A is for Amazon: Learning the language of the Web as a child.

All this talk of Social Networks and everything “Web 2.0” now gives rise to the idea of “Web 3”. Surely we need to get everyone used to the idea of a people-driven internet, and not confuse them any more than we have to. If we want the Web to be owned, developed, and managed by the people, for the people, we need to introduce children to the e-world as young as possible, even while they’re beginning to learn to talk and play, so that the terminology and language of the Web, becomes part of their everyday language. It’s been reported many times that letting children learn a second language along side their native tongue at a very early age will make it easier for them to speak that language well later in their life. Also, children are taught music using the Suzuki method at a very early age. We should therefore let young children gain access to the web as as early as possible in their development and let words like “Youtube” and “Google” become part of their vocabulary. Not only will that help them in school, but it will fill the e-skills gap that governments and employers are so afraid might develop.

My young lad, who’s only 3, has been watching me and the rest of the family going on the internet at home, when we’ve been on Google and loads of other websites over the last few months. Over that time, he’s taught himself to load Firefox (double-clicking the icon), get on to Youtube (by typing “y” in the address bar), and selects and adds videos from and to his own playlist. He’s mad on fires and even typed in the word “fire” in the search box all by himself. He can get himself onto Google Images, and knows where the bookmarks are on Firefox so he can get himself onto other sites. He knows how to go backwards and forwards in a web browser. Obviously he doesn’t go on the computer unsupervised, but he’s aware of things that we may consider unsuitable – if he comes across a video on Youtube that we’ve previously said isn’t suitable for him, he’ll say that he’s not allowed on it until he’s older. Alongside “A is for Apple”, he’s learning that “A” is also for “Amazon” and that you can buy books on the internet as well as in shops.

Although a lot of people who are involved in e-learning at the college I work at say that our intake of students are IT-literate and demand access to online resources, I believe that we’re only going to get a true Web 2 or 3 or whatever by allowing the e-world to become a part of our children’s world. It’s no good waiting for them to get their half an our a week computer time when they’re in school – it’s too late by then. They’ll be playing catch-up for the rest of their lives.


August 13, 2007 at 2:25 pm Leave a comment

Conference season

Seeing as though I haven’t posted anything on here for ages, let me explain what I’ve been upto recently and why a blog about e-learning hasn’t really mentioned e-learning.

It’s that time again when e-learning folk go off to the annual conferences, workshops, and college training days. I’m no exception to that scenario. Last year, I gave a seminar at my college’s E-learning fair about using our Learning Centres’ resources, and two others at our department’s team planning sessions.  I’d also been to a couple of JISC-organised workshops about Shibboleth and Inductions, respectively.

This year, I’ve already been to a conference about Federated/Meta searching and a 2-dayer about Federated Access Management, so lots of networking to keep me busy. I’ve also got myself involved in and contribute to some of the support forums on the JSIC RSC website, plus I’ve been a regular contributor to our own Moodle forums. I’ve also contributed to and presented things at several of the Learnng Centres’ co-ordinators meeting throughout the year.

As a result (probably!) of getting involved in the RSC forums and going to the conferences, we’ve been asked to have an exhibition stand at the RSC’s annual conference at the end of this month, and I’ve been asked to organise and present it, along with our official e-learning developer. Plus, I’m doing a seminar at each of our two e-learning fairs next week and the week after, and it looks like I’m going to be doing the same at our Learning Services planning days in July.

So, lots of achievements so far this year, and lots to organise over the next few weeks. The e-learning/resources side of my job is definitely taking over my  role of managing the computer drop-in room at work.

June 8, 2007 at 10:59 am Leave a comment

The online learning idea book

Thanks to Roy Johnson over at Mantex for this. It’s a review of a book called The Online Learning Idea Book which he’s recently read. The book offers “95 proven ways to enhance technology-based and blended learning”.

Roy says:

“I’ve been teaching online learning courses almost as long as they have existed, and I know that both course designers and students need as much support as they can get. This book is aimed at the tutors and course designers and has the sole aim of helping them make the experience of learning on line more interactive, more enjoyable, and more effective.”

The Online Learning Ideas Book - Click for details and orders at Amazon.co.uk“There are two in-built problems with online courses. Schools, colleges, and universities (to say nothing of commercial enterprises) want to eliminate expensive tutor-contact time, and make courses available any hour of the day. But anything beyond elementary lessons requires students to produce work which is assessed by a live tutor – who needs to be paid for reading on screen or on paper. That’s the first problem: it’s not easy to teach complex issues and subjects on a computer screen.”

“The second is that making online courses truly interactive is an expensive business. Confronting students with rich learning experiences usually ends up requiring Flash animations, specially shot video footage, or interactive games of one kind or another – all of which are costly to produce. Faced with these problems, many teachers end up doing nothing more than sticking their lecture notes online in the form of downloadable Word files. “(Read more..)

© Roy Johnson 2007

May 3, 2007 at 1:25 pm Leave a comment

Lessons for would-be bloggers

I’ve been blogging for a while in one form or another, mainly telling folk where I’m upto with my music-making. I started off with a “news” section on my website, then graduated to Blogger like a lot of people. Now I’m on WordPress like the thousands of others around the world. I’ve also got a blog on Myspace. It’s a good way of communicating with people who you don’t know very well, it’s fairly impersonal so you don’t need to have a great debate about things, and if you say something you regret saying, you can remove it. On the other hand, it’s a very personal thing, where you can write down things you wouldn’t normally say out loud – things you wouldn’t normally share, and it breaks down barriers between people and ideas.

Why do people want to have a blog? Why would anyone want to read what I’ve got to say? To be honest, I didn’t think about that when I started. I just wanted to pour out my thoughts and ideas and if anyone read them, then ok. As for blogging in education, I’ve tried to get staff and students I work with at City College Manchester to use blogs as online journals or diaries, especially if they’re doing things like business plans or large projects, or maybe even to document trips and visits – take some photographs and add them to the blog and you have an instant travelogue.

If you’re not convinced about blogging, or uncertain about taking the blogging plunge, a good place to start is on Bokardo.com (“Social web design”) and the article “9 lessons for would-be bloggers”

Go on, take the plunge…..

In the meantime,

Listen to this articleListen this article

or read what else I’ve got to say.

April 25, 2007 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

Moving from edublogs

I’ve decided to move my e-learning blog over from edublogs.org as I already have a few blogs hosted here at WordPress. It was very easy to copy all the information over, and everything is here (I hadn’t really posted much anyway). Time to add some links. If anyone is into e-learning and has a website or resource area that helps promote e-learning in anyway, let me know and I’ll add you to my blogroll.

Listen to this articleListen this article

April 24, 2007 at 10:56 am 1 comment

Gear Up Your Site….

Gear Up Your Site For Social Media Marketing…

So says Deepak Dutta, writing in site pro news. He says that people who run websites and want to increase traffic shouldn’t get left behind in the trend of social networking. Sites like myspace, youtube, flickr etc are ideal places to market your site, using promo videos, images, and anything else. He also states that;

“The central theme of these sites is user generated content used for sharing among the end-users. The social aspects of these sites are to allow users to setup social communities, invite friends and share common interests.”

Read the full article at Sitepronews.com

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March 21, 2007 at 11:49 am 1 comment

Hello world!

Hello and welcome… this is my first post on Edublogs – I’ve been blogging for a couple of years, mainly about my music and not such much about e-learning and education. This blog isn’t going to set the e-learning world alight, but hopefully it’ll let me take stock of all the e-learning stuff I’ve been involved in at City College Manchester over the last 12 months.

March 13, 2007 at 6:50 am Leave a comment

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