Thursday 26 November 2009

European report on 'The Impact of Social Computing on the EU Information Society and Economy' also mobile social media

The European Commission JRC (Joint Research Center), Institute for Prospective Technological Studies released last week at the EU Ministerial Conference on e-Government a comprehensive report on social and economic implications of Social Computing [aka Web2.0, social media].

'The Impact of Social Computing on the EU Information Society and Economy' (Eds.) Yves Punie, Wainer Lusoli, Clara Centeno, Gianluca Misuraca and David Broster. Authors: Kirsti Ala-Mutka, David Broster, Romina Cachia, Clara Centeno, Claudio Feijóo, Alexandra Haché, Stefano Kluzer, Sven Lindmark, Wainer Lusoli, Gianluca Misuraca, Corina Pascu, Yves Punie and José A. Valverde.

For anyone interested in social media and the impact it has on both society and economy, this is a very worthwhile report.

This wide report covers different thematic areas. In addition to a cross-cutting analysis across areas in Ch1: Key findings, Future Prospects and Policy Implications

It contains thematic analysis:
Ch2: The adoption and Use of Social Computing
Ch3: Social Computing from a Business Perspective
Ch4: Social Computing and the Mobile Ecosystem
Ch5: Social Computing and Identity
Ch6: Social Computing and Learning
Ch7: Social Computing and Social Inclusion
Ch8: Social Computing and Health
Ch9: Social Computing and Governance

In Part II: On defining Social Computing, its Scope and Significance, you have a chapter (chapter 4) which is completely dedicated to mobile social computing and which offers some great tables and analysis. You might want to click on the image to enlarge the picture, it gives an overview of the techno-economic activities in the mobile content and applications ecosystem. So just taken out two quotes from the report:

"Learning from users (user-driven innovation) is the response increasingly adopted both by the new mobile industry and by new public policies (e.g., by providing wide access to “living labs”). At the same time, it could also be argued that users are still not empowered enough in the mobile
domain. Currently, users are not in control (or even aware) of the information that players cross the mobile value chain have about them and how this could be used."
With a relevant quote to low resource areas: "it must not be forgotten that the base conditions for the success of any mobile advanced service are the availability and affordability of mobile broadband connections and the availability, affordability and usability of mobile devices. In particular, these conditions have an inclusive angle for those people who are under served by market priorities."

From their website: "The rapid growth of web 2.0, or social computing, allows users to play an influential role in the way commercial and public products and services are shaped. The report "The impact of Social Computing on the EU Information Society and Economy", published today by the JRC Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), finds that in 2008, 41% of EU Internet users were engaged in social computing activities through Social Networking Sites (SNS), blogs, photo and video sharing, online multi-player games and collaborative platforms for content creation and sharing. This percentage rises to 64% if users aged under 24 only are considered.

The report shows that social computing goes beyond individual networking and entertainment, as it empowers tens of millions of Europeans to support their work, health, learning and citizenship in innovative ways.

The research found that social computing is reshaping work practices, as employees join communities of interest outside their organisations to improve their knowledge and skills. Social innovation enabled by social computing contributes to improved lifelong learning processes, business competitiveness, social inclusion and integration of immigrants, among others."

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Recent Mobile books for your mLearning pleasure

These are some of the recent books that have appeared on mobile learning:

free eBooks on mLearning

# 2009: Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training, edited by Mohamed Ally, published at AU press.

# 2009: New technologies, new pedagogies: Mobile learning in higher education from the University of Wollongong includes faculty development, specific discipline examples and design principles. This is available as a free PDF download.

A nice free open eBook on mLearning build at Graz University of Technology in Austria.

mLearning books to buy:
# 2009: Mobile Learning Communities: Creating New Educational Futures by Patrick Danaher, Beverley Moriarty, Geoff Danaher, a Routledge publication covering communities, along with other topics such as globalization, lifelong learning, multiliteracies, and sustainability; concluding with creating new educational futures.

