[CSG Winter 2010] Course Management Systems policy discussion

I didn’t live blog the CMS discussion at CSG on Friday because I was trying to actively participate in the discussion. In retrospect, what was most striking about the discussion was the lack of heat that it generated. There seemed to be general agreement among those in the room that course management systems were just another administrative system that campuses need to support, aimed at providing a common level of infrastructure to provide a home for courses on the web, and that they are not particularly exciting nor designed to produce or support innovative learning or instructional modes. People seemed to feel that the systems they are currently supporting (which included Blackboard, Sakai, Angel, and Desire2Learn) fill the needs just fine.

I thought the most interesting comments on the topic came from Sally Jackson at Illinois, who couldn’t be there for the discussion but shared a wonderfully perceptive and provocative email on the topic, where she said we shouldn’t (I paraphrase) ask whether the current systems are doing the job they do well or not, but whether we are doing the right things to support teachers and learners, who by and large prefer to make their decisions on an individual, not an institutional level. That mirrors my thinking too, and I think we need to expand our view of what it means to support learning at our institutions instead of building more straight-jacketed vertical applications that drive us towards a uniformity we imagine our students and faculty need.

Educause 2009 – Day 2

Thursday started with a bang – a typically brilliant and inspiring talk by Lawrence Lessig, where he systematically expounded the reasons the same copyright paradigm that might work for big entertainment artists doesn’t serve the needs of creative artists, science, or education. The video should be available at this link so I won’t try and recap the session, but it’s worth watching.

Lessig did have a great Peter Drucker quote that I wanted to capture: “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Educause’s leadership award was presented to the late, much lamented, Seminars in Academic Computing meeting (the Snowmass meetings, which took place annually from 1971 until 2007). Bob Gillespie, formerly of the UW, was one of the founders or SAC and was one of the folks there to accept the award. They had a great slide show of photos from the years of Snowmass – made me realize just how much I had learned from attending that meeting, how many relationships had been formed. It’s sad not to have that intimate and informal gathering venue anymore.

I spent some time catching up with ECAR’s Toby Sitko, and we discussed updating my 2007 ECAR Research Bulletin on social software. I’d like to devise a way of involving the community in the authorship and editing of such a document.

Greg Jackson gave a session on the institutional requirements around p2p file sharing mandated in the Higher Education Opportunities Act. The Dept. of Education rules that lay out how to interpret the law’s requirements were finally issued just last week. Under the rules institutions have to have “written plans to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material…” The session made me think that I need to go back to the draft of the plan we’ve been working on and make sure that it includes all of the required elements. We also need to make sure that the notice that is sent to students regarding copyright contains all the elements required in the rules. Educause will be maintaing a list of legal downloading sources that institutions can point to to satisfy the requirement to “To the extent practicable, offer legal alternatives to downloading or otherwise acquiring copyrighted information…” That list is now available at http://www.educause.edu/Resources/Browse/LegalDownloading/33381.

During lunch there was a meeting of ITANA (IT Architects iN Academia) that was well attended. The group laid out areas to work on during the future conference twice-monthly conference calls. The next meeting, this coming Thursday, will feature an analyst from the Burton Group discussing enterprise workflow systems, which the group has been working on.

I spoke on a panel discussing research support at universities in the net@edu Campus CyberInfrastructure working group meeting. Other panelists included Kurt from Princeton, Kevin Moroney from Penn State, and a fellow from Guelph University. Seems like research support is an area that’s emerging with some differing models at different campuses. There seemed to be some interest in finding a venue for continued discussion of these support models with an aim of discovering and sharing strategies that work (and perhaps those that don’t).

Jim Loter and I met with Jim Helwig who leads the portal team at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. We spent some time discussing the re-visioning effort they’re going through – they discovered that not only do people want to access everything in the portal, they also want to access portal content in other locations where they are, like iGoogle, Facebook, SMS messages, etc. Jim showed us in some detail how they’re using uPortal to organize university content. They have (at least) three ways of building content into channels in the portal: actual portlets built to the JSR168 standard; RSS feeds; and an “active menu” type of channel that they built.

