Master of Karaoke?

Karaoke Star!


From the “Research Interests” section of my application package:

“My course work will focus on media, technology and literacy. The proposal for my research project is to focus on media-enhanced presentation styles that encourage improvisation and participation. Specifically, I will be examining PechaKucha, Ignite, PowerPoint Karaoke, and Battle Decks events. My final project will explore how these presentation styles can contribute to meaning-making and community building in an educational setting.

My research will focus on these presentation styles as a new type of literary form; a digital, participatory, fluid and multi-modal script. Through an examination of these presentation formats, I’ll discuss how the enforced structure of these styles affects the information presented, suggesting that the rules demand a creative and intentional approach to meaning-making. I will look at ways in which this enhanced script creates a new performative experience, establishing new relationships between the presenter, audience members and external online participants who are contributing to the discourse during the presentation. I will explore the interplay between the live events and the online commentary, examining how the boundaries blur between the "real" presentation and the "backchannel" conversation, and how this interplay can serve to enhance or distract from the intended meaning of the performance.

My research will draw from and advance the work done by Guelph’s Media Education Project and the international Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice research project. I will be working with educators to explore how these presentation styles can be incorporated into course delivery and student assessment.  Together with these educators, I will explore the new literacies necessary for students to be able to effectively participate in and learn from these new presentation styles.  Beyond the context of the University, I will build partnerships with the technology and arts community and community-based organizations, with the goal of creating a community engaged approach to this scholarship.”

@barrydahl put it well: “Cool – you’re going to get a degree in PechaKucha and Karaoke. I’m looking for a program in slot car racing and ping pong.”

I’ll show him!

Guelph Technology Economy, 2011 Conference

The Guelph technology sector is one of the key elements to the Guelph economy, and is growing. I was honoured to be asked to be part of the steering committee for the 2nd Annual Guelph Technology Economy Conference – January 18, 2011.

Guelph Technology Economy

I participated in the conference last year. It’s an important event for a number of reasons:

  • support for the technology sector in Guelph
  • awareness of the significance of the Guelph technology sector and knowledge-based companies
  • networking and connections between technology companies, higher education, and knowledge-based companies

There’s a great line-up for this, ranging from Jim Jarrell to Doug Minett to Kirk Roberts to Kelly Brooks and others.

Arts & Digital Media, Innovation Guelph, Mobile Applications, Cloud Computing, Data Acquisition and Processes and Local Recruiting, Food, Prizes, and all that.

Conference Website.

If you work with learning objects & repositories, what’s your experience been?

For the past 8 months, I’ve been researching Learning Object Repositories, trying to figure out just what they’re all about and how their potential benefit to course design and delivery. Admittedly, it’s not the most exciting of discussion topics, and to those of you who don’t work or play in this field, this video might be worth watching instead.

The idea of “Learning Objects” and “Repositories” have been around for awhile. David Wiley has a thing or 2 to say about about them. For now, I’m going to steer clear of definitions, metaphors and discussions around their effectiveness (or lack thereof). Let’s just say, I think they have their use.

There’s a bunch of LOR-type tools and databases out there; some tied to a learning management system, some stand-alone, some commercial, some open source. The Edutech Wiki has listings and information. We use the Desire2Learn Learning Platform tools at the University of Guelph, so my experience is flavoured by that. I have, however dabbled in some other tools, for comparison purposes.

Here’s my thinking on LORs:

  1. They require a different way of thinking about content development and course design. It’s not just about uploading files from your desktop to a course site. To be effective, there needs to be “Learning Object Thinking” built into content design. Modularity. Re-usability.

  2. Learning Object Repositories are disruptive technologies. They promote sharing and openness. These will be foreign concepts to some.

  3. That said, most repositories have tools in place to manage access, copyright, work-flow, distribution, and all that important stuff. There’s also some great tools for reporting and measurement baked in to a good LOR. If these things are important to your context, make sure the tool you adopt has those features.

