Monday 29 September 2008

new course on education2.0 or eLearning 2.0

The last couple off weeks have been quite frantic with following courses, writing articles, planning an intense training workshop ... but Soulsoup twittered me on a course that will focus on Web2.0 tools for learning.

This learning community is build with, a great web-based community software.

For those following the CCK08 course, this might also be an interesting addition. The great thing about this approach is that - as a learner - the experience itself will add to your knowledge.
What can you expect (from their own introduction):

Sponsored by Work Literacy and the eLearning Guild, from September 29 through November 7, 2008, this network will be THE place for you to learn about Web 2.0 and how social media tools can be used by learning professionals.

The goals of the event are to:

* Introduce you to new tools and methods for work and learning
* Discuss implications of these tools for learning professionals
*Prepare you to participate in DevLearn in new ways as an attendee or as a spectator.

Here's what we'll be covering:

Week 1- Social Networking--Ning, LinkedIn and Facebook
If you have specific questions about social networks that we should address as part of this module, please leave them for us here.

Week 2--Social Bookmarking and Tagging
Week 3-- Blogs
Week 4--Aggregators and RSS Feeds
Week 5--Wikis
Week 6--Pulling it all Together

Each week we will share new activities that will allow you to explore each of these tools. We recognize that there will be differences in interest, experience and time available for exploration, so these activities will be designed to give you meaningful experiences at different levels:

Not sure if I will add a lot, especially with mLearn coming closer, but still I will read this forum with great interest.

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Report on Learning 2.0 is published - interesting read

The eLearning Guild Research 360° Report on Learning 2.0 is just out. As usual the research reports of the eLearning Guild are interesting to read. They give a quick overview of some of the latest trends and results in eLearning.

This report has many authors: Steve Wexler, Jane Hart, Tony Karrer, Michele Martin, Mark Oehlert, Sanjay Parker, Brent Schlenker and Will Thalheimer. But what makes this research so interesting is that all authors will have a webinar on the findings in this report. This might be a rich extra, because it gives you the possibility of getting your questions out to them. 'Might be' I write because I am not sure if there will be a lot of time to discuss, but at least you will hear it from the report writers themselves.

This report focuses on two fundamental issues that are at the core of learning endeavors:
1) The emerging technology will obsolesce what they do now;
2) The emerging technology will be difficult to learn;
3) It will be difficult to convince colleagues and management that they should embrace the emerging technology;
4) Not embracing the technology will lead to certain doom.
This report addresses those fears and offers key findings, comprehensive survey results — and answers — to these concerns!

You can look at the abstract of this report or - if you are a payed member, you can download it completely at the same page.

The facts on this free (but you need to register) research webinar:
Duration: one hour;
Date: Thursday, October 2 at 8:30 AM Pacific Time;
Hosts and speakers: all or most of the above mentioned authors.

Monday 22 September 2008

CCK08 Free and reliable open source software for YOU and all of us

Connecting to others, is enabled by open source software. So this is not a blogpost on theory, but on practicalities of connectivism reality. The open source community celebrated Software Freedom Day on 20 September.

"Transparency is key in enabling people to participate in the creation of wealth and well-being in society. In the past decade, free and open source software (FOSS) has become one of the major catalysts in increasing transparency by lowering the barrier to access the best software technologies. Software Freedom Day (SFD) celebrates this important role of FOSS in making this change happen globally."

If you are interested, this is the list of open software that has proven to be strong and useful (with a short description as offered by the developers themselves):

  • Graphical software
  • Multimedia
  • Supporting software
  • Internet
  • Office
  • Relaxation

Graphical software

Blender: Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License. They even have conferences and trainings for all interested.

Gimp: GIMP is a versatile graphics manipulation package (to manipulate your picture quality etcetera)

Inkscape: An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development.

KompoZer: KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing.
KompoZer is designed to be extremely easy to use, making it ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive, professional-looking web site without needing to know HTML or web coding.

Paint.Net: Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins.

Scribus: Open Source Desktop publishing. Scribus is an open-source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to Linux/Unix, MacOS X, OS/2 and Windows desktops with a combination of "press-ready" output and new approaches to page layout. Underneath the modern and user friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and versatile PDF creation.


Audacity: Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. Learn more about Audacity... Also check our Wiki and Forum for more information.

