Thursday, October 22, 2009

Most scholarly opponent - PhD Ceremony in OUNL Nov 13 2009

It's pretty exiting to prepare for the PhD ceremony. There are all kinds of little things to think about. I've never gotten married, but it sure sounds like the same thing. In the Netherlands, for example, we need to have paranymphs at the PhD ceremony.

Yes, I know, it sounds like I need to have two dwarfs by my side there, but apparently they are like a bride's maid or a best man. With a twist that in case there was a heated fight between me and the opponents during the defence, the paranymphs would defend me with swords. Or, you know, something similar. So far, all what I've seen is that they hand over a class of water, but - we've ain't seen nothing yet..

Another thing is the manner of speech, I am, for example, to address the members in my committee by saying "most scholarly opponent", if they are a professor, otherwise just "scholarly opponent" is fine. And they call me "esteemed candidate". Pretty theatrical :)

Finally, I needed to prepare 10 statements in advance, they are called stellingen. 4 of them are about my thesis and the rest are more general (some can even be a bit funny, see #10). But in general, they all should be something that I can defend.

The purpose of this is that when the opponent has not had time to read my thesis and come up with a question, they can read one from the list. This way they can have a well formulated question to ask. My advantage - I can prepare for it in advance. Kind of a funny game! It seems to me that the more bold the statement is, the better chances there are that one of the opponents reads it out loud. Let's see...

1. A learning resource portal in a multilingual context can be made more robust and flexible by interrelating conventional metadata and social tags. (this thesis)

2. Socal tags, represented as a triple (user,item,tag), open more sophisticated avenues for resource discovery across contexts, especially when it applies to cross-language and cross-country discoveries. (this thesis)

3. The triple (user,item,tag) can be used as a parameter to measure links between cross-language content that reside on heterogeneous repositories. It can be created a posteriori to content creation and link-setting, and it can be used to support and enhance a new type of link-following behaviour by end-users. (this thesis)

4. The discovery strategies based on Social Information Retrieval (SIR) methods allow users to spend less effort in finding relevant resources on a multilingual portal. (this thesis)

5. The notion of learning resources as content is too limiting.

6. Even if the current trend in information seeking behaviour is the Web, interpersonal ties still drive and support information seeking. Social search should be considered beyond individual’s Web-behaviour.

7. While studying the impact of new information and communication technologies on education and attainment, studying their out-of-school use should be considered as important as their in-school use.

8. In Technology-Enhanced Learning, like in other lo-fi high tech, the next best thing is “good ‘nuf” for most users.

9. Languages both unite and divide people.

10. Anyone involved in decision-making for educational purposes should read science fiction.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Educational take - danah boyd: American Teens & Social Media

danah boyd has put something really important in words in this little video, it's related to the use of social media (applicable to all ICTs and mobile technologies) in education. If in a hurry, fast-forward to about 5.30 of the video:

Teens need to know boundaries, norms and how society works, and this should be taught through using social media, i.e. the tools that they use anyway .
The reason that "because kids are doing it" it not a good reason to start teaching about social media in schools. "Pedagogy and understanding of the tools, are two key pieces of knowledge that teachers must have before entertaining the idea of bringing social media into the classroom. Information sharing is relevant to education..."

A valid point made for teachers continuous professional development!