Monthly Archives: January 2008

Learning Spaces Session at ELI 08

See the WIKI . Good discussion wt ideas for followup cf Mudd reno.

In case the link is lost, here is the WIKI text…

What are the learning practices for 2010?

Terraced lecture hall – Inca terraces at University of Melbourne. Originally a raked design. Now for about 48 originally 60. Faculty stands in the middle – like the Star Wars briefing.

Take out the raked seating and level it out. Test out small group work. Even turning to the row behind you is limited. Sight line issues.

“Oh by the way learning” – why not put those outside the room as well?

Breakout spaces if you have the square footage. Faculty offices not located in same spaces. What can be done outside the classroom?

Case study: 230 seat lecture hall, Biology.

In 2011 – how many institutions will be teaching courses with this many students? Many (half?). We can’t limit the number of students in the room.

In 2011 there will be better ways of assigning space. An opportunity to look at adjacencies.

How do we introduce interactivity into a large group audience? For Life Sciences building, the cost of construction materials force them into a more modest process.

University of Dayton (see ELI Learning Spaces book) – smaller classrooms ultimately but hallways connecting classrooms become usable spaces – take students out into the public space. Volume hasn’t been a problem – the buzz is appreciated. Quasi-formal learning spaces. A large lecture breaks into teams using these spaces, then recombines.

The Math Emporium (at Virginia Tech) is an old Rose’s department store. Places for many types of learning, and the acoustics are great.

Similar challenge – 125 seats – early 90’s at Arizona State. Tiered lecture halls. Lobbied for space, but not tiered. Leveling the room allowed for more types of interaction. Kalidoscope room – a wheel / spoke design, with faculty at the center. Spokes of flexible seating.

Similar to Dayton: a business school building with auditorium had another space broken into cubicles. In each partitioned area was a conference room space to accommodate 8 people. 5 or 6 of these cubicles in one area. More spaces for students to work on group projects. It could be open extended hours, available outside of class time.

From the student session (Apple): More global, more online learning, less classroom learning.

Large lecture complimented by smaller discussion sessions throughout the week. Use technology to make discussion sessions more meaningful. Not a space solution as much as using technology.

Budgets won’t be better in 2011. Using space wisely will be the name of the game. Let a lecture hall be what it is and use smaller spaces for breakout.

Another question: what would clickers be in 2011?

Tablet arms in lecture halls: could those arms be more cleverly designed to make a table when brought together?

The paper-thin display is just a matter of time. Bringing tables togther with this kind of technology could be useful. Patent that!

Get away from fixed seating and tablet arms. Ergonomically not good for learning. Do away with them and move to mobile table and chair. Fixed piece could be a digital display linked to screens around the room. Get away from fixed elements.

Narrow chairs get lots of people in a room but inhibit learning, especially for students with notebook computers and anything else.

Resist fixed things as much as possible.

Are you considering power? Malcolm: not considering at present. Wait for wireless power. Relying on coming battery life, solid state. Another school: 2 outlets for every 6 students.

The Atlas Center – didn’t have enough power. Laptop checkouts – a bit of a mess. People weren’t sitting where there wasn’t power.

Student spaces, like the Library, are different. They need power. A lecture hall for 1 hour can get by without power.

A librarian disagrees: look at students throughout the day, not just for one class or classroom.

You’re planning for 30-40 years – to 2060. Don’t assume that one laptop per student is optimal – it could be one laptop per two students.

Laptops and technology require cooling too. HVAC has to be designed to accommodate.

Is there an intent to make the building a neighborhood for students in the discipline? Yes – hallways. Science in Sight: exhibits of biology, how green the building is. Atrium space. Biggest struggle has been the traditional classroom space. Waterfalls in the atrium, but the lecture hall is the same.

Think about the character of the activity you expect in those spaces. Once the activities are identified, configure the space. What will the learning practices be? Interactivity, dispersing & getting back together…

Configuring spaces to be attractive outside of class time. Lighting can do much of this. Bring in revenue if the room can be used in different ways. Why not turn your classroom into a rock concert? Before 9 AM or after 2 PM – traditional class times – what activities do we want to enable?

Student success center (Southern Illinois) – having a Library presence out into the academic disciplines. Students like to talk to librarians face to face.