Avidemux: Avidemux is a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. It supports many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs. Tasks can be automated using projects, job queue and powerful scripting capabilities.

BonkEnc: BonkEnc is a CD ripper, audio encoder and converter for various formats. It can produce MP3, MP4/M4A, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Bonk and FLAC files. BonkEnc makes it easy to convert your audio CDs to MP3 or Ogg Vorbis files which you can use in your hardware player or with your favorite audio software. The program supports the CDDB/freedb online CD database and CDText and automatically writes song information to ID3V2 or Vorbis comment tags.

MediaCoder: MediaCoder is a free universal batch media transcoder, which nicely integrates most popular audio/video codecs and tools into an all-in-one solution. With a flexible and extendable architecture, new codecs and tools are added in constantly as well as supports for new devices. MediaCoder intends to be the swiss army knife for media transcoding in all time and at this moment, it already has millions of users from 170+ countries all over the planet.

MediaPortal: MediaPortal is an Open Source application ideal for turning your PC / TV into a very advanced Media Center. MediaPortal allows you to listen to your favorite music & radio, watch and store your videos and DVDs, view, schedule and record live TV as a digital video recorder and much much more. You get MediaPortal as Open Source software. This means you can help in developing MediaPortal or tweak it for your own needs with lots of innovating plugins from our great community.

Miro: Miro is a free application for channels of internet video (also known as 'video podcasts and video rss). Miro is designed to be easy to use and to give you an elegant fullscreen viewing experience.

MusikCube: musikCube is an mp3 player for themodern generation. It helps you just listen to what you want to hear, while offering innovative features not seen elsewhere. For the technical user, musikCube is based on an embedded SQL database engine known as sqlite. For the non technical user, that means its fast.

VLC: VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.

Supporting software

7zip: 7-Zip is a file archiver with a high compression ratio.

Abakt: Free backup software, providing advanced filtering and command line options.

ClamWin: ClamWin is a Free Antivirus program for Microsoft Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003 and Vista. ClamWin Free Antivirus comes with an easy installer and open source code. You may download and use it absolutely free of charge.

GTK+: GTK+ is a highly usable, feature rich toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces which boasts cross platform compatibility and an easy to use API.

InfraRecorder: InfraRecorder is a free CD/DVD burning solution for Microsoft Windows. It offers a wide range of powerful features; all through an easy to use application interface and Windows Explorer integration.

Launchy: Launchy is a free windows and linux utility designed to help you forget about your start menu, the icons on your desktop, and even your file manager. Launchy indexes the programs in your start menu and can launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes.

Peazip: PeaZip is a free, open source file and archive manager. PeaZip is cross platform, available as portable and installable software for 32 and 64 bit Windows (9x, 2000, XP, Vista) and Linux (PeaZip is a desktop neutral application).

PuTTY Tray: PuTTY is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Win32 and Unix platforms, along with an xterm terminal emulator.

TightVNC: TightVNC is a free remote control software package derived from the popular VNC software. With TightVNC, you can see the desktop of a remote machine and control it with your local mouse and keyboard, just like you would do it sitting in the front of that computer.

TrueCrypt: Free open-source disk encryption software for Windows Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.


aMSN: aMSN is a free open source MSN Messenger clone, with features such as:
  • Offline Messaging
  • Voice Clips
  • Display pictures
  • Custom emoticons
  • Multi-language support (around 40 languages currently supported)
  • Webcam support
  • Sign in to more than one account at once
  • Full-speed File transfers
  • Group support
  • Normal, and animated emoticons with sounds
  • Chat logs
  • Timestamping
  • Event alarms
  • Conferencing support
  • Tabbed chat windows
Azureus/Vuze: Peer-to-peer sharing content. Publish and monetize your high-quality content on Vuze. Reach our global community of viewers.

FileZilla: the free FTP solution. Both a client and a server are available. FileZilla is open source software distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License

Juice: Want to listen to internet audio programs but can't when they are scheduled? This program lets you create your own custom online audio anytime, anywhere. Really.

Mozilla Firefox: great web browser.

Mozilla Thunderbird: fluent e-mail client.

Pidgin: Pidgin is an instant messaging program for Windows, Linux, BSD, and other Unixes. You can talk to your friends using AIM, ICQ, Jabber/XMPP, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, QQ, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, MySpaceIM, and Zephyr.