I met with Klara Jelnikova from Duke. We both serve on the Common Solutions Group (CSG) Steering Committee, so we spent some time discussing the future of CSG, which is undergoing some reconceptualization this year. We both agreed that much of the value of CSG is in the sharing of information among like-minded institutions and in forming loose common directions, rather than in trying to formulate concerted group action. I was struck by the thought that I would hate to be thinking of CSG in the same past tense nostalgic way as the Snowmass meeting.

Klara and I talked about trying to do some work around understanding federated Active Directory infrastructures that integrate well with our campus ID infrastructures. There appear to be four use case areas: federating multiple ADs within a campus; federating ADs across different campuses and institutions; and federating AD with other identity and directory platforms. I need to sit down with RL Bob Morgan and Nathan Dors and get their thoughts on this set of topics.

Klara and I hooked up with Asbed Bedrossian (USC), Charlie Leonhart and Heidi Wachs (Georgetown), and Jim Loter (along with Charlie’s mom) and had an excellent dinner at TAG in Larimer Square. Lots of good conversation and bonding ensued.

[CSG Fall 2008] Collaboration and Social Technologies – eLearning

I’m at Cornell for the Common Solutions Group Meeting. First part of workshop will deal with e-learning, afternoon with collaboration tools. Anne Moore from Va Tech is talking about categories for thinking about evaluation of success for learning technologies. She starts by talking about the 1999 National Academies report on Being Fluent in Information Technology. … Continue reading “[CSG Fall 2008] Collaboration and Social Technologies – eLearning”

I’m at Cornell for the Common Solutions Group Meeting.

First part of workshop will deal with e-learning, afternoon with collaboration tools.

Anne Moore from Va Tech is talking about categories for thinking about evaluation of success for learning technologies. She starts by talking about the 1999 National Academies report on Being Fluent in Information Technology. One point they made is when you look at critical thinking and sustained reasoning, you need to look at those skills in an environment that is technology assisted, but in a domain. The report hasn’t been largely read or applied.

Being able to assess higher level of skills is becoming more important due to the emphasis on accountability. We’ve been more focused on inputs, rather than outcomes – academic institutions are largely still not focused on being able to demonstrate learning outcomes.

Joel Smith from Carnegie Mellon talks about the Open Learning Initiative at CMU. He call this Scientifically Informed Digital Learning Interventions.

The challenge is to design and build fully web-based courses which by rigorous assessments are proven to be as good or better than traditional teaching methods. There are multiple ways of building those courses.

Why? Increased access, improved effectiveness, providing flexibility, contain costs.

The current structure of higher ed presents substantial roadblocks to the application of proven results and methodologies from the learning sciences. We depend on individual faculty to develop courses – before we had lots of info from cognitive and learning sciences teaching may have been more of an art than a science. But it’s not fair to saddle each faculty with having to know all that cognitives science. There’s an opportunity in e-learning interventions, developed by collaborations of experts, to embed the knowledge of learning sciences to make the practice more effective.

OLI Guiding Assumptions:

– Digitial learning interventions can make a significant different in learning outcomes.

– Designs grounded in learning theory and evaluation have the best chance of achieving the goal.

– A possibe, acceptabe outcome is failure or mixed failures and successes – not promoting technology for its own sake.

– Formative assessment iwll be a major feature (and cost component, like 40% of budget) of designs and improvement of courses.

– IT staff working with faculty is too limited a partnership – learning scientists, HCI experts, and assessment experts must be part of design, development, production, and iterative improvement.

OLI courses are available in http://www.cmu.edu/oli . Don’t expect an “OCW experience” this project has a different set of goals than OCW. These are full courses, designed for real learners. “Clicking around” will be unsatisfying: these interventions are designed to support a novice learner in acquiring knowledge workin on their own.

