Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Open Educational Resources

In this presentation there are shown the most essential gateways to OER: some are institutional, others are regional or international. During my process of searching for similar tutorials I got to know most of them but there were as well some undescovered repositories.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Using Social Media isn't everything

"Social networks are about ...being social"
that's the core message of this presentation - so: have a look. This presentation is inspiring (for libraries as well)!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

German universities are becoming an "University2.0"

The University2.0 is the most ideal way of accessing and sharing information. Moreover the University promotes itself by showing how research is done, how it proceeds and offering results and various documents for free and in one virtual place as a one-stop-shop.
In response to the need to acquire, to index, to store, and to provide documents which are increasingly only available in digital form, the Thuringian University and State Library (ThULB) and the University Data Processing Centre (URZ) began in 1999 with the composition of a digital library called UrMEL (University Multimedia Electronic Library). UrMEL will make it possible to combine the Friedrich Schiller University's (FSU) various activities for the provision of multimedia and historical documents. Since UrMEL can already integrate different projects and serve as a project platform for them, it forms the basis for the integration of further institutions in Thuringia. This is true not only of libraries, but also of museums, archives, and other cultural institutions.
Already realized are the following projects: University@UrMEL, Journals@UrMEL, and Collections@UrMEL.

  • University@UrMEL

    Within the scope of the Digital Library Thuringia University@UrMEL provides online access to university documents such as doctoral theses, dissertations, research
    reports, and lecture scripts. It serves as a platform for accessing course materials. Audio and video recordings in different formats are also available at University@UrMEL.
  • Journals@UrMEL

    Journals@UrMEL provides access to electronic journals. Via digitalization, historical journals are made more easily accessible, and are at the same time prevented from decaying. In cooperation with scientific publishers and societies, the ThULB increasingly also publishes online journals itself. In addition to this, the ThULB also purchases online journals from publishers, stores them, and makes them accessible on its own servers.
  • Collections@UrMEL

    Within Collections@UrMEL, we work together with scholars from different areas to develop special applications for the digital and multimedia editing and indexing of valuable stock from archives and manuscript collections.

For more information please visit the project's website

On Novenber the 10th there will take place a special symposion about UrMEL. According to the program it really looks like as if the institution's libraries are fully integrated into digitazation, multimedia editing and indexing documents.

Let's hope this project leads to reshaping german universities into a real "University2.0" - which is more than only storing data and information in one place.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Becoming a good/ better instructor

Some quotes of other instructors:
There are many dimensions to being a great library instructor. Teaching regularly can certainly help to keep those skills sharp, and it affords the needed opportunity to experiment with learners, to try new things, and to stretch one’s capabilities in the classroom.

(taken from ARCLog:"Maintaining your instruction Mojo")

It’s all about adding value to the learning process. He is spot on when he says that students can now go anywhere to simply hear a lecture by a talking head that is attached to a series of slides. That describes a good deal of online learning and open education resource experience. You go to a web site or a course delivery system and just tune in to a lecture/presentation. But where’s the added value that comes from the dialogue between the teacher and the student? I believe what Bowen is really afraid of losing at his school is what makes the learning experience truly unique – the engagement between the instructor and the learner.

Academic librarians need to be mindful of the same challenge. We know that while we offer high quality information resources, our students and faculty can obtain information from a wide variety of resources. And there are times when they are accessing our subscription content through free search engines and are not aware that the content is delivered by the library. Those are well known issues. If the boundaries between information sources are becoming increasingly blurry to the end user, what is it that distinguishes what the academic library does for them? Finding the answer to that question is part of the challenge we face, just as our faculty colleagues will need to make clear to future students the value that they add to the learning process. Otherwise why bother with the huge investment in a traditional college education.

(taken from ARCLog: "We have to add the Value")

There are (at least) 5 key characterists an instructor has to follow:
1. Relevance – The big challenge is to connect course content to the current culture – learning has to be relevant to them.

2. Rationale – Today’s students were raised in a non-authoritarian manner. They won’t comply because the instructor is in charge, but will be more likely to do so when given a good rationale.

3. Relaxed – They thrive in a less formal environment in which they can interact informally with the instructor and each other.

4. Rapport – More than previous generations they are used to having adults in their lives and show interest in them. They appreciate it when instructors show interest as well or when we connect on a personal level.

