One of the delights of working at Charles Sturt University is being able to range across innovation opportunities – to make a difference!
A project that I have had some connection with has been the open university initiative branded as OERu. Check out what they are up to at https://oeru.org. It’s a very interesting project headed by Wayne McIntosh UNESCO / ICDE Chair in OER, Director of the OER Foundation, OERu thought leader.
The OERu makes education accessible to everyone. Coordinated by the OER Foundation, we are an independent, not-for-profit network that offers free online courses for students worldwide. We also provide affordable ways for learners to gain academic credit towards qualifications from recognised institutions.
In the traditions of open sharing, the OERu partners develop all OERu courses in WikiEducator. This is a healthy relationship because 75% of the funding which keeps the WikiEducator website going is generated from OERu membership fees. Without this support – we would not be able to fund the hosting of WikiEducator.
I need to ask for your help! We need you to subscribe to the Youtube Channel.
One of the outputs of the communication’s project is a short video explaining what the OERu is and how it is designed to enable education opportunities around the globe.
As a charitable organisation, YouTube has approved a Youtube for non-profits account for the OERu. We have met all the requirements to qualify for a custom url for the new channel, expect that we need 100 hundred subscribers.
No question, we are getting more and more reliant on good quality internet access and online connectivity. I remember a time when I would be able to go off to vacuum the house while I waited for a program to download from the mac bulletin board. What a slow but exhilarating time that was!
But today, we want speed – real speed.
So the reading about the possible advantages created by melting Arctic Icefor faster internet brought a wry smile to my face.
The internet might seem like an ethereal, invisible network that connects every laptop and smartphone on the planet, but in reality it is propped up by a very real, very large network of cables crisscrossing the ocean floor. For years, communications networks have relied on tens of thousands of fiber optic cables to establish connections between countries, with the shortest and most direct connections providing the fastest links to the internet. As the internet grew, so did this undersea network. But while crossing the Arctic Circle is the most direct path to lay cables to connect European and Asian networks, until recently Arctic ice has prevented installation.
As these new pathways are opening up in the Arctic, communications companies are jumping on the chance to lay new cables.
People in remote Alaskan communities will not only have access to services like online classes and medical data, but will be able to do things that most people take for granted, like streaming movies and television shows through services like Netflix.
Industry leaders have been looking toward and anticipating the Internet of Things for quite some time. EDUCAUSE Review asked five experts in the field to share their insights on lessons learned, on current problems solved and created, and on the possible future impact of the IoT.
Predictions for the growth of the IoT vary considerably: some experts forecast that about 20 billion devices will be connected by 2020; others put the number closer to 40 or 50 billion. What does all this mean for colleges and universities? Considering the key role being played by vendors in this market, we decided to ask some industry leaders in higher education a few questions.
How we can truly unpack the value of the IoT?
The contributors were all asked the following five questions:
The Internet of Things has evolved over many decades as wearables, RFID, BYOD, wireless devices, and more have increased in both number and usage. How do you define the IoT today?
What game-changing IoT devices and uses do you expect we’ll be seeing on campuses within the next one to three years?
What are the most exciting academic and administrative benefits enabled by the IoT for higher education?
How will the demands of a more connected student and a more connected campus influence—positively and/or negatively—the systems, processes, and infrastructure of the current higher education landscape?
Will issues of privacy and data ownership stand in the way of a fully realized IoT? What other barriers or challenges will need to be addressed?
Great set of questions that lend themselves to a good discussion with your student cohort, as well as with industry experts! What does the average lecturer and/or student think or even understand about the IoT impact or potential?
To be honest, I haven’t seen very little impact yet in my day-to-day work on campus for administration or connection with students. I wouldn’t mind a few connected objects – would you?
Here we go again – another ‘company’ moving into the education arena to provide access to ‘content’ and/or house shared resources. This time it’s Amazon.
Amazon has unveiled it’s shiny new offering – an online education service for teachers called Amazon Inspire .
By introducing its new education site, Amazon joins other tech industry giants in an enormous push to expand the use of technology in public schools. It’s all about the market territory really, under the guise of support. Aggregated repositories have been around for ‘like forever’ in the digital realm, and have come in many guises. But the biggest always have dollars attached to them for the providing company – creating brand allegiance. Or am I being too cynical? Who knows.
In the school market, however, Amazon is competing not just with rival tech companies but also with established digital education companies and ed tech start-ups. A number of popular platforms already offer instructional materials for teachers. Among them are tes.com, a site based in London with more than eight million users worldwide, and teacherspayteachers.com, a site based in Manhattan that more than two million teachers use regularly.