RSSOwl: a newreader for everyone. Applications that collect data from RSS-compliant sites are called RSS readers or "aggregators." RSSOwl is such an application. RSSOwl lets you gather, organize, update, and store information from any compliant source in a convenient, easy to use interface, save selected information in various formats for offline viewing and sharing, and much more. It's easy to configure, available in many many languages and the best of all: It's platform-independent.

WengoPhone: OpenWengo is a community of enthusiasts and developers, creating free software products related to communication over IP. The flagship product of the OpenWengo project is a softphone which allows you to make free PC to PC video and voice calls, and to integrate all your IM contacts in one place.


GnuCash:GnuCash is personal and small-business financial-accounting software, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. Designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible, GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

MoinMoin: MoinMoin is an advanced, easy to use and extensible WikiEngine with a large community of users. Said in a few words, it is about collaboration on easily editable web pages. MoinMoin is Free Software licensed under the GPL.

Mozilla Sunbird: Mozilla Sunbird® is a cross-platform calendar application, built upon Mozilla Toolkit. Our goal is to provide you with full-featured and easy to use calendar application that you can use around the world.

Notepad2: a fast and light-weight Notepad-like text editor with syntax highlighting. This program can be run out of the box without installation, and does not touch your system's registry. is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.

PDFcreator: PDFCreator easily creates PDFs from any Windows program. Use it like a printer in Word, StarCalc or any other Windows application. Convenient:Now you can carry your favorite computer programs along with all of your bookmarks, settings, email and more with you. Use them on any Windows computer. All without leaving any personal data behind. provides a truly open platform that works with any hardware you like (USB flash drive, iPod, portable hard drive, etc). It's open source built around an open format that any hardware vendor or software developer can use.
Free:The Suite and Platform is free. It contains no spyware. There are no advertisements. It isn't a limited or trial version. There is no additional hardware or software to buy. You don't even have to give out your email address. It's 100% free to use, free to copy and free to share.


Celestia: The free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions. Celestia runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. (Really COOL!)

NasaWorldWind: World Wind lets you zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth. Leveraging Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data, World Wind lets you experience Earth terrain in visually rich 3D, just as if you were really there.

Stellarium: Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.
It is being used in planetarium projectors. Just set your coordinates and go.

Workrave: keeping you healthy by decreasing Repititive Strain Injury.

I do not use all of them (yet), but I already use some and the one's I use I feel very comfortable with. Feel free to add free open source software that you work with!

Tuesday 16 September 2008

CCK08 - what is knowledge, where is the ethics and can it keep humanity together?

This week is the second week of the massive online course CCK08. This week is focusing on ‘What is knowledge’. I must say that the articles I absorbed today really intrigued me and gave me a better understanding (or at least the thought of better understanding).

I will copy parts of both articles, just to enable you to follow my own thoughts a bit if you have not read the articles (yet). Another reason is that if in the future the links to the articles get severed, I will still be able to reconstruct (part) of my thoughts with this copied information. But I if you are interested in the philosophy of knowledge the articles are a delightful read.

My thoughts will be on

  • Connective knowledge has gotten humanity to where it is today
  • In an increasingly specialized world connective knowledge can keep humanity together
  • Freely gathered and promoted connective knowledge risks extreme theories reaching a bigger public

In the article ‘introduction to connective knowledge’ Stephen Downes leads the readers towards three conclusions to give a framework for future discussions on what knowledge is:

There are three types of knowledge:

  • Of the senses (empirical)
  • Of quantity (rationalist)
  • Of connections (connective)

Connective knowledge is both:

  • Knowledge OF networks in the world
  • Knowledge obtained BY networks

Active participation in the network:

  • As a node in the network, by participating in society
  • As a whole network, by perceiving with the brain (the neural network)

Reflective participation in the network

  • By observing society as a whole
  • By reflecting on our mental states and processes

My thoughts invoked by reading this article

First of all this evolution of many brains making knowledge seems very natural to me as the same thing happens in nature already (most quoted species: ants), so I am happy to read a simple framework to get to this point.