5. Research-based methods – Millennials have grown up constantly engaged so they can tend to bore easily, so be prepared with active learning methods

(taken from "Why don't my students think I'm groovy")

The new Library2.0-Manifest (by Zukunftswerkstatt - in english: future lab)

The project "Zukunftswerkstatt" (in english: future lab) names the objectives for the libraries' future. The librarians are called to go playing: playing with web2.0-services, playing within (information literacy) instructions etc. I fully agree with that, cos libraries are still seen as old fashioned institutions. Libraries ARE already online - they only have to show a bigger presence at multiple channels: The doors have to be open, librarians aren't the gatekeepers any more.
Please watch the presentation (unfortunately only in German) to get a better impression of what is meant with "go playing":

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Kindle (and other wireless reading devices) creating a paradigm change?

Jaimie Prideaux posted at her blog "Talking Books Librarian" about kindle2. (I like the message "Still amazing only better" ^^) With that device you can store 1200 ebooks (which you buy at kindleStore, of course) and read newspapers and papers before newsstand (reminds me of the e-paper in "Minority report"). Will devices like kindle, Sony Flexible Full Color Paper Screen, PlasticLogic, Linux-based FirstPaper etc. create a paradigm change? How long will it take until it is common to use such "devices"? Imagine how fast Gameboys or Laptops were disseminated. The question is: When do the libraries have to adopt these technological changes? Until now there is enough time to monitor these developments...

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

"Why don't I think of that?" - Finding Innovation in Your Library

Previous Month there was a chat discussion about the topic innovation in libraries, its barriers and the librarians' experiences with implementing. (Unfortunately I discovered it now where it is over! :( ) The questions that were discussed are:

What is innovation? How does it happen? Who innovates? And, why does it happen to some more than others? This OnPoint chat will use attendees' experiences to understand how innovation does (and does not) occur in the academic library environment. Drawing on individuals' successes and failures, we will identify obstacles to innovation, discuss various models and theories of innovation, and consider how the individual fits in the innovative organization. David Dahl, Emerging Technologies Librarian at Towson University, will convene this month's chat.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

SpringerImages - Schematic of the Learning Research Cycle (LRC). A sequence of activities designed to enhance participants’ understanding of the role of information technology (IT) in doing, teaching, and learning science. Activities build on intense experiences in authentic scientific research environments with scientists in their laboratories, which occur in two 3-week periods during two summers. Participants engage in scientific research experiences using IT to seek answers to scientific questions (Ia). Participants concurrently adapt their authentic research experiences to design similar IT-based research experiences for their students, with the assistance of science educators (II). At the end of the first summer, participants leave with an Instructional Framework (IF) to integrate into their classroom instruction during the first school year (III). Reports of the results of their implementation efforts are required for participants to return for a second summer. In June of the second summer, training in mentoring and fundamentals of educational research occurs for graduate students who are chosen to work as mentors for participants during the professional development activities for the second summer (IV). In July, participants continue their work with scientists (Ib) and work with educational researchers to design classroom-based research blueprints (RB) to examine the effects of the IF on students learning (V). Participants implement their research blueprints in their classrooms during the second school year on a voluntary basis (VI) and have the option of reporting the results of their 2nd years’ implementations during a conference held at the ITS Center at the beginning of the third summer (VII). Critical to the entire LRC are multiple and continuous opportunities for discourse and feedback, provided face-to-face during the summer and electronically via a community portal throughout the entire LRC (VIII)

Schematic of the Learning Research Cycle (LRC).A sequence of activities designed to enhance participants’ understanding of the role of information technology (IT) in doing, teaching, and learning science. Activities build on intense experiences in authentic scientific research environments with scientists in their laboratories, which occur in two 3-week periods during two summers. Participants engage in scientific research experiences using IT to seek answers to scientific questions (Ia). Participants concurrently adapt their authentic research experiences to design similar IT-based research experiences for their students, with the assistance of science educators (II). At the end of the first summer, participants leave with an Instructional Framework (IF) to integrate into their classroom instruction during the first school year (III). Reports of the results of their implementation efforts are required for participants to return for a second summer. In June of the second summer, training in mentoring and fundamentals of educational research occurs for graduate students who are chosen to work as mentors for participants during the professional development activities for the second summer (IV). In July, participants continue their work with scientists (Ib) and work with educational researchers to design classroom-based research blueprints (RB) to examine the effects of the IF on students learning (V). Participants implement their research blueprints in their classrooms during the second school year on a voluntary basis (VI) and have the option of reporting the results of their 2nd years’ implementations during a conference held at the ITS Center at the beginning of the third summer (VII). Critical to the entire LRC are multiple and continuous opportunities for discourse and feedback, provided face-to-face during the summer and electronically via a community portal throughout the entire LRC (VIII)
(Quelle: SpringerImages)

Is such a model also possible in Germany?

