January 23, 2007

A collection of Resources for Informal Learning.

Jay Cross and friends are having an unWorkshop. It looks really interesting. One of the goals of the identified on the website is to "Understand the role of blogs, wikis, podcasts, tags, RSS in learning." So I decide to pull together a collection of web-based resources around the topic of informal learning. They are located on LearningFlow, under the goal with the same name.

My thoughts on the subject:

blogs: Just as back in 1993 we saw a model emerge with tools like Hypercard, blogging technologies can serve multiple roles in the learning process. It can allow learners to create and clarify their knowledge or understanding of knowledge in a very constructive model. Another role of blogging could be to allow for an expert to document their understanding of information and publishing for easy access by novices. When we were developing hypermedia environments in the early 1990s we used this "cognitive apprenticeship" approach. But the amount of effort required to capture the media was incredible compared to today's, click and publish world.

wikis: The simple technology of an openly editable html page has become a powerful tool to capture the knowledge of the masses or "crowds". The simplicity of the approach has allowed for complete new ways of thinking about keeping information up-to-date and accurate. To imagine that an encyclopedia could be constantly updated is really amazing. Bonus: My example of using a wiki in a K-12 education environment, look for a scientific concept not yet in wikipedia, allow the students to craft the language and contribute the results online.

Podcasts: I have talked a lot about podcasts in the past. On a personal level they have been truly transformational in the way that I get information for my job. I know this won't fit everyone, but by having IT Conversations, PodTech.net, and TWIT available for my commute, I have turned brain-numbing traditional radio time into a time for me to improve my understanding of technologies.

Tags: I think of tags as a kind of glue that can keep the "stuff" or information that you are searching for, publishing, or creating together across the web. By tagging a piece of content, you are making that information discoverable over the web.

and finally....

RSS: Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary, your choice. This simple standard, based on XML allows you to syndicate content to any aggregator that is connected to the internet. My favorite aggregator? Google Reader.

1 comment:

  1. Steve5:34 PM


    Wikis, RSS, Podcasts, and Tags are all effective ways for those interested in Web-based learning, but have you thought about considering online tutoring? TutorVista is a personalized online prep service that covers topics that include English, bilogy, SAT, AP courses, and everything in between. It is extremely effective in helping out students from grade school to older students who are taking night courses. CNCB.com actually picked up a story about TutorVista last week: http://www.cnbc.com/id/16648097/

    Your posting from the 19th mentions Rick Nigol’s defense of eLearning – which is along the same exact lines as TutorVista. One argument in particular – cost – is one of TutorVista’s strongest features. It’s only $99 a month. Because of that, they have been great with helping out kids who have been affected by No Child Left Behind. Families who can’t afford those high-priced tutors are starting to realize that TutorVista is an effective option.