Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bloggers in Eden!

I've followed up on several of the bloggers I mentioned while writing from the conference.
Several entries (that's two links!) on EDEN and an interesting metaphor - Pompeii/Managed Learning Environments from Steve Wheeler. I also copied his way of using a Technorati search to give information, in this case about the excellent opening speaker Teemu Arina.
Teemu also lives as he preaches and his presentation is online both as audio and as slides. See his blog entry to access all this.
I've also been back to Ton's Interdependent Thoughts blog - no more on EDEN but a lot of interesting topics.
EDEN has given me a lot to think about and a list of 34 things to look up and check out. So if you see more about "slow learning" or "connectivism" you will know where I got the idea from!

EDEN 2007 (in Swedish and English)

As I wrote earlier it is interesting to read the blogs of other conference participants. The title link leads to a contribution (in Swedish) on Learning Net, a blog in which several Swedish universities cooperate and which the Swedish Agency for Networks and Cooperation in Higher Education supports.
I found myself agreeing with most of the author's comments but when it came to the second day's keynote speeches we picked different speakers out as interesting. So if you are bilingual, English and Swedish, take a look and compare our two approaches.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Flickr User Model

Flickr User Model
Originally uploaded by soldierant
An interesting image of how Flickr works. This is version 1.0 (according to the artist a simple image). Soldierant also produced version 2.0 and 3.0 which were more complicated but expanded the spread of Flickr to blogs and RSS and included the place of favourites in the scheme of things...
To really see these views you need to go to the original images and to view them on a large setting.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blogging the Eden Conference

The first full day of EDEN was interesting. The Keynote speakers started the day well with three rather different views on learning and Internet - Inspirational, technical, and sceptical. The parallel session I attended was also interesting with much about blogs and wikis. It was unfortunate that there wasn't time to discuss anything (scarcely time for questions) during these sessions. Our paper was the last one of the day in the second session but the audience were still there and interested. A few even stayed to discuss and we had to break off the discussion to get our bus!

One of the best points about working within the blogosphere is shared experience with other bloggers, who then also document the experience and enable me to see things from their perspective, or through their specialism. Generally though there seems to be a lack of activity around this EDEN conference, which is strange considering the subject, NEW LEARNING 2.0 with all the connotations of web 2.0!
However, there is some activity going on and here are some links to those who are driving that activity...
A work-place learning related entry about a pre-conference (Toni's Interdependent)
More general comments can be found on Chrisses blog, one of the other bloggers at the conference.
Steve Wheeler, who presented an interesting session on Wikis yesterday has a blog that I have now added to my aggregator.
Check out Olli Vesterinen later!
Teema Arina's blog concerning his Keynote speech on the first day. An inspirational start to the conference.

Eden again

Plenary Session 2 - Innovation as Compass to the New Digital Territories
The general theme here was how policy can, could? should? steer development and vice-versa.
1) Maruja Gutierrez-Diaz discussed how important education is to the Lisbon Declaration and to the 7th Framwork Programme for Research. She mentioned that a favourable government policy towards the use of IT and innovative methods in education was vital IF these were to be part of a successful educational system. Very relevant for our organisation at the moment!
2) Claudio Dondi - a very reasoned speaker who spoke about why change is slower within institutions than it is among members of the institutions and why that can be a good thing. There is more inertia in an institute than in a new web-community but is this a bad thing? Is change more successful if it is top-down or bottom-up? When is a trend a trend and when does a trend become the norm? In contrast with previous conferences Cladio felt that both practioners and policymakers were now more positive to e-learning.
He also stressed the importance of non-formal learning, the human touch, the role of the teacher/facilitators, and education's place as a shaper of the future, even suggesting a new word - Learnovation!
3) Eric Bruillard spoke on the meeting between schools and technology and how/if/when institutes will accept/be transformed by the new technology.
4) Grainne Conole spoke about students today but for us there was little new in what she said. Some students are very hi-tech, very connected, very web 2.0, while others are less so. We need to cater for a wide range of competencies and doing so can be problematic.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Flat Earth and EDEN 2007

