Monthly Archives: October 2009

Does it matter if students stop using courseware when the course ends? Digilit musings

However, a bigger concern is for those services where I was able to track usage was that after the course ended, so did student use.

This experience mirrors ours, though I only have anecdote to support it. Courses where PebblePad is used do not seem to engender an extended adoption of the platform for ongoing personal/professional use. We do not expect students to want to take the VLE with them and it isn’t designed for that. The wiki has a liminal status. It could be adopted as a personal web-builder if a student were keen to. We do not promote this and there does not seem to be any pent up demand waiting to pile in to Confluence. It gets used when it is designed into the curriculum and not when its not. But my question is does it matter? And, if it does, when and why? It is safe to assume most students have web presence via FaceBook or mySpace or other networks. Similarly many are using IM services and nearly all text.

I think the key issue here is appropriate information (or academic) literacy for a networked, social-media era (not just the “digital age”).

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If the Twitterverse isn’t fed from outside, it is just an echo chamber #pcthe

The question of whether you can rely on Twitter to filter your reading is problematic. Yes following 8,000 people (or however many) will probably serve to satisfy most information needs. I am sure that by some number (10? 100? 1000?) a Twitter follower will be deep into a long tail of duplication. The other 40,000,000 people who tweet just aren’t relevant to them. The number of sources may be large, but it is finite. My reading list is not in any sense unique or even, compared to serious bloggers (@Downes springs to mind) or Twits really wide. My feed reader (BlogBridge ) is currently consuming 47 feeds, none particularly odd-ball, which together syndicate about 800 articles/day. I scan most of these, probably read the slug from about a quarter and click through to maybe 20 or 30 articles. I am no serious newshound. I am adding about 2 or 3 feeds a week: feeds I find from the ones I follow already, feeds I find from following my Twitterverse and feeds from things I hear about in other conversations, conferences, reading student essays, reviewing articles, subscribing to email lists, etc. Broadly and with some overlap my feeds are Project-related, Ed Tech-related, Tech-related, Ed Policy-related, Policy & Politics-related, Environmental activism-related, Global Justice-related. Most are from sources and people not known personally to me. Some are blogs of my RL friends. Some of my RL friends are blogospheric authorities. Some are just folk who are read by me, their kids and cats. Even within my little list of feeds there is a lot of echo. Maybe the whole world is just an echo chamber. Maybe we do only listen to what we want to listen to and then repeat it. Maybe I am deluded to think that if I find stuff out outside of Twitter (which has probably been brought into Twitter somewhere by someone before me) and bring it in that I have something of more value than if I only followed up items from people I follow on Twitter (a paltry 159 people) and retweet or bookmark my interests. For me the value of Twitter is the community, not just the information. Twitter is an important professional tool, but it is also a social tool. It is an evening stroll, my fag break, a pub, my sounding board. It helps me to get a sense of the relevance of some of my activity outside Twitter. Even if that activity may be pursued by someone else inside Twitter I value it differently. A quick scan of the people I follow suggests that by and large they are people like me. They have a couple of hundred followers and follow about double the number that follow them. They follow a few key professional celebrities. But, and here is the value for me, they all give the impression of thinking for themselves about things that matter to me and they widen my horizons. They show me a world beyond their own Twittersphere. They show me the world is not just the Old Dog and Duck. The best thing about Twitter is that it gets me out of Twitter, not that it makes it possible for me to stay in.

Posted via email from George’s posterous

US Government Cloud Computing strategy; where is the UK in this respect? #ssbr

The Federal Government will transform its Information Technology Infrastructure by virtualizing data centers, consolidating data centers and operations, and ultimately adopting a cloud-computing business model.

This article reports a Booz Allen Hamilton report on the cost model being used to drive US Govt data policies towards the adoption of “cloud computing” platforms. They offer three scenarios: Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud and Private Cloud (as the US military is doing, see Where is the UK is this respect? More locally, where is the UK HE sector?

Posted via web from George’s posterous

Wi-Fi Direct: a step towards the mesh? via Slashdot

Wi-Fi Direct will connect at existing Wi-Fi speeds– up to 250 mbps. Wi-Fi Direct devices will also be able to broadcast their availability and seek out other Wi-Fi Direct devices.

