Archive for the ‘Bazaar’ Category

Sounds of the Bazaar live – tomorrow tuesday 10th March

March 9th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

The March edition of Emerging Sounds of the Bazaar will be broadcast live tomorrow, Tuesday 10 March, at 18.00 UK time, 1900 Central European Time.

This is a Sounds Special – being broadcast live from the Jisc Next Generation Technologies in Practice conference in Loughbrough, UK. The programme will be co-presented by Graham Attwell and Josie Fraser and will feature live interviews with George Roberts on Open Space Technology, Mark van Harmelen on Personal Learning Environments, Nicola Whitton and Rosie Jones on the potential of Alternate Reality Games for enhancing teaching and Bob Rotheram on Supporting learning using audio feedback.

You can listen to Sounds of the Bazaar live by going to in your browser. The url should open your MP3 player of choice. And if you would like to join in the fun, Steven Warburton will be in our chatroom at

Just add your name – no password required

We hope you can join us tomorrow

Web2Rights – the podcast

January 15th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

Whilst we were at Online Educa Berlin, we undertook a series of interviews and audio and video recordings. These are slowly trickling out of the post production department!

The first out is recording of a presentation by Derek Stephens and Neil Witt from the Jisc Users and innovation programme Web2Rights project.

Web2Rights is a JISC funded project, whose purpose is to develop a practical, pragmatic and relevant toolkits to support the projects funded within the JISC Users and Innovation Programme in their engagement with next generation and Web2.0 technologies and emerging legal issues, such as IP, libel and accessibility.

There are a number of ways in which these projects will engage with Web2.0 and the resources created here will be relevant for projects which are:

  • Adapting and deployment of pre-existing tools, technologies and software
  • Developing new tools, technologies and software
  • Adapting and using own content
  • Use of third party created content

However the outputs of the project will be relevant for many projects. the issues the Web2Rights project is looking at the challenges of Web 2.0 technologies, present for Intellectual Property (IP) Rights and other legal issues. These issues include:

  • Do IP rights exist in a virtual world and, if so, who owns them?
  • Who owns the rights in works that are a result of collective collaboration?
  • What happens if you can’t find the rights holders?
  • What are the legal risks associated with Web 2.0 engagement?
  • How can risks associated with content reuse be sensibly managed?

We have posted two versions of the presentation. The first is an MP3 audio recording and the second an M4a Enhanced version (this includes slides and can be viewed on iTunes or an iPod).

Emerging Mondays Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE podcast : Edupunks

July 8th, 2008 by Dirk Stieglitz

This is the last LIVE edu-radio show before we take a summer break. The theme: Edupunks. And if you missed it here is your chance to download or listen online to the podcast version. If you heard the live version you can listen again!

First up in the show is Edupunk ‘poster boy’ Jim Groom – the man who first coined the name edupunk.

He is followed by Mike Caulfield from the University of Mary Washington. He talks about edupunks as a metaphor and about change cultures.

Helen Keegan explains how she developed a new ‘do it yourself’ course at the Univeristy of Salford. Helen explains the need for us to loosen up control.

Kathryn Greenhill from Australia explains that punklib is librarians doing it for themselves. She appeals for libraries to free up data.

Martin Weller, believes edupunk is a metaphor for the zeitgeist of our times. He talks about the tension between the culture of social networking and our instututional course provision.

Sounds of the Bazaar resident edu-granny, Leila Gray, reflects on the differences technology has made in her lifetime.

Margarita Perez Garcia wraps up the July edition of Emerging Mondays with three short experimental poems.

The music for this show is from the polish Rock-Punk-Alternative Band Adapters. We feature their album Adapters. You can find this album and a lot more music on the great Creative Commons music site

Edupunk on the radio – Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE

July 4th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

What is Edupunk?

Stephen Downes offers a definition: "edupunk is student-centered, resourceful, teacher- or community-created rather than corporate-sourced, and underwritten by a progressive political stance." And an anonymous commentator on his post says: "I can’t think of anything more punk than education. For the student, learning gives power to the individual. A society full of mindless drones trained to each do a single task doesn’t really have the mental ability to rebel in meaningful ways. For the teacher, every day is an exercise in punk. You’re almost completely under the control of your coordinator, your principals, your superintendents, your school board, the media. Often, "the man" passes down restrictive rules and decisions that don’t seem to align with what’s best for you or your students. Often, you’re only equipped with sparse resources you’re able to scrap together here and there."

Are you into edupuank. Or is this just a ludicrous social construction by white males the wrong side of 40. The next Emerging Monday Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE radio programme on Monday 7 July will explore the edupunk phenomonon. With interviews,music opinion, poetry and more. LIVE. Guests include Kathryn Greenhill, Michael Caulfield and Martin Weller.

