Monday 28 February 2011

Call for papers for mLearn2011 in Beijing, China

The mLearn conference (supported by IAmLearn) always guarantees real good research and discussions on mLearning and contextual learning. And the great thing is.... this year it will be organized in China! Yes, so get your brains working, your fingers oiled and your keyboards working.

The 10th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning will be held in Beijing, 18 - 21 October 2011. And there is an array of papers you can submit, so no excuse not to do it!

The mLearn 2011 paper submission system is now open - But do not just run over and submit anything, first get the paper template, it will surely increase the acceptance of your paper if you format it correctly. Download the paper template here . Should you experience any difficulties submitting your paper, please let us know via email: mlearn (at)

All accepted papers will be considered by the Programme Committee for Outstanding Paper Awards (and yes, that is a great honor and it looks good on your resumé). Certificates will be issued to 10 outstanding papers of at least one registered author. There is an opportunity to be invited to deliver the keynote speech at mLearn 2011 as well.

The conference theme is Mobile and Contextual Learning: Culture and Change

. It aims to stimulate critical debate on and research into theories, approaches, and applications of mobile and contextual learning; to bring together researchers and practitioners from all over the world to share their knowledge, experience and research in the field of mobile learning; and to create dialogue and networking for knowledge sharing and transfer across the globe.

Submissions are invited for:

• Long papers (8 pages)
• Short papers (3 pages)
• Workshops (2 pages)
• Posters (300 words)
• Panels (500 words)
• Industry showcase &presentation (1-2 page)
• Doctoral Consortium (4 pages)

All submitted papers will be blind reviewed by at least three members of an international panel of research leaders in the area of mobile and contextual learning. Accepted papers of at least one registered author will be published in the printed and the CD versions of the proceedings. The proceedings will also be published via the web for Full Open Access. Authors of accepted papers will have the opportunity to have their submissions considered for special issues of the SSCI-indexed Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (JCAL) and the International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning (IJMBL).

More details about the reviewing process, the acceptance policy, organizing invited workshops, and submission deadlines can be found at our websites - or

If you have any further questions, please contact Prof. Shengquan Yu at Tel: +86(0)1058806922, Fax: +86(0)1058800256,
Blog: mLearn2011
Twitter: @mlearn11,
School of Educational Technology, Beijing Normal University, China.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Google Chrome and translator to get 1 click translations and increase your PLE and network

Just two nifty tricks for those work with international colleagues or simply interested in eLearning resources from different languages. The first trick tells you how to quickly translate any web-page into your language (really quick), the second one suggests how you can enlarge your PLE or network.

Translate any webpage really quickly
Google Chrome is moving up in the browser world and there are many reasons why, a personal favorite is the reason mentioned in a blogpost by Ivan Boothe who is all into nonprofi and activism. He mentions an initiative by Google to donate (for a limited amount of time) some money to good causes. A great idea and initiative, clearly indicating the drive for change.

For me, the most handy feature in Google Chrome is the translator function which gets me through to many non-English/French/German/Dutch sites. If you have not given it a try, please do, it will increase your PLE and professional network.

In just 5 easy steps, you will be able to read (sometimes in double Dutch but still understandable) your favorite Chinese, Hindi, Russian, Japanese, Swahili sites! How cool is that!
  1. Install Google Chrome, remember to uncheck the box suggesting you should use Google Chrome as your default browser (or leave it checked if you want to).
  2. Install the Google Translator plugin for Google Chrome.
  3. Restart your computer.
  4. Open Google Chrome, and you will see that in the top right hand corner of the browser a little icon shows up.
  5. Go to a website with a language you do not understand, and click on the icon. A bar appears asking you if you want to translate the website.... et voilà
It is nice, nifty and neat.

Find new people and new resources in other languages
To make it worth your while, you can apply the above in an advanced way:
  • you can go to Google translate:
  • type in the topic you want to know more about,
  • set the translation to a language you would like to get to know people/professionals in.
  • Then copy the translated word or phrase,
  • paste it into a search engine;
  • open the website you found into google chrome,
  • click on the translate buttton and... a new network and information hub opens up!

