Friday 21 December 2007

How to recode a course into a mobile accessible html course

At ITM we make courses with different softwares depending on the content we want to get across. In this case the courses were initially made in eXe, with some interactive javascript and html as the technical basis of the course.

The things I think off while recoding an existing course into an html course that is accessible with mobile devices (even cheap ones):

Html editing software: I use dreamweaver at work, but if you are in need for a free and easy one: or html kit

Resizing images with photoshop or the free and great photo editing software irfanview to an appropriate size (= less than the screen resolution of a cell phone, approx 128 X 160 )

Limited scrolling is ok: in elearning scrolling is to be avoided, but because cell phones only have small screens, I have felt that some scrolling will enable the reader to keep his focus within the page on the cell phone. Otherwise it would become an endless clicking with the risk of getting lost in the course. So although the page content is kept to a minimum, some scrolling will almost always occur. I you feel otherwise, please let me know.

Because there is a clear limit on the visuals that you can use (download and screen size) it is never the less interesting to incorporate clear icons to specific parts of the course (eg. learning objectives, case study, reflection…) this gives the learner a clear image on what she or he can expect on that page.

If you use javascript do remember to mention it within the heading of the html page.

Use W3C standard html to avoid strange browser conversions. You can validate your coding here. (Still need to get the validation going on this course).

To get CSS going, you can work with a WCSS or wap cascading style sheet to give your mobile courses extra layout energy.

There are also other tools I use, which I have mentioned in a previous post (Opera mini, mobile validator…)

If anybody is interested, the course (which is still under construction, did not get around to finish the WCSS before the holidays) is uploaded here.
Feel free to give remarks that will enable me to improve the look and feel.

how the mind works and how it can benefit online courses

How the mind learns about the mind through the internet: by a post in the internettime group and my twitter acount, I learned this today:

Michelle Gallen put me onto a great post on the architecture of the mind. A post from Andy Brice on how the brain works and how a GUI can grab the mind of people. The author makes a great analyses of how memory works and how we can add to the assimilation of ideas.

Ryan Lanham put me on to Deric Bownds' mindblog which is really interesting (Alzheimer runs in my family so anything that sheds a light on keeping the brain in good condition gets my vote).

This immediately links to a book I will read during the holidays: "Made to Stick, why some ideas survive and others die" from Heath and Heath. I hope it will enlighten my mind and give me extra ideas on how to make e-courses more effective with learners.

Which together with the just published and free e-book from the eLearning Guild on eLearning tool tips, will enable me to have a knowledge and fun filled holiday season.

Wednesday 19 December 2007

Open Educational Resources Declaration and info

Mark Surman got me focussed on Open Educational Resources (OER) again with his great post on the Cape Town Declaration. The Cape Town Open Education Declaration is document that will be posted on the WWW in the beginning of 2008 and which builds upon other Open Education evolutions such as Free & Open Source Software Portal from Unesco who put their ideas into open education from as early as 1984 onwards.

There are a lot of OER out there, just to list a few:
OER commons;
the European initiative SELF
the olcos project;
The MIT open courseware which I like a lot :-)
a great open source resource for software engineeering: AVOIR;

A great and more international initiative is RAFT, a Swiss initiative that provides distance continual medical education courses from French speaking developing countries to whoever wants to follow them. It is a really huge initiative that has been growing since 2003. The English paper on their research mention the great lessons learned. They also have a blog that keeps everyone updated on coming courses. I like this initiative because it is low resource, supported by a lot of developing countries and there specialists. It feels more grass roots because it comes straight out of the belly of the specialists, so ... I like this approach a lot!

To come back to the Cape Town declaration: I signed it although I have some remarks. I signed it because any idea that strengthens open courses appeals to me and will benefit all.

Nevertheless I hope that a lot of people will respond to the initiative and ask to open it up to more diversity and that they will act upon what the declaration preaches.

Remarks I had while reading the declaration
(what I send to them as well with a few alterations):
Where is the diversity? I was surprised that the initiative did not include more diversity in the platform of people? Change only happens by the people, through the people. Why not use diversity as your trust in developing countries and as trust in the outcomes of true integrated exchange of knowledge. In my opinion you should have over 31% (threshold percentage) of people in the Cape Town Declaration committee from educators from different developing countries to ensure their demands and remarks and needs on Open Educational Courses get heard. For in my opinion especially developing countries will be able to benefit from this kind of approach, so their voice should at least be heard on a scale that has impact (more than 30%).

A second remark: why not open up the declaration to learners around the world to add their remarks to make it stronger? The fact that feedback is possible is already great, it would be nice if this feedback would be open as a public discussion forum.
This way the cape town declaration will act upon the very words they are writing down. Actions not words make a difference and offer trust to the people that are willing to stand behind those very principles.
Of course it will be difficult to sift through all the responses, but as the Swarm theory shows, the group is right so it is worth giving this a try.

And there is one thing that always makes me a bit uncomfortable: if there is a good idea that would benefit a lot of people, than why are names linked to that initiative in the same page as the initiative? You could add names, but not in the declaration itself, this just looks kind of ego-loving. Why not add knowledge to initiatives that are already addressing this issue.

Well, these are my reservations, but if you want more reservations you can read them here. After which one of the people who worked on the declaration replied on his blog. In both statements I found things I agreed and disagreed with. The fact that the discussion is going on emphasizes the strong need to make open educational resources a fact.

I hope more people will react upon this declaration and if you do, please let me know I love to think, discuss and learn.

Tuesday 18 December 2007

edubloggers that make a difference

A great overview of strong bloggers in the educational sphere. Straight out of the keyboard of Stephen Downes: great minds of great people.

Got some of them immediately into my Yes!

Improve collaborative writing in a team of online learners

Online collaboration can be a pain. As a team you miss the non-verbal language on which communication is built upon for era’s, so you need to provide different instruments that make up for this lack of the usual face-2-face strong holds of communication. Once you need to write collaboratively, the power to express yourself is also limited in the digital realm.

SCoPE just finished a seminar on the topic: online collaboration. A wealth of knowledge was shared with all participants. The fact that SCOPE is an open, online environment enabling eLearning workers from all around to engage in the topics and discussions puts it right into the new direction education is taking: share knowledge in an open environment.

Janet Salmons
from vision2lead was enabling and moderating the discussion and she guided a couple of Elluminate sessions on online collaboration, you can find the links to the elluminate sessions in this wiki . All participants put in a lot of great points of discussion and gave a lot of ideas and solutions. The participant that blew my mind with the most impressive input was Marsha West of Concord.

Quick and brief overview
What can we do to improve collaborative writing in a team of learners?

Key to all collaborative work is TRUST. To enable online trust it is good practice to start with a ‘get to know one another’ moment before starting any online collaboration.
Provide clear guidelines: if anyone joins a collaborative effort, it is crucial that they know what is expected of them and how they should proceed to build a common document.