And hopefully we will be welcoming resident edupunk granny Leila back to the programme. Make sure the show is in your diary. We will be broadcasting LIVE from 1900 – 2000 UK Summer Time, 2000 – 2100 Central European Summer Time. To access the programme just click on this link or go to and it shoudl open in your favourite MP3 player. And please tell your friends.

Scenarios for Open Source, Open Content and Social Software

May 5th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

The European Commission funded Bazaar project was set up to look at the use of Open Source Software and Open Content in education. The project ended in December, 2007. As ever the work of compiling the reports and different outcomes of the project takes a little time after a project. One output is a new report “BAZAAR Project Scenario Papers “. This report is based on a scenario setting exercise and two workshops – one entitled How Dude -where’s my Data and the other on Personal Learning Environments. However the scenario setting exercise went further and included:

  • Social Software, Tools and Content Creation
  • OERs and the Culture of Sharing
  • Interoperability and Metadata
  • PLEs, e-Portfolios and Informal Learning
  • Open Educational Resources
  • Data Integrity and Storage

The report – which is 41 pages long – is attached below.

Here is an excerpt on short term scenarios for social software in education.

“These short term scenarios are a vision of a future that incorporates the use of social software for knowledge sharing, capability development and education and training delivery. They are presented in order to gauge an understanding of ‘how it could be’ if social software was more widely adopted by education practitioners. This future is very close!

Social software will force us to completely re-think our business and delivery models for many activities. It’s already happening in the media and many other industries from telecommunications to music and book-selling. Usage of social software is way beyond how people learn – it is about how organisations see themselves and how they do business.

Integral to the visions of the future is the realisation that the ‘Generation Y’ is a significant part of that future. They are already engaging with social software and making connections and sharing knowledge. The ‘Generation Y’ is a significant driver in the uptake of new technologies, along with business in its quest for efficiency. Organisations and education need to ‘catch up’.

The sense of urgency for change is perhaps being forced by the convergence of the changing nature of working and learning in a knowledge era and responding to the needs of the ‘Generation Y’. This generation are natural multi-taskers (or, at least, very good fast-switchers). They innately use technology to communicate within and outside of their working lives.”

I thoroughly recommend this report for anyone interested in social software, open source, open content and so on….

Download the scenarios report here.

Sounds of the Bazaar – the ups and downs of new technology

April 22nd, 2008 by Graham Attwell

The broadcasting fest of the weekend was a little stressful but lots of fun. And whilst podcasting is now pretty simple – and video is not a big problem – live radio is something else. Firstly presenting a live show is a completely different experience to podcasting. There is no chance to remix – it is going out live. You have to think on your feet. And it has a buzz to it which isn’t there in the podcast.

The tech mix is still a little tricky. Saturday went pretty well. A few glitches but on the whole not a bad programme. Sunday was a disaster. Twenty minutes before we were due to broadcast something went wrong with our settings. I have a few ideas but am still not quite sure what it was. We reset our machine to overcome problems with the skype feed. And in so doing we totally messed up the feeds. Something was looping in one of the two machines we use to broadcast the programme. The result – dreadful sound quality. And whilst Pekka and John gallantly talked on through an near impossible echo, Dirk and me scrambled round trying to work out where the fault lay. Sadly it was to no avail. We ended the show disconecting the Mac Pro from he feed and with me taking into a Powerbook in built Microphone. After the show we tore apart the whole system and worked out a new set up. And yesterday it all worked.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback. And thanks to all our guests. You can listen to the recording of the show here. I need to add a lot of links. No time now. However do check out the live Earthcast 24 horu show which is presently underway. Matt Montagne explains what it is all about in the first guest spot in this edition of Sounds of the Bazaar. You can access the Earthday web cast on And check out Cristina’s blog on her work in the project.
Many thanks are also due to Dirk Stieglitz who has bravely struggled with the technology. We are working on a how-to publication for those wanting to learn more about live webcasting.

Open Educational Resources: The Way Forward

March 4th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

In the past I have expressed concerns about the processes of developing policy on Open Content and the need for transparency and inclusivenss in that process. The new UNESCO publication: ‘Open Educational Resource: The Way Forward‘ is an example of how to do it the right way – by building and encouraging interchange between an international community of interested through the inetrnet. As Susan D’Antoni says in her intorduction “Over the period that the OER community has been in existence, we have been able to link many more people andinstitutions than would have been feasible through other means. Experts and neophytes alike have come together to learn from one another, share information and deliberate on related issues. Finally, after two years of intensive interaction, members expressed their opinion on the priority issues and the stakeholders that should take action to advance and support the growing movement.