  4. But, because of that, they can be difficult to manage and administer. The use of an institutional repositories requires dedicated resources.

  5. And speaking of “foreign”, if you work in this realm, you will develop a love-hate relationship with metadata. It could be your best friend, or it could be the aunt you never want to visit at Christmas-time. Aim for the first.

  6. Reap what others sow. Let others reap what you sow. Through the Open Archives Initiative (OAI), repositories can be set up so that they are interoperable, to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content. Think harvesting. Share openly and borrow shamelessly.

Here’s an introductory presentation I shared for some people at my institution. Feel free to use or adapt if it meets your needs:

All I Want for Christmas is an Open Education!



It’s high time I started another degree. I’ve been shopping around for a couple of years now, and (mostly), I have it down to a couple institutions:

Both very attractive programs, and I’m sure I’d learn a lot.

As I’ve been shopping, I’ve been reading Don Tapscott’s latest epic, Macrowikinomics. It’s a great book. I found myself thinking “Hey, I’m not crazy! Other people think like this too!” (Or, maybe more to the point, at least I’m not alone.) In Chapter 8, Rethinking the University: Collaborative Learning, Tapscott proposes that we need to embrace open and collaborative learning in a “Global Network for Higher Learning”. He questions,

Why is the university the unit of measurement when it comes to branding a degree? In fact, in a networked world, why should a student have to assign his or her “enrollment” to a given institution, akin to declaring loyalty to some feudal fifedom?

There’s been some great scholarship and initiatives on the concept of “open courses” of late. Shouts out to Alec Couros, Stephen Downes, Dave Cormier, Bryan Alexander, George Siemens, David Wiley, Jim Groom and others for being trail-blazers on this.

What I’m after though is an open degree.

From what I’ve researched, a number of institutions will allow a small number of courses to come from outside the program and still be counted towards the degree (usually no more than two, although I’ve seen at least one allowing four…maybe under special circumstances, and with major administrative hassles). So, here’s my question, and my pitch: I’ll concede that I have to have a home institution, but what I’d like to do is take “one half less one” credits from other institutions, so that >50% of my credits come from my “home”.

Now, I may be missing something. There may be a program out there that allows this flexibility. If there is please let me know. If you work at one of these magical, enlightened institutions I will sign up! I am an excellent student. Believe me. And, if you want to help me with my quest, in any way, shape or form…

Looking for good introductory videos on the use of ePortfolios

I’m looking for good introductory/overview videos on the use of ePortfolios. Here’s 2 that were forwarded to me by colleagues:

Know of any others?

Ultimate Mobile Lifestyle

At the University of Guelph, this week is the pedometer challenge. Friday’s my day, so I was planning on walking to and from work and out and about at lunch. It struck me Thursday afternoon, though, that this might be a good experiment in the “ultimate mobile” lifestyle to experiment what it would be like to work and learn and all that stuff while being truly mobile (and counting steps as I go).

Here’s my plan: I’ll spend as much time as I can walking Friday, connecting with work as needed through phone and email, making heavy use of social media like twitter and flickr and mobile reflection/journal tools to document my journey. I’ll share this in real-time. I’ll also plan to consume some podcasts and books on mp3, access library services, etc. Also, do some kind of live GPS tracking. At the end, I’ll compile all these artifacts and reflections into some kind of presentation and mash it up with some resources on mobile learning in general.

Rules (an evolving list):

  • Accomplish as much work as I would on any other day.
  • Don’t sit at my desk.
  • Wear typical work clothes.
  • Document as much as I can
  • Don’t text while crossing streets

If you’re around Guelph today, and you want to join me for a short/long stroll, let me know. We can talk about work, life and all that.

4squarEd: Foursquare for Teaching and Learning?

I was interested to see that foursquare was has partnered with 20 US Universities to launch Foursquare For Universities. From Foursquare’s site:

Foursquare for universities helps students, alumni, and staff connect with each other, find new and interesting things to do, and earn rewards for exploring their campus and nearby areas. We combine a communication platform and a campus guidebook to create a fun experience for our users; students earn points, win ‘Mayorships’ and unlock badges for checking in to places and trying out new activities on campus.