Key elements in OLI courses:

– Theory based –

Builds on prior informal knowledge. We know that building on informal knowledge helps people learn faster. Example is an economics course that has exercises that builds on student knowledge of markets based on eBay. Includes cognitive tutors that have just a few node trees on giving feedback of correct or incorrect decisions.

Provides immediate feedback in the problem solving context – midterm and final is hardly immediate or rich.

Promote autheticity, flexibility, and applicability. Real world problems, which are messy and not clear-cut, is much more effective in promoting better learning outcomes.

– Feedback loops (The killer app) – courses record student activity for robust feedback mechanisms. Can feed info back into database or to faculty – this can change the nature of education. Can also give feedback to course designers and learning scientists.

There are papers and evaluations of outcomes on the OLI web site. One example is in statistics – in the first iteration the online students did as well as the students in the traditional course which itself had been worked on for ten years with cognitive scientists. Then they taught the course in a blended mode (meeting with faculty once a week, using OLI as the textbook) in half the time. Students (randomly selected) showed significantly greater gains than the traditional course. Now considering teaching all of the sections that way.

Courses are instrumented to provide instructors with lots of feedback. Faculty can be far more effective when they know what concepts the students are getting and where they’re having problems. The vision is to have a digital dashboard for faculty and students.

“Improvement in post-secondary education will require converting teaching from a ‘solo sport’ to a community-based research activity” – Herbert simon

Deborah Heyek-Franssen, from Colorado is talking about Carts & Horses in the Collaborative, Social Space. Technology is the cart, pedagogy and content should be the horses.

The basics – understand elements of learning, articulate content goals, find pedagogical method, and choose appropriate tool.

Some elements of learning –

Working memory – limited, seven “chunks” at a time. What does this mean for pedagogy? Chunking activity and keeping working memory available for learning. Can technology help? It can, but it can also harm it – e.g. slides with gratuitous images and animations. Cognitive load of looking at images or simulations is lower than reading about it.

Engagement – students get engaged in challenging, complex, multidisciplinary tasks involving sustained amounts of time. What does it mean for pedagogy? designing in and out of class activities that engage, including lecture and readings. Collaborative and social tools can help engage students.

Motivation – what motivates students? building motivation into course – rewards for desired activities.

Reflection – explaining and then critically evaluating own and others explanations. Wikis and blogs can help reflection.

Building on past knowledge – students now have opportunity to build global knowledge – e.g. wikipedia.

Deb notes that simulations can be addictive, and Greg comments that addiction doesn’t equate with learning. While that’s right, it seems to me that learning is at least more likely to occur if you’re highly engaged.

Shel notes that in research universities, even when faculty really want to teach, they’re mostly consumed with their research and even when we have tools and staff resources to help them, they’re not particularly interested in spending the time to work on really improving course methodologies. Joel notes that it works much better to engage with whole departments at curricular levels rather than individual faculty.

Cliff notes that collecting lots of real-time data on student activities has a creepy element about it and wonders about what the policy and privacy issues are. Joel says that there’s at CMU there’s an opt-in informed consent form they can assent to. And feedback is not granular at the level of individual students.

Greg says that the problem with assessment is whether or not people will make any changes based on the assessment, and if we don’t have institutions that make changes based on data then it may not be worth spending money on assessment.

Shel says they did a survey of large courses and 80% of students were using Facebook, but only 20% were using Sakai. So when they put the courseware into Facebook, the students didn’t use it there either.

[ECAR Summer 2008] Gwen Jacobs – The (Neuro) Science of Learning

Gwen’s talk is subtitled What do we know about how the brain learns that can inform and improve pedagogy? What do we know about the brain that might be useful? Experience and learning change the physical structure of the brain, which organizes and reorganizes brain function. Different parts of the brain may be ready to … Continue reading “[ECAR Summer 2008] Gwen Jacobs – The (Neuro) Science of Learning”

Gwen’s talk is subtitled What do we know about how the brain learns that can inform and improve pedagogy?