Springer offers now an image database: SpringerImages is a growing collection of scientific images that spans the scientific, technical and medical fields, including high-quality clinical images from images.MD. The continually updated collection – currently over 1.5 million images – gathers photos, graphs, histograms, figures, and tables, and is available to libraries and their patrons via a searchable online database. The SpringerImages interface enables users to search faster, more broadly and more accurately, through captions, keywords, context and more, even jumping from the image to the source article. Users can create personalized image “sets,” and can easily export images for use in their own presentations or lectures.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Trend-spotting in Germany

Just a few weeks ago the Bibliothekartag took place. The most interesting german project in these days "Zukunftswerkstatt" was introduced there with lots of presentations and a discussion panel. ("Zukunftswerkstatt" can be translated as "hotbed of ideas" or "idea laboraty".) The slogan of "Zukunftswerkstatt" is "Libraries go playing". The vodcasts from the discussion panel can be found at youtube.

Here a few insights into the sometimes controversal but fruitful discussion:

Mrs Prof. Beger (director of the SUB Hamburg) asked the essential question - with which the whole panel dealt -
What do we have to prepare for?
In these days Google is standard. Whether we like it or not Google is the starting point.

Users do not see that libraries are innovative cos the libraries' rooms are old-fashioned and outmoded. The users only get to know this new breeze when the USE the library and its services.
With the focus on this facts Mrs. Beger asked provoking:
Should we entrust Google with our catalogs?

Albert Bilo (director of the UB Essen) underlined that there are people who want an old catalog room and there are people who want to have an OPAC with new features and user-generated content (OPAC2.0). In his opinion it will develop side by side. He highlighted that librarians have to master the task to fill the gaps. (Sometimes they fill gaps which turned out to be no gaps.)

I want to thank Prof. Hobohm for presenting our project at the stand of "Zukunftswerkstatt". The slides of this presentation can be found at slideshare. One year ago we did a survey among german libraries what their opinion is about innovation and how they deal with trends. The results can be found in the current issue of the journal Forum Bibliothek und Information BuB 06/2009.
Several other interesting presentations are online at Slideshare.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Google Squared - Google's new semantic search engine!

Thanks to Tony Liu who gave this hint:

Google, already the king of internet search, has rolled out an experimental new search product called ''Google Squared''.

Google Squared does not provide a list of links to Web pages, like with a traditional Google search, but presents information derived from a query in a spreadsheet-like grid called a ''square''.

Users of google.com/squared can then build, modify and refine their ''square'' through further Web searches.

``Unlike a normal search engine, Google Squared doesn't find webpages about your topic – instead, it automatically fetches and organizes facts from across the Internet,'' Google said in a preview of the product last month.

In a blog post, Google said Google Squared could be useful when a user needs to make multiple searches to find the information they want.

''It essentially searches the Web to find the types of facts you might be interested in, extracts them and presents them in a meaningful way,'' Google said.

''If your square isn't perfect at the beginning, it's easy to work with Google Squared to get a better answer,'' Google added.

The Mountain View, California-based Internet search giant cautioned that Google Squared remains experimental and the technology behind it ''is by no means perfect.''

Google Squared is exactly what I imagined of an ideal search engine's presentation of results. I really like graphical semantic search engine (e.g. kartoo) but very often you get lost or at least confused.
In "Google Squared" you get a screenshot of the website (or a picture of the webpage) and additional information. The words you searched for are (mostly) highlighted. - That's the way information need to be organized! :) (Well, is it the most optimal way for presenting information???) That's where libraries have to get to: an optimal intuitive presentation of information...! Librarians always tried to reach this goal-but are there any Best Practices regarding presenting information? What I like regarding the new version of cartoo is: you have several options to arrange the results in the way you favor :)