I did the above with the terms: 'education e-learning' and translated it into Hindi, which gave me the Hindi words: शिक्षा सीखना
I then put it into Google Chrome, where I choose the website:
Which I could simply translate and ... it was a new useful resource. Fun!

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Call for papers on Open Educational Resources deadline 1st March 2011

This call links creativity with OER, so will be fun to write. Underneath you will find the synopsis on the call, for more information you can take a look at the website.

Special Themed Issue on Creativity and Open Educational Resources (OER)

Fostering Creativity – The Use of Open Educational Resources

The European Journal of Open, Distance and E-learning announces a special issue for Summer 2011 entitled "Fostering Creativity – The Use of Open Educational Resources".

The Chief Editor, Alan Tait, Professor Elsebeth Korsgaard Sorensen, Aarhus University, Denmark and Professor Grainne Conole, The Open University, UK as guest editors invite you to submit a paper for a special issue on the notion of creativity in the context of Open Educational Resources. Papers can be either single or multiple authored.

Overall objectives of the special issue

From the perspective of stimulating change and bringing about creativity in the design of OER, the special issue aims to identify and present, from a principled approach, the latest research, not only on relevant theory and various practice contexts, but also in terms of capturing learning designs and best-practice, which demonstrate significant and creative ways of enhancing the learning process through effective use of OER.

Key dates

Submission of full manuscripts: 1st March 2011
Reviewers’ comments will be sent by: 1st April 2011
Revised versions to be received by: 1st May 2011
Publication: Summer 2011

Three wonderful resources for eLearning

The last couple of weeks I have encountered some very useful resources, so I wanted to share it. The text accompanying the resources is taken out of the documents themselves. I found all of the documents relevant: the first for practical eLearning development, the second for getting a more in-depth understanding of lifelong learning options, and the 3rd one to get a better understanding of the effect (or non-effect) discussion still accompanying blended learning.

Choosing authoring tools by ADL (29 April 2010): the purpose of this paper is to help those involved in the process of choosing authoring tools to make an informed decision. The paper presents a range of considerations for choosing tools, whether as an enterprise-wide acquisition or a single user purchase, and includes a sampling of current tools categorized according to the kind of product they are intended to produce.

Good practices and methodologies for HEI (Higher Educational Institutes) using ICT in the different fields of LifeLong Learning (30 October 2010).
The report is summarizing the outcome of a long research work that we made with the partners during the project based on a detailed research plan. We collected with different techniques possible Good practices of ICT use in the European Higher Educational arena, and categorised them in 9 territories and 8 areas. (See more details in the research plan.) Upon agreed definition we selected (shortlisted) those where at least two criteria of excellence could be observed. The partnership then gathered detailed data about the selected practices with different techniques, most commonly by updating or making interviews with them.
Finally 35 detailed cases were quantitatively analyzed by a common grid of 30 questions in 8 areas from management to communication. The analysis show the most frequently cited common elements in respective areas that lead to good practice, as well as territory specific outcomes where some aspects were cited only in one or two territory cases.
(Yes, this is really a report with formal language).

Evaluation of evidence based practices in online learnin
g: a meta-analysis and review of online learning studies (September 2010).
A systematic search of the research literature from 1996 through July 2008 identified more than a thousand empirical studies of online learning. Analysts screened these studies to find those that (a) contrasted an online to a face-to-face condition, (b) measured student learning outcomes, (c) used a rigorous research design, and (d) provided adequate information to calculate an effect size. As a result of this screening, 50 independent effects were identified that could be subjected to meta-analysis. The meta-analysis found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. The difference between student outcomes for online and face-to-face classes—measured as the difference between treatment and control means, divided by the pooled standard deviation—was larger in those studies contrasting conditions that blended elements of online and face-to-face instruction with conditions taught entirely face-to-face. Analysts noted that these blended conditions often included additional learning time and instructional elements not received by students in control conditions. This finding suggests that the positive effects associated with blended learning should not be attributed to the media, per se.

