Tag Archives: top ten list

Top 10 Edtech stories of 2009

10 – YAWN
Our “haven’t you heard abouts” got rusty this year. We woke up with a cat stretch after new years hangovers, looking forward to the next great thing that would force us to remember just one new password. Just one more “is this the new twitter”? And what did we get? Nothing. No super tool shared. No chance to smile knowingly over other people who found out about it 2 weeks later. It seems we are expected to be able to do something useful with our technology now… no sir. I don’t like it.

And please… don’t give me the ‘what about googlewave. It has teh awesome.’ It doesn’t qualify for this list because it doesn’t do anything. “it’s the new email” “people just don’t understand how cool it is yet”. It’s a platform… I get it. There’s one thing it can’t do for me… and that’s make my day any longer. It can’t carve out an extra hour to live collaborate on the next great american novel with fifty of my bestest chums and 20 people who walked in barely invited. Do that for me. Then i’ll be impressed.

Google hates your job. If it’s not near perfect translations, it’s automatic captioning, and I’ve heard rumour that ‘they’ the actual ‘omnipotent they’ have just stopped hosting their own email and have said that “google docs is just a nice bonus”. If you are in the business of doing anything, ever, forget it. Google is just about to do it better. Barak Obama, they say, is already switching over his blog to googlesites… the UN can’t be far behind.

It wouldn’t be a top ten list if i didn’t make some reference to the OLPC project. Here is the tablet of the future… 2012. It’s only going to cost $100 and will save the world… oh wait, sorry. Flashback. All this year, we’ve been droided, and iphoned and i can’t stop saying it itableted to death. The future of learning is MOBILE… or so I’m told. Um… my brain is mobile. I’ve been moving around with it for years. Someday, someday we’re going to get post-digital and stop thinking about the technology as the locus for learning. Just not today. I’m the future!

The internet is growing up, it helped win an election… and reality is seeping in. This year we started to notice that things like people dying is going to create a few issues for our favourite social networking sites. If the population of facebook is 8 cagillion, and the fastest growing segment is middle aged… well… what are we going to do about people’s identity when they aren’t able to sustain it themselves? One more thing to worry about. Come on google… solve our problem. http://davecormier.com/edblog/2009/09/18/identity-memory-death-and-the-internet/

Don’t leave enough comments on my blog? Don’t RT me enough? Don’t return my tweets? No more friend for you. The venerated oxford university press has chosen ‘unfriend’ as it’s word of the year. It’s hard to imagine a more depressing commentary on our times. Maybe we’re just looking at this wrong… maybe we should be seeing unfriend like unconference. Kind of a post-friendship worldview. Yeah… that’s it.

“There are really just too many live events.” This is my favourite complaint of 2009. The poor educationalist forced to not be able to claim to have shown up to every single presentation. But but what if i missed the CDAFGDSAG conference? Or the social media in learning in future in what about the children seminar. Oh the huge manatee. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ulrichp/1362599/
Imagine, the pain of too much choice.

http://code.google.com/p/bigbluebutton/ Here’s my shot in the dark for this year. A an open source webconferencing system… 15 min install. Asterix. Red5. Flex/flash. I’ve been hoping for it for years, and these dudes might just have the moxie to do it. I really, really, like the look of this project. They claim they are working on recording… which is kinda necessary, and are looking for feedback. Follow along, get involved. Open source matters.

Alan Levine, who both killed and unkilled blogs last year, curmudgeon of awards , requester of snark, barker, and storyteller extraordinaire gives us a reason to believe in the ‘open’. And, as a result, wins the award. One biscuit to you. “What do you mean by open?” has become the theme of the open movement, sign of maturity or impending senility. Or, as my son would say, maybe both. Cast all thoughts of definition from your mind, openness is a state of mind… a state of YOUR mind. Be open. ’nuff said.

Harbinger of the end of civilization or righteous crowd demanding its due from someone who should know better… interpretations on this one span the gamut from moral to epistemic. A web 2.0 speaker trashed on a live twitter stream during her presentation. Should she? should they? Nevermind. In it is distilled the most important conversation of this year and probably the next five. What rights does the entertainer have before the crowd? Do we want to restrict knowledge in a presentation to that that can be ‘shared’ by a presenter (or teacher)? Should presenters (or teachers) be accorded any more respect than a comedian (who would have gotten the same treatment or worse in the same spot?) What are our classrooms going to look like with live twitter streams flipping through them? My friends, we have the tower of babel a million times over… We have 20 students in a classroom, 200 in a conference or 20,000 in a field all building their tower of knowledge… growing, maybe, passed the teacher, the presenter or the expert. Will you knock the tower down? The people are going to be heard… speakers corner has come to the back of the room… are we ready? I doubt it. http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2009/11/24/spectacle_at_we.html

Top 10 Edtech News etc thingers of 2008

10. Blogging is dead
Proclaimed and recinded. Here it is ladies and gentlemen the end of the first era of blogging. Far fewer are the blogs that tell us “just how exciting it all is”… According to Alan Levine, who quoted Nick Carr who quoted Technorati “they’ve been tracking 133 million blogs since 2002, only 7.4 million have posted in the last 120 days “ its current death was facilitated by Nancy white at Northern Voice and then case closed on December 16th as injenuity proclaimed

Jen 2:07 pm on December 16, 2008 | 0 | # |
Very pleased to no longer be a blogger.