Originally uploaded by Remara Photography 2.0
The Earth does go round the sun, Galileo was right, but a lot of the evidence in Galileo's time showed the Earth to be flat and there were a lot of sceptics, who we now laugh at. However, I'm sure there were a lot of strange ideas going round in the renaissance that were wrong and now are more-or-less forgotten. A certain element of scepticism is wise, even if the sceptics are wrong at times.
I've been looking at the EDEN 2007 programme and on day 2 the theme of the key-notes seems to be new trends (i.e. web 2.0) and institutional/national policy. Sometimes it seems as if the policy makers and the actors in a new area are refusing to look at one another. The policy-makers are reluctant to listen. Is this a bad thing? Looking backwards we can see which trends have become accepted practice, but we tend to forget the trends that disappeared without trace. As I wrote above, a certain element of scepticism is wise, even if the sceptics are wrong at times.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Digital literacy and folkbildning conference

Today I was at a conference looking at digital literacy and folkbildning in Stockholm. One of the problems is defining digital literacy, and thereby defining the groups who need to be helped and therefore which methods are likely to be helpful. For example one group are those who have never used a computer/internet at all, another group those who can use a computer but see no reason to do so. A third group are perhaps computer literate but lack the skills required (traditional literacy skills?) to be an active and democratic user of the new digital world. And so on, the list is long!

The problem is becoming more acute because more and more of the functions of society are moving online and not being digitally literate is becoming a real disadvantage. More and more of the discourse inside society is also moving online. Developing professional skills, as a teacher for example, requires digital literacy.

Another discussion is that as the development of internet progresses more and more rapidly the whole field becomes more complicated with more to learn and the catch-up process becomes longer and more difficult. New groups become disadvantaged - if you can't use the tools defined loosely as web 2.0 are you partially digitally illiterate, even if you are an expert in other areas of the digital world?

On the other hand one of the hurdles to overcome is failure to understand why digital literacy is so important and society moving online can also be a motivating factor to go out and become digitally literate. Another part of the development mentioned above is that active use of internet is being made easier (web 2.0 again), and activity makes learning easier.

The discussion continues....

PS The picture is part of an artwork by Andrew Pepper - "Artwork or Network". see also "One Million Points of Light" by the same artist.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Salaries - discussions on policy

African Daisy
Originally uploaded by Seoulwoman.
These discussions begin today, or rather, continue from 2006. We are a working group consisting of union and employer representatives.
It is interesting to see how much more efficient we are this time compared with when we started this work a year ago. There is more trust and understanding between these two groups.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday work development

fly the flickr skies
Originally uploaded by gadjoboy.
This speaker was excellent and for those who hadn't thought much about web 2.0 I am sure it was a really interesting (inspiring?) presentation. For those of us who are already in in this world it was entertaining and interesting but I am not sure we learnt so much that was new. However, even that is knowledge well worth having. We seem to know as much as most others!!
Something that interests me personally is web 2.0 and art. Hence the picture....

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Reflections - Using a Web 2.0 Credo...

reflections of grasmere
Originally uploaded by adrians_art.
At a meeting today we got a bit off-theme and started to talk about the importance of having the "organisation" with you if you wanted to change the way the organisation worked. This in the context of schools, the digital media, and laptops for all.

Back from the meeting I read a blog which summed up our conversation and provided something of an answer too. It gave a credo for a school wanting to work in a web 2.0 context.

The original reference came from Will Richardson's blog for the 25 April.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Clipmarks - another form of social bookmarking

This is an example of how "clipmarks" saves to a blog.

It's the birthday of the poet Jenny Joseph, (books by this author) born in Birmingham, England (1932). She was an aspiring poet throughout her 20s, supporting herself with odd jobs. Then in 1960, when she was 28 years old, she published a poem called "Warning," which began with the line, "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple."

Somehow, as the poem became more and more popular, Jenny Joseph's name as the author was lost. Other people claimed to have written the poem, or it was attributed to "Anonymous." Jenny Joseph eventually published an authorized, illustrated version of the poem in 1997, which sold thousands of copies. Her name is still not as well known as that one poem, but today she is considered one of the foremost contemporary British poets.

When she was asked if she would start wearing purple anytime soon, Jenny Joseph replied, "I can't stand purple. It doesn't suit me."

 blog it

Monday, April 30, 2007

Notes to me on Andy!