Nice ways to cope with the ‘feel’ of being part of a group by using simple language tricks:

• Address the whole group in every remark: avoid one-to-one conversations in online discussions. To do this use third person address. Don't say, "Mary, I agree with you . . . " Instead, say "I agree with what Mary has to say about . . . " (And of course build on those ideas as you respond.)
• Gather ideas together from two or three different colleagues within the team, and hold them up for comparison and consideration . . . weaving them together to extend the ideas with your own remarks, suggestions or questions. Thus more people feel involved.
• Ask inquiry level open-ended questions that encourage further exploration of a topic. Avoid making summarizing statements - they tend to be showstoppers (the same with blog posts);
• Always use bits and pieces from the post to which you are responding, so that context is provided for pushing the discussion forward and to make it easier for quick diagonal readers to follow the point you want to make.
• Use EXPRESSIVE writing or colors to emphasize your point or main focus.
• use images that support the thing you want to say (emoticons or stickmen might also enhance comprehension).

We need to make online conversations "feel" and "sound" like face-to-face ones and that feels as if we need to get to know our senses again and start exploring the way we can use them within the digital world.
I have just finished reading the autobiography of Helen Keller because I wanted to know how she coped without having ears or eyes to depend upon in conversation. She switched to tactile reading of her environment. So I am wondering how we can learn to use different senses to get to grips with the ever increasing digital world and the shift in communication?

What about the different language skills that needs to be overcome by an international group of learners or workers? Going through a non-native language like English is great, but it disadvantages a lot of people. Christian Kreutz wrote a nice post on language and the web. I hope the tower of Babel will come to effect real soon enabling all of us to talk in our native tongue.

I wonder, will we ever learn the skills needed to overcome the non-verbal communication set-back within digital communication?
Will the gap towards easier use of non-verbal language be bridged by future techniques that will allow us a f2f feel whenever, wherever?

Thursday 13 December 2007

Jing tool for help or FAQ movies

Today I used Jing to make a help movie. The Jing tool from Techsmith is a very handy, quick tool to make screencaptures. The benefits are: it is free (limited to 5 minute movies), you can share the movie with others or embed it somewhere.

It is amazingly simple. The installation is easy. After the installation a small 'sun' will be put on the desktop. That 'sun' gives you access to the controls of Jing. The controls are simple: capture, history and more. The capture option gives you immediate access to either capturing a movie or a picture.
The history part gives you on overview of the pictures or movies you have made, with the added possibility to share, embed or delete the files.
The 'more' option gives you acces to limited essentials: send feedback, preferences, help and quit. Preferences: you can set up sharing for flickr, ftp, file or immediately get a URL to You can also add a hotkey and select where the launcher (= 'sun') will show on your desktop.

If you want to start capturing a video, you just click on 'capture' and you can immediately select your screensize. After that you click on movie and ... you are on!

So you cannot adjust quality too much, or edit, BUT you can launch it immediately, so it takes you as much time to make a movie as it takes the time to do something. This makes help movies really easy to capture!

To give you an idea of what a movie could look like: the movie.

Tuesday 11 December 2007

Looking for a Flash Developer

Feel free to send the proposal to anyone who might be interested to work for an international Institute in Belgium (Antwerpen).

The Institute for Tropical Medicine (ITM) is in search of a Flash developer (w/m) to reinforce the eLearning team.

- Flash developer: knowledge of ActionScript 2.0 is a must, knowledge of ActionScript 3.0 is a plus;
- Basic knowledge of graphical design is a must;
- Knowledge of instructional design is a plus;
- Knowledge of 3D animations is a plus;
- Good knowledge French (verbally and written) is a requirement;
- Good knowledge English is a plus;
- Inquisitive and a quick learner;
- Good at structuring your own work load in an independent way so in the end the goals of the team are reached;
- Passionate about new web technologies;
- Interested in eLearning.

- developing eLearning courses, focussing on flash components;
- support the design of generic Flash applications for all departments;
- backup for the system administrator in Blackboard (or future LMS);
- reinforce of the graphics department;
- full time.

What we offer:
A nice working environment in which both employees and employers look for a balance between independent work and team consultation to jointly reach the set goals.
A team that knows the importance of freedom to keep up to date with new technologies. As a flash developer the expansion of your knowledge is ensured by the challenges that are presented to you from a research and educational point of view.

Deadline for submissions is not set yet but will be somewhere in the middle of January 2008.

Friday 7 December 2007

salary and compensation report from eLearning Guild

Yesterday the eLearning Guild came with their latest report on salary and compensations. This got me thinking. My salary is 25% less then the ones in Canada (taxes not deducted) for similar responsibilities and experience. A mind starts wondering... of course people that give out their salary in a public yet anonymous place will probably be exaggerating a bit, but still there is a significant difference.

Now I wonder if this difference in salary is a difference in appreciation for eLearning per country itself, or if it is an immediate result of differences in living costs ...
Work is not everything, of course the freedom to explore and learn comes into the new world equation. For me freedom to learn and explore new areas is the most important factor in deciding on a job or not.

So should I ask for a raise with this report in mind?

Thursday 6 December 2007

blogphilosophy me, my ego and i

Sometimes my ego bloats and I do not like it. Those are the times I wonder if my blog will be read around the world, I want doors to open if people would hear my name…. I am ashamed of these thoughts, they make me inhuman. I am lucky that my karma immediately gets into action, in those moments of utter delusion I will get doors slammed in my face, proposals will be plummeted, I will get yelled at so loud everyone hears it... Those things bring me back to the essence: ego must be kept to its necessary proportions: very, very tiny.

Ever since I was a child I had fits, fits in which I suddenly thought I was the center of the world (no, the universe!), the power player of the team … Alexandra the Great. I try to avoid stepping into this trap of make believe by keeping the focus outside myself and on the real issues, but sometimes I fail blatantly. Ego stops my learning process. I am a wimp for letting ego get to me.

Situations that can launch my ego are: getting up on a stage, making a presentation or doing something in front of an audience. This in itself is ok. BUT… when people afterwards come to wish me well, my ego will be sitting on my left shoulder ready to grow bigger than the biggest, ugliest toad ever as soon as I let my guard down. Do I like this: NOT AT ALL. I hate it. My ego throws me off balance, makes me blind for potential chances and the thing I dislike the most is that it strips me from my humanity. Ego stops growth. Self-esteem can be ok, but that is were it stops; anything more will just clog up my soul and temper with my own mental growth.

So from time to time I crush my ego, just to keep me on my toes, to keep me within my human boundaries. At those moments I wonder about blogging… is it my ego that pushes me to blog or is it really my mind that wants to open, share, exchange, reflect, learn? Up until now I believe it is a mixture of the will to reflect and exchange ideas. Openness is essential for a good knowledge exchange. Blogging makes me think more indepth about the things I write down, about things I need in my job. So I am thankful to many. I am humbled by the knowledge of others that are willing to share their knowledge with me, to discuss content.

As long as my ego is kept on a small leash, I will keep learning. Learning is good. Being just me is excellent; moments of enlightenment come in small drops, I hope they will grow bigger.

