institute. Ruth talks to us about the development of Open Educational resources, social authoring, sustainability models and much more.

Steve Wheeler will also be at Online Educa. He is part of a panel looking at the potential of Multi User Virtual Environments, including Second Life, for learning. In the interview Steve talks about the development of a project on sexual health in Second Life.

Web site of the month is “not School, not Home , but Schome.”

We present the second part of our interview with Stephen Downes.

And I talk about the forthcoming Bazaar conference.

The musical mix which holds it all together is the work of Dirk Stieglitz. As a good tradition the music comes again from the great music site Jamendo.com and is published under a Creative Commons licences. In this volume you listen to the band Killing Jazz and their album “2nd Round“.

We hope you will enjoy the show.

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    Consultation

    Diana Laurillard, Chair of ALT, has invited contributions to a consultation on education technology to provide input to ETAG, the Education Technology Action Group, which was set up in England in February 2014 by three ministers: Michael Gove, Matthew Hancock and David Willetts.

    The deadline for contributions is 23 June at http://goo.gl/LwR65t.


    Social Tech Guide

    The Nominet Trust have announced their new look Social Tech Guide.

    The Social Tech Guide first launched last year, initially as a home to the 2013 Nominet Trust 100 – which they describe as a list of 100 inspiring digital projects tackling the world’s most pressing social issues.

    In  a press relase they say: “With so many social tech ventures out there supporting people and enforcing positive change on a daily basis, we wanted to create a comprehensive resource that allows us to celebrate and learn from the pioneers using digital technology to make a real difference to millions of lives.

    The Social Tech Guide now hosts a collection of 100′s of social tech projects from around the world tackling everything from health issues in Africa to corruption in Asia. You can find out about projects that have emerged out of disaster to ones that use data to build active and cohesive communities. In fact, through the new search and filter functionality on the site, you should find it quick and easy to immerse yourself in an inspiring array of social tech innovations.”


    Code Academy expands

    The New York-based Codecademy has translated its  learn-to-code platform into three new languages today and formalized partnerships in five countries.

    So if you speak French, Spanish or Portuguese, you can now access the Codecademy site and study all of its resources in your native language.

    Codecademy teamed up with Libraries Without Borders (Bibliotheques sans Frontieres) to tackle the French translation and is now working on pilot programs that should reduce unemployment and bring programming into schools. In addition, Codecademy will be weaving its platform into Ideas Box, a humanitarian project that helps people in refugee camps and disaster zones to learn new skills. Zach Sims, CEO of Codecademy, says grants from the public and private sector in France made this collaboration possible.

    The Portuguese translation was handled in partnership with The Lemann Foundation, one of the largest education foundations in Brazil. As with France, Codecademy is planning several pilots to help Brazilian speakers learn new skills. Meanwhile in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the company has been working closely with the local government on a Spanish version of its popular site.

    Codecademy is also linking up up with the Tiger Leap program in Estonia, with the aim of teaching every school student how to program.


    Open online STEM conference

    The Global 2013 STEMx Education Conference claims to be the world’s first massively open online conference for educators focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and more. The conference is being held over the course of three days, September 19-21, 2013, and is free to attend!
    STEMxCon is a highly inclusive event designed to engage students and educators around the globe and we encourage primary, secondary, and tertiary (K-16) educators around the world to share and learn about innovative approaches to STEMx learning and teaching.

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