Enquiry based, experiential and situated learning – Cloudworks

We are starting to collect resources, but it is not exactly clear how we are going to collect and hold such resources. For the moment, I have started this “Cloud” as one means of collecting resources together. I will be offering these to the Brookes institutional repository, also.

Zotero Everywhere makes me happy

Zotero Everywhere will have two main components: a standalone desktop version of Zotero with full integration into a variety of web browsers and a radically expanded application programming interface (API) to provide web and mobile access to Zotero libraries.

This is one of the best pieces of news I have had in a little while. I love Zotero. As a citation manager it is hands down better than EndNote or Mendeley. The ability to form groups, share libraries, and tag and publish libraries is just what a research group should do. The parsing of citations from databases (Academic Search complete, etc) is slick and pretty much fool proof. As for citation and bibliographic formats, it has more than any other tool I know of. (OK, they still haven’t cracked Oxford, but no one has.) Web clipping, annotation, cross referencing all just work. It has been developed by researchers for researchers funded by a major research funding body (Mellon Foundation). Zotero is open source and free to use. If you want an open tool for cataloguing OERs, this is the one. They provide a generous amount cloud storage space free and reasonably priced additional storage if you want to keep all your pdfs on line for access anywhere. The only drawback (in some eyes) has been that the client is integrated into the Firefox browser. This has not been a problem for me but has been a problem for colleagues who for various reasons are not as fond of Ffx as I am. As long as Zotero was close-coupled to Ffx I couldn’t really sell it to others. But, now, the best just announced the intention to get seriously useful.

From community folksonomy to epistemology in a few clicks via @psychemedia http://bit.ly/a9aETq #altc2010

Possibly the most useful post (ever?), showing how using Twitter can delineate communities of interest and lead from ephemeral and transitory utterances to more stable representations of (still dynamic) useful knowledge http://bit.ly/a9aETqIt does, of course depend on people using conventions (Twitter hashtags) consistently. The rebels at ALT-C who resented the waste of three characters and insisted on tagging #alt10 instead of #altc2010 won’t be picked up in these algorithms. No matter how otherwise influential, their influence in these searches would only be felt through their reflection in the interests of those they connect to.

I think there may be some limitations on the depth of search for new hashtags, or the pipe needs to be rewired. I would have expected the tag #falt10 to have appeared several times.

Lecture capture and participatory media for education: a talk for eL@B

I suppose there comes a tolerance of living with a degree of chaos. Knowledge is quite loosely coupled, I find.The page I showed with the links came originally from a talk I did at the November eLearning at Brookes (eL@B) meeting on Participatory Media for teaching in Higher Education. The link to the slightly updated mindmap, which I showed in the class is here, where everyone should be able to reach it, should they care (click on “outline view” – lower left – to get the page with the links):


I’ll put the slides up on the VLE for the class. They are already publicly available on SlideShare:


The talk is on the Brookes Wiki, links are on the page (but it is behind an annoying wall):

There is a link to a video of the talk, here (still behind a wall):

Maybe we’ll get some of these walls lowered.

Sustaining support

Further to the last post, Sustaining Communities, the tension in higher education is between: open educational dialogue and institutional pragmatics (a 1000 mile question?).

Open educational dialogue is concerned with networks or communities for information sharing, which take a user-centred approach to learning and design for learning on all scales. These networks make use of user-generated content for learning resources, including novel audio & video resources. Assessment, feedback and feed forward is conceived dialogically for learning. Among the benefits of open educational dialogue should be improved student induction and retention in situated learning communities. Among the technical enabling practices by which open educational dialogue might be supported, projects are working on systems mapping, business analysis (BA) and work flows. Information aggregation practice and content syndication (RSS) are being implemented using increasingly open web services and service oriented architectures (SOA). While institutions are traditionally seen as being located in physical space, mobility and location-based services are increasingly re-articulating the relationships between people, space and institutions: domestic, commercial, cultural, civic, language, faith, education, state and their various concrete reflections in houses, offices, systems, stores, transport ways, networks, authorities, maps, corridors and campuses.

Innovation themes supporting open education dialogue appear to be:

  • Portals and personal portals (programmes, eportfolios and PLEs) to CPD aligned with
  • Flexible frameworks for accreditation, underpinned by
  • Multimedia epistemologies, the semantic web and a peer-to-peer participatory culture in disciplines

Sustaining participation as principal, agent, volunteer, affiliate, staff for:

  • natural and built environments
  • food, water, energy
  • economies
  • polities and communities

Managing participatory identity

  • learning (peripheral participation)
  • authentication
  • trust (accreditation)
  • access (privileges)
  • openness

The innovative potential of these themes depends on and is set against an enabling apparatus of social institutions – institutional pragmatics. These are the means by which order is brought to, or structures educational practice along rational lines. Institutional pragmatics may be resolved to nine categories:

  1. Learning teaching and assessment
  2. Research and development
  3. Business and community engagement
  4. Learning resources
  5. eAdmin
  6. Institutional ICT services
  7. Physical estates and learning spaces
  8. Mobile, location aware and pervasive computing
  9. Green ICT

A response to Leigh Blackall: The New Colonialism in OER

In many respects, OER and the Creative Commons licenses help propel US centered ideas of copyright and intellectual property, indirectly inserting such ideas on the back of moral concepts such as sharing, freedom and openness, as though sharing, freedom and openness didn’t exist before, and that the only way to protect such notions is with legal instruments that recognise copyrights in the first place!

This is a partial response that needs more thinking through. I admire Leigh taking this once more around the loop and I find his argument almost compelling. But, the extrapolation across the whole creative commons (CC) is problematic as is the denial that any part of any leopard might change its spots: CC is a big progressive step and there is a lot that is progressive in OER, too. I am not sure that the limited uptake of CC India means that CC is a bad idea everywhere. Nor is OER, even if the Capetown Declaration is flawed, as Stephen Downes has argued [ref to come]. With real struggles to be faced like the Digital Britain initiative, which is overtly colonialist and reactionary, suspecting and projecting covert neocolonialism throughout the broad OER and CC movements renders the struggle unwinnable, alienates allies and is, as Leigh implicitly acknowledges probably irrelevant in many places anyway.

Continue reading “A response to Leigh Blackall: The New Colonialism in OER”

@eframework technical model: a key enabler of open education dialogue? #jiscssbr


The eFramework people have published their technical model here: http://www.e-framework.org/Resources/TechnicalModel/tabid/1008/Default.aspx The model depends on continuing feedback from the community. Their aim is to develop “… a common approach to the description of service-oriented design and analysis,” and provide “… a neutral means to articulate the design of software services” in order “…to assist international education and research agencies and communities in planning, prioritising and implementing IT infrastructure more effectively.”

This is a good aim. So, the question is, does it? They want the framework to assist in strategic planning, but it is hard to see how to make the step from the more or less technical abstract layers up to the policy implementation layers. There is still an exclusive, jesuitical (exegetical, hermeneutic) gap, largely inaccessible to lay people, that needs to be interpreted. You have to learn the language.

Continue reading “@eframework technical model: a key enabler of open education dialogue? #jiscssbr”