Connective knowledge has gotten humanity to where it is today

After reading this (accessible) article I did get visions of connective knowledge building throughout human history. In a way history has always used connective knowledge and has build upon it as soon as enough people were curious enough to take it into consideration and replicating it. It is only because Darwin’s knowledge got out, got discussed, was first accepted by a few and got picked up by a growing number of scientists, that Darwin’s theory on the Origin of Species began to be seen as common ground. So in a way, because of several networks and their dynamics knowledge was picked up, tested through discussions and taken in as ‘solid knowledge’.

But not all knowledge gets appreciated from the beginning and sometimes very valuable knowledge gets overlooked thus stopping further evolution of that knowledge. (example: only a couple of years ago a lost (thought lost) manuscript of Archimedes (the so called Method) was found in Paris. The manuscript was overwritten by religious texts, just because at the time those religious texts seemed more important than Archimedes’s. After deciphering parts of the manuscript scientists found that Archimedes put down essential modern mathematical proves that are now at the basis of big inventions. Because Archimedes’s knowledge was ‘lost’ and history was focusing on different types of knowledge, mathematical (and scientific) knowledge was (temporarily stopped)).

So although I think connective knowledge gathering seems to have been around forever, it does not persé solve the problem of knowledge being lost or not being valued to the potential it has.

If you are interested in the Archimedes documentary regarding this manuscript (but beware there are almost no links to the actual text that Archimedes wrote down in his Method, look here)

In an increasingly specialized world connective knowledge can keep humanity together
As connectivity looks at society as a whole as well as connections between information, it can be holistic. In this capacity it can add to interdisciplinary understanding and find mutual evolutions or parallel discussions. This holistic and connected knowledge ability does speak to my imagination, because it could bring all the specialist domains together again (and I believe that building bridges between disciplines always results in new ideas). But could this result in the need for new professions? Not specialists in the classical sense, but specialists in superficial knowledge gathering. People that only know the basics, but of different disciplines and these people could than be knowledge bridge builders. I would like that type of profession

Now for the second article by Dave Cormier that can be downloaded for free (you need to register for the journal, but registering is also for free) and talks about the rhizomatic knowledge.

Cormier concludes “The rhizomatic viewpoint (…) suggests that a distributed negotiation of knowledge can allow a community of people to legitimize the work they are doing among themselves and for each member of the group, the rhizomatic model dispenses with the need for external validation of knowledge, either by an expert or by a constructed curriculum. Knowledge can again be judged by the old standards of "I can" and "I recognize." If a given bit of information is recognized as useful to the community or proves itself able to do something, it can be counted as knowledge. The community, then, has the power to create knowledge within a given context and leave that knowledge as a new node connected to the rest of the network.

Indeed, the members themselves will connect the node to the larger network. Most people are members of several communities—acting as core members in some, carrying more weight and engaging more extensively in the discussion, while offering more casual contributions in others, reaping knowledge from more involved members (Cormier 2007). This is the new reality. Knowledge seekers in cutting-edge fields are increasingly finding that ongoing appraisal of new developments is most effectively achieved through the participatory and negotiated experience of rhizomatic community engagement. Through involvement in multiple communities where new information is being assimilated and tested, educators can begin to apprehend the moving target that is knowledge in the modern learning environment.”

Note: This article was originally published in Innovate ( as: Cormier, D. 2008. Rhizomatic education: Community as curriculum. Innovate 4 (5). (accessed September 16, 2008). The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher, The Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University.

The thoughts that came to my mind
Freely gathered and promoted connective knowledge risks extreme theories reaching a bigger public

I like the rhizomatic viewpoint a lot because I have been gathering knowledge in this way on an informal basis, but I have one big questionmark. What if this leads to big parts of the population indulging in extreme theories without ever having to be accounted for these extreme theories? (do not get me wrong, I am for complete freedom of speech, because I believe in discussing with words to come to a better understanding… but).

In the rhizoom viewpoint the conclusion indicates that “if a given bit of information is recognized as useful to the community or proves itself able to do something, it can be counted as knowledge”, that is okay but what about the ethical part of knowledge? If collaboration leads to stronger knowledge, and knowledge exists, than who is to stop knowledge that badly affects people?

I just wonder how to you insert ethics in this rhizomatic viewpoint?

(Look here for my other posts related to CCK08).