Question: physical vs. virtual presences? Could a librarian attend a class virtually? University of Oregon: Second Life, remote classroom, both? Synchronous distance learning – lighting at remote sites is important. Think about video grade lighting.

One school has put small offices out “in the field” for multiple services – this has been well received. San Jose State.

What kind of support for capturing will we need? More than capturing the front of the classroom. Now it’s focused on capturing instruction, but capturing student participants will be increasingly important. UC Santa Cruz – webcams in labs for security purposes generated faculty discontent. They didn’t want to be recorded (Homeland Security). Could it be optional? This trickled down to students. Who chooses what gets recorded?

Teacher podium has the video control panel. Move the document camera to the ceiling and it can also see the room for security.

The amount of time a student spends in the lecture is 4% of their day. The lecture space needs to be thought of for things other than just the lecture. You can’t screw it up too badly, but you could lose many opportunities.

How do you deal with the group working in a common space? Workgroup screens vs. class screens. Future of displays: they can be on the floor, you unroll them, change the color of your car today. The informal campfire. If it’s there in 2011 we may not have to build much into the room. (Mark Lundy)

Handheld projectors that project 640 x 480 are already available. Phil Long predicts your cell phone will be your projector. This is what makes planning the space challenging. Will they work? Will they be affordable? CRT vs. LCD: how deep do you make the workspace?

Ubiquitous and mobile displays will be a big change. What will we spend money on (big expensive displays), and what do we do to support for what will be brought into our spaces?

With the expansion of web-based applications you can have a true thin client.

Can we share from the screen of our iPhones to projectors in classrooms?

Other types of activities? Or do we predict what will happen?

Discipline-specific mashups: bioinformatics, geonomics.

3D display technologies: what impact will they have.

Much of what we discuss here is what our students will be doing, but will the faculty have changed by 2011?

We’re planning for 2011 but really we’re thinking about 2015 technologies and making a space that facilitates learning then too.

Faculty still come to class with stacks of transparencies. How do you move the faculty forward? Clickers were grassroots, but adoption is hard to influence, hard to guess.

The best we can do is bring early adopters on board, but you have to hedge your bets. You can’t abandon the old. One room traditional, one room advanced.

Thinking about 2015: in addition to planning learning spaces differently, you have to be prepared to fund for new changes.

Second Life at ELI 08

Lots of Sl discussion at ELI 08, with no surprising new themes emerging. Many schools are experimenting, but facing the challenges of both the technology and the effective integration into a course/curriculum. Several groups are encouraging LindenLabs to provide some hooks into local autentication/authoriation systems. Until that happens, we’ll be nervous about using this in a production course.

Do I Need a Second Life? The Opportunities and Challenges of Virtual Worlds (Learning Technology)Â

This poster presentation at ELI 08 was really well done. They’ve set up a small sandbox on their island (Sophia) to build small proof-of-concept projects for various disciplines. They also provide a Wiki for collaborators to share their experiences and knowledge.

NERCOMP Collaborative Pedagogy SIG Workshop

Attending this workshop with BArBara Rockenbach and Ian McDermot from YUL. Started with a “clicker” exercise to identify familiarity with collaborative teaching and learning.Our first exercise was to identify challenges associated with group work

  • students who don’t want to work in a group
  • balancing expectations – time required
  • Assessment of group work
  • clarity of learning objextives
  • clarity of instructions on deliverables
  • technology issues in online
  • support from different units
  • getting everyone together

Opportunities for collaborative work…

  • students gain experience in working in teams
  • building interpersonal skills, leadership skills
  • higher quality outcomes
  • develops community
  • promotes active learning
  • group strengths overcome individual weaknesses

Solutions to some of these challenges; what pedagogical strategies might be used to address these…

  • structure adn design are very critical
  • establish clear rubriics and guidelines for assessment; combine peer assessment with other tools
  • develop good ools and resourcses for creating flexible collaborative environments (physical and virtual)
  • include peer review as part of evaluation
  • do skills assesment prior to group formation to balance skills; clear roles within a group; icebreakers
  • develop a support network; training in technology, other types of mentors…
  • provide extensive trainig for the instructor

See other notes on the WIKI

Sarah Haavind talked about fostering a “collaborative presence” in an online environment…

-create a community culture; create discussion prompts that are inherently collaborative; explicitly teach participants how to engage collaboratively

How to create a community culture..

