Oct 26

The ease of knowledge sharing via web2.0 is continually prompting me to see it as the strong driver for educational change in the new paradigm. Many educators are questioning if the industrial age institutions we work in are ready for the kids of the digital communication revolution. As we begin to understand that moncultures are unsafe as models for access I find I keep returning to a quote by Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales when he was in Perth recently.

We need to learn to contribute and disagree in safety.

If “knowledge sharing is the lubricant behind the knowledge community” as Mal Bryce postulated in the panel discussion, then the engine of web2.0 is beginning to be used by educators as the agents of change. We are beginning to see a culture of sharing and creativity which is not based upon market exchange but rather an intellectual exchange.

Quote and image below via the post Mosh Pit as Innovation Model on Creating Passionate Users:

“Professionals” in any field come in two flavors: Knowledge Sharers and Knowledge Hoarders. The hoarders believe in the value of their “Intellectual Property”(IP). The products of their mind must be carefully guarded lest anyone steal their precious ideas. But let’s face it–if our only “strategic advantage” is our ideas, we’re probably in trouble.

Progress/Innovation

Mark Pegrum from UWA writes eloquently about the panel discussion here:

Mark Pesce (whose podcast and slides are available here) argued that the question “What is the truth?” has now become “Who do you trust?”. There is a potentially a clash of cultures between the Wikpedia model and the older encyclopedic model; has the culture of expertise, he asked, been out-evolved by distributed authority? He concluded by predicting a coming war between elites (who’ve traditionally possessed knowledge), special interests (who try to shape knowledge to their own ends), and communities (which are just becoming aware of the knowledge latent within them - and are beginning to use tools like wikis to harness that knowledge).

During the Perth panel discussion (a podcast of which is available), Mal Bryce, of IVEC, suggested that knowledge sharing is the lubricant of the knowledge economy, adding that information which is shared is information which is enhanced. Control freaks, he claimed, have no place in the emerging order. He agreed with comments made earlier in the day to the effect that more than anything else, it’s about changing the culture rather than grabbing the tools.

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Jul 29

Inspired by a question to Oz-Teachers email list by Ken Price I have modified my reply into this post. Some adventurers are ready to jump into the mosh-pit that is social learning. This is an area that has excited and inspired me for a while - I love the idea of aggregating and value adding to whole-class generated knowledge. Why? - for two main reasons - it helps teachers work smarter by saving them time and being easily able to assess developed understanding + it allows students to tap into the collaborative benefits that come with the social network of their class.

TumblrI have specifically been looking at Inquiry Based Learning via RSS and social networking. The best way I’ve found for the teacher to be able to see an aggregation of all student blogs is to set them all up with Tumblr accounts. I’d do so with a Gmail account. Teachers can quickly generate and assign separate email address for each student. To do this, just add a + sign and the students first name after your gmail address. (youraddress+student1@gmail.com) Each student’s username and password will be emailed to you. With Tumblr the students can then also see each others posts via automated subscriptions. Why? - so that they can tap into the wisdom of the classroom mosh-pit.

For example if the teacher to automatically add book/website recommendations into their blogs all students will need to do is subscribe to the teachers del.icio.us tag eg. http://del.icio.us/PaulReid/web2.0 turns into feed://del.icio.us/rss/PaulReid/web2.0
This RSS feed will appear in there blog as a mini-post (task) that they can reply to. The teacher can then view their responses. As for a “people who read this book also read these” function I’d also use del.icio.us tag RSS feed. Students could tag specific URLs with “1Aclassrecom” for example.

Let’s also say for example we wanted to provide a mind-map of a book analysis, Gliffy allows teachers or students to set up a collaborative diagram. This is handy for the Tumblr account because Gliffy diagrams can be subscribed to and easily embedded via the “Publish” function. Great for visualizing the development of contextual understanding. I use Tumblr here to aggregate my web2.0 wanderings - Tumblr the easiest way to get content on the web I’ve come across. Organising, valuing and automating the metadata produced via the traditional inquiry based learning process is for me currently the most exciting area of ICTs in education.

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Mar 10

As interactive white boards gain more traction in the educational technology market is this where we are heading? Jeff Han demonstrates the possibilities in the video below via here - great to see that Google Earth and Wikipedia are included - some logevity in those tools perhaps. The multi-touch display is remarkably like a giant iPhone interface and will keep teachers very fit as they move around. Will students be able to interact from their seats with a Wii like interface communicator?

Jeff Han's demo

Appendix: Tongue was firmly in cheek as I wrote this post.

Update: Thanks go out to my colleague Tanya for putting me onto this more detailed video of the interface as shown by it’s creator Jeff Tan at the TED Conference.

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Jan 29

The big question is - will schools be buying them for Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) access during excursions and outside work? You bet - at least those with money will. It wasn’t until I came across this video, I understood what the web community is so amazed about. Kindy kids will be able to understand and operate that GUI! This montage from Rojo sums the combination up for a visual spatial learners like me:
iPhone new

Unfortunately, being able to access rich media via the school WiFi network changes the boundaries for school ICT resources yet again. With the new wireless capabilities of hubs like AirPort Extreme digital portability enters yet another dimension - can our school infrastructure and systems keep up? This sort of change in expectation displays the need for scaleable network and storage solutions. Instead of portable notebook trolleys will we see racks of iPhones in the library? I’ll check back on this post in 2008 to see where we are at.

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