Archive for the ‘networking culture’ Category

Entering the post Facebook age

August 26th, 2015 by Graham Attwell

I have written before about how I expect the future of social networking to eveolve towards less public and more niche social networking applications and channels. In that respect I like a recent article “How to Escape the Public Internet” in New Republic.

In the article draws attention to the increasing take up of Slack, an app we have been using for communication in some of our projects.

Ostensibly a powerful work chat app where teams can communicate with each other in channels of various topics (in the manner of its public predecessor IRC), Slack has also developed both a rabid userbase and a culture of its own as people turn its groups into communities. Its users aren’t just corporate teams, either. They’re freelancers, groups of friends, and even gaming clans. Though they use it differently, all have turned to the app for the same reason: to take their conversations from public to private.

Slack and other private modes of communication, says Alang, “offers a space hidden from the public internet. What it thus represents is a retreat into the private—or rather, a return to it.” I don’t think this is the only reason for the rise in popularity of private channels (and the return of curated newsletters). Although there have been several attempts to develop alternatives to Facebook they have all tended to look like Facebook clones. Slack is pretty, works on all platforms and is free of the distracting advertising and looks and feels nothing like Facebook.  More importantly Slack allows communication with a more limited community of ‘real’ colleagues and ‘friends’. And perhaps most important of all, as in the example Alang provides of a channel for writers and academics, Slack channels seem to be more focused on what you want to discuss, with people with the same interests. Slack for education – there’s a thought!

Golden Oldie

August 19th, 2015 by Graham Attwell

Thanks to a Tweet by @francesbell I picked up this olden but still golden video (around discussions in the first ever MOOC). As the Youtube blurb says “WARNING : This is not a real conversation. It is intended as a good-humoured parody of conversations about Groups and Networks that took place on CCK08 and elsewhere. This video is a mashup of the words of Bob Bell, Lisa Lane, Ariel Lion, Frances Bell, Stephen Downes, Ailsa Haxell, Roy Williams and possibly others, with a few extra words thrown to glue the conversation. You will have been quoted out of context, and otherwise had your words twisted but I hope you take this in good spirit.”

Insights into managed clusters – the Cluster Performance Blog

February 10th, 2015 by Pekka Kamarainen

The Learning Layers (LL) project has been launched to promote and scale up innovations – on work-related learning supported by web tools and mobile technologies – in SME clusters. From the very beginning our project has taken it as a serious challenge to get a good understanding on cluster policies (as instruments for national and European policies) and on managed clusters (as vehicles for promoting and scaling up innovations).

In the beginning the issue ‘clusters’ was perceived mainly a particular area to be explored by few specialists (to get a big pictNowure). The insights and lessons were then supposed to be fed back to the pilot regions (in our case North Germany as the pilot region for construction sector). And – accordingly – our ‘cluster explorers’ gathered information and made contacts. Sometimes it appeared that there might be cases for regional ‘twinnings’ – clusters/networks in our regions appeared to have functional equivalents in other countries.

However, in the Norwegian landscape of managed clusters and in the Norwegian funding of cluster-driven innovation policies our explorers have detected a special laboratory for promoting innovations. The glimpses that I have got from the talks of our colleagues have given an impression of highly dynamic, interactive and sustainable approaches to regional and sectoral innovations. The earlier concepts of networks and groupings do not reveal the richness of the work.

Now I am pleased to note that our colleagues Gilbert Peffer and Tor-Arne Bellika have started blogging on their work. The Cluster Performance Blog informs us of the forthcoming interface event ‘Layers meets Agder’. In this context we can explore, how the services and patterns of networking in the Agder cluster region can support our sectoral pilots and/or pilot regions in scaling up the innovations. Parallel to this, the blog informs us of the ongoing European cooperation  between different cluster initiatives.

I am looking forward to learning more from managed clusters, their evolution, collaboration and expansion. Also, I am interested to find out, how knowledge alliances or strategic partnerships are being shaped in cluster regions.

