Connectivism and serendipity

14 October 2008

In looking around for thoughts on Husserl I came across the WordPress blog ‘Between Husserl and Heidegger‘ – a blog as an adjunct to a taught face-to-face course. On clicking on one of the tags (Husserl) I was surprised to see a link to a post in another blog about connectivism. This is the theory of learning espoused by two of the leading lights in the technology and learning arena – George Siemens and Stephen Downes.

The surprise was not that this should turn up in a search (although the link to Husserl is pretty tenuous through a quoted marginalia). Rather it is the subject of an online course that one of my colleagues is attending and blogging about at this very time. Is that serendipity, coincidence or reticular activation?


Becta report into Web 2.0

6 October 2008

Becta have published a research report (Crook & Harrison, 2008) on use of Web 2.0 by learners, teachers, at home, in school etc. This statement in the summary caught my eye:

Pupils feel a sense of ownership and engagement when they publish their work online and this can encourage attention to detail and an overall improved quality of work. Some teachers reported using publication of work to encourage peer assessment.

Where is the use of these tools in extrenal assessment? Come to that, where is the use of peer assessment in external assessment.

Also noticeable is the emergence of yet another Rogers’ adoption curve – with the earley adopters being the young ones etc… is this true? DO teachers really not use Web 2.0 tools? How does that square with the quote above? It is borne out in the research of Solheim (2007,  which cites OfCOM’s 2006 statistic of 40% of ‘adults’ having used social networking sites*, compared to 70% of 16-24 year olds and Comscore’s 2007 finding that over half (1.3 million) of Facebook’s new users in the previous year were 25 or older.

* OfCOM’2 2008 report tates that ‘only’ 21% have ‘set up a profile’ on such sites.

Comscore (2007), Facebook sees flood of new traffic [online] available at accessed 06/10/08

Crook, C and Harrison, C (2008)  Web 2.0 Technologies for Learning at Key Stages 3 and 4: Summary Report, Becta [online] available at accessed 06/10/08

Ofcom (2006), The communications market. [online] available at accessed 06/10/08

Ofcom (2008),The communications market report, [online] available at accessed 06/10/08

Solheim, H (2007) Digital Natives versus Higher Education: who is ready for whom, MSc dissertation, University of Southampton.

Two reports on usage of media/online tools

13 September 2007

This week’s eLearning Resources and News from George Siemens draws attention to two recent reports.

Firstly from Deloitte a report on ‘media democracy in the US‘. (PDF)

71% of 13-24s read content created by others, with 56% claiming to be creators of online content.

Secondly, and more enlightening, a report from the US National School Boards’  Association (CREATING & CONNECTING//Research and Guidelines on Online Social — and Educational — Networking ) looks at the use of online tools by teens. It has a section on the educational uses of social netowrking – 59% report they use such channels for learning purposes.

It identifies 31% of teens as being non-conformists. Those who break rules (or maybe conventions) on access and safety. These non-conformists lead the way in creation, sharing and networking online.

Also interesting were the stats that show almost universal expectations across board districts that students should use online sources for learning, while at the same banning networking and communication tools in school. And also an very low percentage of teens reporting having met someone face-to-face having first met them through the Internet (but maybe they just aren’t saying). Still a very interesting picture of the educational dimensions of social networking.

Innovate – The Net Generation issue

5 April 2007

Innovate – April/May 2007 Volume 3, Issue 4

Welcome to the April/May issue of Innovate. Over the last twenty years, a new generation of students has started to appear, first in our K-12 schools and more recently in our colleges and universities. Known as the Net Generation, this is a generation that has grown up with video games, computers, and the Internet. The expectations, attitudes, and technological fluency of this new generation present both a challenge and an opportunity for educators. In this special issue of Innovate, we examine how educators and educational systems can respond to the challenge and leverage the opportunity.

Becta publish Emerging technologies for learning (vol 2)

31 March 2007

Becta – Emerging technologies for learning

These publications consider how emerging technologies may impact on education in the medium term.

They are not intended to be a comprehensive review of educational technologies, but offer some highlights across the broad spectrum of developments and trends. They highlight some of the possibilities that are developing and the potential for technology to transform our ways of working, learning and interacting over the next three to five years.
Emerging technologies for learning

This publication includes the chapters:

* Emerging trends in social software for education (PDF 470KB, Lee Bryant, Headshift)
* Learning networks in practice (PDF 508KB, Stephen Downes, NRC)
* The challenge of new digital literacies and the ‘hidden curriculum’ (PDF 385KB, Jo Twist, ippr)
* How to teach with technology: keeping both teachers and students comfortable in an era of exponential change (PDF 311KB, Marc Prensky)
* Games in education (PDF 596KB, Keri Facer, Futurelab; Tim Dumbleton, Becta)
* Ubiquitous computing (PDF 866KB, David Ley, Becta)

TALL blog Some real data on Web 2.0 use

24 March 2007

TALL blog » Blog Archive » Some real data on Web 2.0 use

Results of a survey into the use of Web 2.0 tools in FE and HE (via Derek Wenmoth)

The relatviely low use of these tools (except for Wikipedia), despite their hype and evangelistic use by a few, seems to concur with my infromal findings at HE level. It will be interesting to see what it’s like for 16-year olds…

Pew Internet: Social Networking and Teens

16 March 2007

Pew Internet: Social Networking and Teens

Report published 7 January 2007


A social networking site is an online place where a user can create a profile and build a personal network that connects him or her to other users. In the past five years, such sites have rocketed from a niche activity into a phenomenon that engages tens of millions of internet users. More than half (55%) of all online American youths ages 12-17 use online social networking sites, according to a new national survey of teenagers conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The survey also finds that older teens, particularly girls, are more likely to use these sites. For girls, social networking sites are primarily places to reinforce pre-existing friendships; for boys, the networks also provide opportunities for flirting and making new friends.