Twitter in Plain English

26 07 2009

For those who want to know what twitter is all about, see this short intro.


Olnet workshop at the Open University

30 06 2009

Great day discussing “collaborative patterns and design for OER: new approaches to improve the design and reuse of resources”.

Agenda including links to resources used

Below is my description of the inherent design of a resource you have created.

Photos from the day

New paper: case study generalisation as a method for eliciting design patterns

19 02 2009

A preprint of my latest paper, co-authored with Yishay Mor, is now available from the TeLearn Open Archive. It’s entitled “Dealing with abstraction: case study generalisation as a method for eliciting design patterns”.  Here’s the abstract:

Developing a pattern language is a non-trivial problem. A critical requirement is a method to support pattern writers with abstraction, so as they can produce generalised patterns. In this paper, we address this issue by developing a structured process of generalisation. It is important that this process is initiated through engaging participants in identifying initial patterns, i.e. directly dealing with the ‘cold-start’ problem. We have found that short case study descriptions provide a productive ‘way into’ the process for participants. We reflect on a 1-year interdisciplinary pan-European research project involving the development of almost 30 cases and over 150 patterns. We provide example cases, detailing the process by which their associated patterns emerged. This was based on a foundation for generalisation from cases with common attributes. We discuss the merits of this approach and its implications for pattern development.

The paper will soon appear in the print edition of  Computers in Human Behavior [DOI].

Scratch Day: May 16th 2009

19 02 2009

Scratch,  from MIT Media Lab, is “a programming language for everyone”. It’s design and underpinning learning theory has much in common with projects at the LKL (e.g. WebLabs, MoPiX 2.0).  Hence, my interest in Scratch Day, ” a worldwide network of gatherings, where people will come together to meet other Scratchers, share projects and experiences, and learn more about Scratch.” We’re hoping to run the London event at the LKL. If you’re interest in taking part, contact me: n dot winters at ioe dot ac dot uk.

My talk at the CDE 2009 Conference

9 02 2009

The theme of the conference was ‘Research in Distance Education: from present findings to future agendas’. I thought it would be a good idea to talk about the implications of the integration of social media and mobile technologies for distance learning in the near-future. I framed our recent CoMo project as an exemplar of this trend. One of the key point I made was that much of the potential of social media for learning is context specific. The feedback suggested that this raises particular challenges (in particular resourcing) for the distance learning community in the design of their courses.

A quick guide to Web 2.0

3 02 2009

Some people have been asking where can I find out more about web 2.0? Here’s a quick guide:

1. Tim O’Reilly says that “users add value” and web 2.0 is the “power of connecting people in new ways”, leading to the short-hand definition: “the design of systems that get better the more people use them.” Listen to the full NPR Science Friday interview. Good examples include twitter, facebook and flickr

2. Watch Michael Wesch’s short video: The Machine is Us/ing Us

3. You’re ready to read Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 principles.

4. Learn about the social graph

5. Watch Clay Shirky’s keynote at PICNIC’08 on how “group action just became easier”

6. Some issues raised from Web 2.0 include “data should be yours to manage and do with as you please.”

7. Time to think about the future of social networks as envisioned by Charlene Li

See also: Social networks will be like air.

8. And onto a post-Web 2.0 world, (part 1, part 2) full circle to Tim O’Reilly.

ICT4D and Distance Learning: some questions?

29 01 2009

Very interesting meeting today with the DL4D folk at the London International Development Centre. The DL4D initiative “seeks to maximise the contribution of the development-related distance learning activities of LIDC’s six member Colleges (BirkbeckInstitute of EducationLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineRoyal Veterinary CollegeSchool of Oriental and African Studies, and School of Pharmacy)”.

For me, today’s discussion raised a number of pragmatic questions regarding the role of technology both to support the group and how we can use it effectively with an ICT4D framework:

* What can we do to support students who are interested in development issues?

-Easy access to all relevant course modules across the colleges. 

* How can tech help us to gain a picture of the research going on across our colleges?

– Focusing on lightweight technologies would be a ‘quick win’ (twitter)
* What is the role of ICT4D in DL4D?
– Initially for me, project specific building on what we know about local needs and contexts. Then deal with any tensions this raises.