The New York Times clearly explains:
Called Amazon Inspire, the education site has features that may seem familiar to frequent Amazon shoppers. Search bar at the top of the page? Check. User reviews? Check. Star ratings for each product? Check.
By starting out with a free resources service for teachers, Amazon is establishing a foothold that could expand into a one-stop shopping marketplace — not just for paid learning materials, but for schools’ wider academic and institutional software needs, said Tory Patterson, co-founder of Owl Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in ed tech start-ups. Amazon is joining other tech industry giants in a push to expand the use of technology in the public schools.
Even so, ed tech industry analysts said the growing market for digital educational materials, which Amazon is entering, is likely to prove much more valuable over time than the school computer market.
Already, nursery through high schools in the United States spend more than $8.3 billion annually on educational software and digital content, according to estimates from the Software and Information Industry Association, a trade group. That spending could grow significantly as school districts that now buy physical textbooks, assessment tests, professional development resources for teachers and administrative materials shift to digital systems.
Don’t worry – not on offer for Australia as yet, so no hard hitting decisions to be made (chortle).
They’re calling out to teachers and institutions to request early access. But is there any content there already that Amazon has invested time/money – or is it just going to be a swap shop?
Forget it. There are better places on offer!
I’m quite sure that time, thought and quality people are needed. That’s why our own home-grown ABC Splash provides such a fabulous resource, with great stuff for teachers, as well as great resources and games for students. Visit ABC SPLASH – don’t miss out on the gorgeous site managed by my inspiring colleague @AnnabelAstbury.
Looking for some new ideas for tools to support your work? Here are the links to the pages in Jane Hart’s Directory of Learning & PerformanceTools, which lists over 1,000 tools in 4 main categories as shown below.
Want to add or amend a tool’s details? You can do so here.
What are your favourite tools for learning? Voting is now open in this year’s Top Tools for Learning survey. Please share your own.
Amazingly, 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Top 100 Tools for Learning list compiled by Jane Hart from the votes of learning professionals around the world – from both education and workplace training. This year there will be a few changes:
Due to the fact that the same tools have dominated the list in recent years, for 2016 the list will be extended to contain 200 tools so that more tools can be mentioned to create the Top 200 Tools for Learning 2016
Additionally, in order to understand how these tools are being used in different contexts, three sub-lists will also be generated:
Top 100 Tools for Education (K-12 to Adult Ed) 2016
Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning (Training, Performance Support & Social Collaboration) 2016
Top 100 Tools for Personal Learning & Productivity 2016
The results will be released on Monday 3 October 2016.
Regular reports hit my radar of the amazing work being undertaken by global kids, as they become knowledge-able, as well as knowledgeable in their gaming interactions. Many kids, supported by knowledgeable elders (parents and peers) are engaging in this amazing platform. Many teachers are also supporting their students to do amazing things.
Just look at this gorgeous build in Minecraft – Babylon in a very new world of our kids futures. By amazing – I don’t just mean building in a gaming environment! I mean engaging in literacy and communication; in digital citizenship and story telling; and above all creativity and global cultures. But it takes dedication on the part of the adults to nuture students this way.
Minecraft in education is growing phenomenon – and people are jumping on board to see how they can integrate Minecraft into the learning cultures of their schools. To be honest – Minecraft is also becoming a minefield of its very own in the ‘grown up world’ (consultant warning) – and therefore making it critically important that we connect with quality users with grounded experience in best practices in Minecraft rather than with consultants.
Project Mist, from Donelle Batty, is one of my favourite Australian leaders – doing with her kids daily that we could only wish for all our kids. Donelle has been running Project M.I.S.T (Minecraft In School Transforming education) for what seems like eons now. Her students have very powerful learning experiences. GMods Experience in Minecraft tells it all!
My experience in Minecraft this year was spectacular; the team work, the efforts, the creativity gained and witnessed was truly outstanding. In the class I got to socialize with kids that have the same interests I have, building friendships throughout the year. Cooperation was the biggest highlight; When there was ridiculous amounts of mobs and high death count, we took shelter and shared supplies. When someone needed help building or creating something it always felt good to teach them how to do so. I’ve also learnt more about the importance of my appearance on-line and how I present myself to the people of the world wide web, presentation is key and your first impression is everything. If you are acting like a tool on the internet people will see you once and think: “Wow, that person seems stupid and rude” And that would be the last time they visit your page/ sever/ profile.
