August 27, 2005
Writing for Research
In response to Joanne Logan’s fine blog entry, I submit these thoughts:
Blogging has enormous potential for research activities, but I think the focus may need to be shifted from scholarly publishing and peer review to an earlier phase of the creative, research process.
For me, blogging offers an excellent tool for information management and idea capture. I crafted my own personal blog to be a collection of “learning objects” which would help me capture my ideas in a systematic way and allow me to publish those ideas in a more efficient and timely manner.Reflections
My goal was to submit a co-authored paper to a peer-reviewed journal out of the UK. I use the blog entries to capture ideas as I engaged in the preliminary literature review. Even if time passed between article readings, I had captured my immediate responses and could locate them readily due to the archive feature of all blog software.
I was able to blog each article and presentation (while attending conferences) and so had wonderfully detailed entries when it came time to craft the article itself for submission. The blog allowed me also to work efficiently with my co-author, Dr. Patricia McGee from the University of Texas at San Antonio. I sent her the links to my blog entries so she had access to my thoughts on our topic as the paper progressed.
As an information management tool, the blog allowed me to digest research efficiently, capture my thoughts on the key ideas economically and when time permitted, and it allowed me to accumulate valuable detailed experiences. Let’s transfer that to the realm of science (I am an English teacher, by the way). If I am conducting a series of research experiments, I could blog my thoughts on the process itself, explore my own understanding of the experimental research process, and reflect on how the results might fit into a larger scientific picture.
The benefits of blogging (and this will not be true for all researchers and writers, of course):
- Enhances recall
- Document retrieval is simplified – the archive stores and dates them
- Offers opportunity for new insight – read and blog an article on a topic unrelated to your selected theme. Read your blog entries in order or randomly.
Collaborative blogs offer enormous potential for a research team working at a distance from each other. Thought processes, experiment results, and brainstorming can happen effectively within the rich virtual space that is a collaborative blog.
Research ideas often begin in a single thinker’s brain. Begin the research project there, with the blogging tool as an idea capture and information management tool to facilitate the research process.
August 18, 2005
Blogging in Academia
For those of us in science and related disciplines, the uses of blogs in academia is not as clear as it perhaps for social scientists, communication specialists, commentators, journalists, etc. I recently listened to a 2-hr conference about Blogging in Academia hosted by Stanford University, provided in a Podcast. It helped enlighten me and get me thinking about the role of blogging in research.
Clearly, most instructors can see the potential of blogs in teaching - as a writing tool, as a method for student expression, as a forum for class discussion. What is not as obvious is how blogging might fit into scholarly publishing, peer review and promotion/tenure.
The current "publish or perish" model almost exclusively involves a peer reviewed journal headed by a editorial board with certain expections about the criteria to publish in their outlet. Generally, the more difficult it is to publish in a given journal, the more prestigious the journal, and the more the publication "counts" in your T/P portfolio. Publishing in said journal is what helps to make you part of your "discipline" , learning the "do's" and "don'ts" as you pass through the ranks from graduate student to professor.
What about publishing scientific results in a blog? Suddenly, there are not just 2 or 3 peer reviewers, but perhaps dozens or even hundreds. But what are the credentials of these reviewers? If your research blog is open to the public, anyone can submit comments and make recommendations. Is this a good or bad thing? Academics, especially scientists, are more removed from the general public than ever, and perhaps a research blog would help take their message to the masses. But is this what we want to be judged on down the road?
If research results were to be published as a blog, cost becomes irrelevant. Publishing costs have skyrocketed lately, as have subscription rates. In a blog, authors can easily incorporate multimedia, color photographs, links, etc, which is difficult at best with traditional journals.
Just some food for thought... I know I will continue to investigate the potential of blogging in research activities. The link below lists many academic blogs. Be aware, however, that there are only a few related to science.
August 02, 2005
Studying the Learning Experience
The writings of Christopher Dede from the Harvard Graduate School of Education always offer provocative and deeper perspectives on emerging technology and learning environments.
In “Designing and Studying Learning Experiences That Use Multiple Interactive Media To Bridge Distance and Time” Dede and co-authors Tara Brown L’Bahy and Pam Whitehouse, describe a study of “distributed learning” examined through the lens of a graduate course called “Learning Media that Bridge Distance and Time.”