‘Cartoon by Nick D Kim, Used by permission.'

paper on an instrument for gender and ethnicity balance in mobile courses

In October 2008 the prestigious mLearn conference will take place, hosted by the University of Wolverhampton, School of Computing and IT, and will take place on the edge of historic and rural Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Shropshire, United Kingdom.

I feel quite excited about this because I will be presenting a paper on "Integrating Gender and Ethnicity in Mobile Courses ante-design". If you are interested you can read the short paper here, it is just 1A4 so really short.

The paper focuses on an instrument aimed at balancing gender and/or ethnicity in courses previous and during the course development. The idea behind it is that this instrument might result in better learning outcomes due to the fact that learners will identify more to the actors AND at the same time empower learners by a more balanced depiction of gender and/or ethnicity.

By using the instrument data can be obtained (and extrapolated towards a user's need) that helps in both
  • increasing scientific relevance linked to the images (for example if you develop a course in epidemiology it is of big importance to define a patient group relevant to the possible epidemic and factors);
  • empowering learner minority and gender groups.
The instrument is very easy to use (designed in this way to decrease a possible technological threshold) and uses database forms that can be personalized according to the scientist or user needs (organize pictures/actors according to active/passive roles, gender roles, ethnicity...). By making the instrument part of a database form, it allows it to relevantly analyse the data according to the scientific or educational needs of the courses that are being developed.

I developed this instrument because it adds to one of the Millennium Development Goals of UNESCO, more specifically "Promote gender equality and empower women: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015." and it also adds to one of ITM's scientific researches that focuses on gender.

The biggest problem of this instrument is defining ethnicity. This is REALLY difficult and also very sensitive.

If you are going to attend mLearn08 or you are interested in this instrument, let me know.

For anyone attending, my session is planned for Thursday 9 October 2008, from 11.30 - 11.45u in the session Mobile Learning for All in room Telford 2.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

CCK08 - will connectivism without guidance result in unuseful knowledge mutations?

The CCK08 course is running for three days now and discussions are beginning to emerge. Some useful links: What is Connectivism a short presentation by George Siemens (made in adobe presenter, so you will need the latest flash plugin and quite a strong computer processor - might be difficult for low resource areas).

very short summary of the presentation:

the human mind builds on:
  • our need to externalize to make sense;
  • our need for frameworks/structures for sensemaking;
  • our need to socialize and negotiate around knowledge;
  • our patterning mind;
  • our desire to exceed our humanity through technology;

Connectivism =
  • knowledge is networked and distributed;
  • the experience of learning is one of forming new neural, conceptual and external networks;
  • occurs in complex, chaotic, shifting spaces;
  • increasingly aided by technology;
In order to better learning, we need to understand how and why connections form.
Connections create meaning.

Determining understanding
  • depth and diversity of connections, determines understanding
  • frequency of exposure;
  • integration with existing ideas/concepts;
  • strong and weak ties.
My reflections, and because a lot of people are discussing on a theoretical level, I will focus on the 'common sense' part as knowledge is equal in connectivism.

Let's create wild savages
I agree that learning is inevitable as humans have patterning minds, but what if learning is opened up completely, without basic foundations? I agree with the deductions of what learning is, but if learning is solely left to the learner, chances are you will learn only what is of interest to you and... it is my experience that the most difficult things to learn are peace, social equality and other such very human though not natural characteristics.

So how will connectivism lead to an increase in self-centered, only interested in their own world individuals because moral knowledge can be skipped?

organizing content is for sissies

If there is anything well structured and not ad random, it is libraries. If you think about the history of libraries, you cannot escape the fact that every library needs to be well organized. The organization of libraries has become a specialist profession. And I am glad because I can find my way in it. The fact is - as George Siemens says in his presentation on what connectivism is, that humans have a patterning mind - so we are glad if we know there is a pattern, but if there is not any we will make one up as we go along.

At home I also tend to organize, though much less than in most other homes (oh and this is no euphemism). The only thing is I do not find things as quickly as I could and because I keep buying things, the amount of things to sift through keeps growing. So every once and a while I tell myself I should put in some structure in order to find things more efficiently. I do not.

But now, with all the new content related technologies, the opening up of the new world (global, everyone joins) and my knowledge hunger... I am beginning to be at a loss for knowledge. For even if I use my personal organizing technologies (previous posts on this), they - in themselves - are beginning to get soo chaotic I do no longer find what I am looking for within a reasonable amount of time.

