TEL Away Day and SocialLearn

The TEL group (Technology Enhanced Learning) of the Institute of Educational Technology is gathered at the Accenture Conference Venue  today discussing the ways in which the use of social network technologies could be part of our communication strategy and work plan. The programme for the day is enriched by a super fresh  talk about SocialLearn by Martin Weller.

Many technologies have been discussed: NING, Wet Paint, Edupunk, OU iTunesU, YouTube, Twitter and list goes on and on.  TEL is suggesting these are used for working and teaching purposes. Essentially, in a group discussion we enquired how these tools can be useful for teaching and what advantage they bring to the students.

Then, Martin Weller gave a presentation on SocialLearn:Use whatever tool you like, bring all your learn together in one place! A market place to sell and share learning and content. Play, Learn, Share. SocialLearn: You only learn by doing it.

Some of the tools in SocialLearn are: MicroLearner, Camtasia, 2Learner, Cohere, Twittearth, Cloudworks, Facebook, OpenLearn, 43 things, Remember the milk. Other applications to write to teh API: YouTUbe, GoogleDocs, etc.

An Ecosystem of Learning!

Looking forward to it! Release date: July 2008 for Beta version


The Discourses of OERs: how flat is this world?

 This paper was presented at the Open Education Conference, Utah State University, September 2007

 The Discourses of OERs: how flat is this world?

Power point slides

Abstract:  This paper discusses the provision of open educational resources, drawing on the concept of a ‘flat world’ (Friedman, 2005). A discourse analytical perspective (Fairclough, 2000) is used to discuss data from example OER initiatives. We enquire how flattening such initiatives are in terms of widening participation and empowering individuals through the access to knowledge.

A case-study framework for open content projects: free high school science texts and the case for continuous learning

Cynthia Jimes

By Cynthia Jimes.

Participatory research model. What sorts of technologies were already been used by them. The research tools built upon what was already in use. Interviews and email discussions with FHSS team. Survey and interviews with core volunteers. PhD studnets put together a science textbook at the university of Cape Town, to be released early 2008. It is not going to be Creative Commons . The textbooks will be printed and also made available in a website. The website of life sciences is:

They use a content authoring platform. They decided to go for a collaborative management system rather than a wiki because it is too open. There are people working on the content form many differnet parts of the world. The content assingment tovolunteers was devided into small chuncks so authors would not feel overwhelmed.

Volunteer recruitment: multiple methods of recruitiment: flyers, f2f networking, ads on facebbok and listserves. They achieved 420 volunteers from 2002 up to now. 50 are active (12%) and 10 (2%) are core. The core ones share the vision with the creators of the project. Content was created online and off-line.

Volunteers tried to have a very transparent production process and created a monthly newsletter to let people know of the developments of the project (good or bad).

The questions in my mind: are there authoring guidelines in terms of pedagogy and a carefully thought syllabus. What makes a volunteer qualify for writing the course? How is it going to be available, only on print? They decided not to use the Creative Commons license – so what type of license do they use?

The conclusion of teh study is that they try to install a culture of collaboration within the project. Some teachers want to pioneer the books with tehir students. The project leveraged community resources.


Content licensed in the GNU (GPL)

It makes me think that this is a good example of collaboration, content pulled from the users, from teachers. This is a good example of the ‘pull’ of content. This must be a really fascinating projetc, I would imagine that they had long discussios about what is it that people need. They eventually got funding for the project.

I appproached Cynthia and asked to run an interview with her, to serve as a ‘case’ to illustrate what pulling content from users would look like. She will get back to me and we are planning to do it using Flashmeeting, in the coming weeks.

The TESSA OER experience

By Freda Wolfeden & Bob Moon

There are 18 instituions involved in thsi consortium to train teachers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The TESSA Portal: South Africa Country Page.

Challenge: need to devise materials that could be easily localised and contextualised for a number of institutions. Highly structured templates for study units were devised. Each study unit was written used the auhtoring template. Particular components were identified, teh ones that would remain the same. Other components would have to be modified and adapted by other partner instituions. There 750 study units, over 2000 activities, 11.000 study hours of materials will be there on teh site. The writing involves over 100 authors and 1000 teachers testing and providing feedback on the units.

Context of in which learners will be working: most teachers will not have access to the internet, most of them do not even have eletricity. The study units can be turned into a variety of different formats. There are PDFs that can be printed out or word documents as well. Supporting dialogue and discussion for people to develop their own materials and share them is essential in the project. There is a homepage for every country involved in the project.

Content is being generated and activites are carefully thought about, especially on how they will be used. Games in the classroom are also encouraged. There will be 450.000 teachers engaging with the materials in 2008.

Framing Factors:

15 hours of study time. Ease of localisation, quality assuarance, access and take-up, portal design and organisation.

Access and take up: they are not using proprietory softwae so there is no need to worry about licenses.

They wish to build an Architecture for Teacher Development