This document is a testament to the power of group deliberation in a vibrant virtual community. It presents the way forward for OER based upon the informed opinion of an international community, and sets out priorities for future action. It will be of interest to many readers – from decision and policy makers at the national level to teachers and academics at the local level. ”

The report identifies six priorities for the Open Educational Resources community:

  • Awareness raising
  • Communities and networking
  • Developing capacity
  • Quality assurance
  • Sustainability
  • Copyright and licensing

The OECD supported community is currently developing resources for awareness raising through story telling on a wiki.

One last thing – this publication is a testament to the dedicated and inspired work by Susan D’Antoni – I have had the pleasure of meeting her on a number of occasions. Building a community like this is no small undertaking and its success is largely down to her.

Hey Dude – where’s my (community) Data?

December 17th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

Last year the Bazaar project held a seminar called Hey Dude – Where’s my Data. The title, somewhat ironically was coined by Dave Tosh. In the run up to the seminar we posed the following issues and questions:

“With Web 2.0, more and more people have their documents, products, personal details and photos stashed all over the internet – what issues does this raise for education?

The rise of commercial services:

With the use of free, commercial, centrally hosted, social software services rising in education some important issues arise; Who controls this data? Do users care that commercial services are mining their usage patterns and selling this to marketing companies? Is the nature of these ‘free’ services understood – yes users can come in and use the base system for free but often, in return, they are bombarded with advertising and their details/usage habits sold. However, does anyone really care? Perhaps convenience of service outweighs the perceived downsides.

As Bill Fitzgerald points out: “This type of commercial activity is sneaky – it is not apparently obvious to the user what is happening to their data and usage patterns, so often they will not thing about this.”

Is it wise to build up learning environments around these free-to-use tools? While it is unlikely some of the bigger services, such as Flickr, will shutdown – the terms of usage could certainly change, what happens if learners suddenly have to pay to access their content?

As Graham Atwell points out: “Yes Web 2 is great for allowing mash ups and integrating services to produce rich and interactive web sites. But the reliance on external services from mostly commercial companies does raise a whole series of issues. Can we trust these people with our data? will we still have access to this data in the future.? What is to stop them data mining for their own purposes?”

Is there an alternative?

Open Standards

Surely the way to approach this is to build educational tools based on open standards, not specific, commercial, services? This will remove any reliance on services like flickr or Then again, who would be responsible for building and maintaining these tools? Should institutions and perhaps government be responsible?

Open Source

The same issues arise – who is responsible for building, maintaining and paying for the service?

Where to store my data:

With the rise in popularity of ePortfolios many have asked what happens to an ePortfolio after the student has left the institution? What happens to this content – where are learners supposed to store it? Can they still access it?

At least one UK university is considering charging alumni for continued access to their ePortfolio – is this the correct approach?

Starting Points
To get you started here are some rough questions:

  • Data mining on commercial services, is this a problem?
  • Should institutions using commercial services worry about the user data being sold to advertising and marketing companies?
  • Is it not a risky strategy to rely on commercial services keeping their services ‘free’?
  • Does anyone really care? Some of these services are excellent so perhaps we should accept that their might be some downsides and instead concentrate on the pedagogical benefit they can offer?
  • Who would pay for something if it was not commercial service providers – the government? Would we trust that more? Would the services actually be as good?
  • What role should governments play, if any at all?
  • What is the role of institutions?
  • Security issues?
  • Ownership issues?”

The position papers and discussions from the seminar can be found on the project wiki. But whilst we saw the answers largeluy in individual ownership of data with backups etc and interoperability standards we missed teh issue of community. Individuals can transfer their data from Eduspaces with its impending closure. But at a technical level it is tricky to back up and restore comments. Moreover links to individual posts will be lost – as will the community context of the discussion. In other words communities may be more than a blog and whilst back ups and interoperability and standards may allow us to safeguard our individual data it does little for communities.

Show that you share – a first report

December 16th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

On Friday we organised the Bazaar project conference – Show that you Share – at the University of Utrecht.

Personally, I greatly enjoyed the conference – as I think did other participants. As with previous Bazaar project events, the conference was designed to be participant led.  And we wished to draw on the experiences and expertise of those attending to develop new ideas and knowledge. It will take a little time to draw out the different insights from the discussion. But for me what became very apparent was the link between social networking and Open Education Resources.

Whilst the Open Educational Resources movement continues to grow in terms of ideas and support, a number of major issues have not been answered.

  • What is the motivation for developing and sharing Open Educational Resources
  • How can we find  appropriate resources
  • How can we provide resources in a format which is easy to edit and adapt
  • How can we track the use of resources
  • How can we provide contextual metadata

Whilst much development work has gone into the creation of repository services, use of repositories in at best uneven. The long tail probably applies – most Open Educational Resources are available on local machines, local networks or little known servers.

What has perhaps not been probably considered is the influence of communities or social networkas as a major factor in resource sharing. People are happier to share if they know the community in which the resources are to be used and equally people are more trustful of resources if they come from a community of which they are a member. Yet resource repositories have focused on subject or discipline as the main way of finding and prioviding resopurces – there is seldom any focus on who created them for what purpose.

