Friday, April 16, 2010

Beyond Learning Management Systems

I received a collective email this morning with the following as a part of a forward. This transition is a part of our growth but with the growth comes growing pains and challenges.

Derek Keats wrote:
The concept of the learning MANAGEMENT system (LMS) as a contained environment for managing courses online is very 20th Century. At this time in the 21st Century, numerous learning opportunities exist outside the contained environment of the university, and many have called for personal learning environments (PLEs) as alternatives. Some have even suggested a mash up of web 2.0 tools be used, and institutional systems ignored altogether. Yet, institutions need LMS-like functionality even now. Here is where Chisimba's eLearning tools come into play. Chisimba can be configured as a fully functional eLearning environment with all of the functionality that you would expect in an institutional LMS, yet at the same time, it actively allows mashups with Web 2.0 content and functionality. For example, students and lecturers can use the blog as a personal learning environment, and integrate it with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. Semantic web technologies, such as the Collecta realtime search can be incorporated, as can realtime updates of similar content from sites such as Twitter. Functionality provided by widgets, an increasing trend can easily be incorporated using very simple techniques such as 'filters.
Check out the following sites:

Prof Derek Keats, PhD
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Knowledge and Information Management
The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Are we ready for this?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Just another fad

Or is it?

Blogs all over the Internet are using numbers like 300,000 sold the first day and one million apps uploaded during that same period. The new toy is on the market. And is it just a toy or the "printing press" of the 21st century, changing the face of publishing, reading, writing and the general use of the written word? And with changes in communication and attitudes toward the new toys, come changes in education. Will there be a government bailout of textbook publishers? "I like the feel of a book in my hands," is a paraphrase of many readers. But the iPad page change mimics the turning of a page in a book. Teachers in my class last evening said that you can write in the margins of the public school textbook because they will be used by another student in the upcoming year, nor can you highlight important sentences. If every student had this electronic book with "highlighting" capabilities, wouldn't that be a plus also.

But I'm waiting. There are downsides to this technology and I want to know what they are and if they relevant enough to not buy one, or maybe I'll wait until version 2.0 comes out eliminating those limitations.

I think this exceeded the hula hoop and pet rock, and the expectations of Apple, but how will this toy fare in the long run? Anyone have one yet?