Learning Technology jottings at Goldsmiths

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Archive for November 2009

Collaborative online note-taking

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Wirelessly-connected audience members collaboratively take notes on presentations, using Google Wave.

I’m still wondering what this divided attention implies for the way presenters structure their presentation. Should it become less dense? Should there be pauses to allow the note-takers to catch up? I seem to remember a post by Howard Rheingold in which he and his students negotiated periods of listening and periods of online networking during his sessions, but I can’t find it…

(I have some Google Wave invitations going if anybody want one.)

HT Steven Downes.


Written by Mira Vogel

November 24, 2009 at 12:01

JISC publishes funding roadmap for 2009/10

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(JISC is an advisory committee to the funding councils. It looks after the ICT infrastructure of the post-compulsory education sector. It is also the funding body for a lot of project work e.g. digital preservation, repositories, interoperability, and research into technology-enhanced learning and teaching. It places an emphasis on innovation and dissemination.)

Press Release

JISC publishes funding roadmap for 2009/2010

UK education is to benefit from over £7 million in grants and funding
opportunities, as JISC launches its investment plan for the academic year

Over the next nine months JISC will be investing in a range of projects across
universities and colleges to support innovation in research, teaching and
learning to aid the management of institutions. Projects will range from 12
months to three years in duration.

Among the areas JISC will be funding are:
• Cloud computing for research
• Learning and teaching innovation grants
• Business modelling and sustainability for online content and
collections to develop best practice
• A ‘digipedia’ prototype to bring together resources, standards,
policies, case studies, best practise and expertise on the digital
content lifecycle
• Shared best practice for university researchers working with
business and community groups
• Access and identity management

Alice Colban, head of finance at JISC says, “We fund projects across England,
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland through grant funding opportunities to
universities and colleges.

“In 2008/09 JISC funded over 300 projects across 24 programmes and during
this academic year JISC will invest over £7 million to advance the innovative
use of digital technologies in UK colleges and universities. Grants vary from
£20,000 to over £1 million, which are allocated through a bidding process.”

Sarah Sherman, Bloomsbury Learning Environment Service Manager for the
Bloomsbury Colleges explains the difference that being part of a JISC project
made for her consortium, “The projects we have been involved with enabled
people to take a simple step forward in trying something new with

“With JISC funding we were able to employ a full time project officer to work
with all six colleges encouraging collaboration across the entire consortium.
The shared funding meant that the benefits of the project were felt by a
wider number of people than would have been possible if a single institution
was funded,” she added.

The Millon+ group report ‘From Inputs to Impact: A Study of the Impact of
Jisc Funding on Universities’, states that even relatively modest awards of
£30,000 can have a ‘profound impact’ and that 44 per cent of the universities
in the study have had unanticipated benefits from JISC funding.

View the funding roadmaps at:

Access the JISC guide to bidding:

Sign up to JISC Announce to receive funding calls. Email
jiscmail@jiscmail.ac.uk with your first name, last name and include ‘join jisc-
announce’ in the subject heading.

Read the Million+ report at:

Written by Mira Vogel

November 13, 2009 at 16:39

Posted in funding, project

Tagged with

Why I mistrust social without personal

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I fret about this these days:

“Lastly, my heart rolled over at the conversation about online social networking, which was consonant with everything else I’ve been hearing on the subject. I blog and I read an immense amount of ‘user-generated content’ – ideas, entire online arguments, artworks – but must I Facebook under my actual name to be a viable bet for my next employer?  Do we have to wear our lives on our sleeves online, or risk seeming one-dimensional? Is there any room for individuals to be friendly, civil, responsible, cooperative, without demonstrating it in a social network? Can we keep ourselves to ourselves if we want to, or will we discover that we have excluded ourselves because the rules have changed? Disturbed by the idea that I might have to come out behind all my social software aliases, and perform some career-oriented identities. This is not my idea of authentic. I don’t want to use my friends and colleagues as my foil. And what about the personal and professional parts of my digital identity – should I give in to the forces which are pushing them into each other? It reminds me of a commission by the Soviet constructivist artist Rodchenko, a worker’s recreation centre. You could busy yourself in a vast variety of pursuits as long as you weren’t doing them alone.”

There’s an alternative term for ‘social media’: the ‘live web’, and it’s the suggestion of Doc Searls (wondering what Doc is short for), Berkman academic and winner  of the Google / O’Reilly Open Source Award for Best Communicator. He argues, in a nutshell that over-attention to the social web, as things stand, interferes with any efforts to empower individuals natively because currently personal aspects of our online lives are assumed to follow from social aspects, rather than the other way round. This is going to take me some thinking out, from a teaching and learning context. I’m thinking Argyris on organisational learning, and Schon’s reflective practitioner. Double-loop learning involves not merely learning how to do something, but also examining and possibly adapting the premises of the task or question. This would depend on a neutral, adaptable environment. But as Searls points out, online environments are rarely ours; facebook wants to keep me inside it so it can show me adverts; your iPhone can turn itself into a brick if Apple catches you hacking it.

Much more thinking to do. Meanwhile:

“Here’s my other problem with “social media” as it shows up in too many of the 103 million results it currently brings up on Google: as a concept (if not as a practice) it subordinates the personal.

Computers are personal now. So are phones. So, fundamentally, is everything each of us does. It took decades to pry computing out of central control and make it personal. We’re in the middle of doing the same with telephony — and everything else we can do on a hand-held device.

Personal and social go hand-in-hand, but the latter builds on the former.

Today in the digital world we still have very few personal tools that work only for us, are under personal control, are NEA, and are not provided as a grace of some company or other. (If you can only get it from somebody site, it ain’t personal.) That’s why I bring up email, blogging, podcasting and instant messaging. Yes, there are plenty of impersonal services involved in all of them, but those services don’t own the category. We can swap them out. They are, as the economists say, substitutable.

But we’re not looking at the personal frontier because the social one gets all the attention — and the investment money as well.

Markets are built on the individuals we call customers. They’re where the ideas, the conversations, the intentions (to buy, to converse, to relate) and the money all start. Each of us, as individuals, are the natural points of integration of our own data — and of origination about what gets done with it.

Individually-empowered customers are the ultimate greenfield for business and culture. Starting with the social keeps us from working on empowering individuals natively. That most of the social action is in silos and pipes of hot and/or giant companies slows things down even more. They may look impressive now, but they are a drag on the future.”

The link again.

Via Stephen Downes.

Written by Mira Vogel

November 13, 2009 at 16:34

Posted in social networking

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HE Consumer revolution? Be careful what you wish for

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The UK Government Department for Business, Innovations and Skills, within which responsibility for universities falls, has released a new framework (strategic direction) document for Higher Education. It’s called ‘Higher Ambitions‘. The emphasis is on competition, markets and students as consumers.

I have little awareness of alternative models for funding higher education and to be honest, you have to look pretty hard.  But Wes Streeting (NUS President) makes sense when he responds, “be careful what you wish for“.

Written by Mira Vogel

November 4, 2009 at 13:08

Posted in GLEU

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