Refocusing on people and through people on practice could overcome many of the barriers listed above. This does not mean that resources would be limited to closed networks. Social software allows a transfer of trust and trust relations between people in different networks. But of course social software focuses on people  and and practice, rather than artefacts.  The Open Educational Resources movement has tended tofocus on the artefacts themselves, rather than people. If we could build on social software to provide social networking for resource creators and resource users, it might be we could take the OER movement a further step forward.

Open Content, the Capetown Declaration, the Bazaar Conference and Personal LearninG Environments

December 13th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

No posts for a while as have been constantly traveling. Since I am now on my way to Utrecht for the final conference of the Bazaar project on Open educational Resources then it seems pertinent to comment once more on the debate over the Capetown Declaration on Open Content. Despite the declaration being drafted in a restricted community – and official comment being similarly restricted – it is heartening to see that an open discussion has emerged through the blogosphere and within the open content com,unity. That the community is able to organise such a debate is very encouraging and a sign of the increasingly mature nature of the community.

Stephen Downes – in an email to the UNesco list server on OERs, says:

“I understand the purpose of the use of the word ‘libre’, as the words ‘open’ and ‘free’ have certainly been appropriated by those who see learning content as something ‘given’ and not ‘created’ or ‘used’. And one wonders what the supporters of commercial reproduction of open educational content would say were such reproduction required to retain the format and structure of the original – no proprietary technology, no encoding or access restrictions, no DRM. What would they say were they required to make available genuinely free and ‘libre’ content in whatever marketplace they offered their commercial version of such content.

I understand the concerns about the use of the word ‘libre’ as being unfamiliar and foreign to some people. Perhaps we could offer a translation. Perhaps we could call such content ‘liberty’ content. Alternatively, I would also support a move to reclaim the word ‘open’ from those who now interpret it to mean ‘produced’ and ‘commercial’ and ‘closed’. I have always referred to the concept simply as ‘free learning’.”

Stephen’s contribution reflects the findings of the Bazaar project. Firstly, it is not just a matter of ensuring a Creative Commons license is attached to resources – although awareness of such licenses is of course important. OERS have to be available in a form which renders them usable for learning. Part of that learning may involve changing those resources. Formats do matter.

Even more critical is support for the processes of learning. There are many great resources openly available on the internet and an increasing number of free social software applications which can potentially support learning.

But there remain many barriers to their effective use for learning. One of the issues we have focused on in the Bazaar project is data ownership. Yes, Facebook is a great application for peer and shared learning. But Facebook denies users access to their own data.

Equally organisation and institutional cultures of teaching and learning inhibit sharing and reuse.

In the Bazaar project we have spent some considerable efforts in looking at the potential of Personal Learning Environments. I suspect our reviewers from the Commission find this strange. Why should a project on Open Educational Resource be concerned about PLEs. The reason is because we share Stephen’s vision of I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of “society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle……..This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence.”

We see Personal Learning Environments as an important development in enabling such a vision – allowing learners to create and allowing sharing of knowledge and ideas as well as artefacts.

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    Cyborg patented?

    Forbes reports that Microsoft has obtained a patent for a “conversational chatbot of a specific person” created from images, recordings, participation in social networks, emails, letters, etc., coupled with the possible generation of a 2D or 3D model of the person.

    Racial bias in algorithms

    From the UK Open Data Institute’s Week in Data newsletter

    This week, Twitter apologised for racial bias within its image-cropping algorithm. The feature is designed to automatically crop images to highlight focal points – including faces. But, Twitter users discovered that, in practice, white faces were focused on, and black faces were cropped out. And, Twitter isn’t the only platform struggling with its algorithm – YouTube has also announced plans to bring back higher levels of human moderation for removing content, after its AI-centred approach resulted in over-censorship, with videos being removed at far higher rates than with human moderators.

    Gap between rich and poor university students widest for 12 years

    Via The Canary.

    The gap between poor students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to its largest point for 12 years, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

    Better-off pupils are significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers. And the gap between the two groups – 18.8 percentage points – is the widest it’s been since 2006/07.

    The latest statistics show that 26.3% of pupils eligible for FSMs went on to university in 2018/19, compared with 45.1% of those who did not receive free meals. Only 12.7% of white British males who were eligible for FSMs went to university by the age of 19. The progression rate has fallen slightly for the first time since 2011/12, according to the DfE analysis.

    Quality Training

    From Raconteur. A recent report by global learning consultancy Kineo examined the learning intentions of 8,000 employees across 13 different industries. It found a huge gap between the quality of training offered and the needs of employees. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said they , with only 16 per cent of employees finding the learning programmes offered by their employers effective.

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