Wednesday 5 December 2007

ego-centered and object-centered networks

Today I came across some great posts on a potential difference between ego-centric and object-centric networks.
A post by Fred Stutzman;
One by Michele Martin;
And one by Uno de Waal.
I will add the ‘trust’ factor into this equation (see below).

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Some questions were raised as to what will be the next big thing after the users of ego-centric networks have gotten bored of the ‘hi, I am into…’? There is indeed a significant difference between these networks, because network size does not trump network relevance as Fred suggests. If I want to learn or reflect on my professional knowledge relevance is of the essence. The rest can be changed around according to the needs. Uno de Waal found a possible niche that is still out there, next to Facebook. He suggests an application that is more object/content centered and as thus be more relevant to the users than mere Facebook ‘I am a friend/colleague….’ approach. I digg his idea and conclusion.

The idea that also jumped into my minds eye was this idea of Fred Stutzman:
“However, this 1-2 year lead time will give mobile devices significant time to improve; the iPhone and iPhone clones will be in the hands of hundreds of millions of youth, priming the market for the next phase transition.”
This is a visionary leap, but it might just be right on the money! At least my gut felt right when reading this.

My additional thought is this: what about trust. Online communities are deprived from non-verbal movements that in so many cases make up a lot of the factors that will get you to either trust or distrust someone. There is a certain amount of digital control to the people that are adding to any network, but still trust is essential. Trust gets even more crucial if users would shift from their ego-centered networks towards object-centered networks. In an article I recently read, they concluded that trust level of users relies on the separate social networks that they are members of. This than puts the importance on the ego-centered networks as a means to be trusted as an individual. A strong digital identity comes into the trust as well. Reference article.

So making sure your ego-centered networks look like they are strong, gives you a stronger basis for being seen as a trustworthy person, even if your main networks are object-centered ones.

Tuesday 4 December 2007

What I learned about learning in 2007

Tony Karrer does a round up to see who has learned what in 2007. A great way to rethink (time of the year) what has gone into my mind and has stuck there.

A couple of things I learned were on how to get people into the sociail aspect of elearning;
another thing I invested a lot of time in, was in making up all kinds of reminders for myself. A bit like guidelines, but that sounds so formal.

I got people interested in using the book 'beyond bullet points', which got a lot of scientists redesigning their presentations into real kick-ass ones (including mine, I cheekishly admit). This approach of using a script helped in redesigning courses as well, the courses stuck to the minds of learners because of their high narrative quality;

as a coordinator, I saw that if I could deliver research that was immediately answering some of the question of sceptics, I got them doubting their questions a little bit (hey, any tiny bit helps :-) The one that had good impact was the ''. Another idea that got sceptics moving in their chairs was: 'giving students the possibility to teach a part of the content, will increase their knowledge. When do scientists or teachers do their best work? When they have to put their thoughts into papers and articles.';

my attention shifted to the mobile learning area. I learned a lot on this topic by simply jumping in at the deep end. Starting projects, reading up on it, discussing with people and their expertise (thank you John Traxler!)... This resulted in a presentation on mobile projects that I worked on, this was well received. The discussion during and after this presentation got a lot of ideas going and knowledge exchanged.

I learned a lot by jumping into social media: twitter, etcetera, but most by attending online seminars and groups: CLTI, SCOPe and internettime group to name three strong ones.

books (old school ones) helped me as well in building a framework that helps me deliver my message. 'Informal learning' by Jay Cross and 'the seven day weekend' by Ricardo Semler. Both of which are great visionairs for open learning approaches.

Apart from this I learned A LOT by reflecting, both on my blog and in my bed, bath, on the highway, in elevators... discussing and thinking helps in any learning process. The network certainly helps a lot also! Thanks to all of you!!

The most important one: I learned a lot by taking time off. Each week I put time aside for myself. I do not do anything in it and I do not allow anyone to be in that time. This really opened up my mind. It gave me the possibility to refresh everything I learned or read the past days, months, years.

The new thing I am looking at is 'social media for developing regions'. I get some good vibes from the fact that this will enable secluded areas to get their knowledge and experiences out into to the global world (and have an impact on the total knowledge that is out there). But I am still working on that one to get a better idea.


Willem Karssenberg put me onto this tool: tokbox
A good review on this tool (in Dutch) can be found here at Pierre Gorissen's blog.

The great thing about tokbox is that you do not have to install anything and you can simply embed this videotool into a lot of social softwares. People can just click on the embedded frame and start videoconferencing. Nice!

You can even send me a videomail if you want to, simply by clicking the 'mail' button underneath. Neet.

Get your own TokBox at

Monday 3 December 2007

How do you get teachers involved in social media?

This question haunts me, especially because most of the people are not jumping up and down for change. So somehow, somewhere you must be as cunning as the pied piper and luer them into the joy of social media and participative learning.

I am very lucky because ITM has teachers who relish in interactive courses, but as soon as the term ‘IT’ or ‘wiki’ is dropped, their entusiasm melts like snow underneath the sun. So I knew most of the teachers were behind the idea of social media, but were scared of the technical part.

During the last months some tactics have proven to be useful:
- Give open sessions on new media you will be using. Up until now I made those sessions as followed:
° introduction with a fun movie/cartoon/related picture. The introduction is immediately linked to questions I heard them utter around the water cooler;
° each session does not take longer than 20 minutes and is planned on several lunch time moments (different days to cater to as many as possible);
° the session has two parts: a theoretical one and a practical one. The practical part is co-given by a person in the institute that has had some experience with that specific media (hence making it clear that not only computer savy people work with it - personel sometimes sees me as computer savy, thus not capable of knowing what is simple or not)
° a follow up with mails and motivations for the ones that want to dive into this media.

Although there is not always an immediate respons to the open question to do something with the proposed media, I have noticed that after personel has read an article about it or has encountered a peer that was talking about that specific media, they will pick up that tool. So … I guess patience is a good thing.

- teachers will use any kind of technology enhanced teaching (given its userfriendlyness) as long as it has a familiar ring to it (joint documents, open collaborative writing…) I just stopped using the jargon.
- Get everyone involved in the reshaping of the learning environment. Get teachers to express their ideas (in the online collaborative document - ahum wiki right). Incorporate their ideas;
- Ask teachers to help you out with a digital application (really, ask them, they will look for an answer and in the meanwhile get interested);
- Give lots of attention to anyone that is willing to go ahead and try something new (I write it down in the institutes newsletter), others will talk to the ‘pioneers’ and soon ask you (around the water cooler) if they cannot start something similar;
- At any given stage of trying out something new, ask for feedback (not the written one, just ask them while you are adopting an application and write it down yourself);
- Ask teachers to look for tools and send them to you. Even if you know them, if you did not tell it to others, let the teacher that came up with the tool get the credit. This is a definite motivator.
- Bit by bit a community of practice is growing between teachers. For the most part it is still face to face, but some of them get a bit hungry for digital exchange of knowledge.

So it is a long process, but a fruitful one because slowly but surely more people get interested.

but ... sometimes, it just does not work...