In brief, the authors examine eight media:
• Websites for informal learning
• Groove (groupware tool)
• Tapped In (multi-user virtual environment)
• Wireless handhelds
• Asynchronous threaded discussion
• iCommons (Harvard’s homegrown course shell)
The metacognitive question directing students’ thinking about these learning experiences was:
How does each medium shape the quality of information and interaction you receive and contribute?
That’s a question that all staff who support faculty in integrating technology and its associated Literacies into a curriculum should be asking, and answering!
Many definitions of “distributed learning” exist, but I think Dede’s definition (2000) broadens the horizons of our thinking in an effective way:
He describes the facilitation of distributed learning as “orchestrating educational activities among classrooms, workplaces, homes, and community settings.” I like the idea of an instructor as a conductor of a learning experience that can be designed to reach into students' larger world and enrich that world as well as academia itself.
Worth pondering. Thoughts?
January 13, 2005
Distributed ClassificationUlises Ali Mejias has just published a paper on distributed classification, also known as free tagging, open tagging, ethnoclassification, folksonomy, and faceted hierarchy, and associated with such services as flickr, del.icio.us and furl. Mejias' main focus is on how users perceive these systems, and how they interact with each other through them. Useful literature review of a nascent field of research.
January 10, 2005
Using Blogs To Deliver Science, Technology NewsTo deliver information about library news, services and resources to the science faculty and students at Georgia State University, several librarians developed a blog, Science News ..... This article summarizes the librarians’ rationale for moving to this dynamic format, how the technology was balanced with the needs of the librarians and patrons, and the issues and challenges that are being addressed to ensure that this will be a viable and successful news delivery system.
UT Libraries also maintains a Sci-Tech News Blog.
Toward a Literacy of CooperationToward a Lteracy of Cooperation is a course being offered through the Stanford Humanities Lab, led by Howard Rheingold and featuring lectures by Ross Mayfield, CEO of Socialtext; Bernardo Huberman, Director of the Information Dynamics Lab at Hewlett Packard Laboratories; Peter Kollock, author of Communities in Cyberspace; and others. Everyone is invited to participate in the course via wiki and blog by registering here. Video of the lectures is being made available as well. [Course Overview]
November 08, 2004
M-Learning 4 Generation Txt?
Great article/conversation by Howard Rheingold with Bryan Alexander, codirector of the Center for Educational Technology at Middlebury College in Vermont.
"Perhaps we are beginning to see the emergence of learning swarms," Alexander ventures: "We already know the precursors, in the form of interested learners who appear at campus libraries and museums, driven by an experience that excited them, such as a film, a book, or a conversation. Now the socializing powers of mobility and wirelessness could expand this drive into collaboration. An interested learner could ping a network or site for learning engagement: digital objects, digitally tagged materials, learning objects, instructors, other learners and instigators. We’ve seen a part of this in the global, collaborative use of MIT’s OpenCourseWare. Are instructors ready to join in learning swarms on their specialties or to facilitate the ad hoc growth and flourishing of such learning swarms? … How should our institutions approach thinking about this possibility? Are we ready to sense which of our students arrive at our campuses with such experiences already under their belts? How do nomadic swarms work with our anthropologically sedentary campuses?"
October 05, 2004
Blackboard Content System
A review of the Blackboard Content System by Dr. Helen Barrett. "I think this is a very useful system if a large University has installed Blackboard as a course management system. I especially like using WebDAV to store and update files, which provides a virtual drive on the computer desktop. The flexibility of the publication provides a shell for showcasing many types of documents."
September 29, 2004
RSS: Two Interesting Articles
2003. The implications of RSS file syndication for the academy—in particular, its potential to expand the scope and prominence of self-published Web content—are significant, especially when files are produced from the content of a professional's weblog. In essence, RSS syndication technology provides a bridge between isolated Web content and interested information consumers in multiple institutions, groups, and arenas of practice. By reaching out to a global audience, syndication transforms the "lonely voice" of the Web page into an international dialogue of ongoing professional discourse.