Friday 18 February 2011

Part2: the facilitators of the free mobile online course

Last week I posted the first post related to a free, open online course on the topic of mobile learning. The course starts to get into shape, and it will be running from 2nd April - 14 May 2011. I am waiting to release the name of the course ... building some kind of surprise (but I did see someone picked it up already).

This is the list of the facilitators and the dates (this can still change a bit, but the subjects stay the same):

First the simple one: Week 1: Saturday 2 April - 8 April 2011: Introduction to mLearning.
Facilitator: I (and I already got help from all the other facilitators to link to some mLearning content, thanks for that!).

The real and wonderful eLearning guru's take over after the first week. Now remember from the earlier post, much of a MOOC is about exchanging notes with peers, and constructing knowledge collaboratively, but you can be sure that with these facilitators you get your hands on great resources and your minds will be challenged by getting all of us in this together.

Week 2: Saturday 9 April – 15 April 2011: Planning an mLearning project;
Facilitator: Judy Brown

Week 3: Saturday 16 April – 22 April 2011: mobile for development (m4D);
Facilitators: Niall Winters and Yishay Mor

Week 4: Saturday 23 – 29 April 2011: Leading edge innovations in mLearning;
Facilitator: David Metcalf

Week 5: Saturday 30 – 6 May 2011: Interaction between mobile learning and a mobile connected society;
Facilitator: John Traxler

Week 6: Saturday 7 – 13 May 2011: mLearning in k12;
Facilitator: waiting confirmation.

So if you are interested, keep your agenda (a bit) free from 2 April - 14 May 2011.

Register for the Plymouth eLearning conference organized by Steve Wheeler

The wonderful and enlightened Steve Wheeler is organizing the 6th Plymouth e-Learning conference that will last for three days: 6, 7, and 8 April 2011. The central theme for this years conference will be: Learning in a Connected World, which is a hot topic by all means.

I hope some of you got your papers in, and if not, you can still just come over and join the conference.

There will be really great keynotes:
6 April:
Jane Seale: Jane’s research operates at the intersection of education, technology and disability and she has over 20 years of experience examining the role of technology in promoting inclusion, particularly for those with learning disabilities. This is a keynote I look forward to, as E.A. Draffan frequently pushes me to remember people with different abilities when I build e/m-Learning projects. I will learn a lot, I am sure (and happy).

7 April:
Stephen Heppel: yes, thát Stephen who is supposedly to put the 'C' into ICT. Since 2004 he has a global, florishing policy and learning consultancy He is a renowned keynote speaker who inspires. Which is why I choose to embed one of his keynote speeches.

John Davitt: journalist and educator, John has written for several news papers/journals and worked extensively with teachers in schools in UK, USA, China and Africa. He is committed to leveling the playing field regarding access to new learning opportunities. Yes, a man who speaks to my heart, so looking forward to shake his hand and get a picture.

8 April
Me, I look at myself as the wild card in the bunch, and that is just stimulating. I must admit thought that I feel the anxiety coming as it will be a challenge to add anything to the central idea of the conference after having such wonderful keynote people speaking the days before. So writing with passion to get my abstract to the keynote ready (Steve, it is coming!). If you have ideas for my keynote, feel free to share, I am trying to make sense of mashing up these ideas: mLearning, augmentation, MOOC, learning analytics, and our common telepathic/tele-kinect-ed future.

If I understand correctly all the keynotes will be Ustreamed and shared, yes!

Wondering what the central content of the theme will be? This is it, straight from Steve's keyboard ...
"We live in a world of increased mobility where proliferation of smart, mobile technologies is creating a host of new anytime, anywhere contexts. Pervasive computing and handheld devices are creating opportunities for learning to become ubiquitous – anytime, anywhere. Tech-savvy students are more demanding, and often less comfortable with traditional settings and homogenized provision where ‘one size fits all’. There is a migration of students toward tools and services that are beyond the control of the institution. The emerging social media of Web 2.0 are more flexible, sociable and more visually attractive. The surge in popularity of user generated content (including the likes of Wikipedia) is challenging the long held beliefs that experts are the main arbiters of knowledge. The informality of massively multiplayer online games is pushing informal learning to the fore. In short, we live and learn in a connected world.