More blogs to come (both here and in the Cluster Performance Blog) …

 

Professional identities and Communities of Practice

April 22nd, 2014 by Graham Attwell

Technology Enhanced Learning, at least form a research perspective, has always tended to be dominated by the education sector. Coming from a background in vocational education and training, I was always more interested in how technology could be used to enhance learning in work and in particular informal learning in Small and Medium Enterprises.

Much early work in this area, at least in Europe was driven by a serious of assumptions. We were moving towards a knowledge economy (remarkable how quiet that has gone since the economic crash) and future employment, productivity and profitability, required higher levels of skills and knowledge win the workplace.. Prior to the rise of the World Wide Web, this could be boosted by enhancing opportunities for individual learning through the development of instructional materials distributed on disc or CD ROM. Interestingly this lead to much innovative work on simulation, which tended to be forgotten with the move to the online environment offered by the World Wide Web.

One of the big assumptions was that what was holding back learning in enterprises was the cost of releasing employees for (formal) training. Thus all we had to do was link up universities, colleges and other training providers to enterprises through providing courses on the web and hey presto, the problem would be solved. Despite much effort, it didn’t really work. One of the reasons I suspect is that so much workplace knowledge is contextually specific and rooted in practice, and trainers and particularly learning technologists did not have that knowledge. Secondly it was often difficult to represent practice based knowledge in the more restricted learning environment of the web. A further issue was a failure to understand the relationship between learning nd professional development, work practice and professional (or occupational) identities. That latter issue is the subject on a paper entitled Facilitating professional identity formation and transformation through technology enhanced learning: the EmployID approach, submitted by my colleagues from the EmployID reject, Jenny Bimrose, Alan Brown, Teresa Holocher-Ertl, Barbara Kieslinger, Christine Kunzmann, Michael Prilla, Andreas P. Schmidt, and Carmen Wolf to the forthcoming ECTEL conference. Their key finding is that there is “a wide spectrum of how actual professional identity transformation processes take place so that an ICT-based approach will not be successful if it concentrates on prescribing processes of identity transformation; rather it should concentrate on key activities to support.” They go on to say that “ this is in line with recent approaches to supporting workplace learning, such as Kaschig et al. (2013) who have taken an activity-based approach to understanding and supporting collective knowledge development.”

The following short excerpt from the paper explains their understanding of processes of professional work identity formation:

“Professional work identities are restructured in a dynamic way when employees are challenged to cope with demands for flexibility, changing work situations and skill needs (Brown, 1997). The work activities of practitioners in Public Employment Services (PES) need to be trans- formed due to the changing nature of the labour market. As their roles change, so do their professional identities. Work identities are not just shaped by organisations and individuals, but also by work groups (Baruch and Winkelmann-Gleed, 2002) or communities of practice (Lave and Wenger 1991; Brown, 1997; Ibarra, 2003). PES practitioners in particular need to develop multi-dimensional (individual and collective) professional identities to cope with socio-economic and technological change (Kirpal, 2004). This shift is underpinned by the increased importance of communica-tions skills, a willingness to engage in learning and reflexivity, while reflection on experience over time may be particularly significant in the build-up of implicit or tacit knowledge as well as explicit knowledge (Eraut, 2000). At the individual level, emerging new demands and associated skills shifts generate a potential for conflict with traditional work orientations and associated values, norms, work ethics and work identity patterns of employees. One important focus for support are individuals’ strategies for dealing with such conflicts. While any identity formation process has to be realized by the individual, the process of acquiring a work identity also takes place within particular communities where socialization, interaction and learning are key elements. Therefore, supporting networks, of ‘new’ communities of practice (Lave, 1993; Wenger, 1998; Billett, 2007) and feedback from other practitioners are important aspects on which to focus.”

References

Baruch, Y. & Winkelmann-Gleed, A. (2002). Multiple commitments: a conceptual framework and empirical investigation in a Community Health Services Trust, British Journal of Management, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 337-357.

Billett, S. (2007). Exercising self: learning, work and identity. In: Brown, A.; Kirpal, S.; Rauner, F. (eds). Identities at work. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 183-210.