2004. The implications of RSS file syndication for the academy—in particular, its potential to expand the scope and prominence of self-published Web content—are significant, especially when files are produced from the content of a professional's weblog. In essence, RSS syndication technology provides a bridge between isolated Web content and interested information consumers in multiple institutions, groups, and arenas of practice. By reaching out to a global audience, syndication transforms the "lonely voice" of the Web page into an international dialogue of ongoing professional discourse.
September 24, 2004
Literacies Informational and Technological
Just came across these three projects devoted to information and technology literacies:
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a unique public-private organization formed to define and incorporate into learning the skills that are necessary for every student's success in the 21st Century. Funded by US Department of Education.
IMSA 21st Century Information Fluency Project. The goal of IMSA’s 21st Century Information Fluency Program is to help librarians, teachers and students (learners of all ages) enhance their ability to locate, evaluate and use digital information resources.
Pacific Bell/UCLA Initiative for 21st Century Literacies. This private-public partnership invests in projects that explore the meaning of literacy in an age of rapidly changing technologies and growing diversity through three critical areas:
- Educating the User: Enhancing the abilities of young people, teachers, librarians, and all citizens through the integration of information, cultural, media, visual, and other 21st century literacy skills.
- Improving the Information System: Improving access and use through system design matching the literacy levels, technological capacities, and other characteristics of the user.
- Addressing the Policy Issues: Defining the digital divide's multiple dimensions and developing indicators to measure the gaps and progress in closing them.
Michael Lorenzen has recently cited two interesting related articles, Technological Literacy from ERIC (2001) and Information Literacy: The Benefits of Partnership from the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing (2001). Also currently in circulation and being discussed is Information Literacy Primer from the Edutopia (2001).
Also came across this conference on information literacy at Georgia Southern University October 8-9.
The New Literacy
Interesting article from Technology & Learning. "What do students really need to be learning today in order to be ready for an unpredictable future?" My favorite quote: "Michael Cox, a chief economist for the Federal Reserve Bank, predicted to a group of students that they would have at least five jobs after they graduate, four of which haven't been invented yet."
Videoblogs as 'Collective Documentary'
Jon Hoem gave an interesting presentation at BlogTalk 2.0 (slides here, paper here). "Videoblogs can facilitate practices which promote media literacy and collaborative learning through the making of collective documentaries. Videoblogs with wiki-like functions promise to turn users into producing collectives rather than individual consumers of audiovisual content. This paper outline parts of the theoretical and technical framework which is needed in order to design an online environment stimulating collective production of video."
Blogs in Higher Education
Jeremy B Williams and Joanne Jacobs have published an excellent overview and literature survey of blogging in higher education in the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. One of the many interesting articles cited is Content Delivery in the 'Blogosphere' by Richard Ferdig and Kaye Trammell, published in Technological Horizons in Education (February 2004). Ferdig and Trammell list four benefits of student blogging:
- The use of blogs helps students become subject-matter experts.
- The use of blogs helps students become subject-matter experts.
- The use of blogs gives students legitimate chances to participate.
- The use of blogs provides opportunities for diverse perspectives, both within and outside of the classroom.
[See also this article from the September 23 Guardian, Inside the ivory tower: Blogging is allowing academics to develop and share their ideas with an audience beyond the universities. (Free, but registration required.)]
August 24, 2004
This article, written primarily for a corporate audience, describes three characteristics of contextualized learning: organizational learning; empowered learners; and embedded learning. The latter is the more radical and more interesting of the three: "The nature of work-embedded learning provides content in context — turning the whole learning paradigm on its head. Work-embedded learning considers the individual’s job role and experience level and is accessed as the individual performs work. It does not ask, 'What am I going to teach you?' but 'What work do you do?' and 'What do you need?' When an enterprise looks at a work process and the individual’s role, it can come up with ways to deliver learning embedded into the job, and actually increase the consumption of learning in the organization."
How Blogs and Wikis Can Help Knowledge Management
Interesting article on how blogs and wikis can help capture tacit knowledge and transform it to explicit knowledge.
July 21, 2004
In Gaming the System JC Herz discusses how Slashdot moderates posts and awards karma: “This complex exchange of social capital is what differentiates this networked experience from a non-networked one. In order to ‘network’ a course, the question is not, How can the content be delivered digitally? but more preferably, What are the students getting out of this experience that they wouldn’t be getting in the classroom or library? How does the structure of the experience make the students useful to each other? (that is, how can the collective consciousness of 20, 100, or 600 students be brought to bear on the learning process?)” A profile of the Slashdot model is also included in Manifesto for the Reputation Society, a very long and very thorough overview of recommender systems published in the current issue of First Monday.
