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.

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