Sunday 2 December 2007

Online Educa Berlin round up

Online Educa Berlin was very interesting. But still, I have some questions on the formula. The approach is rather traditional: people in an auditorium listening to a couple of appointed speakers on a fixed topic. This is not what web2.0 is about. But than again it is safe. I have a definite need to attend an unconference.

A lot of information was put on the web by colleagues in eLearning. So here are a few of them that I picked up
The movie of the keynote of Sugata Mitra by Willem Karssenberg from Trendmatcher. The text is in Dutch, but the movie is in English.

blogs on educa:
Steven Verjans
Keith Russel
Silke Fleischer with some tool links.

Some Dutch blogs:
Wilfred Rubens

my presentation on vodcasting

Friday afternoon at Online Educa Berlin. I had just finished rearranging my slideshow on vodcasting so that it would include a theoretical framework (a quick one) as well.

My fellow speakers were Christoph Wenk, Swiss Banking Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland, "From Blended to Mobile Learning - Experiences with Video-Streaming and Vodcasting" and Andreas GroƟ, Hasso-Plattner -Institute for Software Systems Engineering Potsdam, Germany, "Mobile Learning with the Teleteaching Anywhere Solution Kit (tele-TASK)". This session was moderated by Helle Meldgaard, UNI-C, Denmark. Both Christoph and Andreas focused on the statistical data they had from their videoprojects.

I gave the presentation with enthusiasm, because I really believe in the benefits of vodcasting and the possibilities of web2.0. In my enthusiasm I taped my presentation, but I did not put myself in the camera angle :-) but still, if anyone is interested the audio will probably be understandable as well. The presentation was taped with my laptop and a webcam and the cheapes (free) microphone available. In the beginning of the movie you can still here Christopher Wenk. My part starts at 5.30 minutes in the streaming.

After the presentation I met some great people:
Maria Teresa Salis Gomes from the Instituto Nacional de AdministraƧao in Portugal. We will get together through skype and talk about the integration of streaming and other video into Blackboard.
Harry Wittenberg from Genentech who was very supportive during the presentation.
Svitlana Shytikova from the Institute for Leadership, Innovations and Development.
Willem Karssenberg from the great Trendmatcher. We will get together on some tools for low resource settings and maybe a mutual interview through one of the tools (keep you posted on the tools).
And Duane Dunfield from Red Hot Learning came to support and discuss as well. Afterwards Duane and I got together to talk about a collaboration on a (mobile) gaming idea.

When I woke up that morning, the skyline I saw from my hotelroom looked like this:

Thursday 29 November 2007

Sugata Mitra versus Andrew Keen at OEB

Andrew Keen

the next big thing will be curation.
He mentions Mahalo
The only way to take the digital technology is to take the serious content back AND to pay for content and knowledge providers/supervisors.

not give away ones labour for free => open source movement = free labour = free hippie = liberatarians
succesfully merging human intelligence with exiting digital new tools
Technology can free us, but only if we focus on humans.

Sugata Mitra
What my work is about is not technology but about children, humans, as a self-organizing mechanism (like economics...) The collected effect of all stock brookers who think about economics, makes the economy.
Nature is self-organising. Sometimes it is a disaster (storm...) but it happens. So the future is unclear. There is no mathematics of how self-organising works. Take the 'oersoep' that eventually gave birth to humans. So, self-organisation has always been there. So far it has created a terrible world with self-distructive characteristics sometimes.
Google says it is a brain. So I agree with Andrew that we are unclear about the outcomes of google's growth, I disagree because it might happen that Google will become human and more.
I do not care that all this free tools are available and they might take away money, especially off American based companies because people can communicate and learn for free all over the world.
So we can not predict the outcomes of self-organising systems and so we cannot predict human outcomes and internet and so on.
If the net has to have a curator, so do we as humans.
Humans need a curator for SO much: food, peace, ozon layer ...
all of this assumes that humans will be the top of the food chain and that we have to stay as we are, without evolving.
I think we must evolve and let self-organisation take its course.

skype: also an american company. There is no such thing as free, there has to be a way for moneytizing.
Media should not be about writing social wrongs. Web2.0 will not change the world, politics will.
second life: the founder's background is an evangelical christian. Also does Kevin Kelly (wrote on digital library may 2005) is also a born again christian. So second life is the digital version of christian heaven. My objection to that (Andrew is a Marxist) is that second life is the opium of a new type of person. They are so stressed with their own life, they flee into another world.
While digital life is anarchic, real life is not. Read Hobbes Leviathan or other social contract theorists. Hobbes: there must have been a moment where people will have gone from no rules to rules.
If we want to make the internet habitable, what we need is not only a bill of rights but also a bill of responsibilities.
Many internet users only think they have rights, not responsibilities and this is wrecking pedagogy and destroys the (digital) world (my comment: this sounds very extreme right in Belgium where extreme right says immigrants (new humans) invade the old culture and wreck the old world)
In my opinion anonymity is the biggest problem. Anonimity has wrecked discussion boards etcetera. So it would have to be encouraged to take an identity. (my comment: free identity helps in hierarchical cultures)
Anarchy never works! and it is corroding culture and the people in it.

a person has used mahalo in his company, but the teachers turned it down in favour of google.
reason: more resources via google, but not mahalo

searching and getting from one place to another. Two examples, the best application for searching is gps to get from one point to another. In India it takes a lot longer to find places. But one thing stuck in my mind. In the desert even with a map is impossible to get somewhere. The desert people use camels as vehicles, the camels can always find a way back. The latest is a self-organising application which works.
Google is the most powerfull learning company, but they are not here (congres) because it is a fenomenal company in just a couple of years time. It has created a new business knowledge economy. They grow sooo big, they are too huge.
What you have to do is think about google can help you.

globalisation and curation
curation is a value judgement. In 20 century the west had control about history, economy... Media is not neutral (Murdoch). Knowledge is value based. Curation makes a value judgement on what is the 'right' knowledge. (HOURAY for Daxa Patel!)
Mathy Van Buel (not sure name from ATIt) supports and adds.

Andrew Keen does NOT understand this question. He must definitely take a course on either gender studies or other critical studies that look at the impact of kolonial structures that affect everyone.

where do we stand if some students feel better in the virtual world, than in the real world?

Some topics are easier to discuss in a virtual environment, and others better in the real world. The best stands somewhere in between. (answer Sugata)

What about open communities of practice of academics? They might engage students more to learn about a topic than in any other way?
Andrew: no it decreases the academic value.

Andrew Keen definitely likes to rant AND he contradicts himself.
Sugata Mitra is very intelligent, humouristic and full of nuance.

session implement social media in companies

IBM has made content without including learners in the production process of courses!! (see below at Bert De Coutere).