July 20, 2004
Gaming the System
” Kids start out learning by playing, and then we start teaching them—and they stop learning.” Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan
I finally got around to reading JC Herz’s Gaming the System: What Higher Education Can Learn from Multiplayer Online Worlds. (Interesting how you feel like you have to apologize for talking about an article that’s already two years old.) Herz writes:
“In terms of the speed and volume of learning—the rate at which information is assimilated into knowledge and knowledge is synthesized into new forms—the networked ecosystem of online gaming is vastly more multidimensional than the 19th-century paradigm of classroom instruction. This is primarily because games fully leverage technology to facilitate ‘edge’ activities—the interaction that happens through and around games as players critique, rebuild, and add onto them, teaching each other in the process. Players learn through active engagement not only with the software but with each other.
“In universities, it is widely accepted that much learning occurs outside the classroom. But universities have no coherent strategy for leveraging that edge activity online. There are online syllabi and course catalogs, threaded discussions that graft section discussions onto threaded message boards, and e-mail between students (and sometimes even between students and teachers). But these activities are not integrated in a constructive way; they don’t comprise the kind of socially contextualized learning to which young people weaned on PlayStations are increasingly accustomed.”
And then she adds, provocatively,
“It’s not a question of whether such learning will happen, since the current generation of students is notoriously good at ‘getting around’ institutions that fail to address their needs. The question is whether the university will assume leadership in the innovation process, or whether the standard applications and conventions will be rigged together and disseminated by undergraduates, possibly not reflecting the institution’s pedagogical agenda. Perhaps it would be better if students evolve their own best practices in cyberspace, with no regard to disciplinary boundaries or departmental turf, in the cool shade of institutional ignorance. There is, in fact, a good case to be made for this scenario.”Herz was also a contributor to the National Research Council’s imminently readable Beyond Productivity: Information, Technology, Innovation, and Creativity, which is still only a year old.
Way back in 1998, SunSITE brought together campus content creators, technologists and faculty to discuss the feasibility of repurposing instructional materials and resources for the K-12 market, using interactive online games as a model, and we spent several meetings brainstorming with refugees from Cyberflix, a Knoxville-based company that achieved some success in game development before eventually disaggregating. Several ideas were kicked around, such as Clicking Appalachia, which would explore 300 years of change from the vantage point of a local East Tennessee community; We Did It First, an exploration of Native American technology, utilizing artifacts and images from UT’s McClung Museum; and Ecodynamics, a game in which students try to manage the resources of a rain forest while increasing the well-being of the region's indigenous peoples. The meetings were exciting enough, but nothing came from all that combined energy. While I would like to think that we were simply ahead of our time, there was then and remains still a lack of time and incentive that would allow faculty and staff to pursue such work. (Heavy sigh.)
Herz’s article is included in a bibliography compiled by EDUCAUSE’s National Learning Infrastructure Initiative, which has chosen Games, Simulations, and Learning as one of its key themes for 2004. (Diana Oblinger, VP for EDUCAUSE, prepared a somewhat broader bibliography for her presentation at NWACC’s conference Digital Expectations: New Tools, New Rules in June.) While all of the material listed in the bibliography is worth reading, the most comprehensive in my opinion was Wendy Rickard’s and Oblinger’s Unlocking the Potential of Gaming Technology (from September 2003, and the source of the opening quote) and Oblinger’s The Next Generation of Educational Engagement, published in the Journal of Interactive Media in Education just this past May. In the JIME article Oblinger writes: “Games inspire players to seek out data and information in order to be successful rather than starting with facts and figures and then figuring out how they may be relevant.”
July 08, 2004
Into the Blogosphere
Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs is now out and available online. In the words of Clancy Ratliff, one of its editors, "This online, edited collection explores discursive, visual, social, and other communicative features of weblogs. Essays analyze and critique situated cases and examples drawn from weblogs and weblog communities. The collection takes a multidisciplinary approach, and contributions represent perspectives from Rhetoric, Communication, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Linguistics, and Education, among others." This is a peer-reviewed text published as a blog, and released under a Creative Commons license.
