Apr 11

Recently the visual/spatial learner in me is enjoying the life of a visual blogger using tumblr. Knewd is experimental tumblog aggregates memorable digital breadcrumbs I come across in cyberspace - this is my way of both sharing and archiving bitz i already knewd in a rather naked and open manner.

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Tumblr the easiest way to get content on the web I’ve come across. Organising, valuing and automating the metadata/content produced via the traditional inquiry based learning process is still for me currently the most exciting area of ICTs in education.

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Very quickly we are seeing metadata becoming hyper-connected content and the ability of users to quickly see this metadata in context. This picture is a snippet from the archive of my scrapbook from the last few months.

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I also use Tumblr here to aggregate my web2.0 wanderings - this automated process of organising, valuing and automating the metadata I produce via the traditional inquiry based learning process is for me currently the most exciting area of ICTs in education. The select and organise aspects of inquiry based learning are facilitated by the process of tumblogging even more when you add.

As @dswaters pointed out at the recent ECAWA unconference I am not the most social creature online these days! I do engage with some discussions on email lists and a little bit more lately on Twitter but in general this year I have not really been joining in the dialogue of the blogosphere as much. I have been considering the reasons behind this, and think it is simply that I am so busy with the new job, but most of all I think it’s because if I am going to engage with a discussion I feel I need to really immerse myself in the discussion to have my contributions be of any use.

CommentThis general demeanour leaves me missing out on a fantastic project is going on in the edublogosphere called the 31 day comment challenge. I would love to be part of it but instead I am just going to write about how cool it is instead :-). Sue Waters makes some valuable points here about the fact “that commenting on blogs is a crucial aspect of blogging conversations for achieving the greatest learning,” and this is put in context by an insightful reference to Derek Wenmoth’s diagram The Four C’s of Participation in Online Communities. Maybe I’ll be up for the next one.

My voluntary work on building the new ECAWA website and exciting Community Bookmarking project has taken up more time than expected. This will be an interesting project to watch unfold - currently we are still taking votes to see which social bookmarking tool we will use. The reception at the ECAWA unconference - thanks guys - was a positive one so I hope the wider community sees the value in tapping into and aggregating our collective intelligence.

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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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Apr 18

If you are planning to integrate climate change / sustainability into your learning programme in Term 2, the WA made enviro reality TV show EcoHouse Challenge may be of interest. The website contains some engaging activities and with a strong online collaborative angle on tackling the issue of living sustainably. In conjunction with Australian Teachers Of Media (ATOM), Eco House Challenge has developed a comprehensive study guide for use in secondary schools throughout Australia. The Ecological Footprint Calculator for example calculates how much space on earth you need to continue living your current lifestyle.

Here’s the premise:

EHCCan we save the planet? To find out two ordinary Perth suburban households have been wired to monitor their every eco move.

The challenge starts with a bang. Without warning four environmental hotspots, energy, water, transport and waste removal are shut down until further notice. Over several weeks, while still living their normal lives, the families must radically reduce consumption and learn to live sustainably.

I watched a preview of the first couple of episodes at Scitech the other week and the show will most definitely be engaging on many levels for teachers and students alike. It is also impressive because it is the possibly the first mainstream reality TV show to be based around an environmental issue. The reactions, both positive and negative, of the Perth teenagers to the eco-challenges they face, are something I believe all students will associate with. Watching the kids and parents having to use wind-up chargers for their mobile phones was a highlight.

The EcoHouse Challenge runs for 6 weeks on Wednesdays starting April 11th at 7.30pm on SBS. According to The Age, as well as Eco house Challenge there will be a series from ABC TV called “Carbon Cops”.

PS: Using the carbon emissions widget at http://www.greeninternet.org/ this post would have cost 0.0634lbs of carbon to produce, but I’m on Synergy’s Green Power at an extra 3c per unit, so apparently my power comes from genuine, government approved renewable energy sources.

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