# 2009: Researching Mobile Learning: Frameworks, Tools and Research Designs from Peter Lang Publishing Group, which sets out the issues and requirements for mobile learning research and presents efforts to specify appropriate theoretical frameworks, research methods and tools.

A definite must read: # 2005: Mobile Learning: A Handbook For Educators and Trainers by Agnes Kukulska-Hulme and John Traxler.

#2009 A more expensive book, yet worth a buy if you have a budget: Innovative Mobile Learning: Techniques and Technologies by Hokyoung Ryu and David Parsons containing 414 pages.

# 2008: Handbook on Mobile communication studies by James E. Katz.

Some mobile Reports:
# 2009: The Horizon report by Educause, It makes predictions about the emerging technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on education.

# 2007: Bachmair, B. (2007) 'M-learning and media use in everyday life'. In Pachler, N. (ed) Mobile learning: towards a research agenda. WLE Centre Occasional Papers in Work-based Learning 1, London: WLE Centre, pp. 105-152. Available at

An overview of the books can be found in the tag books from my blog.

Just a suggestion to all you academic publishers, make all your mobile books available for eBook readers please. It is a bit like walking the talk, look at the Uni of Graz.

If you know any other mobile books, feel free to suggest them, thanks!

(Cartoon by Nick D Kim,

Mobile Telemedicine: turn your camera equipped mobile phone into a microscope and heal the world

At the Institute of Tropical Medicine we focus on a lot of tropical diseases. In the quest to conquer those diseases there are a lot of hurdles to take and one is the lack of analyzing facilities in the field. Based on blood analysis it is easy to screen for a lot of the diseases (tuberculosis, malaria…). Now with the frequent and easy use of mobile phones throughout developing countries, a nifty little invention is bound to change this dramatically. While using the camera on a mobile phone, a holographic image can be made from the blood sample and be sent to any place where they can analyze the image of the blood sample. One of the dynamic mobile animal health researchers at ITM, Maxime Madder, gave me this tip.

So who is this person coming up with this new and affordable world relieving device? It is Aydogan Ozcan, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and member of the California NanoSystems Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has formed a company, Microskia (no active website yet), to commercialize the technology.

How does it work? “In one prototype, a slide holding a finger prick of blood can be inserted over the phone’s camera sensor. The sensor detects the slide’s contents and sends the information wirelessly to a hospital or regional health center. For instance, the phones can detect the asymmetric shape of diseased blood cells or other abnormal cells, or note an increase of white blood cells, a sign of infection, he said.” (taken from the article the New York Times published on 7 November 2009).

If you want the more techy bit behind this invention, look at MIT technology review on young inventors.

All the people in the field need is software (to be purchased), training and 10$ worth of hardware. It is still in the prototype phase, but with all the good it can do, it ought to be out there soon enough.

So, is anyone out there interested to partner for a funding proposal? Let me know and we can sit together and make the world a bit healthier, thanks to Aydogan and his team.

(photo credit Christopher Harting)

Thursday 19 November 2009

Online Educa Berlin is approaching - my active sessions

Online Educa Berlin 2009 is coming closer. From 2 - 4 December 2009 a lot of people working and exchanging knowledge in the eLearning realm will join up at one of the biggest eLearning conferences.

During this conference I will be actively involved in two sessions: one workshop and one debate (mmm, yes, there will be action!).

On Wednesday 2 December 2009 I will come together with 20 mobile enthusiasts and we will have a full day looking into mobile learning and how to start with it (from 9.30 - 17.00h). This workshop is something I really look forward to as you can never know where we will all go to and what the dynamics will be. I will post the complete agenda of this workshop soon (still working on the last details, trying to cater to those that will participate). The workshop was immediately fully booked, but if you or your colleagues or institution wants to have this intro, send me a mail or social media post for more details.