June 21, 2004
No Crisis in American Education
"Fifty years hence we may well conclude that there was no 'crisis of American education' in the closing years of the twentieth century there was only a growing incongruence between the way twentieth-century schools taught and the way late-twentieth century children learned."
June 09, 2004
Ten Tips and Tricks for the Online Student
From Mark Evans:
- Read everything twice. Read everything twice.
- Wait... to reply.
- Reference it. Perhaps Print it.
- Talking in class.
- A place for everything and everything in its place.
- Getting personal.
- Make your message meaningful.
- Better safe than sorry.
- Be your own guide.
- Ready, set, go. Maintain an accurate calendar and schedule.
May 25, 2004
Communities of Practice v. Blogs
There was an interesting discussion at BlogWalk 1.0 on the relationship between blogs and communities of practice, which has been documented here and here. BlogWalk is a series of face-to-face meetings aimed to bring together weblog researchers and practitioners for in-depth conversations about their work, and intended to complement BlogTalk.
"MapHub is a web-based, multi-user, group managed information storage system and map. Collecting information about people, places, events, and notes, can help to document unseen narratives and histories in public or private theme-based Hubs. The project is in development.
"MapHub researches the introduction of a geographic and historical data sharing application in an urban landscape. MapHub is a peoples’ map - a map of an urban geography determined not by traditional methodology but instead by the members who participate and contribute everyday in the experience of urban life. MapHub is both a tool and a platform that gives users pen and paper to record their unique and situated perspectives and then deliver that documentation to others.
"The web-based software facilitates individual spatial and temporal narratives managed and distributed through a simple social network. Based on a Geographic Information System (GIS) backend built on open source packages, MapHub manages data as visual symbolic objects specific to Hubs organized thematically. Aside from having a personal Hub based on immediate to distant social or participant networks, alternative Hubs based on themes such as health code violations, past job experiences, safe biking routes, or corporate violations of local regulations are possible. These thematic Hubs will help to promote alternative and peripheral knowledge of the cultural, historical, and current urban geographical landscape of localized spaces."
MapHub grew out of conversations between the Carbon Defense League (CDL), a self-described media arts and engineering practice and writing collective, and the Institute for Applied Autonomy (IAA). IAA appears to be dormant, but their mission was/is "to study the forces and structures which effect self-determination; to create cultural artifacts which address these forces; and to develop technologies which serve social and human needs." IAA's last documented project was a van which could print messages on the pavement that would then be visible from tall buildings and low-flying airplanes; sort of like skywriting in reverse.
Social Software: A New Alumni Recruiting Tool?
This, by way of the socialsoftware blog: Stanford University, the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan have all adopted Affinity Engines' inCircle software to help alumni stay in contact with one another, and with their almae matres. Here's a testimonial from Howard Wolf, the President of the Stanford Alumni Association: "Affinity Engines helped the Stanford Alumni Association build an online community for its 170,000 members. In just 3 months, we received over 8,000 updates to alumni contact information, 1,000 new online alumni registrations, and made over 150,000 connections between alumni. Affinity Engines is helping us realize a dream we have held for years - a virtual community of Stanford alumni."
Blogging: A New Student Recruiting Tool?
I saw this on the Teachnology blog: Saint Michael's College (Burlington, Vermont) is using blogs by current students to give prospective students an insight into what day-to-day life on campus is like. Furman University (Greenville, South Carolina) and Waterloo University (Ontario, Canada) are also using a similar technique for recruitment.
As information retrieval tools and methodologies become more and more refined, delivering more and more accurate results, I grow more and more worried. Worried that we are eliminating all chance and coincidence from our online lives. Worried that we will end up learning only what we already know. Worried that my carefully constructed virtual world will end up a stagnant pond. Back in the real world, if your circle of friends is wide enough, or merely sufficiently awake to their surroundings, you'll come away knowing something new with every interaction. Mechanisms such as collaborative filtering may go a long way to re-inserting back into the mix the serendipitous or, as Donald Rumsfeld quite eloquently put it, "what we don't know we don't know."