Some of you might have heard me witter on about widely distributed databases (e.g. bit torrent) and mesh networks (e.g. OLPC). I made a few comments here:

This post suggests that developments facilitating such a network are continuing. Yes, it may be a long way off but eventually there will be no telcos as we know them: no ISPs. We need to be thinking past the centralised data centres to the far edge: you and me and our various devices. Security will be a big problem: identity, access, spam and fraud. Curation will be a problem. But, if we don’t get washed away in a big glacial melt down (, one day there will be one big network.

Posted via web from George’s posterous

Fascinating bi-modality in charts of social media use by young Europeans via @GrahamAttwell

European survey data on how young people are using social media.

Either they use it or they don’t. Not much middle ground. 25% use the Internet more than 20 hours a week; 30% less than 5 hours. Well, it is more complex than that, of course, but even stronger bimodality is showm with IM. Not sure about the typology of users, but the implications for teaching are challenging. Who do you teach to? Should teachers and institutions adopt one modality? Or, the other? Aim for the middle and hit no-one?

Posted via web from George’s posterous

Why blog? via @AJCann – useful for anyone introducing blogging into their teaching #pcthe

My blog:

  • is a place where I think, plan and reflect
  • forces me to read in order to gather the input I need for my output
  • is a place where I play with technology and ideas
  • often surprises me
  • is a place where I collaborate
  • is currently the most satisfying part of my job
  • is slightly dangerous
  • is compulsive

This page is a useful compendium of resources for academics who are thinking of introducing blogs into their teaching for collaboration, reflection, assessment, research, community development and just plain old learning. Cann offers his reasons for blogging and links to other key educational bloggers, who give their reasons for blogging. The perspectives are not exactly student-centred in the self-effacing way that some “facilitators of learning” might adopt, but are un-ashamedly learning- and learner-centred, where the blogger is a learner who exposes their learning practices, sometimes tacitly and sometimes explicitly. And, that is what is slightly dangerous. When we learn we make mistakes. When we blog to learn we make mistakes in public.

Posted via web from George’s posterous

Enterprise (and institutions?) lag in Social Web Savviness: implications for #ssbr

Traditional media campaigns have a beginning and end. Social technology fuels conversation. One, five, ten or ten thousand people could all be stirring up and participating in conversations using social media tools. The conversation has a time dimension that just runs on and on. … this is why social tools adopt a river-of-news style. With such an activity stream, the conversation is endless.

A propos of the need for the JISC Institutional Innovation programme to develop a “benefits realisation community”, we need to build a social front end to, displaying the Planet Inin feeds as a “river of news” and allowing comment on the site

Posted via web from George’s posterous

Android, iPhone, Windoze Mobile all boil down to price comparison shopping?

ShopSavvy uses a phone’s camera to scan an item’s bar code and look up prices for it online and at nearby stores.

Now that is the kind of mobile, location aware service that might be useful; but in the end I guess the whole world will be shopping for everything at the internet crushed by the weight of price comparison sites for a limited range of branded consumer – what’s the opposite of durables?).

Posted via web from George’s posterous

US military cloud computing platform (via RWW)

Just because computing is done in the cloud, that doesn’t mean it has to be insecure and subject to outages. Or so says the U.S. Defense Department who just put into operation their cloud computing services for military personnel.

Admittedly the missions are different, but higher education really should be looking harder at “the cloud”.

Posted via web from George’s posterous

Digital literacies at Brookes #pcthe

More digital literacies at Brookes

One of the key messages arising from national research is that although technology is pervasive in many learners’ lives, learners entering higher eduation lack basic information literacies skills and have little idea of how they can use technology to support their study (see for example JISC Google Generation, Great Expectations and Learner Experience Phase 2 programmes)

In recent months there has been much discussion at Brookes of the role of digital literacies in our curriculum. There has been acceptance of the need to specify and develop digital literacies as part of the Academic Progression Initiative and the 2020 Green paper.

The task now is to agree on the literacies we expect of Brookes students and present them in a coherent way to course teams so they they can be mapped and developed across the curriculum.

It took us digilit people a while to find this (where did I put this?). This is to help me make it easier next time

Posted via web from George’s posterous