September 28, 2011
Above is a link to an article about an online collaborative game that is
“designed so that players can manipulate virtual molecular structures that look like multicolored, curled-up Tinkertoy sets. The virtual molecules follow the same chemical rules that are obeyed by real molecules. When someone playing the game comes up with a more elegant structure that reflects a lower energy state for the molecule, his or her score goes up. If the structure requires more energy to maintain, or if it doesn’t reflect real-life chemistry, then the score is lower.”
Sounds like a great learning tool. But there’s more.
“…players have solved a molecular puzzle that stumped scientists for years, and those scientists say the accomplishment could point the way to crowdsourced cures for AIDS and other diseases.”
And more about games and learning (from the same twitter source @IanYorston)
January 17, 2011
This post is about the Conclusion in the Veletsianos (ed.) book.
The first thing George Veletsianos talks about in his conclusion to “Emerging Technologies in Distance Education” is that the authors did not focus on technology for its own sake but instead focused on “educational research and practice based on the notion that powerful learning experiences are social, immersive, engaging, and participatory… and lend themselves well to being enhanced through emerging technologies.” (p. 318)
A second topic addressed involves the open access nature of the book and the willingness of authors to be part of this process. Related to this (and just published yesterday) is an interesting blog post from Paul Stacey in response to the 2011 change to Canadian licensing agreements. His posting is titled Access Copyright’s Royalty Demands Spark Interest in OER.
Stacey’s post speaks for itself and includes links to some important background.
Finally, Veletsianos describes areas of interest worthy of research attention and it’s interesting to consider how in this fast-moving environment, some things already appear to be shifting. veletsianos talks about a multidisciplinary approach and speaks of the rise of participatory web and its relationship to emerging technologies and pedagogies. Perhaps we haven’t quite seen an ‘educational’ parallel to WikiLeaks — but participatory information and transparency seems to be in the air and is almost certainly having an impact on learning and research as well as compelling us to think differently about information and knowledge (See Clay Shirky’s blog post on this topic)
I would say that crowdsourcing and data visualization, things that I see as being made possible because of the participatory web, are also becoming increasingly important and will contribute to what and how we know (and learn) in very profound ways.
It took me longer than I expected to write about each chapter in this book and it has been a truly rewarding experience. I’m very happy to have been a part of it and I look forward to continuing to share the message.
And finally — thanks again to George for his work in pulling it all together!
This is from the “Elizabeth Tweets” series of chapter-by-chapter blog posts related to the new book “Emerging Technologies in Distance Education“, edited by George Veletsianos and published by Athabasca University Press (including a freely available e-book version).
May 3, 2010
For the next month or so, I’m taking the role of ‘blog steward’ to a group of learners at Royal Roads University (RRU) in a course called ISWO (Instructional Skills Workshop Online) so my postings here for the next while may tend to relate to issues that come up in that environment.
RRU is relatively young and has always had a learning model emphasizing team-based online learning. So it’s no surprise that enhancing the skills for developing a supportive and connected online learning community is an important learning outcome for ISWO.
I’m very aware of how the online community has blossomed over the past few years with web 2.0 and I thought I’d share a recent article that explores this.
Ruth Reynard’s view at
includes the following statement.
“The challenge this time is that facilitation is not enough–the challenge for the future of instruction is that we stand side-by-side with our students and all contribute equally and actively to a learning community. The learning community is also redefined as not confined to one class but open to anyone who connects.”
So — Open it is! And here I am, partnering with the designated instructors and learners in ISWO and inviting them (and others) to ponder over the ways that such partnerships might enhance learning.
March 25, 2010
First of all, I really like Tim O’Reilly’s women-in-tech post from yesterday…
Back in January, using the iPhone development model as an analogy, O’Reilly considers what things would be like if universities let developers (in this case, the professors) “innovate and distribute content to users (students) in new and efficient ways?”
He says that Open Standards have been the driver of all tech innovation. Content was put out first and then (e.g. Google) strategies for dealing with it were developed. And it has be a profound change — an example being how “search” has triumphed over the model of cataloguing.
Can universities really “let go” of control in this way? I suspect that if they don’t, they’ll become pretty much irrelevant.
O’Reilly says that the mission must change. It won’t be about delivering courses to enrolled students. Rating is key.
My interpretation is that this means reaching out to everyone and providing credit for learning that takes place no matter where.
DGREE—Tim O’Reilly from DGREE on Vimeo.
February 21, 2010
Emerging Technologies in Distance Education is getting closer to completion. It will be nice to be able to read the other chapters and see how they compare to what BJ Eib (my colleague who wrote the “Imagining multi-roles in Web 2.0 Distance Education” chapter with me) and I had to say about our views on collaboration in education.
George Veletsianos (the editor) says the book will be available this June. He’s currently looking for feedback on some cover designs.
Here’s a link where you can vote on your favourite:
January 12, 2010
This video is the recording of the Michael Wesch presentation this morning titled:”The (Digital) Writing on the Walls – And Why the Walls Don’t Matter Any More.”
If you haven’t seen Wesch deliver a presentation, this is a perfect introduction. It’s a good overview of his work and references the short viral YouTubes that are so familiar to many of us. As you watch this presentation you may have the “aha” moment of realizing that you’re seeing the inspirational force behind videos you’ve seen, enjoyed and even shared with others. Today’s session gives a more indepth look Wesch’s background as he shares his own experiences in the context of many of the “greats” in media history (Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, etc.) and it would be a great resource for any of your colleagues who are ready for more clarification about web 2.0 in education.
The part of this presentation that was newest to me (and something I really want to follow up with) was the assessment question near the end where Wesch began to describe his peer review strategies. An intriguing one is called “calibrated peer review” — designed to promote critical thinking and model a strategy used in real-world evaluation of scientific proposals, among other things. Wesch has his students grade sample assignments from a library he has created in order to establish a rubric, then they grade each others work — all supported by a tracking technology — a google search found this: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI5002.pdf which seems to be very much like what was described in the session.