That's probably a needlessly pompous introduction to Audioscrobbler. Audioscrobbler uses a plug-in to track what you're listening to, creates a playlist for you, and compares your listening pleasures with other Audioscrobblers.
I heard about Audioscrobbler from the Dan Hill's cityofsound blog. Hill points out that Audioscrobbler could be made even more useful if listeners could be weighted and recommendations evaluated based on whether I trusted this person's judgment, or whether the listener was just some moron who stumbled across something I happened to like too. He also makes the great suggestion that we need to be able to use Audioscrobbler with our iPods, where most of the listening takes place. To this I would also add one other suggested improvement. I often end up listening to WFMU's MP3 stream, rather than my own collection of songs. Almost all of the programs on WFMU now have automated playlists.....Wouldn't it be great if Audioscrobbler could track automated playlists from online radio stations? Wouldn't it be great to have Arbitron-like numbers for people who listened to, and enjoyed, music?
One more point Hill makes, that bears repeating. He talks about suddenly becoming conscious of what he was listening to, and playing his favorite songs for Audioscrobbler. Back when we all wanted our friends to understand what made us tick; now we've shifted that same anxiety to our software.
May 24, 2004
Accessibility in Distance Education
The Libraries at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities are now providing a blogging service for faculty, students and staff. Anyone with a NetID can create as many blogs as they want, and have as many authors associated with each blog as they want. The purpose of the service is "to support teaching and learning, scholarly communication, and individual expression."
May 20, 2004
Plogging: The Virtues of ChitChat
The current CIO magazine has a fantastic article on the use of unfiltered blogs by corporate IT units, and plogs, or project blogs, to hash out issues that invariably arise from the implementaiton of any project. As the article points out, plogs would succeed or fail depending on their cultural context, but would provide a quick and efficient means of promoting frank discussion among team members, as well as a reality check for management. Also needed, and not stated explicitly in the article, would be an extraordinary level of trust among team members and an even more extraordinary level of respect between team members and management.
May 19, 2004
Scholars Discuss Weblogs as Mode of Communication
The Online Journalism Review, sponsored by USC's Annenberg School for Communication, held a virtual roundtable to discuss blogs and academia. Cori Dauber (UNC-Chapel Hill), Alex Halavais (SUNY-Buffalo), Kaye Trammell (LSU) and Jill Walker (University of Bergen in Norway) participated. Good for scoping the landscape.
May 06, 2004
Wikis Described in Plain English
Wikis Described in Plain English is one of the those great "....for Dummies" that serves as both superb introduction and future reference.
Speaking of timelines, I also stumbled on this VideoBlogging Timeline.
May 05, 2004
Interactive Videodance at Univiersity of California, Irvine
This, by way of USC's Interactive Media Division weblog:
Interactive Videodance is a research project sponsored by the Beall Center for Art and Technology at the University of California, Irvine and uses their Active Space environment. During the performances, "expert users" (dancers and choreographers) will demonstrate the artistic potential of the system. In the installation component, "novice users" (visitors) will be able to "play" the space, improvising and exploring new ways to interact with others through computer technology. The Active Space environment combines the human body with video sensing systems, motion capture animation, software development, and interactive video and sound design to generate visual imagery and sound.
May 04, 2004
All You Need to Know About Social Software
Matt Webb has just published either an awesome introduction or a thorough overview (depending on how much you already know) on the subject of social software:
"Social software's purpose is dealing with with groups, or interactions between people. This is as opposed to conventional software like Microsoft Word, which although it may have collaborative features ('track changes') isn't primarily social. (Those features could learn a lot from social software however.) The primary constraint of social software is in the design process: Human factors and group dynamics introduce design difficulties that aren't obvious without considering psychology and human nature."
He includes a goodly number of links to other substantive pieces, as well as a link to the recently rolled-out Many-to-Many Social Software Reader.Posted by Chris Hodge at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | Links to this post
Categories: Interaction & Collaboration
April 27, 2004
Weblogs and ePortfolios
ePortfolios and Weblogs: One Vision for ePortfolio Development. A relatively brief overview guaranteed not to scare the horses.