Recently, I followed a tweet to see what Donelle wrote about the 2014 launch of #ProjectMIST.
She reminded us all that Minecraft is a collaborative experience, as is the various stages of learning involved in gaining Minecraft experience. Donelle is without a doubt a global leader, and will be away from her hometown in Tasmania on her Hardie Fellow (Info re Hardie Fellowship and recipients for 2013-14).
Donelle also reminded me of the fantastic work done by Jo Kay who is an amazing colleague I have worked with closely over the years on various projects. Jo currently builds and supports our work in the Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) degree here at CSU. We don’t use the normal LMS, but have developed our own for the degree for now.
We are really lucky at ProjectMIST as we have one person who has been with us from the start and is always there, even at 12:04am. At this time of the day I am in bed asleep and the computer is asleep too, but Jo Kay is wide awake supporting the students where I can’t. Her support is extremely appreciated by the students and they demonstrate this through building replicas of her avatar on their own servers, one young man did this just the other night when she helped him out after he locked himself out of his server. This student has now just been accepted onto Massively @ Jokaydia Minecraft Guild and he is really excited to be able to build, learn and explore with others from all parts of the world.
If you are an educator, a parent, or just someone who wants to give kids a chance at Minecraft I recommend you visit Massively @ Jokaydia.
The project is designed for kids aged 4-16yrs who are interested in gaining digital media skills, exploring their creativity and developing online social skills. We are currently using the video game Minecraft to support a safe, whitelisted server and a range of activities which encourage kids to choose their own playful learning pathways and adventures.
You can’t do better than that! Babylon was a build created by just one of those students!
What happens when two friends get together, and pretty much impromptu, create 10 videos in a few hours on 10 tech topics?
Tara Brabazon, Professor of Education and Head of the School of Teacher Education at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst invited me (Courses Director, School of Information Studies in the Faculty of Education, Charles Sturt University , Wagga Wagga) to test this question.
The result was the J3TJudy and Tara Talk Tech series of 10. Here we now have ten pebbles in a big digital pond – let the ripples begin….. We introduce the J3T series here for you.
You will find the full series under the following topics:
J3T1 Email and the digital glut
Judy and Tara reveal strategies to manage the information glut. How do we control email? How do we stop email controlling us?
J3T2 Information Organization
Judy and Tara talk about how to manage information. How do students avoid plagiarism? How can software help to organize our ideas and sources?
J3T3 Managing Digital Lives
Judy and Tara explore how to differentiate our digital lives. How do we separate private and professional roles, on and offline? How is our understanding of privacy transforming?
J3T4 Creating rich learning management systems
Judy and Tara probe the problems and strengths of learning management systems. They explore how to create rich, imaginative and powerful environments to enable student learning.
J3T5 Open Access Resources
Judy and Tara explore the changing nature of publishing, research and the resources available for teaching and learning. They probe open access journals and the open access ‘movement.’
J3T6 Fast Media
Judy and Tara explore the challenges of fast media, like Twitter and other microblogging services. While valuable, how do we control the speed of such applications to enable interpretation, analysis and reflection?
J3T7 Sound and Vision
Judy and Tara explore the nature of sonic and visual media. When are sound-only resources best deployed? How do we create reflection and interpretation on visual sources?
J3T8The Google Effect
Judy and Tara probe the impact of the read-write web and the ‘flattening’ of expertise and the discrediting of experts such as teachers and librarians. Judy also demonstrates the great value of meta-tagging.
J3T9 Are books dead
Judy and Tara asks the provocative question: Are books dead? They explore the role of platforms – analogue and digital – in carrying information to specific audiences.
J3T10 The future? Mobility
Judy and Tara discuss the future of educational technology. Particularly, they focus on mobility, through mobile phones and m-learning.
PS I did not get my mowing man to text me at the right moment in ‘Managing Digital Lives’ – what a hoot!
Something that rather belatedly crossed my professional radar has been the ‘antics’ of the Dread Pirate Roberts. I first caught up with this topic sitting in a hotel lounge in Singapore, reading the Forbes Asia September issue. Here was a fantastic challenge to the ongoing discussions of what happens online, including challenges to ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and the whole matter of appropriate global citizenship. The truth is, we must be aware that online environments can be manipulated as well as manipulative – and in that sector, drug trafficking, porn and the sex trade exemplifies everything that is destructive to society despite the so-called ‘democratic’ right of people to engage in their own peculiar passions and vices.