Andy - blogging and art
Andy - web 2.0 artworks

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Web 2.0 group

Well, I finally found myself in a group of people who have the job of looking at web 2.0 and how it can be used for adult education. We are putting together a Wiki for our organisation on the subject. At the moment it is fairly basic but I think we can develop it into something useful.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Murder 2.0

The ITC revolution we are living through is in many ways value free. It is producing a new media which can be used for both good and evil. The title of this piece comes from a Guardian podcast which takes up the murderer Cho Seung-hui and his video package.

Critics of this change in society tend to cite the darker sides of this revolution. I listened to one such critic, Lars Svedberg, at Åsa folkhögskola two days ago. He is an excellent speaker and presented a historical background to developments focussed mostly on the TV revolution. I found it hard to disagree with his critique of media developments but I didn't really understand the solutions he suggested. They seemed to involve an attempt to put the genie back in the box although in another connection he has said we cannot go back and indeed we should try to awaken people's interests outside of the academic domain (Link to an article in Swedish).

Putting the geni back in the box is not really an option. What is an option is to use the new media in a positive way and by doing that to reduce the impact, or even to counteract, the negative uses of this media.

MA answered LS's critique by pointing out that young people, our future students, already live in the world where this media is just a part of the background (not a NEW media as it is to us) and they will expect to be using it!

Using the new media for education connects education to the world that many young people inhabit, uses this world in way that is positive, and helps to weigh against the less savoury side of internet and web 2.0

Monday, April 16, 2007

Saving old formats to DVD

This is just to get a record of this article for future reference.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Work and spa

It has been an intensive time of looking at web 2.0 tools and reading about web 2.0, a time of both practical and theoretical input.

Part of the fun with this is that although it is work it is also an interesting subject in itself - therefore not entirely work. On Tuesday evening I found myself on a sunchair, looking at the fantastic view from maskrosen spa in Sundsvall and reading about web 2.0 in a portfolio of printed documents! What a mixture of ancient and modern!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Presenting a seminar

A small group of us, led by one of the information department, are discussing if we should issue guidelines for how we should behave when leading a seminar. It seems there have been reports of less than professional behaviour from one of our co-workers. However, we felt that such a problem should be dealt with by the person concerned's boss, rather than seeking to corral all of us into some sort of approved behaviour - responsibility and creativity should be encouraged, not restrained!
There were some constructive ideas which could be usefully spread if we can find a suitable way to pass on these ideas.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Well, I got my first podcast up and running. The only problem was finding a place to store the sound file. I solved it with box.net but this is only temporary. I must try storing them in kursnavet and see if that works well. Click on the file in the box.net widget (top of blog on the right) to listen.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Originally uploaded by seamus */.

Today I found another teaching tool - Splashr!

Splasher creates presentations which you can view directly or via a web page or blog. Here is a splashr presentation which was created using pictures tagged on Flickr with the tag "harnosand". It opens in a pop-up window.

Here is another Splashr presentation, this time tagged with "woodbridge" and "suffolk" and in another format. Both presentations could be clipped directly into the blog but that would take up a little too much room for my taste.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Interesting Friday!

I've just been sitting in our department meeting - how nice to hear from different sections within the department and to feel that we really we are going somewhere.

The Web2.0 discussion we had yesterday with our boss seems to have resonated with other discussions he has had with other people. Our idea for a interest-group didn't come up directly but the organisation is interesting in deepening the level of knowledge we have.

R.E and I had thought a such group could look at web2.0 in different ways. First would be a technical look at how the different tools work and how easy they were to use. Secondly would be a pedagogical discussion - how can they be used and how are people using them in a learning and/or collaborative situation. Are they best used for e-learning (very individual) or for collaborative learning, democratic discourse and so on. Perhaps the TOOLS can be used for both and the distinction depends upon the users, rather than the tools.

It will be interesting to see how this develops. A CFL group, a private group, or perhaps a mixture of the two. There is also the prospect of a link up with Miun.

Btw today I was reading a teaching blog about cyber bullying and then found a further link to "Stop Cyberbullying Day" There are negative sides to web2.0 as well as positive ones. It's up us to see that the positive outweighs the negative!

And finally the Al Gore film "An Inconvenient Truth". Thanks for showing us this film! (Excellent pedagogics, quite apart from the content.)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Connecting the dots

Went over to Miun this morning to listen to a Mac employee talk about podcasting in an educational environment. It was interesting to see the different ways one could podcast. What is interesting for me is the range of possibilities from the quick, low-quality, easily produced to the expensive professionally produced product. From learning object, saved for when needed, to the one-off message which becomes redundant as soon as it is listened to/watched.