Informal Learning in Information Technology
We are always looking for ways to build partnerships between the University and the private sector, so when I saw the title of this article from a corporate-oriented ezine, Collaborating With Universities to Create a Continuous Learning Culture, I had to check it out. What struck me though was the section on informal learning:
"Although formal learning and especially learning leading to educational credentials is a critical tool for developing your employees, you also need to acknowledge and address head-on the fact that most work-related learning occurs informally, on the job. A 1998 study by the Center for Workforce Development estimated that more than 60 percent of the most critical knowledge and skills are learned at work, not in a classroom.
The trick for employers is to learn how to encourage informal learning and provide more opportunities for informal learning to take place. Examples of such opportunities include: cross-training; peer training; working in teams, especially cross-functional ones; problem-solving sessions; rotational assignments between departments; [and] mentoring relationships."
I found myself wondering to what extent universities ever thought about structuring informal learning within their administrations, particularly within IT departments.......
Scalability and Sociability in Online Learning Environments
More bedside reading. David Wiley is the Director of Utah State University's Open Learning Support (OLU). OLU builds on educational materials such as MIT's OpenCourseWare and provides the social interactions necessary for learning to take place. Wiley has just published on his blog the draft of a book chapter on Scalability and Sociability in Online Learning Environments. ".....for learning environments to scale to numbers larger than faculty can control, and still remain necessarily social, we must rely on principles of self-organization to emerge within the group." Also on the bedside table is Wiley's Learning Objects: Difficulties and Opportunities.
April 16, 2004
How Working Groups Can Further Connect Without Adding Further Technology
Robin Good interviews Ross Mayfield about using alternative collaborative solutions like wikis and blogs for effective group collaboration inside business organizations. "Computer-mediated communication is the lifeblood of social software. When we use e-mail, instant messaging, Weblogs, and wikis, we're potentially free to interact with anyone, anywhere, anytime.....These are tools that take more explicit approaches to building relationships, where connection comes before content. They raise different privacy and transparency issues than tools that encourage people to opt-in to conversations and participation in different ways."
Social Harvesting of Community Knowledge
Another interesting HP Information Dynamics Lab project is Social Harvesting of Community Knowledge (SHOCK). "Shock is designed as low-cost, extensible, flexible, and dynamic peer-to-peer knowledge network that helps address this problem. The system is designed to protect the privacy of user's personal information, such as email, web browsing habits, etc., while making that information available for knowledge management applications. It reduces participation costs for such applications as expert-finding, allows highly targeted messaging, and enables novel kinds of ad hoc conversation and anonymous messaging. The system is tightly integrated with users' email clients, taking advantage of email as habitat."
April 12, 2004
Manifesto for Collaborative Tools
A Manifesto for Collaborative Tools, by Eugene Eric Kim, appears in the May 04 issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal. "All of the conceptual and technical ideas I've proposed in this essay share one thing in common: They won't make a difference unless tool developers work on them together. Creating a shared conceptual framework is a truly collaborative problem. It will not be solved by a single person in an ivory tower and forced upon the rest of the community. It will require constructive, passionate dialog, open minds, and much experimentation. It will require respect for other people's work and ideas. Most importantly, it will require a shared desire to make the world a better place by improving the way we work together."
The Politics of the Video Game
Free Play: The Politics of the Video Game, by Kevin Parker, appears in the Apr 04 issue of Reason Magazine. "Computer games, as a class, do appear to favor civil and economic liberty not because they simulate sweatshops (no more so than, say, music lessons do) or capitalist exchange but because of the same human tendencies that free players from domineering storylines and inflexible rules. Games naturally turn players against contrived limits and inconsistencies. And this mind-set necessarily takes on a political aspect as games themselves grow more political."
Penny Arcade Remix Project
Andrew Vestal lives in Japan and teaches English to Japanese high school students. For an assignment, he provided them with comic strips and invited them to create their own dialog. Thus was born the Penny Arcade Remix Project.
April 06, 2004
Experimental Game Lab at Georgia TechWe are beginning to compile a list of academic programs and research centers that deal with interactive multimedia and game design. The first on our list is The Experimental Game Lab (EGL) at Georgia Tech.
"EGL pursues three interwoven strands: novel game designs that create new player experiences; new technologies, particularly AI technologies, that enable previously impossible designs; and investigations of how games function as a medium, including social, cultural and representational aspects of games."