Brown, A. (1997). A dynamic model of occupational identity formation. In: Brown, A. (ed.) Promoting Vocational Education and Training: European Perspectives. Tampere: University of Tampere, pp. 59-67.

Eraut, M. (2000). Non-formal Learning and Tacit Knowledge in Professional Work. British Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 70, No. 1, pp. 113 – 136.

Ibarra, H. (2003). Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career.Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Kaschig, A., Maier, R., Sandow, A., Lazoi, M., Schmidt, A., Barnes, S., Bimrose, J., Brown, A., Bradley, C., Kunzmann, C., Mazarakis, A. (2013). Organisational Learning from the Perspective of Knowledge Maturing Activities. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technol- ogies 6(2), pp. 158 – 176
Kirpal, S. (2004) “Researching work identities in a European context”, Career Development International, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp.199 – 221

Lave, J. (1993). The Practice of Learning. In S. Chaiklin and J. Lave (eds) Understanding Practice: Perspectives on Activity and Context, Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.

Lave, J. , & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning. Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

How trade unionists are using the Internet

April 2nd, 2013 by Graham Attwell

The results of the annual Labour Start survey of trade union use of the internet are interesting. The summary of results from the 3000 trade unionists who answered the survey found:

  • More and more of you use tablets and smartphones – though your unions haven’t tended to keep up, with very few of them creating applications specifically designed for small screens.
  • Very large numbers of you are using social networks other than Facebook – most notably Google+ and LinkedIn.  But your unions, which have been pretty good about using Facebook and Twitter, have largely ignored those other networks.
  • While most of you seem pretty happy with how your unions now use the net, large numbers of you don’t actually know if your unions are creating videos or smartphone apps.
  • We asked people what they most wanted to see on union websites and here are the top three: tips on workers’ rights, training for activists, and describing working conditions in companies

To read a much more detailed account of the results, click here to download the PDF file.

Online safety – inverting the power relationships

April 6th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

This video reports on research by the Cooperative Research Centre for Young People, Technology and Wellbeing in Australia which has shown young people are much better prepared to deal with online risks than adults presume and that young people themselves are the most valuable resource for adults concerned about the online safety of their children. The research also reveals significant benefits to young people through social networking, which helps them to build relationships with the world around them and increases their sense of community and belonging.

I particularly like the research approach. “In the Living Lab we inverted the usual power relationships that underpin cybersafety education. Instead of charging adults with the responsibility of educating young people about cybersafety, we put young people in charge” says Dr Amanda Third.

Sieci spoleczne i Ning

June 21st, 2010 by Ilona Buchem

Rozmawiałam na Skypie z Markiem Hylą, założycielem i moderatorem sieci społecznej SzkoleniaXXIwieku na temat inicjowania i rozwijania sieci społecznych oraz o nowym modelu biznesowym Ning. Oto zapis naszej rozmowy.

IB: Jest Pan znany w Polskiej spolecznosci e-learningowej. Czym się Pan zajmuje zawodowo? W jaki sposób porusza się Pan na codzień w sieci?

MH: Zawodowo jestem menedżerem w firmie szkoleniowej – osobą odpowiedzialną za nowoczesne technologie w procesie szkoleń. Z sieci korzystam zarówno zawodowo, jak i pozazawodowo. Zresztą jak się nad tym zastanowić, to oba te zastosowania się ze sobą łączą. Trudno oddzielić ostrą kreską zawodowe i pozazawodowe korzystanie z sieci. No bo na przykład czy pisanie bloga to zastosowanie zawodowe, czy pozazawodowe? Albo korzystanie z LinkedIn? Albo z GoldenLine?

IB: A dlaczego założył Pan sieć społeczną www.SzkoleniaXXIwieku.pl?