On Thursday 3 December 2009 from 14.00 - 16.00 h the session "Mixed Media for Learning: Hype or Hit?" will be organized. This part debate, part presentation will be moderated by the energetic Wilfred Rubens. The members of this session are:

Christine Redecker, European Commission, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), Spain - New Ways of Learning with Social Computing

Inge de Waard, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium, E-Learning 2.0 Mash-Up: How to Combine Social Media, Online Communities and Resources in One Learning Application

Paul Den Hertog, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Up Scaling Web-Lectures on a Large Educational Institution: How to Increase Educational Effectiveness

John Hill, University of Denver, USA, Cost-Effective Options for Using Mixed Media in University Online Courses

If you are attending OEB09, let me know, we can meet-up.

eLearning report: Review of Learning 2.0 Practices by Christine Redecker

If you are interested in eLearning and Learning2.0 in particular, this study on the impact of Web2.0 innovations on education and training in Europe written by Christine Redecker might be your cup of tea.

Christine does not talk of social media use, but of social computing when refering to blogs, wiki's... in this report issued by the European Commission, she focuses on two studies that were undertaken to look at the potential of learning2.0. These studies were done by the Institute of Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) launched and the interesting difference between these studies was that (1) in informal settings and (2) was taken place in formal education & training (E&T). Both studies were based on extensive desk-research combined with stakeholder consultations and the in-depth study of promising Learning 2.0 cases.

The report is 122 pages long, written with great clarity. And it comprises a lot of interesting topics: connectivism, new skills for the digital age, collaborative content production, access and digital skills, motivation and personal learning skills,... The report covers a lot of ground and gives a clear insight in benefits of eLearning2.0.

From the abstract of the report: "Though social computing has its origin outside educational institutions, its deployment within formal E&T displays a huge potential for enhancing learning processes and outcomes. IPTS research in this area indicates that Learning 2.0 can foster technological, organisational and pedagogical innovation in formal E&T, and can thus positively contribute to the modernisation of E&T institutions that is required to fulfil the learning needs of contemporary society. Within formal E&T settings, social computing can in particular foster the following:
  • New supply of and access to learning material by making study material more readily available, thus supporting different individual learning styles;
  • New learning methods and tools, increasing performance and academicachievement in a broad range of subjects. As a consequence, new pedagogicaland scientific methods evolve that change the way in which a particular subject islearned and taught;
  • Collaboration and networking provide peer support, encourage active participation and learning collaboration, improving both overall and individual performance. Online networks among teachers facilitate knowledge exchange andcan support the joint creation of learning content;
  • Improved support for differentiation and diversity: Social computing supplies learners and teachers with a wide variety of didactical and methodological toolsthat can be fitted to the respective learning objectives and to the individuals’needs.
  • Improved personal and learning skills: The affective and social dimension of thelearning process can allow learners to both enjoy learning and acquire skills thatempower them to actively engage in the development of their personal skills andcompetences. Along with motivation higher order cognitive skills, like reflectionand meta-cognition, and self-directed learning skills can be enhanced.
  • Empowerment of the learner. Learners are enabled to create and personalise their learning processes in a supportive environment of mutual assistance, reflection and critique and in interaction with their teachers and peers, combining formal, non-formal and informal learning activities."
If within your institution there are still some sceptics that say social media is just a bubble, a hype, something that will fade once the novelty wears of... than just read the conclusion of this out loud to these sceptics (and start debating again with more arguments, thanks to Christine).

"Both studies suggest that the potential of Learning 2.0 in enhancing learning processes and methods is significant. In particular, social computing applications contribute to the personalisation of learning, enabling learners to better adapt learning strategies to their individual needs and constraints. At the same time, social, networked and collaborative learning are supported, opening up new opportunities for accessing, managing, producing and sharing knowledge. However, policy has to address the challenges associated with these new learning approaches by providing learners with the necessary skills to participate in a networked knowledge society, thus making lifelong learning a reality."

Christine Redecker is very strong eLearning researcher. I have the honor of sitting in a debate with her during the upcoming Online Educa Berlin. So I am looking forward to meeting her in real life.