e-learning,  web 2.0

Finding the message in medium

I had a play with medium the other day. It’s an interesting bit of software – it installs a sidepanel on your browser and then creates a visual radar of sites similar to the one you are visiting. You can see which other medium users are at these sites. You chat with them by putting out a general call on the bulletin board. I found it a bit disconcerting though, having these people watch the sites you visit. You can make yourself anonymous, but even so the thought of being observed feels rather intrusive, and so I turned it off and it has remained that way since. I also found the means of communicating didn’t really lend itself to decent conversation with people posting rather banal comments.

As I said in an earlier post on Gabbly, I think there is something in these tools for e-learning as they can promote informal discussion around content. I think medium would need to work on the group allocation though – I can see it being a good tool for an agreed set of users to collaborate on a specific task, for instance a tutor group could perform online research using it. There is a friends option, so maybe this could perform that function (as usual I didn’t have any friends so couldn’t experiment) but I think you’d want to allow simple group allocation and lose the general waffle.

The scrobbling of sites you visit to create the web radar is a good idea also, although I don’t want others observing what I do (not that I do anything unsavoury, unless one counts going to some Spurs discussion sites).


  • Noni Moos

    BitWine http://BitWine.com developed and application (Widget) that enables a Blog reader to open an informal rich media (chat Audio Video) discussion with the Blogger publishing the widget.
    The widget can even take the discussion to the next level by enabling the Blogger to become a paid advisor for the caller.
    The caller can agree to pay or decline, but from the Blogger point of view not only that a healthy discussion is produced but potential monetization of the on going effort.
    Here is a sample http://www.webstrategies.blogspot.com/ of a Blogger that takes full advantage of the BitWine widgets and even offers his readers a way to engage other service providers from his Blog.

  • Scott Leslie

    Think about what could happen if Firefox itself were to allow you to select a service (Explode, Myspace, Twitter, your IM client, anything with a FOAF file) and choose it to be the source of your ‘groups’ that then any 3rd party extension could make use of. It may be idealistic to think this way (silos of user accounts still seem to be the way the big services are trying to justify values) but to me this represents the next huge leap forward in social apps. It may turn out that we never get past things like ‘medium’ but the ability to overlay a user-controlled social experience on top of almost any browser based extension is huge both for formal and informal elearning and the web.

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