Sunday, 10 June 2007

day 2 - setting sail into the new century?

On day 2, Prof. Wim van Petegem (KU Leuven) who is the Chair of the Coimbra Group (of which NUI Galway is a member) Learning Technology Taskforce spoke about his own internal institutional structures, and very briefly highlighted the underlying educational philosophy of Leuven which is based on 'Guided Independent Learning.' His talk complemented that of Kieran Loftus, the Director of Computer Services, who introduced and chaired the session and allowed some focus on matters of operational service provision.

In the afternoon, following a delayed flight and a nail-biting wait for a taxi, we were entertained, stimulated and enlightened by Prof. Stephen Heppell (in the photo, doing what he loves best - sailing!) and his random walk through magnificent examples of technological innovation in education, with children designing their own schools, producing their own 'TV' stations and challenging preconceived notions of success and achievement. An excellent way to round off the event, even if we did all leave realising that the university 'as is' is potentially finished if it obsesses with the "1970s industrial production model"! Stephen's contention that the last 50 years of academia have been an aberration and we need to get back to engagement, creativity, transformation and, above all, the 'community of scholars,' rather than mass programmes of bureaucratic accreditation, was thought provoking. Discuss......(not via a 1500 word essay, of course)



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Content, Context & Repositories
Several speakers suggested that content was ubiquitous on the web and that value lay in its context. Bearing this in mind should we be creating repositories? Or perhaps there should be one global repository? Any comments. Niall Watts

Iain said...

Hi. As you know we have our own fledgling repository here in Ireland (www.ndlr.ie) and there are others around the world. Some projects are looking at enabling global searches across all compliant repositories and some standards have emerged. In addition, there is an interesting project using semantic web technology to search for items that are relevant...

Mary Loftus said...

Hi Niall & Iain

It was good to meet you last week. 'Great conference Iain - complete with weather, as promised!

Yes, that notion of content being valueless is one that is still with me after last week. Stephen Heppell's version went something like:
'It [education] is not about the content anymore. Google has all the content now. It's about the process.'

Ray Land on Thursday afternoon talked about teachers creating journeys for students; creating experiences and guiding students through them.

Can these experiences and processes be captured in repositories? Or will repositories hold the building blocks of learning objects - to be assembled for each learning journey?

Mary Loftus

Fiona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fiona said...

If "context is king" then the situated nature of knowing is paramount. The utility of a space for storing digital resources that does not capture the context is certainly a problem. Also, what aspects of the context are important or relevant various individuals in various states, spaces and times is also of relevance. If there is a global reporsitory (along with all the big brother connotations of ownership that brings) I can only hope that there are localised pockets of resources that have adequate social and contextual references to this material for it to be of use to others. Such a tapestry of meaning is unlikely to lie in the metadata, taxonomy or ontology, but rather in people making references and sense of digital resources in a variety of other ways, such as in their blogs, their emails, and in communication with others, in general.

Iain said...

good point Fiona..depends on the nature of these repositories. I was on a videoconf meeting this morning which was talking about some of these issues in the context of open content and how that it can be tagged to handle context of use. There are some interesting possibilities, particularly if these things are built bottom up through communities of practitioners, in other words user-generated, practice shared, contextually tagged.

Fiona said...

I'm still not sold on the "contextually tagged" aspect. The IEEE LOM doesn't capture any information on usage, nor the IMS Content Packaging, or IMS Simple Sequencing metadata specifications. The IMS Learning Design specification attempted to solve this, but became too prescriptive. I still think the social context of use is not captured by many of the metadata schemas used in many of these repositories- which may explain the popularity of other more social and less controlled web 2.0 tools, such as youtube, bliptv, flickr and even some social networking sites, like Orkut, etc.

Iain said...

that;s what I was meaning by the context tagging not metadata schemas as such,one of the other projects I;m aware of is looking at the whole area of user generated content and sharing through social netowrking tools. There are sites that support description of use in free from user input and I know teachers who use those comments and descriptions to help select materials, etc.

Anyway, sounds like plenty of scope for another PhD - or three!

Iain said...

I guess we can take some of the key points raised in the comments section as potential posts later on perhaps asking someone appropriate to write a response/mini-article.

For the moment, let's move from repositories per se and ask if there are any other points thrown up by Stephen's talk in particular Certainly a lot of folk have chatted to me about its implications for what we do in our routine practice in universities - should we "rip it up and start again"? Or what alternative approaches can we take, other than throwing away the crutch of Powerpoint?

And just for fun, what can we do for large enrolment groups ie for modules/courses on which several hundred students are enrolled - that could be really exciting.