The problems at Miun are very similar to those in our forms of adult education. I hope they set up a working group and I hope they invite me! (They also seem to be planning an interesting 5p summer course in the uses of ICT and teaching - apply?)

Later in the day Rose and I went to see our boss and suggested we would like to form an interest group to look at the whole web2.0 problem. He was enthusiastic to a degree but was going to talk to the other managers and await developments. My feeling was he also felt the importance of web 2.0 but was less enthusiastic about the "interest group" idea.

Well, we have the interest and I guess we'll develop it, inside or outside of our working life!

Friday, March 23, 2007

An illuminating session

This Friday we have had one of our professional development sessions, this time with AnnJessica Ericsson. It was the second session led by her. I am sure reactions to her and her content have been really varied but personally I found her one of the most inspirational speakers we have had. The idea of integrating many areas, in contrast to slicing knowledge into ever smaller bits, hit hoe immediately.

The concrete exercise we did the first week gave us a useful method of looking at a problem from different perspectives. This week's session involved a LOT OF new concepts and really I just let the flow wash over me. The next time these terms/ideas/concepts come up I will remember them and begin to understand them more fully.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Focussing on the new task

Just home from our Focus Days. The majority of the organisation was away for two days and we concentrated on ways of working with our latest task (regional development). To help us along in this work we met representatives from the regions we were working with. It was interesting to see how the needs of the different regions varied but how a program of six points could also work with these varied needs.

It will be interesting to see how the idea of forming four regional teams, with selected experts in various areas, will work out. Personally I think that the flatter organisation and the resulting discussions, both within and between the regional and expert groups will be really productive.

Personally the days were very good for me. I had been fairly depressed after the work with redundancies was over, and the people who were to be made redundant were informed. However this trip away lifted me out of my dark mood back to my more normal generally positive mood. I suspect the wonderful spring weather plus the fun we had plus the professionalism of my colleagues all contributed to this lift.

Even the news that our organisation will almost certainly cease to exist in the middle of 2008 (which came the day after our two very productive days away) did not really influence my mood for the worse!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Redundancies (and KKS)

This week the 10 people who are being made redundant have all been told. It also marks the end of that phase of my active involvment. As a result of all this (I guess) I have been in a real black mood all week, picking holes in our organisation, being nasty about some people and generally feeling that this place is on a fast track to hell!!! (I have not been alone in my feelings but that makes me feel worse rather than better!)

This is very unusual for me and I am really hoping that the focus days we have soon will change things, both for me and for this place. We certainly need to focus on something positive!

On a more positive note I took part in a KKS seminar on "Young people, Internet and Democracy". Many of the problems we discussed in the folkbildning group came up again in a more academic guise. However, there were no more answers than we found, but the day was positive and gave food for thought. (Although the established political parties were invited they did not send anyone - well, they really do care about democracy don't they!)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Digital Literacy

I've just been down to Stockholm and met up with a group of folkbildning people, who are part of the digital literacy "expert group" and who are interested in defining, and then working to fix, this digital divide.

As always I was impressed by the depth and scope of the discussion. We came up with some new angles and a few concrete ideas for helping to reduce the problem. Our next move is to collaborate on a document taking up these issues which we can then use to continue the work.

Sometimes you just need to meet up and throw ideas around in order to get somewhere. We had little more than a vague agenda at the start of the day and a lot of good ideas as the day ended.

I shall report back on that when the document reaches a point where it feels complete. (As a sort of WIKI it is questionable when, or if, it actually is "finished"!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Who, what and why!

Hi folks
Well, as I am about to take part in a "blogging and Teaching" discussion I guess I ought to have my own one to try out the techniques.

This is a place for personal notes and reflections and is not aimed at an audience, although it is hard to write without any audience at all so who knows. Anyone finding their way here is welcome to read what I write.

I will be slightly circumspect and probably not mention who I work for and avoid people's names. It's not that it's a great secret but I don't want to annoy my colleagues unneccesarily. If this blog turns "official" i'll restart it with another name.

This is my first text posting although I do have a picture blog which I recently revived, mostly as a place to store some of my favourite Flickr images!