Monday, September 26, 2005

Weekly PhD report: Week 38

  • Thought about how to harness the power of social bookmarking in the context of a LOR. This is related to my research question about recommendation system based on social networking, but also to an initial problem within EUN's repository:
    • Many resources used by teachers are links to webpages. Teachers don't feel like adding them into a repository. If they are encouraged to use social bookmarking tools on the web, how could we make sure that the resources can be re-used in our LOR?
    • What service to use? If use delicious, for instance, should the date be left on their server and use an API to integrate it into EUN's services? Or should the data be entered into our repository - incompatibility of the elements. some analysis of a few bookmark exports in a table of the attachment
    • Also, how could the social part of collaborative filtering be taken advantage of in the context of a LOR?
    • Social bookmarks on the Web are what a "shopping basket" (integrated in CELEBRATE, teachers could bookmark LOs that they found interesting for later use) is for a LOR.
    • A memo about the initial research questions in this context as attachment.
    • on-going thinking

  • Reading "Linked" by Barabazi.
    • Made my think whether the links between social bookmarks and their users should be analysed and maybe visualised and if yes, for what reason.
    • Some discussions about this with Joris and Nikos (from KHT).
    • on-going thinking

  • Worked on my ICL presentation: Thought about a classification for end-user authoring tools on the Web 2.0:
    • Webpublishing tools: weblogs and wikis
    • Content syndication tools: Webfeeds'readers (RSS, Atom, ..)
    • Tracking services: Technorati, and what's after that?
    • Artefacts' management and social networking: Flickr, Delicious,
    • hybrid services combining parts of above.

  • Read and thought about Web 2.0 and found these images very inspiring:
  • Contributed in co-writing a proposal for a chapter "An Overview of Learning Object Repositories" for a book called “Learning Objects for Instruction: Design and Evaluation” with some old project partners from
Informatics Laboratory
Division of Informatics, Mathematics & Statistics
Dept. of Science, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece
    • As a part of an eContent project they have done a review of 59 LOR, but their main focus is on agri-topics.
  • Finalised a co-authored paper for Europortfolio 2005 on "National policies and case studies on the use of portfolios in teacher training"

  • Drafted a paper for Open Source for Education in Europe called "Open Content and Source: European Schoolnet Riding the Wave"

  • my readings for the week can be found at:

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Weblogs, Wikis, Webfeeds... and the educational technology research community

Ok, my new study buddy Seb, whom I met in the infamous ProLearn SSC 2005 (images tell more than those dusty words: do you see us working hard? not, 'cause SC stands for School + Conference, what good can come out of that, but the coffee-breaks..), was asking questions to himself out loud, so I thought I'll give it a thought too. He goes on about our SSC and then concludes with a rhetoric question mark:
If even some up and coming educational technology researchers have not yet embraced distributed Webpublishing practices to support their own networking efforts, we should be very careful celebrating yet another disruptive technology for education?
I do agree to some extent, but for me the question is rather "Disruptive or Distractive technology"? We do things the way we are used to doing them to save us time, in many cases, from learning new things. You know how that learning can be annoying, you might feel frustrated, dumb, faced with new challenges like using a new GUI, hit wrong buttons, loose all the text without saving it - and all this just to share a few little memories with your new friends, of whom you don't even remember the last name in any case.

Hmm.. I know I'm pushing it, but really, I think all forms of webpublishing should still be made easier and part of the stuff that we usually do, like sending mails, for example. [Now, I guess that is already done, so I should come up with something more productive..]

I truly feel that some people are distracted for different reasons by the "disruptive" (hate that word) technologies such as weblogs, wikis, and Webfeeds. I personally still have a problem with posting on a blog (but I love the other stuff), and I'm trying to reflect upon it to better understad what is going on. I think there should be more studies done about the poeple who find learning through this type of activities compelling just like we can say that people have different learning styles; some like learning by doing whereas others like textual content and so on. Maybe blogs are really good for the learners who have a preference for textual bases, whereas for some with dyslexia it can be a pretty disturbing experience.. [Which philosopher was is that back in a day didn't even think writing was such a good way to pass on teaching as opposed to discussing?]

I think with new technologies and solutions that they bring along for learning we should just accept the fact that there is no solution that fits all. With fairly easy design solutions we should be able to offer a variety of tools to learners that satisfy their style of learning, and not only the way that I think they should learn. In my opinion there's room for everyone and, the good thing is that today we can afford to offer different solutions and tastes.

However, I do regognise that there is also always room for improvement of the old ways of doing it...just to mention "Cornfolios"...

Chaqu'un son truck!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

- Prolearn Summer School 2005

This was about the best session at the ProLearn Summer School Conference 2005 in Sile, Turkey. Note the fancy name, I call it a conference and school. what a pitty, a really nice opportunity wasted with silly organisation of lectures for five days straight.

Friday, September 02, 2005

My research idea in short, very short...

My interest for my PhD work is in the area of advisory models or recommendation models for learning resources in the context of a repository, and possibly also extensible of a LCMS, VLE, etc.

I currently plan to look at the 3 different models based on:
- user modeling like Amazon,
- social networking models
- evaluation criteria

The idea, most of all, relies on the fact that metadata as we used to know it (one time entry) in the context of a repository has to change; it will become more dynamic, and contain more information about the user and its actual usage.

First of all, I have to look at different advisory models that are used, and that could be applicable to the field of education. It's clear that some models used in commerce, say, might work, but not all. Education, after all, has different goals and ones very specific to it (not only to learn skills and competencies, but also higher-oder cognitive skills).

I also will have to look at the metadata and think what fields would be important for this type of data, etc.

Second, I would design a conceptual model for these different models that I come up with.

Then I have pilots with real users, hopefully from different educational communities. It would be interesting to find out whether different communities have preferences for one model or another, whether those models could better work as stand-alone or part of the same system where user could choose the one they prefer or with combining parts from here and there. and so on....