MH: Chyba z kilku powodów. Po pierwsze dlatego, że postawiłem sobie za cel promowanie i rozwój rynku e-learningowego w Polsce. Po drugie dlatego, iż widziałem bardzo pozytywny wpływ na to jak jestem postrzegany przez książkę, którą napisałem, tzn. “Przewodnik po e-learningu“. Fakt bycia autorem bardzo dobrze wpłynął na mój osobisty brand (markę) na rynku, a blog był znacznie ciekawszą formą nawiązania kontaktu z osobami, zainteresowanymi tematem nauczania przez sieć. Warto też zauważyć, że nie bez powodu zacząłem pisać bloga na środowisku Ning, które pozwala właśnie na tworzenie społeczności, a nie po prostu na pisanie tekstów do poczytania. Zależało mi na tym, aby skupić ludzi, móc nawiązać z nimi kontakt.

IB: Dla kogo sieć www.SzkoleniaXXIwieku.pl jest przeznaczona? Dla kogo szczególnie interesująca? Kim są uczestnicy tej sieci i co im daje bycie jej częcią?

MH: Spolecznosc ta jest przeznaczona dla dwóch grup. Pierwsza grupa jest małoliczna – jedynym jej członkiem jestem ja sam :). Mówiąc poważnie – blog jest dla mnie, tak jak pamiętnik, takim miejscem, gdzie mogę zapisać “sam dla siebie” rzeczy ciekawe, interesujące, ważne z perspektywy czasu, potrzebne do lepszego zrozumienia zmian jakie dzieją się na rynku. Grupa druga – to oczywiście wszyscy uczestnicy sieci. Udało mi się osiągnąć mój początkowy cel – członkami społeczności jest dość szeroki przekrój osób zarówno z firm, instytucji administracji publicznej, szkół i uczelni. Są tu i dyrektorzy, i specjaliści, i wykładowcy akademiccy, i studenci. Mam nadzieję (i to, póki co moim zdaniem, jest wartością dla uczestników sieci), że to, co wydaje mi się interesujące i co zapisuję “sam dla siebie” może być również interesujące dla innych. SzkoleniaXXIwieku mają jednak charakter dość jednostronnego przekazu. Mimo tego, że można bloga komentować, że jest forum, to jednak głównie piszę ja, a inni czytają. Cóż, taka jest specyfika większości blogów…

IB: Tak, znam ten „problem”. Jakie tematy więc Pan porusza?

MH:  Inicjuję zagadnienie, które czasem trafiają na podatny grunt i budzą dyskusje. Poruszam tematy interesujące mnie, obejmujące przede wszystkim nowoczesne technologie szkoleniowe, styk człowiek – technologia, innowacje technologiczne, które mogą wpłynąć na nasze życie, na to w jaki sposób postrzegamy świat, w jaki sposób się uczymy (w bardzo szeroko pojętym tego słowa znaczeniu).

IB: Z pewnością chciałby Pan, aby więcej inicjatywy wykazywali uczestnicy, np. sami inicjowali nowe tematy lub więcej komentowali …

Myślę o tym, by spróbować w ciągu najbliższych miesięcy lepiej wykorzystać potencjał tych prawie 750 osób, które są członkami społeczności. Planuję, by celebrując 1000 osobę wprowadzić jakieś istotne zmiany w formule społeczności, np. bardziej otworzyć społeczność, złamać trochę formułę jednostronnej komunikacji na rzecz oddania trochę większego pola dla uczestników. Oczywiście wymagało to będzie znacznej pracy stymulacyjnej z mojej strony – ale postaram się tego dokonać. Zadowolony nie jestem, ale nie obrażam się na rzeczywistość. Wiem, że taka jest specyfika sieci, społecznościowych mediów. Wiem jednak, że w dużej liczbie osób, z którymi nawiązałem kontakt tkwi ogromny potencjał. Chcę ten potencjał spróbować wykorzystać. Dlatego zachęcam ludzi do uczestnictwa w społeczności, zostawiania swoich danych, tworzenia profili. Wiem jednocześnie, że działa to na moją niekorzyść jeżli chodzi o liczbę odwiedzin na blogu – utworzenie własnego profilu to jednak dla wielu osób pewna bariera …

IB: Jaka będzie Pana strategia? Jak chce Pan zaktywować członków społeczności?