Adding new technologies was fine, until lately, because it seems they cloud my brain and it starts to become too much for me to organise. In a different world this would not matter, or in a different profession this would not matter neither, but as it is I am depending on my knowledge, on strong arguments why I suggest things that come out of my knowledge and on quickly retrieving things that I know I have somewhere (where?).

Technology pushes content to superficial levels
No matter how you twist and turn it: everything takes time, so reflection is the only thing that keeps our mind focused and connected. But reflection demands time. If time is becoming ever more important (Moore's law that humans want to mimic), how can we assure that our content products will have any quality in them?

do we increasingly build on other one's knowledge because of time restraints?
It would be interesting to see if the amount of content questions put out via new technologies (twitter, blogs, forums...) are beginning to increase... I think so. As everyone's time to find answers diminishes, we hope to find answers outside of our own brain and I think we increasingly depend on outside (=not our own personal) networks to find answers. But that is okay, we did do this in the past (International researchers, well traveled artists...). The only thing is what happens if nobody has the time to truly grasp certain knowledge? We believe certain 'experts' or 'gurus', but who is to tell they will not fall into the hands of non-argumented theories or solutions, just because they know they NEED to look as though they know?

read/write web results in no readers
Let's say we will still have time to reflect, so we will still write down our thoughts and ideas. As long as you read a book, you are not writing it and even if you write your own book, why would anyone else be interested. Even if your book was build on knowledge, it will be redundant as soon as you have written it (not even bothering with the distinction between paper or digital).

But copyright can eventually be dismissed
If more people (global) write down their ideas, more similar texts will be formed. So who is to tell who will be the 'author' of those ideas? I think that we can state that one thing is for sure, the copyright will be out on basis of too much. Who wants to read references that mention 20 different authors?

So for me connectivism is a nice idea, it will lead to some kind of revolution, just because everything is changing thanks to technology. But opening up all learning, will not necessarily result in a more humane society. In fact, giving the learning power to all humans from an early age, without guidance could result in a new savage era. Or will it?

On the other hand, opening up learning will give developing countries the tools to get cracking with their own theories and ideas... that is a BIG bonus!

‘Cartoon by Nick D Kim, Used by permission.’

The Big Question: to-learn list

This month's the Big Question from Tony Karrer's Learning Circuits blog is 'What is your to-learn list'.

The most important drive behind my learning list is my goal in life. Without my goal, I just absorb like a very undiscriminating sponge (nice, but not in high esteem in this particular day and age).

Adding to my goal I make up my learning list. My learning list has varied through the years and it always featured a big amount of informal learning, but sometimes a bit of formal learning was on it as well. Most of my learning is done by absorbing knowledge through experiencing, talking to people from various disciplines and taking their advice (sometimes only after a firm discussion or ... time that showed me they were right), the need to survive financially...

Although I do not write my to-learn list down on a regular basis, it does keep me alert, because I aim high (= hungry for knowledge most of the time) when it comes to learning stuff though keep doing the things I set myself out to do. No deadlines though, just doing it one step at the time. Btw I do not limit myself to professionally induced learning, I just learn whatever fits my goal.

So for now my to-learn list is this mix:
informal (autodidact and/or exchange talks with knowledge rich people)
- learning more about marketing myself, while keeping in touch with my ethical side;
- learning more about electricity (want to build my own solar roof and wind turbine);
- becoming better at writing stories, papers and articles;
- finally learning how to pick a lock (after shutting myself out once again!);
- improving my French;
- expanding my Spanish;
- keeping up with new learning theories and technologies;
- letting go on the grasp of knowledge, meaning: I hope to become more relaxed in knowing I will never grasp a lot of knowledge because it is no longer possible (wrong era for this to be possible).

- master in distance education module on Program Evaluation (for this I just need formal push, it is quite dry material - wow).
- keeping track of my (and my teammate's) eLearning successes and failures (let's call them near misses) in a more practical way.

The skills and techniques I need to learn for my work, I put into my personal to-do list. My eLearning blog (this one) keeps track of part of what I learn in eLearning. This enables me to track back when I need to. On a personal note and building on my informal learning, my capacities expand (if the informal learning works) so I just show those new capacities off ;-)

I will always learn, or at least as long as my mind allows me to.