What do we know about the brain that might be useful?

Experience and learning change the physical structure of the brain, which organizes and reorganizes brain function. Different parts of the brain may be ready to learn at different times. Learning continues throughout life.

Four examples

Language learning. Two parts of learning language, which begins right when you’re born: perceptual part (hearing and perceiving) and production (practicing to make songs and words). Human language acquisition is mimicked in bird song – every step of the way. The babbling phase is practicing. Birds and humans learn the songs that they hear. As native language skills improve, perception of other languages decreases, so it becomes harder to acquire other languages later in life. Both learn better with a live tutor – social interaction is important to learning. In birds learning stops at sexual maturity – language ability decreases after age 14 in humans.

Why is it so hard to learn new languages as you get older? As you learn and focus on your native language you gradually lose the ability to perceive other languages. Example of experiment with Japanese speakers who can’t perceive difference between “ra” and “la”. Language area in the brain of bilingual speakers is enlarged.

What’s going on in teenager’s brains?

Different parts of the brain mature at different times (Toga’s work at UCLA). The wiring of the brain changes just prior to the onset of puberty . Sensory motor parts mature first, language and spatial reasoning during ages 6-12, frontal lobes (reasoning, decision making) mature last – not till age 20. If you look at the brain regions responsive to emotions like fear or anger, they are gradually switched to those for reasoning.

Sex hormones can change brain structure and function. In songbirds males are the ones who learn to sing. If you give females testosterone they can learn to sing – they develop “male” brain structures. There are studies suggesting that there are gender differences in human brains.

Experience continues to modify the brain – learning takes place throughout our lives.

A study that looks at brain imaging in London taxi drivers. Asks them to remember a route – taxi drivers have a very large hippocampus, which is involved in short-term memory and navigation. Being a musician throughout life actually improves your cognitive abilities in many other areas. People who play checkers, Scrabble, Sudoku, etc – there’s a lot of evidence that improves ability to solve other problems. Deaf individuals learn language through signing – turns out that same brain regions are used for language, no matter what the sensory modality.

Our students – how can we engage them? Given their current experience, multitasking all the time, how can we engage them in the classroom?

Active learning = paying attention

Science of learning – National Science Foundation. Goals: advance frontiers of all the sciences of learning through integrated research. Started in 2004. Six centers funded so far, with very different explorations underway.

Temporal dynamics of learning – a distinct region of our brain responsible for remembering faces. There’s a difference between categorizing an object vs. categorizing the object as something you can recognize and name. Musicians activate different brain regions when they look at music notation – musicians are better at multitasking than non-musicians. Individuals with autism or those with Asberger’s have a hard time recognizing and making facial expressions – turns out they don’t use that part of their brain. UCSD center has developed a game that helps them recognize expressions.

LIFE center – learning how a toaster works from a video. People learn much better from a point of view camera vs. a side camera. Social homework game – kids train an AI agent to answer questions. Students learn and retain more from training these agents.

CELEST center – neuro-morphic engineering. DIVA – A model for speech. Looking at how we learn to make motor movements to create speech. Created a model for reproducing speech from listening.

There’s more, but I’ve got to leave to catch a shuttle to the airport…

[ECAR 2007 Winter] Nicole Ellison – Facebook Use On Campus

Nicole Ellison, from Michigan State University, is talking on Facebook Use on Campus: A Social Capital Perspective on Social Network Sites. Social network sites allow individuals to: construct a profile, articulate a list of other users that they’re connected to, and view and traverse their list of connections and those of others. In Facebook people … Continue reading “[ECAR 2007 Winter] Nicole Ellison – Facebook Use On Campus”

Nicole Ellison, from Michigan State University, is talking on Facebook Use on Campus: A Social Capital Perspective on Social Network Sites.

Social network sites allow individuals to: construct a profile, articulate a list of other users that they’re connected to, and view and traverse their list of connections and those of others.