To get back to "Google Squared":
Google Squared isn't perfect: When searching for "librarianship" you get there is one result showing the "Internet Movie Database"-profile of Eric Wilson. Nowhere at this webpage was the word "librarian" or a similar one. Well could be an advertisement that changed now... - I wonder, if that's the place where personal data is going to be find in future... :( (Until now social networks like myspace, facebook etc. cannot be found via "Google Squared")

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

"Rambling librarian" about google wave and its possibilities for librarians

Through the posting of Infobib (posting via Planet Biblioblog) I found my way to this interesting posting: "Google wave: possibilities for librarians" who comments on the Day 2 keynote speech of Google presenting Google I/O. He shares his ideas of service possibilities and/ or librarians' way of work:

As a librarian, the Google Wave demo shows how it could transform the way we provide Enquiry and Advisory services. Or how we research, collaborate and publish documents.

Further on, the "Rambling librarian" explains it. Thanks to him to share his ideas and thoughts! :)

In my opinion it is worth -and essential- to think about possible developments. Let's go on to share ideas and visions :)

Background: What is Google wave?

As Google explains
Google Wave is a product that helps users communicate and collaborate on the web. A "wave" is equal parts conversation and document, where users can almost instantly communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more. Google Wave is also a platform with a rich set of open APIs that allow developers to embed waves in other web services and to build extensions that work inside waves.

Friday, 5 June 2009

"where on earth..." - Finding database tutorials

During the last 2 weeks I was searching for database tutorials. The Online Tutorial LOTSE should bekome more interactive. Therefore we are looking for already existing tutorials to avoid doing the same thing twice. The goal is to cooperate with other institutions.
It was not that easy to collect these database tutorials because in Germany there is no portal that serves as a gateway to them. The only collection (mostly Bavarian institutions involved) I found was a collection of tutorials (already created and planned!) that offer a connection to Citavi.
For english tutorials there exists a gateway/ platform: The Animated Tutorial Sharing Project (ANTS) is a collaborative project presently involving librarians in Canada and the United States, but open to librarians elsewhere. It would be good if libraries of other countries would join, too. This platform is a good start. I really appreciate that there is an instruction how to create tutorials and how to put it online! The tutorials itself can be found at DSpace. Each tutorial is presented with its metadata (e.g. Issue date, institution, keywords ...). In some cases you also find information about which software (Camtasia, Captivate etc.) was used to create the tutorial. This is important to know if you would like to change it.

Monday, 25 May 2009

newer thoughts about PLE

Via Podcampus I got to know about a conference about PLE: the conference "Personal Learning Environments in der Schule" was held on the 13th of March in Goldau. One of the speakers, Prof. Dr. Schulmeister is examining the definition of PLE and what it means for instructors.

First of all, what is PLE?

As the buzzword says it is the learning environment that surrounds us:
  • the tools we use to find, write, share, discuss... a paper,

  • the sources we discover and use

  • the people we talk with about topics

But beyond that our own history - as Prof. Dr. Schulmeister highlighted - is part of our PLE (video (german) of his speech, 3rd min.)

Moreover Prof. Dr. Schulmeister thinks that new ideas are developing out of not-communicated things: Ideas are formed out of talks and out of thoughts. Sometimes they come spontaneous, sometimes they need time to develop.
Mr. Schulmeister underlines that a focus only on the today's tools would be a big mistake. The tools we use nowadays are only limited instruments but they are giving us new opportunities.
Over the past 5 years (maybe more, maybe less) there was a shift from focusing the tools to focusing the people: from software to community.

What is PLE out of the didactic perspective?
PLE concests of standard components that are put together by the person who is using it. (That's why we have to offer information via different types of media)
Schulmeister does not support Michael Wesch's opinion that school/ instruction has not changed but learning did. In Schulmeister's opinion it is possible to present this statement in a completely different way: Learning has not changed but instruction did.
Scoolmeister is an advocate of cooperative learning. He is although right in provoking us to think about following critical questions in learning:

  • Is there a concept that wholly fits to the topic learning? (e.g. observational learning?)

  • What role does resistance against learning play? (I think everybody experienced this at least one time)

  • Are we as instructors paying enough attention to socio-cultural differences?

  • Is everybody able to do research?

  • Are we allowed to take interest in a specific topic for granted?

  • Are we allowed to take self-organization for granted?

  • Do students have a proper learning and/or time management?

  • Do they have a time management at all?

Schulmeister sums up that PLE's are formale components of the learning situation.