Paul Westeneng
Wiki Welten: Dutch wiki working on the media wiki engine.
usage went down, below expectation, mostly senior contributors that were adding content.
most users expect handson information, which gives a problem if it is not immediately delivered => integration of different poles (see image) = usage got spectacularly back on track.
other changes:

Nick van Dam
global talent challenge: how can we develop next generation leaders? A lot of the baby boomers will go out soon (mwoehahaha). A lot of old jobs will no longer be there.
building strategic learning capabilities: higher content is the trend in business learning. (harvard business school's management and leadrship courses (check this out it is online learning with certification).
deloitte uses podcasts, screencasts (streamed)... (the things we use at ITM, so we are doing alright).
one competence framework for everybody and they mapped competancy with different learning objects. online learning curricula for all business units
use a internal myspace for the company.
eLearning for kids

Bert De Coutere
learning at IBM
they use
talks about the ibm knowledge factory

here he puts out a question to the room: 'how can you involve the learner without loosing the quality?' Something strange here, apparently IBM has been developing courses without input of learners from the beginning.... this is REALLY unsuspected!! They should include learners from the beginning? I am at a loss now.
As one woman suggests that he should ask the learners to give all the content and than discuss it, he actually says 'that is a possible idea'!! Okay, my partner is right I live in another world. Definitely need a reality check (again).

mobile learning session in OEB

Join mobile beta (see below). A very informative session on mobile learning applications

John Traxler gave a great overview of the impact of mobile on all societies (have broadcasted it, will put up the link soon)

Gabor Kismihok

Very interesting pilot case!!

blended mobile learning example, things I picked up:

Tool: adaptive testing
all content based on educational ontology (I need to look up the educational ontology slide)
integrated mobile forum in CMS! profs give feedback on questions that might be raised during the lecture.
administrative SMS communication (like this idea)

Andreas Ua'Siaghail
(pax warrior - resolve labs)
because mobiles are a personal instrument, it is good to give the students the choice in which mobiles they use for learning. Better than pushing a mobile on to them.
he asks to get involved in the full beta of 'part of pax'

Andrew Keen at OEB

While he is kind of a pedant speaker (I hope for his karma he only plays it), he makes some good points.

- Kids are running the show, look at wikipedia, facebook...;
- economy of today is a Web2.0 economy;
- everyone is an autority;
=> so the challenge is to implement media literacy, so all kids would get to know what content is interesting and so on.

He also wrote a book (of which he is no doubt very proud to a strange extend): 'the cult of the amateur, he really does not trust the fact that everybody can create knowledge => the infinite monkey theory (give enough monkeys a typewriter and one of them will eventually publish a shakespeare).
the kids are in control, so the monkeys lead the world => he is not pro new media lets say.

What would be interesting would be to look at the discussions in the French revolution on education (Rousseau...). Maybe those discussions would parallel the ideas he is talking about now.

He is going on on Pamela Anderson and why she is not as important as Marie Curie, though the wikipedia has equally long sentences on these two characters.
But I think, each time has its soap opera players and soap characters have always been discussed and used in stories and knowledge.
The characters of Greek mythology were soap opera characters... so do we say Greec mythology is not historically interesting and lets erase it because it was not scientific enough?
It would be interesting also to see whether there are historical waves that have a focus on science and then again on cultural ... etcetera with moral differences that are related to this.

Sugata Mitra was inspiring!!

What a fantastic speech of Sugata Mitra on education of children in an informal environment!!
I will link to the broadcast soon (the video quality is soso, but the message is really worth the effort).

Sugata Mitra spoke about experiments 'Hole in the Wall' where he delivered a computer with English resources on it and a touchpad to children that were computer illiterate, speaking Tamil or other non-English languages. The computer was set in rural Indian villages, in safe places that were accessible to children and ... he looked at how children interacted with this new technology. The computers were set in the playgrounds or somewhere in the open field where children gathered.

The most amazing experiment was one where he gave a computer with a course on it which was biotechnology and the course was in English, while the children were only speaking Tamil. After three months the children had learned biotechnology ideas and had taken in a lot of the english words of the course.

So Sugata Mitra concluded that any child can learn as long as it is left to their own devices and with the right triggering of emotions => anybody anywhere who is motivated through emotion will learn whatever content.

Now that is something impressive!!!!

I will read up on Sugata Mitra. He managed to change the world while giving access to knowledge to children in rural areas and living in the streets.... I want to add to the world as well. He moved my heart and head. In between all the people that speak at conferences and sell warm air, there are always a couple of inspiring and incredibly human people that really make a difference in the world.

plenary session OEB

At the plenary session of Online Educa Berlin. The internet connection is not surprisingly filled up and thus slow, but still I can stream a bit at

This morning was a great informal learning moment with Steven Verjans. Informal knowledge exchange always sticks to the mind because of the stories. Twittering through firefox with audio plugin that links to itunes... have to look for this mash-up.

going to stream now ....

Wednesday 28 November 2007

testing video blogging movie

These are most of the participants of the workshop. It is really intens, but great thanks to all the questions all you participants asked!!

script for vodcasting workshop at OEB

This afternoon I will be delivering a hands-on workshop on vodcasting. This is my scenario, if you see something that I have missed, feel free to comment.

Scenario WS video blogging

What will we be doing: 10 easy steps for video blogging

1. Update your computer
2. Get video compression software
3. Compress a video
4. Take a screenshot/snapshot of your movie
5. Get a video blog account
6. Get a creative commons license and insert it into the blog
7. Get a broadcasting account
8. Upload a video + tag it
9. Get RSS going
10. Comment on each others video posts

Extras: movies for mobiles, how to improve your blog…

Where does video blogging fit into the new media? In Web2.0 + a bit of talk about what web2.0 is within eLearning context.

Simple IT guidelines:

Naming files
Avoid spaces or special characters in your filenames to keep your files working cross software. There are two simple solutions to keep your filename useable while you exchange it through different software’s:
• camel writing: GuidelinesOnFileNaming.ext
• use underscores guidelines_on_file_naming.ext

Structure your folders

For videoblogging you will need:
• A folder with your original movies;
• A folder with your compressed movies;
• A folder for your screenshots.
Use logical names which you can search in the future! myVideoBlogsOnLearning…

Update your computer
Before beginning it is important to get all the recent plug-ins working. You need to update:
Your operating system’s updates;
Your browser; (firefox )
Sometimes you need a java update as well

Get video compression software:
Get your hands on a video compressing software. There are a lot out there, so feel free to roam about.
• Windows movie maker
• Mac’s iMovie

Compress a video

You, who have brought a movie, please use that one. The ones who do not: ask me, I have a simple movie on my memory stick.

Best compression for video blogging: video for broadband 512 kbps
Depending on your own multimedia savyness, you could fine-tune your audio and video to your or your participants’ requirements.

Pointers for buying video compression software:
• Does it have compression for mobile devices?
• Does it allow audio and video auditing?
• Does it offer cross platform compressions?
• Does it have a SCORM possibility that will allow you to get your movies going on any Learning Management System (LMS)

Low resource settings: low resource settings demand a higher compression rate. This will decrease the quality, but it will enable them to look at the movies you have posted. This is where tagging comes in handy. If you tag every movie according to the compression rate, it will allow viewers to get files for their settings with one simple click.

Take a screenshot/snapshot of your movie
Select your movie player. Play until you have reached the frame you want to use as a screenshot.
Shortcut (windows): alt + print screen
(Windows) All programs => accessories => ‘paint’
Canvas adjustment in ‘paint’ => image => attributes => 1,1
Paste your screenshot into ‘paint’ and save it in your screenshot folder.