  • make explicit expectations
  • weekly reminders
  • rapid feedback on questions and constant presence
  • don’t answer content questions

Keys for facilitating learning

  • generative questions; g
  • rounded questions for dialog;
  • interventions to keep on track;
  • rubrics to support deepened dialog;
  • assessments;

See her examples of “generative / grounded questions”

See the following for Hamiton college’s colloaborative pedagogy approach, via a case study..

Henry Jenkins – wikipedia

official mit blog
personal blog

Abstract: What Wikipedia can teach us about the new media literacies – this session will discuss how educators might use Wikipedia to introduce students to the ways that new forms of cultural production and knowledge sharing are reshaping the research process.

I’m finding the term Life 2.0 a bit annoying but hey, maybe because I’m just figuring out plain old life at this ripe old age I don’t want anyone to suggest that somehow I haven’t upgraded yet. But we computer folks are nothing if not label lovers so the question Jenkins puts to us is how are people are learning and how is information getting processed in life2.0?

I hope my opening remark showed a healthy skepticism – hmm, maybe I shouldn’t confuse skepticism with sarcasm.

Honestly, this talk was fascinating to me and a bit thrilling, I love the idea of a bottom up culture where the masses and all their opinions matter, a very democratic way of deciding what is knowledge, who decides who is the expert and how do we know what we know. I don’t think I was taught to critically question the media my generation was presented with, don’t know if that is a Midwestern/Southern educational quality or not…creationism anyone?

I think it all comes down to the connections between people. And learners 2.0 use technology tools to create these connections. I would like to start with the people I know. I want to ask the people I know who are “experts” in areas to share what they know, others can build upon that knowledge. A grassroots approach to information knowledge, “hey tell me what you know”. Those of us who read it can and should add our two cents, that’s the only way it will become a collective intelligence.

The rest of this blog contains my notes on the Jenkins talk – all ideas belong to him but obviously they have been filtered through me…i wonder how that will affect what you think you know.

Here’s another label: Crowdsourcing which refers to the complex relationship between media audiences and media producers, users and content. [from]

Jenkins feels that it is important to teach the debate in order to determine what belongs in the canon, how is the canon produced, circulated and evaluated.

One group devoted to this question is Digital Media and Learning [ ] Focus on teaching of skills to promote how to learn with this new media and cultural participation.

With this new kind of literacy, strength lies in the ability to negotiate and evaluate information on line; to recognize propaganda and assimilate ethical values is becoming as basic to education as reading and writing.

Educators need to be thinking about how we expand the capabilities learners beyond reading or writing. Jenkins makes a distinction here that reading and writing are the foundations which must be present for the new literacy to even exist.

In participatory culture the following concepts are present:
low barriers to access
strong support systems for users
informal mentorships
contributions matter
social connections

The new literacy enhances the following:
social skills and cultural competencies
participation in the creation of media – not just the consumption
it is reflective of youth’s own cultural lives
social and cultural practices that grow up around media technologies – these cutural practices have been here for a very long time but now they are enhanced by new media technologies

We still see that these competences are unevenly distributed – fundamentally inequalities to access to these new media technologies. The lack of technical access doesn’t mean that these skills should not be taught. Belle Wheelan (from the commission on colleges talks about working with minority students (a large part of the upcoming generation) while still in k-12 system to ensure they are college ready. College ready being the ability to think analytically and apply technology to this type of learning.

Media effects (what does media do to me) vs. media ethics (my choices). How do we show students that they are not just media victims? How do we empower them to make their own choices?

The idea that information in representational technologies is some kind of a reward at the end of long school day or separate from the disciplines is outdated, these technologies should be part of every aspect of the curriculum, it should become part of everyday learning. Jenkins brings up an interesting point of access, the learner who has access to a computer for extended periods daily uses it differently then the learner who has 10-15 minutes on a public library machine to get information for a project. The latter type of information gathering has no time to question where the knowledge comes from – who is creating that knowledge and what is their perspective?

