Need for digital (media) literacy

I just recently stumbled across this link to the 'Heartland Institute' via a reference in an American Newspaper site citing their sources for an article about the US Economic Stimulus package. I initially was hoping this might be a satiric site such as CNNN, but after taking a closer look and checking out some references it appears these people are actually serious (and worse still seem to have a lot of funds at their disposal to spread their dubious view). Reading this rubbish got me thinking about how many kids would actually think this could be an authoritative source for information. I often see readers commenting on websites that are an obvious parody, taking the written word on these sites absolutely serious and literally. But the mentioned site above is written with the obvious intent to present the information as fact (no matter how ridiculous the claims are).  I don't actually want to get into the (mis-) information presented on this site, but more the danger posed by such sites if we don't teach digital literacy to our kids at school from a young age. Skills such as checking the sources and motivations behind certain 'news and information' sites. While some of these sites (such as the example above) are very secretive about their donors and sources of revenue it should be fairly obvious by trying to do a quick online check what their particular objective is. In the particular example used above the published donations from the Tobacco industry…

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m-learn: Mobile evidence gathering using GoogleDocs

This one nearly escaped my attention yesterday. Google has just announced the ability to edit Google Docs on your mobile device via their Google Mobile Blog. Just point your mobile browser to m.google.com/docs and start editing. Along with the use of 2D barcodes this will open a few interesting m-learning possiblities for educators that would previously have required custom coding to achieve. I can see this being very useful in situations where you have students being in the field and allowing them to enter data gathered using a standard mobile phone. The barcodes could point students to the location of the spreadsheet (avoiding the need to type the information) The screenshot below shows a spreadsheet that I just made up for demonstration purposes. The data gathered can easily be used embedded into LMS course pages for review in the classroom. The (quite capable) graphing tools in Google Spreadsheets can be used to visualise the results gathered. For some of our clients that use Moodle and GoogleApps for Education this is a very interesting combination as would allow for the authenticated entering of mobile data into the LMS. It would be interesting to look at how you could easily geo-tag the information gathered for mapping purposes. But that's probably a topic for another post.

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Working with Second Life in an educational sense

With the help of SL resident Moggs Oceanlane I was able to get our first Sloodle implementation off the ground. Being a bit new on the SL concepts (Moodle as such is my daily life) I found the technical process quite easy, but was struggling with SL terminology a little. Looking forward to getting some hands-on experience of the use of SL in an educational setting. I can see the practical applications - looking for some pilot projects to put them into 'reality' once we have got all the technical side tested thoroughly.

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Open Educational Resources (OER)

One of the few new (for myself in my working life at least) bits of information I have picked up on here at ICL is Open Educational Resources (OER). That's probably because it is outside of my usual area of expertise (which is more the technical implementation of e-Learning), but I found the concept never the less interesting and very similar to the Open Source Software concept which I have been working with for quite a while. From what I have been picking up at the conference here (and a few quick searches) there are quite a few projects and UNESCO seems to be particularily active in this arena. One problem that I can see is the fragmentation of this concept and a lack of any delivery standards. But as with all innovations that are in the Early Adopter stage there will have to be a process of consolidation once the dust has settled. From the prospective of a user and potential contributor (as well as for myself in integrating this with various LMS solutions) this obviously creates the problem of which one of the available projects to choose at this stage. Major projects: OE Commons - Connexions - Stanford University (this was the one presented at ICL) Open Course Ware - MIT Open Society Institute - Soros Foundation Open World Learning Institute - Minnesota If I have missed anything obvious please let me know. I think these projects deserve some support. Resources: Stephen Downes - Models for Sustainable Open Educational Resources As…

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Seeing a students life from the other side again ….

Since my working world is centered a little more on educational topics at the moment (while attending ICL) I came across this Youtube Video which I think is a very good visual example of what's commonly referred to as Education 2.0. Personally I hope that I actually comprehend this and a good part of my working life is spend improving this situation. The fact that I am sitting in a 'lecture' myself and watching a Youtube video should hopefully illustrate that I am can (despite my actual age) understand the students perspective quite well. ;-

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