This is an additional article that has spun off from Nick Carr's piece in The Atlantic Monthly, Is Google Making Us Stupid? (my post here) While I think James Bowman has done a great job with this article, I also think that Carr's article is important in that it has forced us to think more deeply about the issue of what we do.
Bowman's article is really a dissection of the book which Carr used as a key resource in his article - Bauerlein's "The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future".
I think what Bowman does so well is to establish a larger, richer context for Bauerlein's book. Locating both it and the author's place in a cultural context that has at times attacked the idea of the same "culture" that Bauerlein laments the demise of at the hands of YouTube, MySpace, etc.
Nicely done and this should become, along with Kuhlmann's piece, a canonical referent point in looking deeply about what we do as an industry concerned with 'learning" and at least tangentially, 'education."
**As an aside, I love the new editing UI in Typepad...good job guys!
So IBM is releasing something called OpusUna (which means something like "work as one"); "OpusUna enables participants to collaborate and communicate from within the same browser space, incorporating widgets, audio, and video cameras to display themselves on the screen. IBM envisions, for example, collaboration on patient care via sharing of medical images. Financial traders also could collaborate from around the world."
Right now I guess its only working in Safari...??
Anybody know any good change management or org dev conferences? I think I really need to hit some of those to see if our thinking about organizations and how they function is keeping anything close to the pace of tech advances....
How about "Second Life gets its suit on!"? Or..."Hey, Its take your virtual world to work day!"? Er..."Your avatar got so drunk at the holiday party...?" Help me out here.
What we have are multiple channels (Virtual World News, Massively), including official ones from River Runs Red and Linden Lab, bringing us the news that Immersive Workspaces 2.0 has launched. This news has a couple of important points I think.
First, it links Second Life (SL) with Immersive Workspaces 2.0 - a 2D environment that integrates tools such as screen-sharing, media sharing, note taking, polls, room scheduling and more that businesses will easily be able to see the utility in.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, this moves Linden a step closer to a true, behind-the-firewall solution.While the articles do indicate that this solution allows an enterprise to set up a virtual space that is not connected to the main SL grid in anyway - that's not the same as having an instance running behind the wall. A well-played move is that Rivers Run Red has explained "that if customers buy into IWS 2.0, upgrades toward that end down the line will be included. That future proofing is part of the ROI that Rivers is pushing."
The only lingering doubt I have is one related to design. As I watched the video, I kept asking myself "what on earth do I need the 3D for?" I still think there is a design gap here. I mean honestly, we still have people putting a "Next" button in the lower right-hand corner of page-turning HTML courses and now we want to go 3D? There is a place for this...but please, let's think it through first.
"scheduled "courses" that run for 6 weeks and cover university-level topics. Learning takes place in small groups of 8-14 students. Each course package contains the syllabus, study materials and a schedule. See this page for more detail on what it is like to learn in a P2PU course. Most materials are stored on other servers and linked to - the P2PU does not want to become a content repository. Once they have been designed, course packages can easily be duplicated. This way, one structured set of materials can spawn many learning communities."
Now I'm thinking a couple of things...first...having just come from the SCORM 2.0 workshop, this kind of model really tears at existing learning industry biz models doesn't it? Second, I like the small groups, the ability to copy and distribute the packages...but then comes this...
"Courses are designed by someone with expert knowledge, a "sense-maker", and facilitated by a "class tutors" who is familiar with the content, and can support the group of students. Sense-makers identify the key readings, pose the big questions, and structure the content. For sense-makers the P2PU offers an opportunity to do what they feel passionately about - share knowledge. Tutors could be graduate students or amateurs with expertise in a particular field. They seek out a sense-maker to develop a course, and do most of the preparation work. Once the course starts, the tutors act as guides, facilitate discussions, answer questions, and providing feedback."
And this is where George argues (and where I agree) that the model starts to fall back on the old ways. "Sense-Makers"? Really? First, sounds a bit like "Learning Shaman" or something but really feels like "teacher" or instructional designer. If the intent is to establish a peer-to-peer university (yes, just like George says - we centralize accreditation) then wouldn't sense-makers just be the peers? Wouldn't you seek out your own "sense"? Who establishes the credentials of the sense-makers? Shouldn't the community?
I'll close for now but I do want to say that I think P2PU is onto something here (and its good to see David Wiley on their Advisory Board) and I applaud their getting to this point...I just want to urge them to put out more. ;-)
Kongregate, my favorite place for demonstrating the endless variety of Flash-based game potential (currently 8,334 free games), is now hosting a tutorial section designed to teach you how to build Flash-based games.
They provide a side-scrolling game called "Shoot!"...so you play the game, then you download the source code, and off you go. Currently they have three tutorials up with 6 more in the pipe.
I love this - how smart is Kongregate being?
Training as a competitive advantage....
"IBM, which expects to unveil better-than-expected quarterly figures, has announced it will spend some of its cash on incentives to encourage some of its largest partners to invest more in training and other areas. On Wednesday, the company introduced a scheme to help its business partners who are cooperating on its New Enterprise Data Center strategy. The scheme involves incentives for IBM partners to improve their knowledge in three specific areas: virtualization and consolidation; energy efficiency; and business resiliency."
Imagine...using your own internal money to train your customers to use your systems and push technology forward...
Take a gander at this part of InSTEDD's mission: "InSTEDD works with universities, corporations, international health organizations, humanitarian NGOs and communities. Together, we work to identify or craft and then field test technologies for better data collection and analysis, more efficient communications, and more effective response. InSTEDD will, for example, be adapting new social networking capabilities for humanitarian coordination, and testing inflatable satellite dishes able to be carried in a backpack.
InSTEDD’s mission is to discover, develop, test, deploy and share information about technologies that buy critical time. Through better disease detection and response times, outbreaks can be contained and possibly prevented. Through better disaster response, more lives can be saved. Through collaboration better answers can be found."
...wow...makes you wonder...if people like this can dream big about the impact that technology could have on responding to disasters - can we dream bigger about what learning can do?
We are on the brink of the launch of the one conference I really want to go to but probably never will. This isn't to say that I want to go this conference more than any other but rather that I can't imagine ever using my own money or getting an employer to pay the $3500 registration fee. One of the great ironies is that the theme for this year's Pop!Tech is "Scarcity and Abundance."
Really? I need to know more about how this is put together...the site says "Since its earliest days more than ten years ago,
Pop!Tech has grown almost entirely through the contributions of a
community of volunteers who donate their time, expertise and energy to
help convene this unique gathering. Pop!Tech is a true labor of love:
the speakers and most of the organizers are unpaid, and the
organization itself is a not-for-profit." Under the category of 'a little knowledge being a dangerous thing' ...I just have to ask...what in the world then costs $3500 per head?
I will say this....Pop!Tech is brilliantly free with its content. You can watch a huge range of Pop!Casts here. While watching is great, the site also extols the virtues of being there.."The breathtaking content, beautiful setting, intimate scale, and informal tone make Pop!Tech an experience like no other. At the end, you’ll leave with dozens of new ideas, a better sense of where the world is headed, a new network of relationships and a lasting inspiration to create a better world."
So in the end, I am left to my jealousy and to wonder...what must those 3 days be like in Camden?