MH: Jak to osiągnąć? Szczerze powiedziawszy jeszcze nie wiem. Muszę zaproponować coś ciekawego, coś co da wartość uczestnikom sieci. Może od czasu do czasu będziemy robić jakieś ciekawe badania ankietowe, albo będę wysyłać do wszystkich personalnego e-maila z prośbą o wsparcie inicjatywy. Może otworzę formułę społeczności tak, aby każdy jej uczestnik mógł pisać tutaj swojego bloga. Może otworzę grupy zainteresowań. To tylko kilka pomysłów…

IB: To ciekawie pomysły. A ma pan jakis model, wzór? Czy jest jakaś sieć społeczna, która jest dla Pana przykładem?

MH: Mam raczej kilka inspiracji. Ninga wybrałem zachęcony przez Elliotta Masie, który na tym środowisku otworzył “LearningTown“. Zobaczyłem, że można zbudować społeczność liczącą tysiące osób w skali światowej. Stamtąd też zaczerpnąłem np. pomysł grup zainteresowań. Śledzę rozwój różnych trendów w zakresie komunikacji społecznościowej. Na przykład zmiany na LinkedIn pokazują co się zmienia, na co stawiają znacznie bardziej doświadczeni w komunikacji gracze. Przykładem jest coraz bogatsze i lepsze poznawanie ludzi poprzez sieci społeczne. To już nie są tylko podstawowe dane, ale (jeżeli, oczywiście, jest taka wola członka społeczności) możliwość poznania jego gustów czytelniczych, planów podróży itp. Do tego dochodzi oczywiście, coraz doskonalszy profil doświadczeń zawodowych. Innymi słowy – sieci społeczne pozwalają na coraz lepsze zdefiniowanie siebie – z korzyścią zarówno dla siebie samego, np. poprzez lepsze szanse rekrutacyjne, oraz innych, np. poprzez sprawniejsze znalezienie osób, które mogą pomóc w realizacji zawodowych czy pozazawodowych celów.

IB: Moje następne pytanie odnosi się do Ning: Niedawno Ning ogłosił, że zamyka wszystkie swoje darmowe serwisy. Jak zareagowal Pan na ten nowy model biznesowy Ninga? W jaki sposób te zmiany wpłynęły na SzkoleniaXXIwieku?

MH: W zasadzie nie wpłynęło to w żaden sposób na SzkoleniaXXIwieku, gdyż od zawsze korzystam ze środowiska płatnego. Moja reakcja była ostrożnie pozytywna. Chciałbym wierzyć w to, że ruch Ning sprawi, iż serwis będzie lepszy, bogatszy w funkcje, sprawniej działający, z mniejszą liczbą błędów. Działa to, oczywiście, na niekorzyść osób, które założyły społeczności w modelu darmowym, niemniej mówi się coraz częściej o tym, że model wartościowych serwisów w Internecie za darmo zaczyna się kończyć. Nie mam nic przeciw płaceniu rozsądnych pieniądzy za wysoką wartość usług.  Na razie nie odczułem zmian, chyba na to za wcześnie. Pojawiły się wprawdzie jakieś nowe funkcje, ale nie nastąpiła żadna rewolucja.

IB: Na koniec proszę jeszcze powiedziec tym osobom, które same chciałayy założyc podobną sieć społeczną. Co jest ważne, jeżeli chce się (a) zainicjować i (b) umożliwić rozwój własnej sieci społecznej?

