Archive for the ‘Wales Wide Web’ Category

Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE from Berlin

December 4th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

We are at Online Educa Berlin, organising a series of fringe activities. This morning we produced a half hour radio programme. Lots of fun and if you want a quick impression of the conference just download the podcast.

Photos to follow.

Employers do not understand learning

December 2nd, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Interesting survey by the UK Chartered Management Institute and reported in the Guardian newspaper.

“The institute interviewed 1,000 managers aged 35 and under, working in industry, commerce, local government and the police. Their most common complaint was that older bosses regarded the internet as “a massive timewaster”. Half said their organisations did not take up web-based technology until it was tried and tested, and 16% described their employers as “dinosaurs”. The survey found most young managers wanted to use the internet for research, professional development and other aspects of getting the job done. But employers treated it with suspicion. The survey found 65% of organisations monitored usage, rising to 86% in local government and 88% in the police. This led 65% of employers to block access to “inappropriate” sites, rising to 89% in local government and 90% in the utilities. Eighteen per cent of employers limited internet access to certain times of day, rising to 38% in the insurance industry.”

Some two years ago we published the results of a project looking at e-Learning in Small and Medium Enterprises in Europe. We undertook 105 case studies in six different countries. We found few instances of formal e-learning (or formal learning of any kind). However we found extensive use of the internet for informal learning. Older workers were more likely to use ICT for learning than younger staff. This, we concluded, was due to two reasons: older workers were more likely to have unlimited access to the internet becuase of their seniority. And older workers were more likely to have autonomy to use the results of their learning in the workplace.

The Chartered Mangement Instutute survey shows that businesses have still not progressed in their understanding of learning, less still in thinking about innovation. Informal learning is potentially the most powerful driver of innovation. But this requires both access to learning opportunties and work organisations which allow autonomy to utilise learning. Most businesses still don’t get it.

NB Sadly I cannot find an online copy of the Chartered Mangement Institute Survey. Probably costs lots of money. But you can download the book we produced – Searching, Lurking and the Zone of Proximal Development – E-Learning in Small and Medium Enterprises in Europe – for free.

Power and learning

December 1st, 2008 by Graham Attwell

No, not the power of learning. Power relations and learning.

I worry sometimes that those evangelists (said in a nice way, I am one myself) of a new way of learning, ignore the power relationships in society. Education itself, will not change the world. Power remains unevenly distributed.  More problematically, it is not in the interests of those who run a our society to allow us all to learn for ouselves, unfettered by control – be it control to access ot learning or control of what we learn. Contrast these statments:

“Over the last ten years, this model has been seen in many quarters to be obsolete. We have seen the emergence of a new model, where education is practiced in the community as a whole, by individuals studying personal curricula at their own pace, guided and assisted by community facilitators, online instructors and experts around the world.

Though today we stand at the cusp of this new vision, the future will see institutions and traditional forms of education receding gradually, reluctantly, to a tide of self-directing and self-motivated learners. This will be the last generation in which education is the practice of authority, and the first where it becomes, as has always been intended by educators, an act of liberty.” – Stephen Downes

I wish I was as optimtistic as Stephen. But read this from George Roberts’ newly launched work blog: “Irving Wladawsky-Berger, (read his blog) President Emeritus of the IBM Technology Academy and visiting/adjunct professor at MIT and Imperial College, argues, for a mixed mode of social control in which participatory governance models and hierarchical governance models share the challenge of institutional survival in a social darwinian market environment where, “… you make mistakes you die”.

Capitalism is adapting to new economic relaities of Open Source and global markets. Learning is powerful and education forms part of the ideological state apparatus. Power will not be ceded because we have a better idea of organising universal access ot education. Educational technolgits must understand these realisties and better still join those fighting for economic, social and politcial chnage.

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