Schools, colleges and universities are attempting to change to adapt to these new needs and expectations, but such transformation can be slow and problematic. The 6th Plymouth e-Learning Conference will highlight the need for innovative solutions in education and training, and will provide opportunities for delegates to discuss the tensions that exist between institutional provision and personalised learning. We will explore a number of issues surrounding the use of technologies in learning, providing a platform for informed debate across all sectors of education and training. The conference will showcase key examples of e-learning research, innovative use of new and established learning technologies, practical solutions, debates and speculative pieces on the future of education in a connected world."

So come over to Plymouth, enjoy the countryside and discuss with the rest of us.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Horizon report is out: gesture based learning is in

With the weekend coming up, the 2011 Horizon report is a good read (40 pages), or you can also access it through the educause link (click on the pdf-logo near the end of the page).

The New Media Consortium has an annual habit of looking at contemporary, emerging and future trends in education. And lets face it: education is being redesigned on a weekly basis by now, so it is good to stay on top and pick out those topics that might interest you.

So what do they see as hot educational innovations to watch out for?

Time-to-Adoption: One Year or Less
Electronic Books

Time-to-Adoption: Two to Three Years
Augmented Reality.
Game-Based Learning.

Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years
Gesture-Based Computing.
Learning Analytics.

The thing I am looking forward to is the gesture-based computing. Yes, a bit like X-box Kinect, SixthSense, ... which to me erases yet another middle man that keeps us from learning close to the body and brain. So, I see this as a big learning enabler.

The learning analytics fit in closely with our global move forward to a semantic web, where the data gathered from all of us (in this case as a learner) pushes our learning capacity, because it will filter out those learning bits we need the most (or those that the learning/teaching algorithm will think we need the most). The Learning analytics are closely linked to the almost finished course of LAK, that I wrote about earlier.

All of the above mentioned learning technologies are all provided with links for further reading, so give it a go.

Some of the challenges mentioned in the report are also important for today's learners:
  1. Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline andprofession;
  2. Appropriate metrics of evaluation lag behind the emergence of new scholarly forms of authoring,publishing, and researching;
  3. Economic pressures and new models of education are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of the university;
  4. Keeping pace with the rapid proliferation of information, software tools, and devices is challenging for students and teachers alike.
It is a nice and inspiring read.

Tuesday 15 February 2011

OER: open educational resources an UNESCO intitiative #OERU and a critical view

SCoPe is starting an open and free discussion course on Open Educational Resources (OER) in connection with a UNESCO initiative to launch strategic assessment and accreditation for OER. Now, I belief in sharing content, with the idea that sharing will make the world a better place (yes, idealist maybe, but proud of it).

Before giving you more information on the initiative, a philosophical view. Thanks to Stephen Downes' ol'daily, my eye fell on a really wonderful and critical post from Tony Bates with regard to OER's. Tony Bates organizes his thoughts in the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Tony Bates' introduction already points you towards his major issues:
"I increasingly fear that the open educational resources movement is being used as a way of perpetuating inequalities in education while purporting to be democratic. Some components of OERs also smack of hypocrisy, elitism and cultural imperialism (the bad), as well as failure to apply best practices in teaching and learning (the ugly). Despite my support for the idea of sharing in education (the good), these concerns have been gnawing away at me for some time, so after 42 years of working in open learning, I feel it’s time to provide a critique of the open educational resources ‘movement’."
Part of his conclusion also right on the money (in my view):
"The main barrier to education is not lack of cheap content but lack of access to programs leading to credentials, either because such programs are too expensive, or because there are not enough qualified teachers, or both. Making content free is not a waste of time (if it is properly designed for secondary use), but it is still a drop in the bucket. Initiatives such as Health Sciences Online suck up a lot of sponsor funding that could be better used by providing proper educational provision within a developing country. If MIT wants to put its material online to show off the academic quality of its instructors, and their great lecture style (cough, cough) then fine, but don’t pretend you’re saving the world."
OER are at the middle of the educational discussion again, for UNESCO is having a foundation meeting to set up a strategy for assessing and accreditation when using OER's, so this might be interesting to follow. At the same time SCoPE is holding an open and free seminar on the topic. So, if you are interested in OER, feel free to read Tony's great post, and join one or both get togethers on the topic of OER.