So it was increasingly sophisticated anonymity tools in online environments that created a bustling online narcotics market – and in this realm Dread Pirate Roberts was king of the waters, running the booming anonymous narcotics bazaar known as the Silk Road . What’s interesting to me is not only the ethical issues of drug use and marketing etc, but ALSO the communication mechanisms that are deployed online.
The Forbes reporting on the Dread Prirate said:
An entrepreneur as professionally careful as the Dread Pirate Roberts doesn’t trust instant messaging services. Forget phones or Skype. At one point during our eight-month preinterview courtship, I offer to meet him at an undisclosed location outside the United States. “Meeting in person is out of the question,” he says. “I don’t meet in person even with my closest advisors.” When I ask for his name and nationality, he’s so spooked that he refuses to answer any other questions and we lose contact for a month.
All my communications with Roberts are routed exclusively through the messaging system and forums of the website he owns and manages, the Silk Road. Accessing the site requires running the anonymity software Tor, which encrypts Web traffic and triple-bounces it among thousands of computers around the world. Like a long, blindfolded ride in the back of some guerrilla leader’s van, Tor is designed to prevent me–and anyone else–from tracking the location of Silk Road’s servers or the Dread Pirate Roberts himself. “The highest levels of government are hunting me,” says Roberts. “I can’t take any chances.”
How many of your students are aware of these unofficial and anonymous back-channels? I know I am not. Seems that neither were any of the Dread Pirate’s family.
A media report today tells us that it’s the End of the Silk Road. On Wednesday, the FBI announced that they arrested 29-year-old Ross William Ulbricht, the Silk Road’s accused administrator, in the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library.The FBI hasn’t yet revealed how it managed to track down Ulbricht in spite of his seemingly careful use of encryption and anonymity tools to protect his identity and those of his customers and vendors who visited Silk Road as often as 60,000 times per day.
My question is – which kid is going to be the next dirty ‘entrepreneur’? Which library or cafe is going to be that kid’s base for disruptive activities deployed via online environments?
Digital citizenship programs in schools? What a challenge!
I don’t have enough time for thinking these days – which is not a very good thing.This thinking beyond ourselves is what the game of learning is all about, and how we do this is how we augment the true cognitive capacities of our minds, regardless of what technology-enhanced sphere that thinking takes us into.
I see so much happening in school and higher education that is encouraging – not the least being the passion that individual ‘teachers’ as learners bring to the daily interaction of augmenting the cognitive interactions of many minds.
This is what makes learning special.We’ve had this extraordinary trajectory happening as lead speakers ‘bag out’ the industrial model of schooling, introducing ‘new’ ideas, tools, or learning designs. Everything in the past was NOT all bad – if it was we would still be in caves!
Oh I do not dispute the need for change, but I do dispute the passion with which educators get onto the latest bandwagon. First it was the internet, then it was the ICT imperative, then it was computers, then it was laptops, then it was BYOD and mobile devices – like any of this was a curative for poor thinking, poor inspiration, poor learning.
So for me today it’s the MOOC hype. While the MOOC hype continues to grow, lets not confuse mass attendance, choice, access to instructors outside our physical domains, or online platforms for informal courses as being ‘new’. Society has always had answers to the ‘informal’ learning needs of groups of people, and at times these spaces merge into more structured or formal forms of learning. Socrates challenged his listeners – so do MOOCs – if they have a ‘socrates’ equivalent to spike the thinking. But that’s not the only thing that is needed to add depth to knowledge. We have to work with the experts somewhere along the way. We have to undertake research to test ideas, look for answers, find new questions.
So I see this ‘hype’ as really an extension of ways that we augment our learning capabilities.I know that ‘augmented reality’ is used to mean something different – but is it really any different? Whether the augmentation takes place purely in our minds, as we overlay one idea upon another, or whether the augmentation takes place as we overlay a tech-inspired 3G delivered bit of information/ideas on a local view of things – the question remains – what are we learning? what is it’s deep value? how will this scaffold thinking? Will I want to seek out more?
To be honest, it’s going to take a long time before MOOC, tech, or any hybrid can replace years of cognitive engagement with a field or discipline. MOOCing will not change the world, but thinking has and does. What we should be discussing is how we work with information and knowledge to build the capacity of our society to reach the right answers, generation after generation, in order to further the endeavours of mankind. This is why I get angry when thought leaders simply dismiss the industrial model of schooling – without first acknowledging the valuable elements that were there which we need to retrieve. Building upon foundations is a stronger metaphor for me than burning Rome. We wouldn’t be able to do what we can today if it was all bad! Thank you Tim Berners-Lee for putting the human need ahead of your pocket!