Here are some of the core challenges:
participation gap – unequal access of youths to the opportunities
transparency problem, media all around them but they don’t think critically about the information being taught
do we understand role that media plays in shaping what we see
ethics challenge – young learners don’t always comprehend what the consequences may be in creating media

To overcome some of the ethics issues it is important that educators and parents don’t take a hands off attitude but rather create a dialog about ethics. We should not be frightened about the potentials of new media but learn as much as we can about it in order to make informed decisions about our choices.

What does it mean to participate in a collective intelligence? It is the ability to pool information from diverse perspectives. It involves judgment, networking and

Wikipedia is not simply something we extract information from (i.e. encyclopedias) it represents people participating in a project. This type of information creation fosters an appreciation of the very skills that historians try to teach.

The aura of the encyclopedia is undeserved, we must stop to think about how that knowledge gets produced. This is Collective Intelligence vs. the Notion of the Expert

With collective intelligence no one knows everything but everyone has access to individuals’ bits of knowledge, it assumes that each person has something to contribute and each participant applies their own rules. The debates about the rules are part of the process. It encompasses knowledge from real life experience. There are various ways of knowing the same subject (mechanic and driver, nurse and biologist). In this cosmopedic space the differences in knowledge create tension. In that space the social process of acquiring knowledge is dynamic and participatory.

The notion of the expert is bounded by a body of knowledge that is based on a hierarchical system. What we learn when all those experts share knowledge in a common space is how to evaluate how they know what they know and that learning is necessary for our own process.

The value is in working through competing perspectives in order to construct a shared resource – it needs to involve different groups with different viewpoints and information in order to thoroughly represent a collective intelligence.

Wikipedia has a self-healing process to correct wrong information and transparent histories – our traditional media does not have those checks and balances.

We need to watch for systemic bias it is important that more diverse people contribute – this is considered a problem to be solved and it challenges to the community to work together. Who has access and makes the decision that an entry needs to be longer or have a more diverse view. Diversity matters in a knowledge culture.

We should be asking the following questions of any media message:
who made it
who is the target audience
what different techniques are used to inform or persuade
what messages are communicated about certain people
how current, accurate and creible is the infomation
what is left out of this message

Wikipedia is a project where different points of view are negotiated, given context and embodied with passion and interest.

The masses can think of themselves as expert or as individuals who have expertise, they put it out there and then they defend their knowledge or the information gets updated.

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Henry Jenkins Keynote at ELI2008

Henry Jenkins delivers the ELI 2008 keynote, entitled “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us about the New Media Literacies”.The fall 2006 Middlebury History Department debate over value and authority of Wikipedia began a process of thinking critically about the numerous new sources that are now available to students.

Jenkins, a key participant in the MacArthur-funded New Media Literacies project, discussed the issues in his recent Whitepaper

Three Core Challenges:

  • The Participation Gap— the unequal access to the opportunities,experiences,skills,and
    knowledge that will prepare youth for full participation in the world of tomorrow.
  • The Transparency Problem— The challenges young people face in learning to see
    clearly the ways that media shape perceptions of the world.
  • The Ethics Challenge— The breakdown of traditional forms of professional training and
    socialization that might prepare young people for their increasingly public roles as media
    makers and community participants.

Jenkins is an amazing speaker, and this is the second time I’ve heard him speak and synthesize a uge range of perspectives. I was struck by his discussion, in the Wikipedia context, of who is an “expert” (engineer vs mechanic, teacher vs student, architect vs carpenter). It reminded me of a similar debate that was a theme in one of my favorite books – “Einstein’s Space and Van Gogh’s Sky”

Like many 2.0 technologies, it seems to depending on a critical mass – the more people that contribute to Wikipedia, the more effective and powerful it can be. Some of our ideas on how 2.0 tools might be used in teaching depend on the same priinciple – “collective intelligence” where we have access to the contributions of many, not just a single “expert”. This is the chalenge that the PLE faces….

Tame The Web, Irreverent

From this really great site…

“….hire the best people for the job. Train and empower them to provide the best customer service they can provide. Establish procedures and guidelines, including “these procedures and guidelines have been made to be broken or bent.” Hire people who are kind and compassionate. Hire people who are confident in themselves and their ability to make decisions. Hire people who are optimistic and who possess integrity. Give them the tools to do their job, and set them free to do the best job they can do. And then reward the creative solutions that will undoubtedly arise when they have been empowered to do something greater than fall back on weak-minded rules.”