The UNESCO initiative foundation meeting
Under the title: Towards an OER University: Free learning for all students worldwide.
Which, let's be honest, does not really excel in its visuals of the roll models, although the initiative might be started for all the right reasons, the front page shows: white, gray-suited men (which is not really excelling the idea of equally open to everyone, but they still can be, they just are not that into balanced visuals and testimonials yet).
You can listen and voice your questions by registering as a virtual student here (you need to login to wikieducator system, and then add your coordinates).
This will be a foundation meeting, and the timing is:
  • Date: Wednesday, 23 February 2011, 9am to 5pm NZDST (world time for meeting start)
  • Venue: Council Room, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand (map)
  • Streaming: Detail to be announced.
  • Hash tag: #OERU
  • Press release
See also drafting of the logic model for the OER university.
OER Unesco google group;

The SCoPe seminar prior to the foundation meeting can be followed (for free and online) here. To enter the SCoPe seminar, it suffices to register (for free) for SCoPe (SCoPe is a great initiative to follow, the organize wonderful seminars, so this is a good thing). It is nice to get some thoughts going before jumping into the synchronous end.

Friday 11 February 2011

Does blended learning increase student results? Yes, a case from the Tilburg University

During the innovation day at the university of Ghent, one of the speakers got my attention. Bob van den Brand from the Uni of Tilburg spoke about his experience in increasing student success thanks to blended instruction that was researched at the university of Tilburg.

The Uni of Tilburg (netherlands) had a challenge: big aula's who were populated with learners that were sometimes interested and showed attention, but most of the times the aula's were populated with a vast amount of bored learners. So Bob started looking for solutions that could get students interested again, and... if possible increase their grades while implementing the new techniques. And... it worked, after embedding web-lectures, web-excercises and video's into his lectures, an additional 15% of the students passed their exams.

His topic: accounting (no wonder students fall asleep! *joking, sorry nephew of mine*)
They tried out several strategies and looked at the results
First strategy: record everything and stream it.... it was okay, but this does not change the actual learning problems students can have.
Second strategy: only deliver movies from MAX 10 minutes, this had a positive effect.
Third strategy: he wanted to capture the attention of the students by using examples outside of the course, providing them to the students for individual or peer learning, and then focusing on questions and problems during the face-to-face sessions. And this strategy got 15% more students succeeding the exam.

Some hints he gives:
He is a firm believer in variation! Only with true variation (not simple details that change, but complete rethinking a concept angle).
The learning blocks need to be short as possible (which is liked by the students).
Give the students an extra if they create something: the students also had the possibility of getting bonus points/grades if they provided examples themselves (original examples).

Students could also access the exams afterwards, and look at them, which created an extra learning moment.

He suggests to start with small bitesize content: short, efficient and with a variety.
His format was a variety of online delivered content and actions, his blended approach:
live streaming

All of these five different stages got students more actively involved in the courses.

As an example of being creative and use variety, he mentioned that he did a bit on accounting while using Manchester United as the company to analyse.

Web-lectures e.g.:
All the movies were to the point (no polite intro's), integrated in LMS, with slides or relevant graphs.
In some web-lectures, the teacher wrote (digital pen) on the documents, to increase actual learning/teaching feeling.

web-consulting sessions: freely knitted with the other content. These sessions are meant to get questions and synchronous discussions going.

As a result of this research, he got an award in excellence in innovative learning award.

Tried to find some lecture content, but could not find it.

Thursday 10 February 2011

Vleva congres: Roger Blamire from European Schoolnet gives his view on eLearning needs

Nice man, with a suite (no tie).

This is a live blogpost, so forgive the possibly quick sentences and crooked words.

European Schoolnet (30 European Ministries and regions), not part of the European commission. So, interested of working with regions, so Welsh, Flanders, Bask, who knows might also include Roma ... people, get in contact with Roger.