Get a video blog account
There are all sorts of video blogs available (wordpress, blogger, …) we will look at Blogger, because it is really easy and free.
You go to and you can just start to get your blog ready.
Get an account and WRITE DOWN YOUR PASSWORD. Each time you log into blogger they will ask it.

Use an email that you can check from this computer => you will need it to allow commenting on your posts later on.

Go into the ‘dashboard area’ and let’s look at the possibilities.

Get a creative commons license and insert it into the blog
Get some copyright going. Creative commons:
Choose the license you like. Get the widget and insert it into your blog. Inserting any additional coding into a blog is done by accessing the dashboard and clicking on settings.

Get a broadcasting account
A broadcasting account will allow you to keep all your movies on one place and to get different people posting video blogs. There are again a lot of broadcasting software’s out there (,…) we will use because it is free and it has come out as the best by users.
Let’s get an account and again write down your password.

If you choose a broadcasting account it is good to look at:
• Cross platform functionalities (different formats possible);
• Mobile possibilities;
• Accessibility.

Upload a video + tag it

Go to, login and click on ‘upload’. We will work our way through the different options.

Tagging is very important! If you use good tagging the chance of your video blogs being picked up by random surfers with a similar interest is increased.

Get RSS going

An RSS (really simple syndication) feed enables people from around the world to get regular/live updates of your blog. If for instance you are implementing a just-in-time eLearning program for team workers across the globe. They will immediately be notified once your new video blog post is uploaded. This will safe time for everybody.

You can add a feed of your own to your blog, but you can also use one of the many feed deliverers. We will use Feedburner.

Comment on each others video posts
Commenting on blogs is essential to keep your blog active and increase your reader potential. So let’s go and have a look at what all of us have done. I have put your blogs on my blog, so start from there to add your comments.

Pollish your blog:
You can increase the userfriendliness of your blog by implementing some easy guidelines. For this I refer you to Building a Better Blog site and 31days to building a better blog links.

Things to consider:
Use codec (compression/decompression) that is a standard.
The latest shift in video compression is the use of the h264 codec, this codec however is not functioning on all equipment (mobile devices etcetera) yet. But its use is increasing. But still, do not depend on this yet.

Reusability of video files

Getting high polished movies is ok, but certainly not necessary to get higher outcomes. If you want to deliver content to low resource settings, or if you want your content to be reused later on, it is wise to keep the individual movies short and easy to access.

If you will be using video blogging as a tool for eLearning, it is good practice to keep the individual movies short. Cover one learning outcome per movie. But that is not enough. Try to keep the original scenes of your movie well structured in your ‘original movies’ file. This way, if certain learning content changes, you will only have to retake that small bit of the movie. If you tape everything in one big file, you will have to redo a lot of work.
If you link the content of one movie to a learning outcome, you can reuse it later on in a different context that is also in need for that particular learning outcome, hence saving you time.


If you have the means to invest in a good video studio, please do.
But setting outstanding standards for your audio and video quality or the surroundings for your recordings will have totally no meaning, if you do not get your learning outcomes covered in your movies. Content is as always the most important thing.

Engage your learners
If you are aiming to address learners, make your movies engaged. Speak to the learners immediately, use the maximum scale of your voice (if you can go with 2 octaves, please use it), grab their attention, don’t just sit there…

Nice link of peer-to-peer video blogging:

A great freevlog tutorial on video blogging:

Contact me
Inge de Waard
Blog :

Friday 23 November 2007

CLTI07 - George Siemens creating organizational learning

This session of CLTI focused on the need to change learning infrastructure. Learning and development that is up to the newest realities of today.

Learning at somepoint faced death by acronyms and buzzwords. Learning = learning, it does not matter what you call it.

There is also a mismatch: what learners need to do, what we taught learners to do.
We forgot context (situation of knowledge they will need, the technology they will use, ...) we have put context of design above context of use.
Which led to neglecting the learner.

Strategy: learning is the live blood of any corporation.
Intent of learning: advance the capacity of both learners and the organisation they make.

So where are we as companies?
- information growth will enhance even more;
- different people: we will need to task shift quickly (not really multitask);
- different competitors: competition is unclear and
- market disruptions unclear;
- value for corporate functioning = ability to function in this space;

What do we need: an infrastructure of adaptability complex environments will have tension between different view points, but that adds to diversity. But how do we keep a certain stability?

Decision tables understand:
- metrics;
- ROI;
- competitivness;
not the jargon L&D use.

All sorts of cultures will be able to implement their thinking into the learning equation.

Up until now the impact of web2.0 was minor in the organisational environment.
The toolboard should be designed so different tools can be put on them, not like now that the tools seem to dictate the board. (really good point!)

different paths lead to different directions => the importance of case studies is sometimes overstated. Organizational background, context can be so fundamentally different that those cases do not translate well at all.
Every corporation needs to go through three stages: conceptual => experimental => implementation. No matter what there core business is.

Learning needs that we face:one approach won't work, you need a learning ecology.
It is important to make a learning structure/ecology that is dynamic and that can cope with new evolutions and learners needs.

The concept of deep smarts is again increasing, based on the expertise and the experience by a mentor. Different smarts are getting ever more important => thinking holistically. More information is in George Siemens's book KnowingKnowledge (see links underneath).

Things to do
- we need to reflect: on the model, the learning
- evaluate context of learning and recognize the diversity;
- experiment aggressively: this leads to thoughtfull implementation;
- function in gradients: learning has many nuances, that demands nuanced approaches.

My thoughts
death by jargon is so correct;
I like the concept of self-learning :-)
A great idea was the use of task-switching instead of multitasking. Really like that idea and use of words. Will use this.

links that were posted
The book of George KnowingKnowledge
A definition

Thursday 22 November 2007

social media use in low resource settings - who knows?

The digital gap is very real in all low resource areas. While MIT’s one-laptop-per-child is giving access to the much needed hardware, the digital impact of low resource areas is not clear even with the use of social media that is emerging.

But I would imagine (and feel) there is a shift in the new digital era that can make a difference. This shift engages low and high resource areas to exchange knowledge.

The only thing is, what kind of impact do low resource areas have that implement social media?

With the growing access to social media and the web, more secluded areas with (former) low connections are beginning to find their way to the Web and to one another. This new connectivity has a big impact on the global community. That knowledge is helpful and has an impact on health, biology, antropology, etcetera for the world. Or at least, I would think so.

But will these emerging (old) cultures that are engaging in social media projects influencing the global space? What is the impact of social media in low resource areas?

I was following a seminarin SCOPE on low resource areas and eLearning a couple of weeks ago and the output was interesting, but the impact of social media was not discussed.

So does anybody know an example where low resource areas started using social media? Because I would love to know and dive into that topic.

script for podcasts

Today I was working on a script that would enable podcasts to be delivered straight from ITM to the world. So I got my dreamweaver opened, got some serverspace and started writing my XML file to get going with the podcasts.

