Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wikis, Blogs and Collaboration Tools

Nancy White has posted a very interesting article on blogs and community on the knowledge tree - a must read for anyone interested in using blogs. You can read it on the screen and you can also download it as an MP3 file.

Shawn Callahan has commented on a discussion that has been taking place about why people don't use collaboration tools. I personally agreed with the statement that "When faced with the choice of learning new technology and chatting to colleagues on the phone and email to get a job done, if it can be done with what they already know they will go with that;". Clearly, wikis and blogs will only become commonplace where there are clear advantages in using them.

What's a Wiki is a wiki that was prepared for a workshop with that title. It has many links to websites about using wikis in education.

Wikipedia is encouraging universities and schools to use wikipedia as part of their studies. This page has descriptions of a numer of Universities that are using wikipedia with students.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Are you using Wikis enough?
I recently listed to a podcast from Tony Whitingham where he argues that all TAFE managers should be regularly using wikis. I have occasionally used wikis but Tony challenged me to think about using them more frequently. I checked my delicious bookmarks and realised that I have 20 sites which I had tagged with wiki. A review of a number of these sites demonstrate a wide range of uses from summary of a topic to reference material (e.g. procedures) as well as meeting notes. It can also be used as a portfolio of work (example).

Exploring the world of wikis provides some good advice on using wikis, written for non-profit organisations. It categorises wikis as public, protected and private. It lists a wide range of wiki services that can be used to set up wikis.

I also have realised that wikipedia had become an essential part of the my life. Whenever, I have to research a new topic, it is a great starting point, although like most encylopedias it is never complete.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

End of Learning Management Systems?

Questions have been raised for some time about the educational value of Learning Management Systems. The granting of a patent to Blackboard can only hasten this questioning if they successfully sue every LMS producer in the world. I listened to a great podcast (mp3 15M) this week from James Farmer which was a recording of a presentation that he made at an education.au seminar What's Changed held in August 4 in Sydney. James is the founder of edublogs.org, the largest educational blogging community on the web. He outlines a vision of the post LMS world.

Tony Karrer also posted in the last week on the same theme in a posting entitled Course and Courseware fading - the Future of elearning.

The Future of Higher Education article that was published in Educause discusses some of the implications of the information age for higher education. The article describes a vision of Community Learning Centres and certainly challenges the idea that Higher Education institutions can rest on their reputations and existing technologies.

Gartner also identifies that web 2.0 technology is one of the key technologies to watch in the next few years.

At this point, I am not convinced to abandon the Learning Management System I am using (Moodle) but I can see that I could be using in quite different ways in the next 12 months.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Where is the e-learning world going?

The big announcement this week was that Blackboard had successfully gained a patent on the Learning Management System. Blackboard has already started legal action against one LMS supplier: Desire2Learn. This has caused widespread discussion on a number of blogs. The latest posting from Stephen Downes provides some references to sites that suggest that Blackboard may have breached Australian law as the patent appears to not yet be approved in Australia. Whatever happens now, it is quite clear that companies will do whatever it takes to protect their turf.

On the other end of the spectrum, I continue to be amazed by the amount of free tools available and the tutorials available to support them. For example, audacity is a great audio editing tool which is free. This week, I became aware of two tutorials on audacity: editing audio with audacity and audacity. Worth a look if you are trying to use Audacity.

I have also been catching up on some podcasting listening. The productivity show is one podcast I listen to whenever they produce a show. One of the recent shows provides some great tips on Google tools.

Another good tip I got this week from reading Jo Kay's blog was the network tool in del.icio.us. It allows you to connect to a number of other del.icio.us users and see what they are linking to. I have started my network at http://del.icio.us/network/peterlec.

If you have not already guessed, I have changed the way I work. I now regularly post websites I find of value into my del.icio.us account and then only post to my weblog when I have time to reflect more on what I have been reading. I will be trying to do this once a week (although it has been less frequent recently.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Libraries and Flexible Learning
Apologies to readers of my blog - I have been travelling a lot lately and found it hard to get to writing entries in my blog. I have been catching up and thoroughly enjoyed listening to a podcast which was an interview of Joyce Valenza by the EdTechTalk guys. Joyce is a high school librarian, who has lots of good ideas about using technology in learning. The chat has lots of good links to great sites, including:
I was in a meeting this week with Lucy Hill, a librarian and a Flexible Learning Leader in 2004. Another great reminder of the contribution librarians can made to implementing flexible learning.

Another podcast worth a listen is: EdTechTalk#55 - A Discussion about Communities with Nancy White. Nancy White will be touring Australia later in the year and this will give you some idea of waht to expect.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Personal Learning Environments (PLE)
Stephen Downes has been doing a number of presentations, including discussing the PLE: Vienna, Innsbruck and Toronto. I really like the emphasis on learners controlling their learning and controlling their learning environments.

The challenge for me is what is the role of the teacher and educational institutions in all of this. Welsey Fryer provides some ideas with his emphasis on project based learning. Improving instruction through use of weblog provides some hints on how weblogs can be used.

Graham Wegner provides an insight into the primary school classroom and emphasising it is not about information transfer (great cartoon in this page).

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Which tool should I use for e-learning
This week, I have been reading a number of items that are making me think about which tools are best for e-learning.

Sean Fitzgerald has posted about the most appropriate tool to support the new network focused on Web 2.0 technology. His points to a wide range of tools that could be used for establishing a learning community.

Two of the best tools around are blogs and wikis. Vicki Davis posted about her students' views about the simmilarities diferences between blogs and wikis, best summarised by "They see wikis as a place to share information and they see blogs as a place to share opinions and discuss".

Another perspective on the way tools are being used (and therefore the tools themselves) was a post by Tony Karrer, who argues there is a shift away from pure courseware to reference hybrids. This arises from making use of tools such as Captivate.

Tagging has some potential uses when trying to condut an e-learning program. Tagging to organise content provides a number of suggestions for using tags. Bill Ives provides some views on the when to use tagging and when to use searching. Tony Karrer resonds to Bill's posting and there are a number of interesting comments as well.

Finally, we all know that Email forms a critical component of communication in any learning group. Seth Gottlieb has posted discussing the issue of managing Email attachments. A number of comments challenge his idealistic view of the world.

For all of the posts I have read this week go to: http://del.icio.us/peterlec.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The usefulness of Tagging
This weblog post by Bill Ives discusses the advantages of tagging and looks at when to use tagging and when to serach. It is best summarised by: "If I want to search on a key word, I will still go to Google as the most efficient way. If I have the time to go exploring through multiple links and see the interrelations between key words, I might go to del.icio.us. However, if I want to set up a way to store and share links on a particular topic, I will use del.icio.us which I have done already in co-authoring an article." There are also some very useful comments so scroll down and have a read.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Collaborative Learning
This wiki site was created to support a six week course on Web 2.0 technologies, which was conducted by Tony Karrer. "The purpose of this course is to give you an opportunity to learn about collaborative learning by participating in collaborative learning. This course is designed to teach how to design and build collaborative learning experiences using Web 2.0 / eLearning 2.0 approaches."
A good resource as well as a illustration of how to use wikis in delivering a course.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Google Notebook
Another tool from Google to help you when surfing the Internet. It allows you to clip content and links and store them in a file (a notebook). You can publish the notebooks so that others can access the notebook.

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