He gives an overview of European Schoolnet (e-safety, school networking, interoperability (! like Surfnet I guess but then European!).

eTwinning: 100.000 schools are ready for eTwinning. It is about improving learning by the use of technology.

Lists some of the inhibitors to eLearning
  • disparity in curriculum and various cross-curricular approaches
  • difficulty to assess these skills
  • difficulty to shift culture of teachers , training of teachers (! chance for funding project)
  • lack of new pedagogical models (! chance for funding project)
  • parents expectations - more technology but conservative approach to school organization.

the rise of informal learning as an excellent learning outcome (also gives teachers much more time to focus on the extra's, not the basics). (note: all for that! more learning out of class).

Roger gives two examples on mainstreaming eLearning

iTEC: classroom of the future: it was a scalable, large, mainstreamed practices that worked (1000 classrooms), which helped in getting funding. The program is completely online.

core: scenarios of future classrooms, high reactivity (rapid prototyping, with speeded up feedback loop), it is scalable and the teacher is at the center (teachers own the activities, choose the technologies, a bit like out of a toolbox (!) and social networking).

second example: EUN-Acer netbook project . Looks at one to one computing in a number of countries.
This example was clearly company pushed, but interesting: understand how learners and teachers use netbooks in various educational contexts. An interesting issue here is privacy, what about the learner privacy and ethics... who is in charge of children’s lives if they work at all times on it?
Learning, work, spare time... the boundaries blur.

Games become part of the technology driven schools of the future (paraphrases Obama). The effect of educational games is important and substantial, so it is a trend to follow and research up close. He has 15 recommendations on games for education.

roger (dot) blamire (at) eun (dot) org
or twitter: @rblamire

Vleva Europe: eLearning the grand challenge, some ideas that were mentioned and funding tips

Interesting tip: Vleva funding guide: 'uw snelweg naar Europese subsidies: contact subsidieteam (at) vleva (dot) eu of 02/7371430 of via website:

(Gode)lieve van den Brande (ICT and education, spec. lifelong learning, funding possibilities)
godelieve (dot) van-den-brande (at)

Lieve is a presenter who directs herself only to one part of the audience (on her right side), but she is a fluent speaker. She wears a nice green dress and she will share her presentation afterwards (I will keep you posted once it is shared).

The text below is part of live blogging, so it might be a bit rough on the edges (rapid, live typing).

points out the shift towards Learning Society, she says the learners are pushing the shift towards the digital world.
Mentions the 'new millennium learners': who are they, what are the competencies they need... close to 2020, for this also includes the skills we will need for our jobs.

The last 7 - 8 years there was a decline in eLearning initiatives, because educational institutions could not attain the expectations from research. She says that ICT is not yet been absorbed by teaching and learning.
It is not because someone is a digital literate, it will also be an effective learner. She pushes the idea that it is the task of the educational institutions and schools to teach the learners how to get the newly needed competencies and in order to do this, the teachers need to alerted, need to be motivated to get into it as well.

Like her e-maturity approach for schools, institutes and teachers. And she emphasizes crucial importance of teacher skills development.

She gives the European Policy Framework overview, which triangulates research, innovation and education. She also mentions the Europe2020 plans for education.

She emphasizes: leadership and institutional change, digital competences, professional development, learner-centered approaches.

2015 huge need of eLearning (65% ?), competent people - yes this is the future, (note from myself: if you are looking for a job, re-school yourself to become digital competent, and get your profile out there).

digital competencies are currently not in the curricula, so how are we going to fix this? she asks.

A new policy agenda: Europe 2020
Education training is considered as a central pillar for future growth, social cohesion, competitiveness. In order to do this, we need to keep investing in the way education training happens, also in how the learning/teaching process can be innovated.
We need to attack: drop out, quality in education, equity in education. We need to see how member states take up these suggestions (these targets are not mandatory).

Digital literacy needs to be lifted for all. And we need to see how new technologies enhance the education for all.

She mentions that the universities, high schools are also not yet e-mature, similar in other training areas.

