Thursday, November 23, 2006

How about an aggregated blog for conference reporting?

At the last onderwijsdagen a number of bloggers published together on a group blog. This does mean you have to write a separate story for the group blog and for your own blog...

How about creating a blog that consists of contributions of different bloggers on one subject (defined by a tag). This means that at a conference everybody can happily blog their own blog, but the common postings can be presented on a single blog (and of course you can subscribe to the feed). The articles can be read on this blog, or you can refer to the contributors blog the posting came from. This would require a moderator for the blog who does the mashups on the side and who defines which rss feeds will be searched for the relevant tag. You could also leave this open and let anybody add their blog to the list,

Of course there are a number of variations to this that already exist. Is see that Wordpress has a similar function but this does not (yet) appear to select on tag..

And you can create your own aggregated feed

Or what about all sorts of group blogs:

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

International Cooperation in the exchange of knowledge

It was very interesting to hear the plans of the Knowledge exchange. Pierre Gorrissen has actually recorded this session so I do not really have to repeat the contents (sadly I can't find the recording on the web. In short the project is now 1 year on and two to go. It is a collaboration of a number of national organisations which each are slightly differently organised: JISC (UK), SURF (NL), DFG (Germany), DEFF (Denmark). They are focussing on the exchange of knowledge in various fields. Two I was especially interested in were repositories (research and learning objects). Driver is a programme directed at connecting the repositories between these countries.
I was also very pleased to hear they are looking at the E-framework and I was especially pleased that there has been interest from the US on this topic as Educause is also joining these talks. If they are trying to set up standards for the exchange of services it is vital that the home country of some of the largest companies for e-learning products is getting involved. It is good to see that the US is not turning a blind eye but sees the need to think in terms of the linking up of services.

Presentation on the use of a Blog and Wiki at a conference

Together with Eja Kliphuis and Gerard Dümmer I gave a presentation at the ' Onderwijsdagen' on our experiences of using a Blog and a Wiki during our visit to the Educause conference last October. You can find Gerards presentation here. You will notice my slides are missing. The most important findings were that it was a big success. This is certainly also due to the excellent wireless connections which were available during the conference.
As a number of people in the Dutch delegation were not used to writing together in a Wiki we decided on a less revolutionary approach. Nobody edited each other's postings, but added these under the postings which were already available. To give you an idea what this looks like visit an example of a posting.

All in all it was a very well attended session and it was great fun to actually give a presentation myself at the Onderwijsdagen.

Onderwijsdagen 2006

I have just spent two days at the Dutch days for ICT in higher education. It was great fun to be back and see a number of interesting sessions. There was a whole track dedicated to the net-generation learner and in several key notes the notion kept turning up. It was very inspiring to hear Diana Oblinger speak again.
George Siemens is said to have given a great preconference on connective learning. I visited his session later in the conference and it was very quick but clear. It is an interesting concept, although perhaps not as new as one would think at first. It contains many aspects already incorporated in principles like networked learning, Communities of Practice and Social learning theories.
I think I find the most interesting shift the idea that Knowledge is in the network and not in the mind. I suppose that depends on what your definition of knowledge is. Personally I believe that information is not knowledge, knowledge is internalized information. Simply being surrounded by knowledge does not make yourself knowledgeable. Skills are required to attain knowledge and knowledge builds on earlier knowledge.
Implications of his theory are that it is important to know where you can find information and value information. Students must be trained to achieve a place in several networks (multidisciplinary) and be trained to quickly select and filter and apply information and turn this into knowledge. This is where concepts of power do come back although the criteria of what makes a powerful person are different. Try to become an important node in the network. You can achieve a prominent place by being the first to enter information into the network or by being a bridge and carrying information across boundaries.

My old blogs

I have just cleared up my old blogs and moved them. For anybody that is interested: they can now be found at:

This will now be the blog to follow....

Monday, November 13, 2006

Embedding a very charming You Tube video

A great little video I found on YouTube. I suppose it is more of an experiment than anything else, but it is definitely worth watching...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Testing Sakai 2.3

I just have been testing Sakai 2.3. The installation went quite easily, but I already had the right Java on this machine, so that helped. Starting it up took quite a while, but then it worked perfectly. I have not found a bug yet.

There are a few things I am less happy about. It is very slow building up some screens. The WIKI is improved in comparison to the 2.1 version I tried. However I still do not find it straightforward enough yet... I cannot find the RSS feed so a student can subscribe to the Announcements. The only thing that does have a feed is the WIKI. How on earth does one get stuff into the presentations tool? I found it last time I tested, but appear to have lost it now :-( The sign-up facilities are great, but why do you want sections and groups? Can't the groups simply be assigned to sections?

I was very curious about the provisional tools, but these may not be offered with the demo... I couldn't find them straight away anyway. And that is a shame as I was very curious about the blog and podcasting and testing... I was very intrigued by the portfolio, but the administration of this does seem to require some serious preparation. This is not a basic hmtl or word template we are talking about ;-)

Anyway: it is looking better and it is about time to do some serious testing...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Getting Learning materials out of Blackboard

Yesterday I got the go ahead to research the possibility of recovering learning materials out of Blackboard. I will be discussing the possibilities with the library who wants the learning materials for their repository in DSpace. I was very interested to read a posting from Wilem van Valkenburg on Lorenet. They seem to be working in the same direction, I had already heard that at the KU Leuven they had been experimenting on this same initiative. I am intrigued how much information can be extracted simply from the data in Blackboard. Teachers can already add metadata although they never do. On the other hand, that is hardly surprising, the data doesn't show up anywhere yet.... Sadly I do not have the image available yet, I hope to add it soon...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My first post on blogger

This is my very first post on
I wonder whether it will satisfy my needs....