In Facebook people are primarily articulating an existing offline network, as opposed to trolling for new connections. An estimated 79-95% of all undergrads have Facebook accounts.

Who’s using Facebook? White students more likely (Hispanic students more likely to use MySpace). Students who live at home less likely to use social network sites.

When are students using Facebook? Not substituting for f2f time – use is less during weekends, for example. During summer it’s higher – when they’re not together.

Did a series of surveys of MSU undergrads, interviews and cognitive walk-throughs, and automated capture of web content.

What are students doing on Facebook?

  • Engaging in online self-presentation – going to be an increasingly important skill as digital citizens.
  • Engaging in social behavior: converting latent tiees to weak ties; maintaining existing relationships; resurrecting past relationships
  • Converting latent ties to weak ties – ties that are technically possible but not yet activated socially – e.g. someone who’s in a large lecture class with me but I haven’t spoken to yet. FB makes it easy to find out about these people, through their profile. Hypothesize that having that kind of social info about people lowers barriers to f2f contact. FB enables managing a large network of weak ties.
  • Maintaining relationships – students use FB to remember phone numbers or dorm room numbers (interesting thoughts wrt our directories).
  • Resurrecting past relationships – maintaining contact with high school friends.

Students surveyed said they had an average of over 250 FB friends and around 150 friends at that campus, and about a third of those are actual friends.

Social capital – benefits we reap from our relationships with others. Like other forms of capital it has real value. Bridging social capital is linked to weak ties – provides useful information or new perspectives for one another, but typically not emotional support. Bonding social capital reflects strong ties with family and close friends – support network.

Survey items about FB intensity. Facebook intensity is a good predictor of bridging social capital. Bridging social capital may be especially important in the period of emerging adulthood (18-25). They found that FB helps students with low esteem build bridging social capital more than students with high self esteem. In 2007 students reported 4 hours Internet use a day and 54 minutes a day on FB.

Stanford had a course (CS377W) on Creating Engaging Facebook Apps – two of the top five facebook apps were from this course.

[ECAR 2007 Winter] Robert Kraut – Conversation and Commitment in Online Communities

Robert Kraut is the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the Business School at Carnegie Mellon. It’s interesting to study online communities because the interactions are exposed and documented. Defining success: – Success is multidementional: transactional (did your question get answered?, were resources exchanged?); individual (was commitment developed?); and group (did it successfully … Continue reading “[ECAR 2007 Winter] Robert Kraut – Conversation and Commitment in Online Communities”

Robert Kraut is the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the Business School at Carnegie Mellon.

It’s interesting to study online communities because the interactions are exposed and documented.

Defining success:

– Success is multidementional: transactional (did your question get answered?, were resources exchanged?); individual (was commitment developed?); and group (did it successfully recruit and retain members, and persist over time?).

Developing Commitment:

Commitment develops ov er time, with early phase especially fragile, and it’s a bi-directional process. There’s a cost-benefit analysis.

It’s rational for groups to be skeptical of newcomers. Newcomers take resources from existing members. The group is more likely to be welcoming if they perceive newcomers as”deserving”. Thesis: individuals may use self-revealing introductions to signal both legitimacy and investment.

He’s looking at research questions about whether groups ignore newcomers and whether conversational strategies encourage group members to pay attention to newcomers. Looked at 99 Usenet groups, around 40k messages. They’ve seen that groups respond less to newcomers across the board, particularly in political and hobby groups. They then used machine learning to analyze messages to find self-introductory messages. Attempt to predict whether a given message will get a reply. Found that newcomers with a self-introduction are treated as well as old-timers without one. They found that messages with a group-oriented introduction (“I’ve been lurking here for a while…”) almost doubled the chance that a message would get a reply.

I wonder how this connects with the public profiles like in Facebook?

When will indivduals “join”?