After that Mr Schulmeister examines the difference between LEARNING environment and environment. ...
I will go on about that topic later on.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Continuance: Google Books and mass digitization

Yesterday I discovered the book "Teaching Library in Deutschland" in GoogleBooks.

This book was published in 2005 and is copyrightly material! Google is audacious in digitizing it and giving nearly full access to it (only a few pages were left out). The only acknowledgement they make is to publish the information "This is copyrighted material" at the bottom of the pages! They have chosen confrontation: they are breaking the rules deliberately, hoping for the long arm of the law (that it takes years to until there is a consistent international decision in copyright questions). Google is digitizing books on a large scale without asking for permission. On googlebooksettlement.com authors and other rightsholder are able to raise an objection. German authors are fighting back since March 2009 with the so-called "Heidelberger Appell" which beared fruit in the "The Freedom to Publish and the Protection of Copyright".
A collection of articles dealing with the "Heidelberger Appell" can be found here (unfortunately only german articles). A few days ago there was a good posting at IBI-weblog (german) where several recent articles were contemplated.
Two weeks ago there was held an international conference with 250 people from 19 different countries regarding the topic copyright: "The Future Of Copyright – What Is The Right Protection?". The presentations were translated into french, german and english. Until now there are no presentations/papers/podcasts etc. or results available. (Or did somebody find sth. about this conference?)

To shorten it up here: the suspense continues ;) I hope the authors are winning and the intellectual property remains protected.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Youtube EDU - Google as a world saver or world rule

A few weeks ago the new gateway to lectures, campus-tours, interviews with researches of more than 100 well-known universities and colleges was set up: Youtube EDU. Until now it consists only of videos of american institutions.
As I discovered Youtube is a subsidiary of Google. It's suspect to me that the division which realized or promote it is called "Happy learning" (?!). This reminds me of motivational trainings for managers.

Google's mission is "to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". This is undoubtedly a positive concern but I am not so naive to be fully convinced of Google - a profit organization - as only social-oriented. In 2003 a New York Times Columnist asked the provoking question "Is Google God?". Bill Thomson at the BBC asked "Is Google too powerful?" - a question that I also prefer. Is Google too powerful? Xiudian Dai wrote an interesting article about Google in which he sums up several fact/ reasons. First, "nation-states might see Google’s search power as a threat to their autonomy. First, the autonomy of the nation-state declines due to the
fact that Google search reinforces the trend towards economic globalisation."

- just to publish the beginning of this posting - I have to deal with the details more closely. All I can say by now: I am concerned. I will put down my concerns here in the next days. At first I have to sort my thoughts. Moreover, it will take a few time to study the details ;)

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Horizon Report 2009

A friend of mine bookmarked the new Horizon Report 2009 and it popped up in facebook - thanks to social-networking :)

It is quite similar to the last Horizon Report but consists also of new stuff like e.g. "geo-everything". In the first adoption horizon we find mobiles and cloud computing, both of which are already well established on many campuses — and still more organizations have plans in place to make use of these technologies in the coming months. Institutions at the leading edge of technology adoption are also already applying the two clusters of technologies we have placed on the mid-term horizon, geo-everything and the personal web. All four topics on the first two horizons are already in common use in other sectors, including entertainment, commerce, and the world of work. The two technologies placed on the far-term horizon, semantic-aware applications and smart objects, are not yet commonly found in an educational context, although research is being conducted in both areas and the rate of development seems to indicate that these topics are well worth watching.
Each profiled technology is described in detail in the body of the report, including a discussion of what it is and why it is relevant to teaching, learning, research, and creative expression. Specific examples are listed there for each of the six topics
  • Mobiles: New interfaces, the ability to run third-party applications, and location-awareness have all come to the mobile device in the past year, making it an ever more versatile tool that can be easily adapted to a host of tasks for learning, productivity, and social networking.
    - I would like to add: These developments make it even more difficult to gather these emerging tools and conclude its potential for teaching and learning.

  • Cloud-Computing: The emergence of large-scale “data farms” — large clusters of networked servers — is bringing huge quantities of processing power and storage capacity within easy reach. Inexpensive, simple solutions to offsite storage, multi-user application scaling, hosting, and multi-processor computing are opening the door to wholly different ways of thinking about computers, software, and files.
    - How many/ Which universities are using Grids? Regarding Germany I only know of Trier, Göttingen, Mannheim and Würzburg.

