I was thinking the other day, always a dangerous idea, about the redefining roles of the “teacher” (or instructor or professor, to me these are all people who do a similar job, just in a different manner sometimes). If the ownership of knowledge is becoming a way of the past, what happens to the really good teachers who have a narrative that typically resonates with the students? Are those narratives disappearing? Chances are, no, those narratives are changing, but not disappearing. Maybe the narrative is what one pays for in the future of education. Maybe that’s where education makes it’s money in the future – by making the teacher the celebrity to be consumed based on how popular/interesting/insightful they are. Make the information free but keep the interpretation and way it’s delivered behind the wall. Maybe.

Google Jumping the Shark?

I read this article about Google courtesy of the Wall Street Journal – frankly I’m surprised by this action. Google wants to leverage their position as premiere search engine by getting Internet Service Providers to give them priority – a fast lane – on the information superhighway (how’s that for an antiquated phrase?). Clearly, this is not the most neutral position a company can take. If this practise were to become commonplace it would be easy to see that this could lead to a multi-tiered system, where voices who have been empowered through the internet (most recently through social networking sites like YouTube) are then further disadvantaged again, as the individual loses their equal footing to media giants again.

New Job, Old Tasks

Ah, yes, the post-semester lull – everyone is busy marking (including me) and I’ve had a ton of rewrites to complete my work for the facilitation course I’ve been taking. Finally, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I also was in the process of changing jobs, which officially occurs next Monday. I’ll be still working within e-learning, just no longer limited to second language learners and language in general. It’s a step up in my opinion. I’ve talked to them about revamping their blog, and working on some e-learning evangelical stuff. Also I’m hoping we can make some Wii Remote Interactive Screens.

I also want to create a Wii Theremin originally seen through Boing Boing, if I can at home.

Of course, there’s going to be some roadblocks. IT may be reluctant to put the software behind this on their image. The handling of creating many of these infrared/UV pens will be unknown (who’s responsible for this?). There’s going to be some issues I’m sure. And then there’s always application of such a technology. I can think of using it as an illustration tool to highlight an idea on a powerpoint, or in demonstration of an AutoCAD function. Beyond that, it’s still a cool cool toy.

So if this blog becomes a little less frequently updated, I apologize. I didn’t intend to continue to post here post CCK08. Now that I am though, it’s maybe a nice little way to stay in touch with some of those folks (which is part of the reason I took the course).

A Question Posed…

I was thinking on the walk home last night about how I could change my Searching The Internet Effectively course so that it might have more impact. Currently it’s a fairly straight forward deal – lecture for one hour, then give students class time to complete an exercise which I will help them with over the next two hours.  Most students choose to leave after the lecture and complete the work at home, or another place. The last question on the last exercise asks students to factor in everything they know at this point, and search for something that is related to searching and outline this in a word document with evaluations of the websites they’ve found – sort of an annotated bibliography. Then there’s an exam, which is mandatory.

This course is far too straight forward for my tastes. I think I’d like to keep the weekly worksheets as an exercise, but make the markable stuff in a wiki. I was thinking each student wiki account would also allow the student to journal their searching terms, perhaps on an account info page that the student would cut and paste search terms into so that I was sure of the technical aspect of searching was covered.

Anyone out there mark contributions to a wiki other than this one? How would such a beast exist? I’d break it down to deal with content (is it a good website?), form (how it was discovered),  editing (did they revisit and revise content?)… Frankly I’m a pessimist, and what happens if the students reject this sort of (in my institution anyway) radical idea?

Bruce Sterling about Mobililty and the Poor

I lost this link a while ago. It’s Bruce Sterling talking about (among other things) the emancipatory power of the cell phone. I think that it’s something that I want to keep in mind, because not only is it great globally and socially for a bunch of reasons, but it’s a really interesting thing about e-learning. Will education institutions take the bull by the horns and leverage their knowledge to provide classes and self directed learning over cell phone technology for a small fee? For instance, in the not so far off future, it would be great to have someone take a picture of a sign, have the phone-cam OCR it, access a translator, and tell you if this is the store that you intended to go to, or what’s the description of that dish that looks good in the window… Language training could occur over cell phones – type in what you want to say at the end of the two hour train ride to Shenzen, and have the program teach you how to say it in Cantonese, Mandarin and use the cell phone microphone to perfect your accent.

Reflections on The Future and Research – Week 12

CCK08 – I missed the Friday session last week, and the review of it is one that I’m sad I missed. It’s a huge relief to have it over. In the future I hope that courses in this reality we go in a couple of slightly different ways.

The Daily – you need some sort of central location to allow people to sift through the vast array of materials before they can select their aggregation of feeds.

Moodle – I would not use it next time. Strongly suggest blogs, and e-mail a listserv (the Daily listserv?) to announce your blog.

Emotionality – Stephen makes a point about emotions and motivation at 9 minutes or so in the wrap up, and how the student should be responsible enough, and intellectual enough, to disavow those emotions. I don’t think that’s right, or even just. I would hope that someone in my peer group would think of the consequences of their actions, and how it might have an effect on others. I would’ve thought that Stephen would consider another’s emotions, and the emotionality of learning – this stuff isn’t as dispassionate as that. Learning is confusing, frustrating, angering, reflecting… It’s part of the role of a facilitator to consider the emotions of the participants. I don’t know if there’s anything else than that.

Twitter – I never really got this technology. I’m into depth of understanding. I don’t think this provides it. I have an account, follow a few people… but largely I’m not that interested in twitter.

CCK08 Final Piece

CCK08 – Ahhh, the culminating piece of learning. Here’s a synthesis of my connections in the moodle forum that raises a few questions on the nature of memory in a world where everything is recorded (such as the forum). I’ve found I’ve forgotten to remember what was discussed, much less with whom and why. Here’s a 3 minute Flash based presentation about that, created in Camtasia and recorded in my home studio on a Korg D888 multitrack recorder and a sublime Audio Technica AT2020 (really, a great mic at around $125).