time for an unworkshop

30 01 2006

over the past month i’ve been working with jay cross to develop a online course to help workplace learning professionals get comfortable with the new technologies emerging on the internet and their application in workplace learning situations. blogs, wikis, and web 2.0 tools for learning is an "unworkshop."

what’s an unworkshop you ask?  an unworkshop is an online, personalized learning experience that combines the formal learning aspects of synchronous webinars, with real life, hands-on experiences, and individualized coaching in support of each learner.

by the end of the unworkshop, you will:

  • Be the author of your own live blog
  • Create a wiki to share with your colleagues
  • Know how to take advantage of RSS for educational purposes
  • Understand the principles underlying Web2.0 technologies.

during the last two weeks of february, jay and i will run the beta version the workshop.  if you’d like to learn more about what we are doing, go to the application form and let us know if you’d like to be a part of the beta or have us inform you when we are ready to launch the full production courses after the beta.

Please feel free to pass along this information to any colleagues or employees who you think would like to get up to speed with the power of web 2.0.

a blog with no capital letters (almost)

27 01 2006

it’s been a long while since i explained the format of the text on eelearning.  i’ve now added this to my about page but thought i’d post it as well.

when i signed up with typepad two years ago, i wanted to call this blog, simply and boringly, elearning.  however, that name was already taken.*  so in thinking of another name i came up with Eecummingseelearning.  i figured it’d be fun and i draw on the spirit of e e cummings whose poetry and life i’ve admire since i was 10 or so.

i love his willingness to ignore even taunt the rules of the language and poetry.  he innovated to create new ways of making meaning that were powerful and paradigm shifting.  his defiance wasn’t one of ignorance, though.   he thoroughly knew the rules and used them in the rest of his life. 

in many ways, his example was one of the influences on me to never accept the status quo as a given, to look for new ways of creating meaning,  and having the willingness to take the risk of standing out due to not conforming.  All good traits to deal with the fast paced, flattened world we live in today.

what i didn’t expect was what i would gain from the experience.  it’s caused me to change, ever so slightly, the way i move words from brain to fingers.  learning to not capitalize the first person singular or the first word of a sentence was almost painful at first.  i also had to remind myself everytime that i was writing for eelearning and, thus had to change the way i conceptualized the project before me.  finally it’s made me a better proofreader (not perfect mind you, but better.)

so my decision to drop all capital letters in this blog is a tribute to the man who had a great influence on me starting 35 years ago.  e e learning honors edward estlin cummings.

* <i>Interestingly, the person who had/had elearning.typepad.com is Ankush Gupta who lives and works in Mumbai, India.  Ankush became a member of the Learning Circuits Blog team last summer as our serendipitous relationship grows!</i>


27 01 2006

there is a great discussion over at the connectivism blog about the terms  web 2.0, teaching 2.0, and learning 2.0.  in my mind, george siemens is one of the true though leaders in education today.  check connectivism out.  here is my two cents in the 2.0 discussion.

as a label and a concept web2.0 makes good sense to me.  one, it’s technology.  technology uses a versioning approach.  two, it’s a huge shift in technology that is happening and not just in the learning arena.

teaching 2.0 makes some sense, but i worry that too many instructors will cling to the old ways and methods til the bitter end.  some of those will give mouth service to web2.0 technologies (use a wiki to write your term paper, but make sure it’s no more than 20 pages long and double spaced when you turn it in.  doh!)  to me teaching 2.0 would include the abolition of linear term papers, team learning (including transuniversity even transnational teams) becoming superior to individual knowledge aggregation, plagerism disappearing as a concept (because citations would be in the metadata of the concepts), and student won’t gain admission to a school but will be awarded an apprenticeship with a department.  then you’re talking something equivalent to web2.0.

as for learning 2.0  i just think the term is so limiting in concept to what truly in happening.  are "new ways" of learning

Read the rest of this entry »

this post rocks

23 01 2006

i was just having fun looking at the 2005 webblog winners and came across this fabulous bit of satire by tony pierce at busblog that won the bloggie for best article about blog.   howto blog.  a couple of my favorite points:

#4 – cuss like a sailor.

#12 – link like crazy. link anyone who links you, link your favorites, link your friends. dont be a prude. linking is what seperates bloggers from apes. and especially link if you’re trying to prove a point and someone else said it first. it lends credibility even if youre full of shit.