MH: Moim zdaniem – trzeba chcieć to robić DLA SIEBIE. Jeżeli liczy się na to, że każdego dnia będziemy mieli setki czy tysiące odwiedzających, to szybko się zniechęcimy. Trzeba starać się być regularnym w tym, co się robi. Jeżeli podejmiemy decyzję, że piszemy co tydzień, to róbmy to co tydzień. Jeżeli mamy to robić co trzy dni, to utrzymujmy ten rytm. Ja staram się każdego miesiąca opublikować kilkanaście wpisów na blogu. Trzeba określić i trzymać styl bloga. Tworzyć go tak, aby ten styl był spójny. Trzeba też rugować z sieci osoby, które nie są gotowe podporządkować się takiemu stylowi. Ja np. byłem zmuszony usunąć profil osoby, która miała nieodpowiednie dla stylu naszej sieci zdjęcie. Mam też praktykę witać indywidualną wiadomością każdego nowego członka społeczności. Raz na kilka dni przeglądam listę nowych członków i wysyłam takie powitanie. Poświęcam na te wszystkie zadania pewnie 2 godzin tygodniowo. To może wydawać się dużo, ale tak czy siak – pewnie połowę tego czasu i tak poświęcałbym na szukanie, czytanie raportów, analizy itp. To co robię dodatkowo to dzielenie się swoimi przemyśleniami z innymi. Nie robię tego czysto altruistycznie. Poprzez moje działania w sieci buduję moja osobistą markę. Moja marka pomaga mi w biznesie, określa mnie w sieci, buduje znacznie doskonalszy profil niż wszystkie LinkdIny razem wzięte.

IB: Dziekuję bardzo za rozmowe. Bardzo chętnie porozmawiam z Panem następnym razem na temat budowania własnej marki w sieci. To też bardzo ciekawy temat …

Critical Literacies, Pragmatics and Education

June 17th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Yesterday, together with my colleague Jenny Hughes, I made a presentation to participants in the Critical Literacies course being run by Rita Kop and Stephen Downes as part of their ongoing research project on Personal Learning Environments.

The course blog says: “Technology has brought changes to the way people learn and some “critical literacies” are becoming increasingly important. This course is about these critical literacies. Critical, as the course is not just about finding out how to use the latest technologies for learning, but to look critically at the Web and its underlying structures. Literacies, as it is more about capabilities to be developed than about the acquisition of a set of skills. It is all about learning what is needed to develop confidence and competence, and to feel capable of negotiating an ever changing information and media landscape.”

Our presentation was on pragmatics. Pragmatics, we said is a sub field of linguistics which studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning.

Today we have made a short version of the presentation as a slidecast. In the presentation we explore different ideas about context in education. In the final part of the presentation we look at Personal Learning Environments and how they relate to issues of meaning and context.

The introductory and end music is from an album called Earth by zero-project. it can be downloaded from the excellent Jamendo web site.

The Challenge to Education

April 21st, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Last year I took part in an excellent confernce in Darmstadt last year on “Interdisciplinary approaches to technology-enhanced learning.” Now they have asked me to contribute to a book based on my presentation on ‘Learning Environments, What happens in Practice?. I will post the book cpater in parts on the blog as I write it, in the hope of gaining feedback from readers.

The first section is entitled ‘The Challenge to Education”

Firstly it should be said that it is not technology per se that poses the challenge to education systems and institutions. It is rather the way technology is being used for communication and for everyday learning within the wider society.

Whilst institutions have largely maintained their monopoly and prestige as bodies awarding certification, one major impact of internet technologies has been to move access to learning and knowledge outside of institutional boundaries. The internet provides ready and usually free access to a wealth of books, papers, videos, blogs, scientific research, news and opinion. It also provides access to expertise in the form of networks of people. Conferences, seminars and workshops can increasingly be accessed online. Virtual worlds offer opportunities for simulations and experimentation.

Id course this begs the question of support for learning although there are increasing numbers of free online courses and communities and bulletin boards for help with problem solving. Schools and universities can no longer claim a monopoly as seats of learning or of knowledge. Such learning and knowledge now resides in distributed networks. Learning can take place in the home, in work or in the community as easily as within schools. Mobile devices also mean that learning can take place anywhere without access to a computer. Whilst previously learning was largely structured through a curriculum, context is now becoming an important aspect of learning.

Technology is also challenging traditional traditional expert contributed disciplinary knowledge as embodied in school curricula. Dave Cormier, (2008) says that the present speed of information based on new technologies has undermined traditional expert driven processes of knowledge development and dissemination. The explosion of freely available sources of information has helped drive rapid expansion in the accessibility of the canon and in the range of knowledge available to learners. We are being forced to re-examine what constitutes knowledge and are moving from expert developed and sanctioned knowledge to collaborative forms of knowledge construction. The English language Wikipedia website, a collaboratively developed knowledge base, had 3,264,557 pages in April, 2010 and over 12 million registered users.