Is it really dead…? meh. But it’s different. Our blogs are now less megaphone and more like 21st century school lockers.

9. Wikipedia is old
http://oc-co.org/?p=124 Is Wikipedia saturated? Yep! Last year.
Wikipedia came into its own this year, no more drastic increases, no more crazy growth. Gone are the debates from years gone by about whether or not it’s the same as brittanica (how that ever was thought to be a good thing is beyond me) but now its where and what for. Proven by the focused if silly schools-wikipedia project… claiming to be school safe… yes, lets take the participation away so that everyone can participate. Never mind. It’s not cool anymore… it just is. And, if you need anymore proof… Overheard from a prof on CBC radio “when i was an undergrad all we heard was “don’t use wikipedia””

8. There are alot of people who still – just. don’t. get it.
“First-year student Chris Avenir is fighting charges of academic misconduct for helping run an online chemistry study group via Facebook last term, where 146 classmates swapped tips on homework questions that counted for 10 per cent of their mark.” And now, he faces 147 Academic charges. If my math holds out, he’s also being charged for working with himself on Facebook. A group of students comes together to work on the thing they are trying to learn… ban them! Burn them! Dear Professor, your system is broken.

7. PLN vs. PLE http://www.flickr.com/photos/catspyjamasnz/3118564555/
Oh the humanity. Whatever can be the difference? Whether it’s by twitter via @courosa or by image via doug belshaw people do love to debate the meaning of acronyms that they are currently making up the meaning of. There is someting strange about the kinds of negotiations that are being made with new phrases we’ve all just made up… Never mind. PLEPLNs are important, they’re helping people talk about what we’ve all been doing since we started scratching sticks together a few million years ago http://edtechpost.wikispaces.com/PLE+Diagrams

6. Open Viewers MUVEs for the plebes
Blah blah blah. Oh yes, multiuser virtual environments… have to have that on the list. Every early adopter has to have one, but like any technology, it can be measured by when people start forgetting their passwords. They’re old. But now, for your participatory pleasure, we have the first real breakthrough in 5 years. Browser viewers. Bringing the virtual world to the peeps. No more downloads, no fuss, no mess, “ooooone world for eeeeevvvvry boooooy.” (and girl)

5. MOOCS – Massive Online Open Courses
Yeah, well, so I’m biased. But when 2400 people sign up for what is essentially an epistemic research club (sounds fun doesn’t it, the web equivalent of “pawn day at the chess club”) something is happening. Couple of really big offshoots of this one. Fame will bring fortune. Professors and instructors who can bring in 5000 students are going to be worth their weight in gold… or, say, silicon. That and we’ve got a new model to make our universities work. Let everyone in. I like it.

4. Whisper of Green
Just the tiniest whisper of a concern for the fact that Jennifer Maddrell’s 47 computers are burning down the rainforests and for the greenness of all this technology was heard this year. I think it’s the harbinger of change to come. We’ve got greener chips in the laptops, autoshutoff extension cords and cows running computers (can’t imagine that’s good for the cows) Barring the coldfusion breakthrough we’ve been promised for thirty years I’m seeing power conservation as a key move in 2009

3. Bring on the research
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28035543/ Technology may be altering how brains work
http://www.rand.org/news/press/2008/11/03/ RAND Study Is First to Link Viewing of Sexual Content on Television to Subsequent Teen Pregnancy
http://www.newsweek.com/id/163924 A leading neuroscientist says processing digital information can rewire your circuits. But is it evolution?
Blah blah blah. More research telling us that thinking and doing stuff changes the way our brains are structured. Enough already. Ok. I believe you. My instrument of learning can learn. I agree. The thing that is manifestly obvious to anyone who actually has a brain, that our brains change with stimuli, is now confirmed. Now… if we can only figure out how they get that tasty caramel in there…

2. Unleashing The Tribe: small passionate communities Ewan McIntosh
People are really starting to like their communities. Much less hopping around this year, started the year in twitter, ended the year in twitter. We communitophiles are growing up and settling down in the communities that allow us to thrive and survive. Overheard in my kitchen regarding mommy blogging “people can only have so many real friends, smaller communities make sense”. We’ll see more people identifying themselves by where they learn, and less eager to ‘invite the world’ to their communities. We might be on the road to a little more isolation as the long tail solidifies.

1. Death of ‘T’ruth and the killer app
All this year and for the year to come… very little but silence about “the absolute only best way to do whatever it is you probably don’t need to do anyway… is…”. People are finding different solutions to the same problem… If twitter brownouts have taught us anything its the value of being there, enjoying the good with the bad and taking life as it comes. We’ve finally come to terms with the fact that ‘better for me’ does not mean ‘better for you’ and that we are not, as some would have us believe ‘working out our differences’ but, rather, ‘accepting our differences’. Let the truthiness reign. Kumbaya.