#20 – when in doubt review something. theres not enough reviews on blogs. review a movie you just saw, a tv show, a cd, a kiss you just got, a restaurant, a hike you just took, anything.

congrats tony. bloggie well earned!

good, i’m not the only one

22 01 2006

after my post on friday regarding the look of web sites and a=services in 2006, i got a bit bummed when i reflected on the fact that one web 2.0 technology has truly baffled me – ning.  i just didn’t get the value.  but then as if to my rescue, michael arrington posts ning – r.i.p.? at Techcrunch.

he suggests that ning’s day’s are numbered because the site just isn’t useable.  the concept is you take some webservices from here, some tags from there, oh and why not, a google map or two.  you mash them together (hence the category name – mash-ups.   get it?) to create an entirely new web service.  that’s a cool idea, but ning ain’t it according to arrington. 

the main point of his criticism is that ning is not written for the common web user.  from my experience with it, and from the comments being posted in response to the post, even good techies find it confusing and unworkable.  it’s a web service  written by programmers for programmers.

what’s so wonderfully web 2.0 about this is that one day later, a reader of techcrunch posts an emails ning users received from ning ceo and co-founder, gina bianchini announcing changes that answer some of arrington’s  concerns.

however, even in the "soon to come" section of her email, bianchini provides no solution to how or why the average dick or jane would care about using ning or the web services produced by using it.  even after the upgrades, ning remains programmers programming for programmers.  the change is, i suppose, it’s easier for them to do it now.

are you 2.0?

20 01 2006

today in zdnet.com, richard macmanus blogs his impressions of the impact web 2.0 technologies will have on websites across the internet in ’06 in his post popular elements of a 2006 web site or service.

he’s a bit over the hype being given to tagging.  while it is beneficial to users, macmanus points out that it’s "really just keywords, so there’s no reason most websites can’t utilize them more to help their users navigate." 

he sees 2006 being a big year for aggregation.  from the biggest of the big boys (yahoo!, google, microsoft) to the little guys (personal bee and newsvine) everyone will be trying to extract more value from more content.

2006, he predicts, will also be a big year for content filtering and ranking with a lot of innovation from small companies that will drive this area toward maturity.

similar to my prediction regarding blogs and wikis being integrated into various platforms this year, macmanus feels rss will be embedded into all sorts of applications.  and that makes logical sense to me. rss gains it’s real value when it is in context of a project or a collection of resources on a particular subject.

and finally, he predicts a rocky legality ensnared year for mash-ups over content rights management issues.

from my perspective, it would seem to me that he’s pretty much right on these issues, i thought it interesting that he left blogs and wikis off his list.  having just starting reading macmanus’ blog, i will confess that i’m not up to speed with all his opinions.  blogs and wikis may just be yesterday’s news for him.

he also skips over the read/write web, social networking platforms, and workflow collaboration tools.    with tools like writely, linkedin, and basecamp leading the way, these areas are significant influences on the direction new innovations and maturing technologies will trend. 

i disagree with him on aggregation.  i’m not sure that it’s clear sailing for rss quite yet.  as syndication has moved into some mainstream tools – primarily browsers so far – or become morphed in to "mega-rss" tools (mysyndicaat and mysmartchannels) i’ve found the applications a bit more confusing than helpful.  on the other hand, a tool like suprglu does show what’s possible.

despite these somewhat minor growing pains, i agree with macmanus that 2006 will see the continued adoption of web 2.0 technologies. and that’s a good thing!

Read the rest of this entry »

and the winner is …….

13 01 2006


i’ve been looking at bookmark sites and finally decided to go with blinklist over del.icio.us .  del.icio.us has some very strong features.  in my mind that they have more people currently and a better intergration with firefox is a positive for me.  but blinklist has better social interaction tools and finally won me over with their import tool.  i didn’t have a clue that I had 495 bookmarks!  i knew i had alot but almost 500!  wow!  i would have never had gotten them all loaded into del.icio.us. 

blinklist has a very simple rss interface to create lists to put on my blogs or where ever i might want to do so.  i can even share them with friends by creating a list and emailing it to them right from blinklist. finally there is a community of users froming at blinklist.  del.icio.us is just a nice tool.

i’m in the process of tagging my bookmarks and well take my blinklist public over the weekend.