The present north European schooling systems evolved from the needs of the industrial revolutions for a literate and numerate workforce. Schools were themselves modelled on the factory system with fixed starting and finishing times with standardised work tasks and quality systems. Students followed relatively rigid group learning programmes, often based on age and often banded into groups based on tests or examinations. Besides the acquisition of knowledge and skills needed by the economy, schools also acted as a means of selection, to determine those who might progress to higher levels of learning or employment requiring more complex skills and knowledge.

It is arguable whether such a schooling system meets the present day needs of the economy. In many countries there is publicly expressed concerns that schools are failing to deliver the skills and knowledge needed for employment, resorting in many countries in different reform measures. There is also a trend towards increasing the length of schooling and, in some countries, at attempting to increase the percentages of young people attending university.

However the schooling system has been developed above all on homogeneity. Indeed, in countries like the UK, reforms have attempted in increase that homogeneity through the imposition of a standardised national curriculum and regular Standardised Attainment Tests (SATs). Such a movement might be seen as in contradiction to the supposed needs for greater creativity, team work, problem solving, communication and self motivated continuous learning within enterprises today.

Furthermore, the homogeneity of schooling systems and curricula is in stark contrast to the wealth of different learning pathways available through the internet. Whilst the UK government has called for greater personalisation of learning, this is seen merely as different forms of access to a standardised curriculum. The internet offers the promise of Personal Learning Pathways, of personal and collaborative knowledge construction and meaning making through distributed communities.

The schooling system is based on outdated forms of organisation and on an expert derived and standardised canon of knowledge. As such it is increasingly dysfunctional in a society where knowledge is collaboratively developed through distributed networks.

What’s the role of narrative inquiry in my research project?

April 8th, 2010 by Cristina Costa
Well, this is a question many people have been asking me. This is equally a question I ask myself. Simply because it is still hard to articulate my purpose and choices in such a way it becomes clear enough to those who ask. As Einstein once said, if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t [...]
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    MOOC providers in 2016

    According to Class Central a quarter of the new MOOC users  in 2016 came from regional MOOC providers such as  XuetangX (China) and Miríada X (Latin America).

    They list the top five MOOC providers by registered users:

    1. Coursera – 23 million
    2. edX – 10 million
    3. XuetangX – 6 million
    4. FutureLearn – 5.3 million
    5. Udacity – 4 million

    XuetangX burst onto this list making it the only non-English MOOC platform in top five.

    In 2016, 2,600+ new courses (vs. 1800 last year) were announced, taking the total number of courses to 6,850 from over 700 universities.


    Jobs in cyber security

    In a new fact sheet the Tech Partnership reveals that UK cyber workforce has grown by 160% in the five years to 2016. 58,000 people now work in cyber security, up from 22,000 in 2011, and they command an average salary of over £57,000 a year – 15% higher than tech specialists as a whole, and up 7% on last year. Just under half of the cyber workforce is employed in the digital industries, while banking accounts for one in five, and the public sector for 12%.


    Number students outside EU falls in UK

    Times Higher Education reports the number of first-year students from outside the European Union enrolling at UK universities fell by 1 per cent from 2014-15 to 2015-16, according to data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

    Data from the past five years show which countries are sending fewer students to study in the UK.

    Despite a large increase in the number of students enrolling from China, a cohort that has grown by 12,500 since 2011-12, enrolments by students from India fell by 13,150 over the same period.

    Other notable changes include an increase in students from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and a fall in students from Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.


    Peer Review

    According to the Guardian, research conducted with more than 6,300 authors of journal articles, peer reviewers and journal editors revealed that over two-thirds of researchers who have never peer reviewed a paper would like to. Of that group (drawn from the full range of subject areas) more than 60% said they would like the option to attend a workshop or formal training on peer reviewing. At the same time, over two-thirds of journal editors told the researchers that it is difficult to find reviewers


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