• 25yearsedtech,  VLE

    25 Years of EdTech – 2004: VLE

    It’s 2004 and the big cheese of Ed Tech is finally here – the VLE (or if you’re American – pants, I mean, LMS). Like many practitioners in ed tech, I have an ambiguous relationship with VLEs. They are a bit like the boring, faithful hound when a new puppy arrives. Everyone is excited by the new thing, and the old dog is in the corner with its flatulence wondering why no-one is making a fuss. The VLE provided an enterprise solution for elearning for providers. It stands as the central elearning technology, despite frequent proclamations of its demise. Prior to the VLE, elearning provision was realised through a variety…

  • VLE

    The VLE isn’t the problem, the sediment is

    (big metaphor for changing institutional systems) At the ALT C conference I went to a few sessions where VLE discussion came up, most notably Lawrie Phipps and Donna Lanclos’s session “Are learning technologies fit for purpose?“. They asked us to reflect on the main question in groups and nearly all of the discussions came back to complaints about the VLE. Lawrie picked on me to give the first response and I mentioned that the problem was not so much the technology but the “institutional sediment” that builds up around it. This came back to me in later discussions about whether WordPress would provide a better VLE. I think that actually…

  • #h817open,  bavaness,  ds106,  higher ed,  IT services,  open courses,  twitter,  VLE,  Web/Tech

    Twitter is your IT support

    <Image http://www.flickr.com/photos/duncan/7172953614/> This post isn’t intended as a criticism of anyone, rather an observation on a trend I’ve noticed from several others also.  I’m running my block of the Masters course H817 as a MOOC. It’ll start this March, and one of the things I wanted is a DS106 style blog aggregator. That is, I want the contributors to register their blog, and for posts they tag appropriately to repost automatically in the course blog. Now, the sensible way to do this seems to be to install WordPress and use the FeedWordPress plug-in. For reasons I won’t go in to, I haven’t been able to get this done at the Open…

  • VLE,  Web/Tech

    Eportfolios – J’accuse

    This is a bit kicking a man when he's down as most people have turned away from eportfolio software now, but it still persists. It's also old hat – Jim was telling us this ain't your eportfolio mama, three years ago. But maybe now is a good time to reflect. I would like to one day do a series of posts about collective fantasies that grip educational technology, and why they don't turn out the way we envisage (learning objects anyone?). This post was set in motion by an email from a colleague asking whether I thought blogs were better means of achieving portfolios than specific eportfolio systems. I answered yes,…

  • e-learning,  patents,  VLE

    Succession and the art of stretching a metaphor

    As Scott has blogged, he came to visit us in Cardiff recently, while staying at the OU for a month on a fellowship. We had a lot of great chats, and while I failed to convince him of the ways of atheist, reductionist rationalism, I did manage to convert him to my succession metaphor for technology adoption. I used this in my VLE book a while back, and it goes something like this (from the book): When there is a new environment, for example barren rock, a few pioneer species, such as lichens begin to grow. The acid from these decomposes some rock particles, and their own death creates a…

  • e-learning,  IT services,  OU,  VLE,  Web/Tech

    To the ghosts who write history blogs

    Okay, maybe it's not an Obama moment in history, but, as you may have heard, the OU has adopted Google Apps for education for its students, and I think this may be a significant move in educational technology. Niall announced it and Tony has given his reaction. We're by no means the first to do it, but I think the OU's adoption is significant for a number of reasons: It ain't Microsoft – there will have been strong lobbying to adopt an MS solution, so the move to Google marks a shift in the power base or at least the default assumption that it's MS who do enterprise solutions.  It's…

  • IT services,  PLE,  VLE

    The centralisation dilemma in educational IT

    I wrote an article for a new journal, the International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments (IJVPLE). My piece was entitled ‘The centralisation dilemma in educational IT’. I argued that we have a centralisation – decentralisation cycle in educational IT, so we had distributed versions of VLE, which moved to a central VLE, and we are now seeing a shift back to decentralised cloud services. The arguments for a centralised VLE are: Uniformity of student experience Centralised support Quality assurance Efficiency Robustness Integration of different tools Staff development Platform for expanding elearning offerings Whereas the arguments for a decentralised model can be summarised as: Quality: The individual components of…

  • VLE

    The VLE is to teaching as Powerpoint is to presentation

    The title says it all really, but just to unpack it a bit more. As Sarah Horrigan commented recently, people find VLEs very dull. This is partly because they are made to use – if you banned VLEs it’d be a sure way to make them interesting. But I think what the VLE and Powerpoint have in common is that they are in the first wave of digital democratization tools. Such tools can’t be too far removed from traditional practice, otherwise people simple won’t use them. So they provide a useful stepping stone onto a more digitally enhanced future (where it’s always sunny and everyone loves each other). The danger…

  • higher ed,  PLE,  twitter,  VLE,  web 2.0

    The long-awaited ‘education as fruit’ metaphor

    I have just returned from the ALT-C conference in Manchester, where I held a workshop with Brian Kelly called 'Realising Dreams, Avoiding Nightmares, Accepting Responsibilities'. My role was to present the future, and then for us to discuss what the obstacles were to realising it, and the related issues for educators, learners and IT services. Here is my presentation: Dreams of future learning View more presentations from mweller. In my talk I decided to use an extended (tortuous some might say) fruit based metaphor. It begins to get rather pained towards the end, but stick with it, I think it comes to fruition (ahem). It goes something like this: Current…

  • PLE,  VLE

    VLE vs PLE fight club

    <Image Pirate Test by Danksy http://www.flickr.com/photos/petedanks/2770208173/> I did a debate with Niall Sclater for the upcoming OU course Technology enhanced learning around PLEs and VLEs, 'refereed' by John Pettit. We pitched it as me being the PLE guy and Niall the VLE man, for the sake of discussion, but we're probably closer in agreement than this would suggest. You can listen to the audio here (including jazzy intro and fade-out music). [Update, jazzy music is courtesy of http://www.oliverledbury.co.uk/] For a one take shot, I think it comes out reasonably well, although I am the least coherent of the three.