The VLE is Dead

August 24, 2009

Coming soon…

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Oh, very nice, new Nokia Laptop

August 24, 2009

This looks very nice. The Nokia Booklet 3G.

Wonder how much it will be? Probably tied into a contract of some kind.

After more than 25 years as a pioneer and leader in the mobile industry, Nokia will bring its rich mobility heritage and knowledge to the PC world with the new, Windows based, Nokia Booklet 3G.

Powered by the efficient Intel Atom processor, the Nokia Booklet 3G delivers impressive performance with up to 12 hours of battery life, enabling people to leave their power cable behind and still be connected and productive. Delivering the rich experience of a full-function PC inside an ultra-portable aluminum chassis, the new mini-laptop weighs 1.25 kilograms, measures slightly more than two centimeters thin, and has the features one would expect from the world’s leading mobile device manufacturer.  A broad range of connectivity options – including 3G/ HSPA and Wi-Fi – gives consumers high speed access to the Internet, including Nokia’s broad suite of Ovi services, and allows them to make the most of every moment and every opportunity.

The mini-laptop also comes with an HDMI port for HD video out, a front facing camera for video calling, integrated Bluetooth and an easily accessible SD card reader. Other premium features include the 10-inch glass HD ready display and integrated A-GPS which, working with the Ovi Maps gadget, can pinpoint your position in seconds and open up access for a truly personal maps experience. The Nokia Booklet 3G also brings a number of other rich Ovi experiences to life, whether its access and playback of millions of tracks through the Nokia Music Store, or using Ovi Suite to sync seamlessly from your Nokia smartphone, to your mini-laptop, to the cloud.

The Nokia Booklet 3G will widen the Nokia portfolio, satisfying a need in the operator channel, and bringing another important ingredient in the move towards becoming a mobile solutions company.

Further information, including detailed specifications, market availability and pricing, will be announced at Nokia World on September 2. For more information on Nokia World, visit: http://events.nokia.com/nokiaworld/home.htm

Future of Learning Workshop

August 24, 2009

At the RSC SW Summer Conference, myself, Mell Turford and David Sugden presented a workshop, which we entitled the future of learning.

Here is the video of that workshop.

Obviously there are “gaps” in the video when the delegates are doing “stuff” but some of the talky bits are quite good.


It’s not dead… yet…

August 10, 2009

Why we can’t bury the VLE just yet…

cpr

There are many people out there who believe that the institutional VLE is dead and we should allow learners to use their own PLE (personal learning environment) and/or a selection of Web 2.0 tools and services.

For example Steve Wheeler in Learning with ‘e’s says in a recent blog post on the death of the VLE that:

The institutional VLE is led by the entire institution and is therefore slow to respond to change, whilst the personal web is led by one user. The personal web has one more key advantage – it is owned by the individual who created it.

In another of his blog posts, Steve argues that

I have previously argued that VLEs tend to constrain students into particular ways of thinking and stifle creativity. I also maintain that most proprietary VLEs have been designed by businesses not by teachers, and therefore are unfit for purpose.

To be honest I don’t actually disagree with Steve on principle. I do believe that in order for learning to be accessible and personalised for all learners, institutional services often fail as they provide a service for all which can only meet some of the needs of some of the learners. Eventually learners will be able to choose the tools they want to use and when they want to use them. For those learners the VLE will be dead.

However we do need to question whether we bury the VLE now or wait…

Why wait?

Well Steve argues that learners are able to utilise the online tools and services available on the web to facilitate their learning.

There’s a big problem with this, in that most learners do not know how to use the web effectively and many of these only “visit” the web to do some stuff.

The concept that the majority of learners are adept at using Web 2.0 tools and services, are engaged with social networking and importantly are able to apply these skills to learning is a flawed concept at this time.

Most learners are not using these tools for anything let alone learning. There are no digital natives and there isn’t a Google Generation. Various papers have been published on this subject.

From my experience, most e-learning professionals aren’t engaging with the Web 2.0 tools and services out there let alone learning professionals. At ALT-C 2008 for example, six hundred delegates who were coming to a learning technology conference, and of those less than 8% were using Twitter! Though I expect the situation to be different at ALT-C 2009 I still don’t see the majority of the delegates at that conference engaging with the very technologies that are supposed to be replacing institutional tools.

Most learning professionals aren’t engaging with the web tools and services, so will learners?

Most learners who engage with post 16 learning could in theory already choose a personalised individual route to learning and use the wide variety of tools out there. They don’t choose that route though, they choose to engage with their learning via a physical learning environment, a college, a university, they choose to engage with a learning environment which is led by the entire institution and is therefore slow to respond to change.

If the VLE is dead then  maybe we need to ensure that the physical learning environment is buried alongside. However it will be some time before we see the demise of the physical learning environment, why it’s not perfect, but it does a job.

Steve in his recent blog post concludes:

All things considered, it is inevitable that the personal web will win in a straight fight against the institutional VLE. The VLE has had its day and will meet its demise, even though its supporters cannot see it coming. The personal web is on the rise.

The personal web will probably win, the personal web however is currently the domain of a select few individuals and not embraced or used by learners. For these learners they need guidance and advice on what tools they should use. This does not need to come from tutors alone, however where do these learners start from? Where should they go first? They need some kind of starting place (and dare I say it) some kind of portal to their learning.

The VLE can be that starting point.

Using an institutional VLE does not preclude using other Web 2.0 services and tools, on the contrary, a VLE and web tools can be used together. For example this blog has an RSS feed which feeds directly into my institutional VLE. I use Slideshare to host my presentations which I can then as well as embedding into this blog, also embed them into my institutional VLE too. As well as embedding presentations, I also embed YouTube videos, videos from this blog and other sites too. My delicious tag cloud is embedded into the VLE to allow staff to see what I am bookmarking. My Twitter stream is streamed into the VLE to allow staff to stalk track my activity.

The VLE is not perfect, but it does a job that with the current cohort of learners and teachers could not do by themselves.

Eventually the VLE will be replaced as are all tools, but at this time we can’t afford to bury a tool which for some is their starting point on their learning journey.

Is the debate over?

No it’s just beginning. You can join myself, Steve Wheeler, Graham Attwell and Nick Sharatt at ALT-C 2009 in our symposium, “The VLE is dead” where we will be presenting and debating these issues.

Is the VLE dead?

Not yet.

Photo source.


24 Reasons why Twitter sucks!

August 7, 2009

Nice presentation on Twitter.


Advantages of an online conference

August 3, 2009

I was going through the media I had uploaded to my blog when I found this.

This was a video I made for last year’s JISC Online Conference when I was the official conference blogger. It outlines some of the advantages of online conferences.

The blog, Letters from the Edge was well received last time and the good news is that I am going to be blogging again at this years online conference.