This is where technology fits in – not BYOD or ipads or pulling down the walls for massive sized classrooms for free play with technology. When technology makes it possible to communicate swiftly, search and acquire information and research effectively, leverage computational thinking, and come up with better ideas or answers – then we are making sense of ICT, e-learning, technology, or whatever you want to call it.
MOOCs are just the new water cooler. PLANE and augmented PD initiatives are just the new staff room for peer coaching. Face 2 Face conferences and online gatherings are all great ways to inspire and connect. Augmented reality and virtual worlds are new interfaces for encouraging growth and personal cognitive development. Kids understand this – that’s why they rush into Minecraft!
None of them replaces quality and depth in discipline learning.We’re committed to learning. Let’s not pretend that dedicated teaching is lessened by lack of access to technology. Let’s not pretend that poor teaching is ameliorated by tech. Until I can plug a USB directly into your mind, it’s the cognitive wheels that need to turn. I can inspire you by drawing in the sand, or giving you a book that takes you to new ideas. Or I can give you an App.
No more hype for me. Sorry for the rant – this interaction with inspirational friends is what got me thinking!
Where do I begin? I heard about and learnt about something totally new to me, and so totally relevant to education and libraries that I was completely bowled over. We have the next disruptive technology here, now, in the hands of ….people!
The practice of hacking is going mainstream and creating good. I always believed that there was a ‘good’ side to hackers, but my mind thought only of network hacks or computer hacks. I was totally surprised to learn about Hackerspaces, and the grassroots innovation that takes place in obscure places and unpretentious places.
Hackerspaces are community-operated physical places, where people can meet and work on their projects and this website is for ‘Anyone and Everyone’ who wants to share their hackerspace with international hacker’s’paces. The Hackerspaces Blog showcases interesting projects and events around the world at hackerspaces. Weird and wonderful things are constructed in hackerspaces. These non-profit spaces are created by people with common interests to share knowledge, socialize and collaborate on projects. Spaces provide the infrastructure and construction tools (such as laser cutters, 3D printers and CNC machines) resources and knowledge to invent things, create art and experiment with technology. Open to the outside world on a (semi)regular basis, always Tuesday.
Hundreds of these communities are found all over the world.
Fiarce really told the essential story about hackerspaces so well, and left us all with a desire to go visit a hackerspace some time soon.
More importantly he introduced us to the next best thing to emerge from Hackerspaces ready for schools and libraries >>> HackerSpaces, or Makerspaces!
There are few places that currently provide community access to new, innovative creation technology like 3D printers. These spaces, known as Fabrication Labs (fab labs), Hackerspaces, and Tech Shops, share common goals: collaboration and ‘making.’ They exist to give their specific communities the ability to ‘make’ through sharing knowledge and skills. They provide the technology necessary to make almost anything.
Public Libraries + Hackerspaces. Brilliant.
And yet another reason why public libraries—and public librarians—are an essential part of a free society, fostering the kind of innovative, productive, creative, healthy, expansive culture worth a good chest thump. Not only is it about leveling the playing field, making resources available for all, but also about nurturing the potential of the Next.
Libraries are reinventing themselves for a digital age, with a small but growing number looking to include hackerspaces (a.k.a. makerspaces), complete with 3-D printers. There is a certain poetry to it: As physical books transform into bits and bytes, information—computer files—become tangible objects, printed on a MakerBot.
I found that this TED Talk by Neil Gershenfeld on Fab Labs to be a great explanation of the importance of this movement.
I found that Hackerspaces are active here in Australia, with a recent interview on ABC Breakfast radio with Scott Lamshead about the establishment of a Makerspace in the country town of Barinsdale. The Robots and Dinosaurs Hackerspace meets right here in Sydney and offers a communal space where geeks and artists brainstorm ideas, play games, work on collaborative projects, and share the cost of some great tools.
They’re everywhere and I didn’t know about them! I need to visit one, but need a friend to come along for moral support!
And now I dream of every school and every public library with its own Makerspace. Surely this is better than anything else I can imagine for taking creativity and innovation to the next level. Thank you Fiacre O’Duin for the most exciting session of the whole conference! Pick up the notes and loads of information to learn more.
If you want to start one…let me know. I want to be there to help you and to see what happens!