Open Source conference

I am in Como for a conference on open source learning environments (FOSLET). The paper I am giving tries to set out three things: (Download wellerd2.pdf)

i) The process of technology succession, which is analagous to plant succession. I argue that far from being detrimental many commercial VLEs have been beneficial because they have acted as primary colonizers, and have thus changed the environment so that other e-learning systems can now move in, e.g. portals and open source VLEs.

ii) That open source VLEs represent a good compromise for the two groups of educators who are forced to co-exist in VLEs, what von Hippel terms lead and conventional users and I have called revolutionaries and democrats. These groups want different things from their software, but an OS VLE can probably satisfy both now.

iii) The future direction of VLEs, based around the web 2.0 principles which I have dubbed VLE 2.0. I thought I was all smart coming up with this term only to discover that Stephen Downes had already coined e-learning 2.0. Never mind, I’ll carry on using it with regards to VLEs as I think it represents a useful way of thinking about both the technical construction of VLEs and how they will be used.

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