It worked from my first trial! That was a nice surprise. The only podcast we have for the moment is a test-one that can be implemented in iTunes (\uploadfolder\podcast/podcast_itunes_script.xml )
, so no ground breaking Tropical Health topic yet, but still it is exiting.

But I still have to get some details right:
- lenght of the podcast, is there an easy way to get the length of a podcast (in seconds)?
- image: I had an image loaded up, but it probably is taken over by the multimedia of the podcast from as soon as that multimedia material is downloaded... so I am not sure if I need to put an image in.

The script
It is just an image, because the coding kept giving difficulties in my blogpost (I tried 'code' and 'pre' and 'tt' but to no avail:

Wednesday 21 November 2007

CLTI07 - Richard Straub a golden age for eLearning

This presentation focused on open <=> closed world (versus Flat world - spiky world) and he gave insight to the dynamics of technology and business cycles.
It is not only about innovation, but also about value. How can we demonstrate the value?

Invention is an important step, but the application of invention to solve problems is the essence.

Looking at major technology cycles and looking for similarities ('Technological revolutions and financial capital' Perez)
There is a period where new technologies are erupting, than follows a period of frency because of the potential goldmines. But it is not clear where the success will be, and so a crisis follows (f.i. .com bubble).
We just entered another technological booming phase (webtechnology), but how can we apply the newly developed technology now to create value? If people have the right business models, value will be prosperous.

Globalisation is increasingly augmenting the competitive pressure in these volutile and turbulent times.
If you want to innovate, you have to take risks, but how do you know whether it will work because of the volatility.

challenges for companies:
- how be innovative;
- how can you ensure a strong workforce;
- be adaptable for change.

eLearning: only 27% of companies find self-managed web-based training to be effective (IBM study 'unlocking the DNA of the adaptable workforce )
Will the elements that would make up for a paradigm shift be here in the near future?

Moving to a service economy => resources in Human Capital with new dynamics get crucial.
Lifelong learning gets more important and the users take the lead (and are incorporated from an early stage)

Millenium workers: team players, multitaskers, proactive use of technology, personal development is pivotal, opened to the world.
This leads to new enterprise models (open collaboration at all levels...)

Peter Drucker (1959) he mentioned the new knowledge worker: autonomy, they are in control of their learning, controlled by goals/objectives, strong affinity to peers and peer community, self-organised and dynamic teams that are based on trust.

Some questions that were discussed:

cycle of change is being disrupted by the emerging economies etcetera, it is important for managers to take this meta information into account.

a definition that was mentioned:
elearning: electronic learning
ilearning: learner driven learning (

Like all previous posts, this is just a quick paraphrasing of things I jotted down. But you can look at the complete presentation of Richard Straub on CLTI.

Tuesday 20 November 2007

soothing idea

Karyn Romeis just send me one of the best soothing ideas concerning work and expertise: "we now live in an age where nothing stands still long enough for a person to become expert in it before it has become obsolete!"

This is what I call a great idea, it takes away the pressure and gives free reign to feeling comfortable in ones work place, time and intensity.

Still reading Ricardo Semler's 'Seven Day Weekend', I think I was born into some of his ideas.

Monday 19 November 2007

CLTI07 - Keith Resseau

Her topic was 'It's Not Innovative If It Doesn't Educate' and that is a superb motto. We looked at hot technologies being used in the public sector (podcasts, wikis, blogs, social media)

First she pointed out that there is no significant difference in learner outcome between f2f and technology based learning (see site). But by adapting content to technology, improvement of the learner outcomes can be enhanced (very nice to know).

Keith covered all the latest technologies and gave some feedback on them.
Blogs: the strength of a blog is the reflective learning it can ignite.
Wiki’s: are also useful for after conference events or after classroom events to get participants in on the learning outcomes or other relevant topics related to the activity. There was an interesting question on the critical number that would make a wiki work => it does not seem to matter, as long as the participants get pushed into participating (or they are sure to get something out of it). And there was a remark on using wiki’s and blogs in a corporate environment, but not naming them as such, rather entitle them as ‘team papers’ …

The overall conclusion was that the tools do not make a difference. What does make a difference:
• Make learning sticky;
• Add storylines;
• Make meaning;
• Redesign content to fit the tool.

links that were mentioned:

CLTI07 - David Snowden the patternizing brain

This was an information filled presentation by Dave Snowden, wow. The brain is revealed as a pattern processor, in which original fragments last longer as being relevant than the context they are put in by our brain. This said, I will just put out all the fragments I wrote down while attending this presentation:

• Cultural differences and evolutionary necessities resulted in different brain evolutions (eastern  western);
• The brain scans information and gives it its meaning by relating both to the scan and past experiences;
• Increasing ambiguity will optimize learning IF it is increased to the optimum level of fragmentation (screenshot);
• Replicate patterns from fragments sticks to the mind more than structured knowledge;
• People will rather go for stories/narratives than best practices and case studies;
• Learning mechanisms are about meaning;
• Remembering = always person/context coloured => the quicker info is captured the better and to be chosen every time above artificial reconstructing after the facts;
• The more educational material is polished, the less impact it has (long live low resource design 
• Avoid teaming up with people that have the same thoughts => decreasing knowledge because it is not challenged (village idiot syndrome);
• Avoid environments that push the brain/mind into a certain non-critical thinking. It only takes 3 to 5 years before their mindset is grilled into yours;
• Business must follow the natural way the brain learns as a model for its new business era.

Links from snowden

CLTI07 – Jay Cross Learning without foundation

It would not be Jay Cross if he did not go with his own flow, which in this case was an organic approach to discussing learning in corporations through dialogue.

Jay is an advocate of perpetual beta and he connects it to organic growth (which I like a lot) versus the more linear growth which is mostly found in business models.
Do define new ways of learning it is interesting to start without a foundation to keep an open mind. Especially if more and more of our economy is build upon information, knowledge and consumables.

The key idea was learning = co creating.

To assure the best possible way to keep in touch with everything that is changing and emerging, it is essential to get a strong knowledge network going. But… because information is exponentially growing, it is more and more difficult to keep track of relevant knowledge. Jay mentioned ‘the singularity is near’ a book by Ray Kurzweil in which the idea is written down that things can get so complicated that we can no longer comprehend them.
George Siemens added a notion of Eric Beinhocker an economist who reflects on economical networks that keep growing until they are so vast they no longer are a benefit to the network links themselves => network falls apart because of week ties (I am definitely paraphrasing the idea George mentioned, I need to read up on a lot).

Some thoughts I had while reviewing the presentation of Jay
- Organic learning is a process that has been growing since the idea that ‘there is no objectivity’. In my mind it seems only natural to evolve from non-objectivity and thus non-absolute truth to perpetual beta;
- Jay wanted people to get their thoughts out into the presentation to get a dialogue going. An idea I like a lot, but on the other hand it will again put people aside and get a non-equal dynamic going. Because a lot of people do have a lot of ideas but are not techy, not confident, not … to get their ideas out there. It is a bit like Virginia Yonkers said in the dialogue ‘power of politics’ which is not only true on an organizational level, but also on a personal level. The different skills of a person define what and in what way they can add information.
- Valerie Bock of Q2 mentioned a great idea: reinstating the apprenticeship. I really liked that idea, if learning is doing, living alongside a (couple of) mentors will definitely get knowledge across really rapidly. Carnegie and Napoleon Hill are an old example of that.

