• 25YearsOU,  sociallearn

    25 Years of OU: 2008 – SocialLearn

    via GIPHY Web 2.0 was big back in the day, and at this distance it’s sometimes difficult to remember how much it caused us to examine many aspects of education. The OU was interested in how platforms like Facebook could be used for learning, or more specifically, if one could create a Facebook for learning platform. We are tired now of all the “X for education” takes, but at the time this was interesting – social media was showing how people came together quickly around topics, how peer to peer learning was operating, and the way resources (eg YouTube clips) were being incorporated into informal learning. It wasn’t quite the…

  • higher ed,  PLE,  publishing,  sociallearn,  Web/Tech

    Using learning environments as a metaphor for educational change

    Last year I wrote a piece for a special edition of On the Horizon, which Michael Feldstein was editing. It has (finally) appeared in print. Michael gained permission for authors to publish their work online also (the journal isn't open – boooo!) so here is the PDF of mine, and below the article itself. I haven't revisited it since I wrote it, and may disagree with what I said now, but I am trying to ensure I put all my publications online as they come out. [Published in On the Horizon 17(3) pp. 181-189]________________________________________________ Using learning environments as a metaphor for educational change. Martin Weller Abstract: Purpose: The central theme…

  • eduglu,  sociallearn

    Is Uniglu what I need?

    A warning upfront: I think this post may expose my ignorance, and there may be a 'duh, we've been working on that for ages', type reaction. But based on previous experience, I've found that my ignorance is often shared by others, I'll forge ahead. I'll give you the background: On Friday I had a quick play with video in Googlemail. Naturally it works fine, so I put out a rather facetious tweet about why do we bother to design software specially for education when this stuff is just there. Niall responded saying: "can it be linked to student registration systems for automated population of tutor groups etc? " This is…

  • sociallearn

    Talis podcast

    I did an interview with Paul Miller from Talis as part of their podcast series. It covers a wide range of topics: US politics, modernist literature, Babylonian horticulture, and 1920s cinema. Oh, okay it doesn't, we talked about usual stuff: web 2.0, higher education and SocialLearn. You can listen to it here:

  • sociallearn

    Tender is the right

    I wanted to hit the ground running in my stint as SocialLearn director, but we have come across a minor hiccup. For services over £139,893 we are obliged by EU regulations to go to a public procurement process. We will be doing much of the technical development externally and if at some point we exceed the EU limit without having abided by their regulations, it could get messy and we'd end up in court. So in the interests of openness, and keeping my job, we'd best go through the process. We're putting together the tender now, which has to be posted for 30 days, then we have to select the…

  • sociallearn

    SocialLearn Director

    Starting in September I am going to be the Director for the SocialLearn project here at the Open University, for 6 months at least. The Vice Chancellor and senior management have agreed to fund us so we are pushing ahead on a punishing development schedule to have something usable by next February (with releases along the way). Taking on the responsibility of director is a double-edged sword. On the one hand I can influence the project more and make decisions. On the other hand, I can't blame anyone else. I am also using the project to explore different approaches to management. My starting rules are: i) No regular, formal meetings.…

  • sociallearn

    SocialLearn presentation in Elluminate

    I did a presentation for George Siemens last night on SocialLearn. It was an open (naturally!) session in Elluminate. George recorded it and you can relive it in all its mumbling glory here. I think it gives a reasonable overview of where we’re at, and I tried to broaden it to wider issues also. George tries manfully to make me sound coherent by asking intelligent questions, but in case you hadn’t twigged it, I’m a better writer than I am speaker, so it’s a bit rambling in places I fear. Enjoy?

  • sociallearn

    SocialLearn workshop

    We had a very good user workshop on SocialLearn last week (Jo and Nigel have both blogged about it). That one was for OU folk, but Simon Buckingham-Shum has organised another one for non-OU people (apparently they do exist I've been told), on the 1st and 2nd July. Details are here if you're interested: (Apply there, not through me – I'll only lose it) A couple of thoughts from the last one: i) Organising successful workshops which have the right amount of interaction and information  giving is a definite skill. I don't have it, Simon does, so thankfully he's organising these. ii) There was a very active backchannel in…

  • sociallearn,  VLE,  web 2.0,  Weblogs

    Technology as metaphor (or I’m on e-Literate)

    I was really pleased to be asked to contribute an article to the edition of On The Horizon that Michael Feldstein is editing. As part of the procedure all the authors are writing a guest blog post on e-Literate. It feels kind of like getting the opening slot on the Parkinson show (US readers – substitute with Leno). My piece is up now, called SocialLearn: Bridging the Gap Between Higher Education and Web 2 (surprise choice of topic, I know!). As well as talking about SocialLearn I wanted to make the argument that the technology we (individuals and institutions) use is a metaphor, or at least an artefact, for how…

  • Books,  eduglu,  PLE,  sociallearn

    Here comes everything

    I've been reading Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody. In it he argues that organisations have costs that means they struggle to compete with masses because the masses can afford to have lots of failures, because the cost of failure is low, and the ease of organising is now drastically reduced. I made a similar argument in the Future of Content, by using natural selection as an analogy. Natural selection can afford to make lots of mistakes because it has thousands of individuals and millions of years to experiment over. An individual designer cannot afford to have so many dead-ends. But when it comes to producing complexity, this massively distributed process…