Some big names in higher-ed have already climbed on board (Harvard, Stanford, Syracuse…). Others are sure to follow. This partnership makes good sense. An institution can create a page on the service, broadcast information, make recommendations, etc. Students can share tips on campus services and events. On-campus hospitality and entertainment venues can promote themselves.

But, what I’m interested in here goes beyond the gimmicky location-aware check-in and broadcasting what a user is eating for lunch. Higher-ed institutions need to think about how they can build upon the social-grid that service like foursquare are helping to foster to build a learning-grid where students and instructors can share in an easy, social, “knowledge-aware” way. It should be fun too.

Here’s my pitch: “Foursquare for Teaching and Learning” (or maybe you prefer “Foursquare for Education”) YES! 4squarEd. Here’s the script to the not-yet-created-and-maybe-never-will-be promo video:

Wish you were more aware of all the incredible learning experiences around you? With 4squarEd, you can unlock your learning and find happiness. You will need 4squarEd, a mobile device, and a passion for education.

Step 1: Download the 4squarEd application to your mobile device, and instantly connect with your library account, your institutional LMS, your ePortfolio, your social networks, registrarial services and more! Connect with your classmates and other learners within and outside of your institution to see what they’re learning. Build your Personal Learning Network (PLN).

Step 2: Tell your friends what you’re studying, what you’re learning and what you want to learn by checking in to one of the learning activities you’re institution’s 4squarEd lists, based on your current courses. Leave tips and resources for other learners. If the learning activity isn’t listed, you can add it to 4squarEd.

Step 3: Check out tips from your friends in your PLN and others outside it. Find recommendations for resources and suggestions for other activities.

Step 4: The more you use 4squarEd the more you’ll get out of it. Capture your activities, unlock learning objectives and earn points towards competencies based on what you’re learning. Check out stats at 4squarEd!

Step 5: Check-in frequently to become a mentor for a learning activity or competency.

Step 6: Use 4squarEd wherever you go: in museums, on your co-op placement, with your extra-curricular club or while you’re volunteering. You never know when you’ll come upon a little piece of learning!

What do you think?

School is a game. It’s just not a terribly well-designed game

At TEDxBoston, Seth Priebatsch looks at the next layer in progress: the “game layer,” a pervasive net of behavior-steering game dynamics that will reshape education and commerce.

School is a game. It’s just not a terribly well-designed game… There are levels. There are C. There are B. There is A. There are statuses. I mean, what is valedictorian, but a status? If we called valedictorian a “white knight paladin level 20”, I think people would probably work a lot harder.

Having fun yet?

Canadian EdTech Landscape, version 1.0

A status report based on the post below.

Canadian Edtech Landscape (version 1.0)

  • 29 responses to date
    • 4 from British Columbia
    • 2 from Alberta
    • 2 from Saskatchewan
    • 1 from Manitoba
    • 14 from Ontario (most/all within a 2 hour drive of Toronto)
    • 2 from Quebec
    • 3 from New Brunswick
    • 1 from PEI
    • zero from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, or the territories

We’ll keep this up for awhile yet. Participate via the links below if you’re interested. Fill the form out out for yourself, or someone you know.

Help me map the Canadian EdTech Landscape!

I was putting together my notes and slides for a workshop last week on Understanding and Using Social Media, and quickly noticed that nearly every example and every website I referred to was Canadian.

Here’s a smattering of my references:

This got me to thinking. Seems to me that there are a bunch of great Canadians who are involved in Educational Technology at some level: teaching, researching, developing, administering. And wouldn’t it be great fun to have a list of who and where these people were, with links to their professional and personal websites and their Twitter IDs? I think it would.

awesome canadian edtech

And here’s how I’d like to gather it: fill out the form to help map the Canadian EdTech Landscape. Fill it out for yourself, or someone you know: mentor, colleague, friend…

The results might look like this.