Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The hybrid world of eTwinning

Lately, I've been thinking and talking a lot about how online world has changed thanks to social media. What I find intriguing is that a lot of communication on social media takes place between people that I already know, I rarely talk to strangers.

If I think of time before social media, that's how the Internets mostly was; if I communicated with someone over the web, e.g. in a forum or chat, it was usually someone that I had never met before in the physical life.

I talk about it as a hybrid world, an easy combination of life offline and online. That's why I was very glad to see some current research on the topic.

According to Caroline Haythornthwaite and Lori Kendall, professors in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Illinois, online interactions not only have positive outcomes for real-life, place-based communities, but the intersection between online communication and the offline world also forms two halves of a support mechanism for communities.

Previously, most attention was paid to highly virtual, online-only experiences. But as information and communication technologies have become increasingly intertwined with everyday life, the Internet and social media have combined to create a vibrant and indispensable communication and information platform and infrastructure for today's world.

"In its earliest incarnation, the online world was considered a separate realm, and it was not viewed as a serious venue for work or business," Haythornthwaite said. "But as more people have come online, the more online communication has become the norm. So it isn't thought of as a separate realm anymore, but as one that merges and overlaps with our daily activities. Full article"

This is something that I have also experienced with the eTwinning action, and it's quite interesting. It is just something rather had to pinpoint.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book out: Educational Recommender Systems and Technologies: Practices and Challenges

It's always nice to see a piece of work coming alive that one has been part of. In this case, I was involved in the reviewing process of the articles for the book called "Educational Recommender Systems and Technologies: Practices and Challenges", a topic that is very dear to me.

The editors of the book will collect reviews to share them with all, they will be compiled here.
Recommender systems have shown to be successful in many domains where information overload exists. This success has motivated research on how to deploy recommender systems in educational scenarios to facilitate access to a wide spectrum of information. Tackling open issues in their deployment is gaining importance as lifelong learning becomes a necessity of the current knowledge-based society. Although Educational Recommender Systems (ERS) share the same key objectives as recommenders for e-commerce applications, there are some particularities that should be considered before directly applying existing solutions from those applications.

Educational Recommender Systems and Technologies: Practices and Challenges aims to provide a comprehensive review of state-of-the-art practices for ERS, as well as the challenges to achieve their actual deployment. Discussing such topics as the state-of-the-art of ERS, methodologies to develop ERS, and architectures to support the recommendation process, this book covers researchers interested in recommendation strategies for educational scenarios and in evaluating the impact of recommendations in learning, as well as academics and practitioners in the area of technology enhanced learning.