Looking for a generic model that would set up a roadmap for digital competence, in order to integrate it in curricula outcomes. Not mandatory, but suggested by EU.
Mentions peer-to-peer learning and says that the EU will make an effort to go further then counting the number of pc's in a class, but really go to capture the actual learning that is taking place in the classroom.

in 2020: strategic challenges: quality & efficiency: lifelong learning and mobility (equity and citizenship) and innovation and creativity (including entrepreneurship).

initiative taking, problem based learning, languages... having positive impact on learning and learning outcomes. We need to show it has that value in using digital competencies and exchanging that with each other.

Lifelong learning program: 2010: key activity 3 innovative practices and exchanges around the use of ICT in the Lifelong learning program! (deadline by the end of March). Go to the site to see the projects in this field and mainstreaming programs (also under Comenius and Erasmus).
(she also mentions eTwinning, but will be mentioned in the next post with Roger)

Wonders if there is occurring any learning in the informal learning environments like social media? Of course! But, the fact that she mentions this, could mean that projects with this in mind would have a bigger success to get funding.

She concludes with a clear request to share our - teachers, experts - thoughts with EU to collaboratively work towards 2020.

Monday 7 February 2011

Blogphilosophy: ageism in #education

older people in action
Ageism is one of the big taboos in Western society. We have huge prejudices towards people with a certain age.
The remarkable side of this prejudice is that it occurs in an era where the population’s average age is getting older by the year. And although we are all getting older, we – older people (= which age do you feel ageism kicks in? I think it comes too early) are confronted by ideas embedded in Western culture. Ideas that are unsubstantiated at that.

This is no different in education. In fact mainstream education is/was a bastion of ageism.
Let me list the first 5 prejudice mindsets that come to mind:

  1. You go to school from X to X, x being <25.>As if we all are flabbergasted by the knowledge provided by the educational institutes for people of that age, or as if we knew what was going on at 20 (well, I did not). We only start to learn at that age (at best).
  2. The older you get the less you can learn: if you agree with this, get a life! Experts are formed through ongoing learning processes ;
  3. PhD’s are mostly young graduates: well, I am putting myself up to tackle that one.
  4. The digital native – digital immigrant discourse: oh please, try to sell that to my mom, she would shoot you with her WII gun.
  5. Old professors or famous people good (let’s shake hands and take a picture), old people stupid (let’s just avoid talking to them all together).

I wonder, is Roger’s diffusion of innovation theory ever tested throughout age groups of different (early adopters, laggers…) groups of techy people? If not, I will do it, I will research it and yes my hypothesis is: once an early adopter, always an early adopter (looking at my auntie Anna, who shook like a maple leaf all of the time; we used her multiple times as a sugar shaker for pancakes... yes, we did, but more importantly, she learned Italian via CD's at age 90).

So please let us really disrupt education, cut down educational ageism barricades in the process and lift a new open minded Phoenix out of its ashes. Education is build by all of us, not just the young one’s, we as older educationalists either uphold the conservative paradigm of ‘my young assistants - best assistants, for they do not contradict me as older one's would’, or we shatter it, exchange notes and embrace openness, all ages and willingness.

(Another great cartoon by Nick D Kim:

Glasses do tell - part 1: Asimov on personal learning for all ages

A couple of years ago I needed a new pair of glasses, I wanted BIG, as everyone else was wearing them small, really small, like tiny.
Ever since I purchased my BIG pair of glasses, I have been seeing people wearing my glasses as well but in different decades, and... all of a sudden it dawned on me that I sometimes share some of their ideas. So is there some magic in the purchase of glasses? Yes, it must be!

In this movie Isaac Asimov talks about personal learning, and how computers enable one on one learning for the many. He also emphasizes the importance of looking at learning as something that is done througout life, and how computers help with it. Well, we now know these facts are true, but... nice to hear him tell it. I like the fact that he combined the scientific (biochemistry), with the creative (writing).