Individuals evaluate potential benefits from the group. The reactions they get from initial attempts to engage the group will be especially meaningful. Hypothesis is that people will be more likely to continue to participate if people respond to them, and if the reply comes from people with higher status in the group and if they are positive in attitude. Found that only 20% of newcomers who don’t get a reply to their initial message are seen again, while 40% of those that do get a reply are active subsequently. The idea of the “welcoming committee”, like Wikipedia has, is very useful in developing commitment. The more central the replier is to the group, the more powerful it is for developing commitment of the newcomer. The tone of the welcoming language also has an effect.

I asked whether they’ve done any work in looking at the formation of new online communities and what factors might lead to success. It’s hard to research the formation of new communities because it’s hard to catch communities at the moment of formation. The problem with starting new groups is that there’s no content, so no reason for people to go there – a chicken and egg problem. One thing that helps is to find niche markets where people have a very high need for information sharing and will accept relatively low returns as worthwhile. Working with an existing organization might help.

Facebook is a fantastically successful community. Some of its success can be attributed to it having started with a small handful of communities (universities) that provide a pre-existing connection (students at the same institution), and then built on the early success, with the latest example being opening up the API to allow other people to build new services for the community.

In his courses they’ve been using Drupal because it offers lots more flexibility than course management systems. Even then they’ve had a hard time getting students to participate – so they’re learning how to issue challenges, use reputation-building systems, and other techniques to encourage participation. In on-campus communities, the hostility towards newcomers is less of a problem because people already consider themselves part of an existing collective.

Verizon opens up, and a good example of wireless use in classrooms

Like many folks (optimist; pessimist) I’m excited, with a little trepidation, about Verizon’s announcement that they’re opening up their wireless network for devices and applications other than the ones they provide – that’s a huge change of attitude for a network that historically has tried to maintain very strict controls over what capabilities are enabled. … Continue reading “Verizon opens up, and a good example of wireless use in classrooms”

Like many folks (optimist; pessimist) I’m excited, with a little trepidation, about Verizon’s announcement that they’re opening up their wireless network for devices and applications other than the ones they provide – that’s a huge change of attitude for a network that historically has tried to maintain very strict controls over what capabilities are enabled.

Susan Crawford has a great example of the effect this news had in the communications law class she teaches. It provides a great example of the way wireless Internet access in classrooms can enhance the learning experience:

So this morning my communications law class was earnestly discussing the 700 MHz auction rules when, suddenly, one of the students lifted his head from his screen and said, “Verizon just announced they’re opening everything up!”
(I’m always a fan of internet access in the classroom, and this gives me a good story to use with other teachers. “See, it’s useful, not just a distraction.”)
We immediately started discussing why Verizon is doing what it’s doing. And the context was clear, because it was the subject of the class: it’s the auction.

Howard Rheingold’s class on Virtual Communities next fall at Stanford

This is a great looking syllabus for a course Howard Rheingold will be teaching next fall called Virtual Communities and Social Media – wish I could take it! Technorati Tags: academia, community, courses, media

This is a great looking syllabus for a course Howard Rheingold will be teaching next fall called Virtual Communities and Social Media – wish I could take it!

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[ECAR 2007 Summer Symposium] Human futures for technology and education – Michael Wesch

Michael is Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State who made the very popular video about Web 2.0. Any time you try to predict the future you magnify your assumptions – he realized that in the past three years all of his assumptions about education and information have been shattered. There may not be … Continue reading “[ECAR 2007 Summer Symposium] Human futures for technology and education – Michael Wesch”

Michael is Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State who made the very popular video about Web 2.0.

Any time you try to predict the future you magnify your assumptions – he realized that in the past three years all of his assumptions about education and information have been shattered. There may not be an “it” to teach any more. When we talk about “it” we’re often talking about information.

YouTube gets 65,000 new videos a day – 91% are new original content.

71 million more blogs than in 2003.

Have we prepared our students for this world?

On paper, we thought of information as a thing…with a material form, you could point to it, and it had its own logical place in a specific hierarchy of categories. Managing information requires managing the hierarchies.