ELI 2008 Annual Conference

Ken, Pam and I are at this small meeting in San Antonio that focuses on Web2.0 impacts in Higher Ed.

The Monday morning workshop on Learning 2.0 at the McMaster Library by Jeff Trzciak caught my eye for several reasons – McMaster is my alma mater, and the topic is of great interest to us as we embrace some of these approaches in our collaborations with the Yale Library. Jeff’s mission when he came to “Mac” was to transform an aging, traditional Library structure into something that meets the needs of the “net generaton” students. The transformation team maintained a blog (2006) at Jeff has posted his slides on the Educause page (see link here), and created a Facebook group for this session. Not yet public, but Mac was awarded the 2008 Excellence in ACRL libraries award. Mac’s efforts have been largely student-focused, and he acknowledges the ongoing challenges in reaching out to faculty.

Key activity was ine introdcution of an emergent technologies blog – Their “Learning 2.0” program is licensed under Creative Commons and available for others to use – we should look at this!

In discussing the transformation process- Jeff identified 5 options:

  • Retire (they eliminated the copy cataloging department), and created 7 new positions (Archivist, Digital Strategies,, Digital Technologies, e-resources, marketing, Teaching and Learning, and Gaming)

Jeff commented that Facebook is the “students'” space, and there is concern that students might reject an “adult” presence in their space;

Fellow canuck from Manitoba sitting next to me described their new Virtual Learning Commons that parallels the development of their new physical learning commons. Someone from UIUC claimed theirs was the most “socially connected” library anywhere, and they do gaming, as does McMaster. Brandeis has also undertaken an Information Commons that might be worth visiting.

Classes*V2 Blogger tool

I’m playing around with it and my first impression is that it feels clinical. That’s more of a feeling about Sakai in general, though. In terms of functionality it has some interesting features.

It has a keywords field where you can add multiple tags by separating them with commas. Unfortunately, these keywords aren’t saved anywhere for folks to easily apply a shared set of keywords to posts. So you don’t get that nice consistency of categories you see with other blog software.

One nice thing is that there is an Access option which can be set to Private or Site. It’s a little annoying that it’s set to Private by default, but I can see why. There’s also a place where Read Only is checked. I wonder if this isn’t checked, can anyone edit your post? Also you have to check a box to Allow Comments. It’s nice that it’s configurable, but it would be nicer if the default was that it was checked so you didn’t have to do it every time.

I added a pic in the Images tab. When I did this, before clicking the Images tab, I had text in the wysiwyg editor. After uploading the image, my text was wiped out. The image showed up in a Current Structure field underneath the editor. I tried dragging it up into the text editor to add it to the post. This added a standard broken image link icon rather than the pic.

The wysiwyg editor is odd in that there is an add to document button and a save button. It’s not obvious if you need to add first before saving or what. You find if you try to save before adding that you do. The weird thing is that when you add to document, it puts it down at the bottom as new element. So the body of a post is the collection of elements at the bottom and not entirely what you see in the wysiwyg editor. This isn’t very intuitive.

The kicker though, is that when I saved my post, it didn’t show up. I’m stumped for now.

iMovie fade-out issue

Yet another imovie bug – once again caused by emptying the project trash. Thus, as a starter I will say that one should just refrain from emptying the imovie trash while doing a project unless you are absolutely sure what you are getting rid of. The current bug involves using a fade-out transition after emptying the trash on a project that I was editing for Bill Kelly. What occurred was most odd, and involved about one or two seconds of audio from a random clip (one that was in the imported clips pane) being added as the picture faded out. I actually exported a few files before I noticed it, and though it is not that big of a deal for the project I am currently working on – or in the general scheme of things – it is simply annoying. I have not found a good answer as to the “why,” only that it occurs after one empties the trash. Further there is not a fix outside of extracting the clips again, so I was forced to just rework the fade out so that the extra audio was gone. Perhaps at some point Apple will release a bug fix, but until then heed the warnings of the Ken Burns and now this nightmare – DO NOT EMPTY IMOVIE TRASH…