Thursday 3 February 2011

Preparing a massive open online course on mLearning, balancing old and new thinking

A couple of weeks ago I started to structure an idea I had on organizing an MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on the subject of mLearning. It will be an open and free course, so anyone with an interest in mobile learning can join, the course will be in English and incorporate a lot of social media that is accessible via smartphones, tablet pc's and computers. It will emphasize the possibilities of using mobile devices for educational or training purposes (basic cell-phones, to smartphones, mp3 players, tablet pc's,...). As such it will be of use to anyone who thinks: "If I only knew how mobile learning can work in my setting, then I would make a mLearning project and just do it!". mLearning can fit corporate training, k12 education, lifelong learning and of course as we see on a daily basis across the world: in regional and non-profit or ngo-settings.

In the next couple of weeks I will post about the process, and some of my thoughts as I build the course. At this point in time I did create online sites (twitter, facebook, google group, ...) to create an open (and free) course environment. I will list all of these web-spaces once I have added a bit more information on them AND once the facilitators are lined up (just started to contact some really great mobile savants!). The date will follow later as well, but ... we are well on our way.

So what is a MOOC? Look at the movie from the wonderful Dave Cormier to get an idea of what it is.

The MOOC is an idea that was put forward by Stephen Downes and George Siemens, they looked further then the boundaries of their institutes and put a course on the web that could be followed by everybody who could connect to the Internet. The MOOC courses tend to be chaotic, but at the same time energizing. One of the sad things however is that a lot of participants drop out of the MOOCs for a variety of reasons, although many of them expressed enthusiasm for the course.
This posed a couple of learning philosophy problems, as I was looking to find a way where old school instructional design could meet socio-constructivist learning/teaching.

So I got my first challenge: can a massive, open, online course be organized on the topic of mLearning, which would be able to keep more participants motivated and not drop out? Can participants be extra motivated to not only follow the course, but also engage in a minimum set of activities which would result in a stronger networking and connecting amongst participants?

This is what I think might help to achieve this goal:

Be really clear on the learning goal of the course, and connect it to a set of guidelines for activities from which the participants can choose, in this case a participant can choose to be active in 3 different ways: lurking (the most passive, but nevertheless learning), an intermediate, active participant (engages only on some occasions), and an active participant (who engages in at least 2/3 of the course's topics or modules and works on an overall knowledge activity).
Mix learning philosophies: balance a more classic, structured instructional design approach, with the more open socio-constructionalist learning view. Why? To hopefully build a learning environment that might connect closer to each of the participants learning knowledge (by creating clear learning objectives and offer learning activities), yet at the same time allow contextualized and personalized knowledge creation to occur (each participant engages with the other participants to collectively and collaboratively construct their own learning which suits their own teaching/learning need in the topic of mLearning).
Give those participants that are really active something extra once they have concluded the course by participating in 2/3 of the course (ah, are not you wondering what they will get?).

Linda Venter and El-Marie Mostert from the University of Pretoria send me a wonderful resource to get me back on track with basic instructional design and all its features: NetNet's guide to Internet Course Design and Development.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

#html5 and #augmented reality combined into a great music clip by the Black Eyed Peas

So, yes, I think html5 is quite innovative and augmented reality is as well, but .... here come the Black Eyed Peas with an incredible fabulous iPhone application that puts you - as a music listener - in the middle of their video-clip (great tip from Gary Woodill, thx!).

Will.I.Am from the BEPs surely knows how to take technology to the next artistic level! And I must say that this is again an illustration how art can lead the way for education.

Just imagine that you open up your smartphone or tablet and you want to learn about the battle at Waterloo where Napoleon got his bottom kicked. Not only could you now enter that battle field, BUT you could also see how Napoleon got defeated and what tactics were used ... all the while you could look at the battle in 360 degrees, simply by rotating your smartphone or table. Now how cool is that!

If you want to get a feel of what they did and you have an iPhone, rush to the iTunes store and search for the BEP360 (Black Eyed Peas 3D 360 application) and put it on your iPhone (it does cost 0.79 cents).
If you don’t have an iPhone, you can see the effects of the new 3D app in the embedded video demo as well.

Ohohhhhooohhooooowwwww, sometimes I wish I would know some of the great visionary artists!