Search engines showed us we might not need hierarchies. Hyperlinks showed us that information can be in more than one place at the same time. Blogging taught us that anybody can be a creator of information, Wikipedia showed us that by working together our information can be better than the content of professionals.

Who is the author of this information? Who owns it?

Tagging taught us that we could organize this information explosion ourselves…without “folders”.

RSS taught us that information can find us.

when we teach, information is no longer the point.

what was google buying when they bought YouTube? not the Tube, but the You.

Have we prepared our students for this world? Putting Time in perspective

Puts the last 12,000 years (since the last ice age) into one hour perspective. First farmers at 5 minutes – allows people to settle down first towns at 25 minutes ago, first alphabet at 15 minutes ago, industrial revolution is a minute ago. The last five seconds are the twenty years our students have lived on this planet – personal computers, the internet, mobile phones, wal-mart, the end of the family farm, mtv, exurbia.

Looking at spaceship earth – 1.3 billion live on less than $1 per day Over 1 billion people now connected by the Internet – almost as many remain illiterate. Are our students ready for the next fifteen seconds?

He asked his students what they need from their education. They’re working on a video of this, which he showed a rough edit of – very powerful and moving to see students with their own words.

Students are learning in spite of us. Technology is not the savior, but a tool we can use (but can use us).

teaching still has not changed, but learning has. That’s where the disconnect is.

“We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future” – Marshall McLuhan

Every medium has both enabling and disabling properties. He’s trying to break this down in terms of various teaching techniques – e.g. what is a chalkboard teaching? What to students learn when they’re looking at a chalkboard? What’s missing? videos, images, animations, network. Chalkboard forces the writer to move around, makes you think on the move (as opposed to scripted presentations), encourages you to slow down and improvise, and interact. Chalkboard limits effective class size to those who can see the board.

What’s different about PowerPoint? easy for the teacher, mindless (for the teacher), it’s fast (too fast?), linear, helps the presenter remember their notes, often does great harm to the presentation. Encourages students to memorize key points, let the professor choose which points are key, encourages the students to regurgitate key points on exams. Good for teaching, but not for learning.

What does this world look like? People can make great videos in basements. Collaborated with a musician in the Ivory Coast, who put his recordings on the Web. He uploaded his original video. Had 253 views in the first day or so. Amazing when compared that he wrote an article a year ago which is just coming out, which might be seen by a couple of hundred people.

By the next morning it had a couple of thousand views, as a result of being Dugg up, rose onto the front page of the Digg tech industry news. As people blogged it it rose in Technorati’s rankings.

The selection process is in a sense a peer review and criticism process on a much larger scale than academia ever dreamt of. Seven translation of his video appeared within three weeks.

This mediascape is only as good as our students are – are they going to be responsible participants in this world, or will we see more of Britney Spears’ haircut?

Some references – Ian Jukes, Carl Fish, Unesco study on ethical implications of digital technologies.

Lots of the future predictions assume twoard ubiquitous networks and computing leading to ubiquitous information at unlimited speed about everything everywhere from anywhere on all kinds of devices. Why do people need to know things when they can ask Google anything at any time?

RFIDs in food products as an example of bringing the web into the physical world. VeriChip – RFIDs for people. The machine will learn more and more about you. We teach it with every search, tag, and note. Machines will increasingly be able to aggregate data without human intervention – e.g. photos from gps enabled cameras converted to geotagged images on flickr.

Imagine what could be if anybody anywhere could upload information about anything at any time that could be accessed by anybody?

Two scenarios for the future… what will today’s fifth grader look like in the year 2020?

First scenario – schools have held on to idea that information is what it’s all about and are trying to teach information. Student is not really sophisticated in use of information. A dystopian future – apathetic passive consumers.

Second scenario – we engage with this media, and teach students to be participants. Real information could compete with marketers and advertisers to get to people on their devices. Technology could be used to encourage real social interaction. Because student has been fighting for her rights, the system has evolved to serve her.

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