Monday 8 September 2008

CCK08 and data overload calmness

Today the Connectivism & Connective Knowledge course is starting and up until now 1900 worldwide participants signed up. Due to this huge interest most of my time yesterday was spend on getting to know other participants through the 'introduction forum' on Moodle. I was too eager, too interested, too neurotic... adding up to 3 hours of frantic reading of short bio's and ideas on why people are interested in the course.

I know I should not get all anxious about data overload, nor should I want to read everything... I (we) no longer can, but still I did get overexcited. Luckily Stephen Downes send a soothing mail (in the Daily newsletter the course is using to keep the learners on track). In this mail he anticipates on the anxiety and assures the learners that not reading everything and/ or limited absorption of all that will be posted is ok. I needed this extra confirmation, but still I wonder if I can keep my neurotic 'I want to know everything' under control.
So I gather that the new world knowledge order is quite simple: "Chill, whatever you choose to learn will be okay, relax and absorb what you want", but planning your knowledge path could be a benefit if you want to achieve a certain knowledge goal.

Just wondering if existential crisis's on what knowledge to absorb will be the new personality crisis of the future?

Tuesday 2 September 2008

Ted talk: Sugata Mitra on how kids taught themselves to use a computer

Last year I had the honour of hearing Sugata Mitra speak in the Online Educa Berlin conference, I wrote a blogpost about his keynote speech and also on his debate on learning with Andrew Keen in which Sugata Mitra clearly argumented in favour of informal learning.

But now has posted Sugata Mitra talking about the "Hole in the Wall" project -- where kids in an Indian neighborhood figured out (on their own) how to use a PC and mouse, and then taught their friends. We've all seen kids do things like this, figuring out a new toy or the universal remote, but Mitra asks the next logical question: How can traditional schools harness the immense power of children to teach one another?
The speech is amazing, because it shows very clearly how quickly children learn and how they can learn the most difficult of topics by an informal approach and just putting material out there. Really motivating.

If you do not know movies yet, surf straight to it. It is a collection of speeches given by inspiring people.

In the meanwhile I am preparing my first module of the Distance Education program at Athabasca University. The topic is Program Evaluation, which fits my knowledge needs for the moment, but which is also quite intens reading material (no graphics! can you imagine :-)

Monday 1 September 2008

Join Stephen Downes and George Siemens in a MASSIVE online course

"Connectivism and Connective knowledge: The Furture of Education and Training" is starting on 7 September 2008 and will be running for approx. 3 months. So spread the word and if you have the time (of course you have), join!

This course will be a MOOG (Massive Open Online Course) and it will look at:
- What will education and training look like in thefuture?
- How must we equip ourselves to serve learners in the next decade?...
The formal course description also mentions a variety of new learning tools that will be used in this course. The course will be delivered fully online in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous formats. For a more extensive idea on the concept of the course, you can visit the course blog.

Registration is free (if you do not follow this course for creditation), but you must register which you can do here.

Maybe you want to know a little more before diving in? Just listen to Edtechtalk 81 and Edtechtalk 82 in which four of the facilitators (Alec Couros, George Siemens, Stephen Downes and Leigh Blackall) on how the connectivism course will be taught.

So prepare to get twelve weeks of intens learning spread out to you and build by you. If you publish anything about it, this is the tag CCK08.

Weekly Topics & Schedule (copied from the Connectivism - LTCWiki):

  • Week 1: (September 7-13) What is Connectivism?
  • Week 2: (September 14-20) Rethinking epistemology: Connective knowledge
  • Week 3: (September 21-27) Properties of Networks
  • Week 4: (September 28-October 4) History of networked learning
  • Week 5: (October 5-11) Connectives and Collectives: Distinctions between networks and groups
  • Week 6: (October 12-18) Complexity, Chaos and Research
  • Week 7: (October 18-25) Instructional design and connectivism
  • Week 8: (October 26-November 1) Power, control, validity, and authority in distributed environments
  • Week 9: (November 2-8) What becomes of the teacher? New roles for educators
  • Week 10: (November 9-15) Openness: social change and future directions
  • Week 11: (November 16-22) Systemic change: How do institutions respond?
  • Week 12: (November 23-29) The Future of Connectivism