A couple of links from the session (and links I found while searching for something else, the organic harvest lets say), will need to put them in my list:
Geetha Narayanan podcast (an educator George Siemens mentioned)
a slide presentation on learning in an immediate world by George Siemens;jsessionid=AE5EB8F1EAD5AFDBC3BB3EF605C3481D

And a great set of workshops on education by LTC.

Sunday 18 November 2007

additional mobile resources

Nicola just twittered me two interesting mobile posts that added to my previous post on future-of-mobile from this week:

One from Kevin Cawley working with Android Google challenge;
A presentation of Ron Edwards on mobile learning on the move;

and zong.

CLTI07 - Steve Mahaley - virtual worlds and education

In the corporate learning conference organised by George Siemens, Steve Mahaley was second to give a presentation on using virtual worlds for education.

Education was defined in this presentation as a corporate business strategy to optimize work. Steve gave some examples of education in virtual worlds (he used the Second Life environment). One of his examples was on having a teaming exercise in SL.

He looked at possible benefits of virtual world education. Based on his favourite class = recess, he concluded that the best learning activities are those using all of our senses to interact with an educational environment. Several learning theorists were put onto display: Lev Vygotsky, John Dewey and David Jonassen who based their theories on 'Learning by doing' and social interaction to enhance education.

Steve showed a virtual teaming exercise and listed a few practical considerations amongst which he mentioned:
- videoconferencing is better than virtual world for debriefing;
- debriefing is essential if you want to reach your learning goals that you set out to attain;
- he found that it was better to give participants avatars, than to let participants come with their own avatar that could be 'inappropriate' for certain circumstances or would lead to unnecessary exchange of items.

My own thoughts on using virtual worlds as a means of education:
- great for getting experience with simulations;
- good for learning any knowledge that is based on sight;
- but it is expensive if you want to own or build your own island and virtual environments certainly demand high end equipment for all participants to be able to attend virtual classes => at this point virtual worlds exclude people from low resource areas.

Again, like with the presentation of Tony Karrer yesterday the fire walled environment in corporation was mentioned as a possible downside for corporation and (knowledge) workers in those corporations to accept virtual environments as an educational tool. A lot of participants mentioned that they could not blog or go to virtual environments from their office. Which meant that most of them were pushed into experimenting with these new educational tools from home and in their spare time.

Again Ricardo Semler comes to mind as a possible blue print for new management in corporations that are technology and knowledge based.

A couple of links that were mentioned on virtual worlds and education

Saturday 17 November 2007

CLTI07 - Tony Karrer - Web2.0 tools for education

The CLTI is on. Each session is a blast of information served to all attendees. Tony Karrer focussed on Web2.0 tools ranging from wiki's to social bookmarking... It was a very good intro because everyone got ideas on possible uses of Web2.0. Because most of it was a little bit familiar, I just wrote down some of the things that were said in Tony Karrer's presentation that stuck to my mind:

Because information is increasing on a daily basis (by 2015 it is predicted that information will double every week), most people (me included) find it difficult to keep track of the latest knowledge.

As tacit knowledge work becomes pivotal and the idea that 'learning = working' becomes more accepted, the ability to cope with massive amounts of info and being able to search through them becomes more important as well.

Learning to learn is becoming more and more important. To keep track of the evolutions within one field of expertise, blogging is a sound option. Blogging forces you to think about what you are writing down, hence you learn more in-depth. Apart from blogging continually evaluating and improving personal work and learning skills is of the essence. This is made easier when one uses Web2.0 or participative web tools. But this is were some corporate IT departments have difficulties with security. While wiki's are most of the time accepted, other 2.0 tools get thumbs down in a lot of cases.

Bill Bruck pointed out that learning professionals need to learn how to support learning within the existing constraints and find tools and approaches that work within IT. Now that is something I am facing... not easy.

Most attendees of the virtual conference knew wiki's, social bookmarking, RSS etcetera, but the Google Tilde operator was virtually unknown.

Some links that were written in the very active chatbox of elluminate:

Friday 16 November 2007

Blog philosophy taken lightly: blogging is competitive – easy guidelines for quick importance

There is some strange behaviour when it comes to blogging (or any ICT use for that matter). People tend to add significant data or information to be taken seriously. Because everybody can use easy guidelines to enhance ones status, I have jotted some of them down here:

Started blogging: if ever you need to address the moment you started blogging, you need to say 19XX. This is very important (if you only started in 20XX just think of your dairy days and add that date, but be sure not to go back to far!)
First computer: if you need to speak of your first computer, make it at least 198X, later than that and you are practically admitting that you are not a savvy of the first generation.
Using widgets: since 2005 you have been using widgets (of course).
Active participator: you have been participating in online conferences since they first started (and here you add a chuckle while you explain: “oh I remember it well, it was still with a modem and you could join the likes of Bill G. and Steve J…");
(Google) ranking: statistics rank you, but if in need simply photoshop the google ranking picture and add any ranking you like.
• you must have an openID (btw: I found out that it is good to look up openID in wikipedia to be able to show it off at meetings and conferences);

The latest indirect blog competition I entered was clustr maps. I added this feature yesterday, which of course has very little connections up until now. So I will now start a tour around the world and access my blog from all corners in the world to enhance my global significance as a blogger.

Or I will just try and twitter it and hope the community will help…

Please add your tips to enhance a blogging status, I will be more than happy to embrace all your suggestions.

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Thursday 15 November 2007

Mobile guidelines for better content

The latest trends in mobile technology and content were given in speed tempo at the conference There were a bunch of speakers (17!) who each got between 15 – 30 minutes and the format worked. In just one days time I got updated on some of the trends in mobile design and development.

Open standards
Because I am a fan of open standards, I really liked Andrea Trasatti of dotMobi. The site of is a mobile developers community with a clear understanding and willingness to work with open standards.
He also mentioned the W3C mobile web initiative
Linked to this CDF’s were mentioned to appear on handsets from 2008 onwards. CDF’s or Compound Document is the W3C term for a document that combines multiple formats, such as XHTML, SVG, SMIL and XForms.

A great test from the W3C consortium, a MobileOK basic test to see whether or not your mobile development project works within the standards.

Browser for cheap cell phones

For low resource settings I found the opera speaker (Charles McCathieNevile) very useful. He mentioned Opera mini which brings the Web to low cost cell phones.

Mobile Tools
The tools I jotted down were SoonR, WURFL and Volantis.

Contest with lots of money!
Well, it was of course the google man that got the crowd going by mentioning the android developer challenge. To all you developers out there: DO IT!!

The networking was nice as well, I finally got to see Nicola who also wrote a post on the conference , Chris Mills from Opera, Simone, Sheila and I met Jennifer or Ms Jenn from Black Phoebe with some notes on the conference, really great people.