  • Geo-Everything: Many common devices can automatically now determine and record their own precise location and can save that data along with captured media (like photographs) or can transmit it to web-based applications for a host of uses. The full implications of geo-tagging are still unfolding, but the impact in research has already been profound.
    - More details are to find in the body of the report :)

  • The Personal Web: Springing from the desire to reorganize online content rather than simply viewing it, the personal web is part of a trend that has been fueled by tools to aggregate the flow of content in customizable ways and expanded by an increasing collection of widgets that manage online content. Using a growing set of free and simple tools and applications, it is easy to create a customized, personal web-based environment — a personal web — that explicitly supports one’s social, professional, learning, and other activities. - Services such as Bookmarking, commenting and suggestion of similar media are also possible in a catalog: to offer a so-called OPAC2.0 is a goal.

  • Semantic-Aware-Applications: New applications
    are emerging that are bringing the promise of the semantic web into practice without the need to add additional layers of tags, identifiers, or other top-down methods of defining context. Tools that can simply gather the context in which information is couched, and that use that context to extract embedded meaning are providing rich new ways of finding and aggregating content. At the same time, other tools are allowing context to be easily modified, shaped, and redefined as information flows are combined. - Which services are examples that are already in successful practice? What is possible in the environment of library and further learning environments?

  • Smart Objects: Sometimes described as the “Internet of things,” smart objects describe a set of technologies that is imbuing ordinary objects with the ability to recognize their physical location and respond appropriately, or to connect with other objects or information. A smart object “knows” something about itself — where and how it was made, what it is for, where it should be, or who owns it, for example — and something about its environment. While the underlying technologies that make this possible — RFID, QR codes, smartcards, touch and motion sensors, and the like — are not new, we are now seeing new forms of sensors, identifiers, and applications with a much more generalizable set of functionalities.

Moreover the Horizon Report 2009 offers further information about several other developments which cannot be described with one specific buzzword:

Visualization tools are making information more meaningful and insights more intuitive. As tools of this nature continue to be developed and used, visual literacy will become an increasingly important skill in decoding, encoding, and determining credibility and authenticity of data.

Students are different, but a lot of educational material is not. Schools are still using materials developed decades ago, but today’s students come to school with very different experiences than those of 20 or 30 years ago, and think and work very differently as well. Institutions need to adapt to current student needs and identify new learning models that are engaging to younger generations.

Significant shifts are taking place in the ways scholarship and research are conducted, and there is a need for innovation and leadership at all levels of the academy. A challenge cited as critical now for several years running, academic review and faculty rewards are out of sync with the practice of scholarship. Clear approaches to assessing emerging forms of scholarly practice are needed for tenure and promotion. Students who are living and learning with technologies that generate dynamic forms of content may find the current formalism and structure of scholarship
and research to be static and “dead” as a way of collecting, analyzing and sharing results.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Guides and Resources for students and adult learners

In search of open courseware and eLearning resources I found two good collections:

Furthermore I found useful guides regarding learning and scientific work:
  • studycube

    The studycube is a multimedia intranet site that has been established in the context of "Learning and Scientific Work" but becomes relevance far beyond this. Unfortunately this guide exists only in German. But the presentation and visualization alone is already worth seeing :)

  • see post "21st century skills"

  • ...

  • --- ongoing list! ---

For sure these guides and resources are very helpful for learners! So, why not to refer to it? ;)

Monday, 16 March 2009

When teaching literacy has to start...

21st century skills

In search of web2.0-Tools that might be interesting for students and hence should be mentioned in LOTSE I discovered the website "21st century skills". The creators and supporters of the website "21st century skills" believe that
"Learning Environments Must Break Through the Silos that Separate Learning from the Real World"
-sounds very declamatory but its true in regard of the many different coexisting tools.
With the help of partners and reowned educators and authors the whitepaper "21st Century Learning Environments" was created. Its purpose is to offer a descriptive view of the places, tools, people, and policies that make up 21st century learning environments and, we hope, inspire its readers to work towards their realization.

Well, what is a 21st century learning environment?
"The term “learning environment” suggests place and space – a school, a classroom, a library. And indeed, much 21st century learning takes place in physical locations like these. But in today‟s interconnected and technology-driven world, a learning environment can be virtual, online, remote; in other words, it doesn‟t have to be a place at all. Perhaps a better way to think of 21st century learning environments is as the support systems that organize the condition in which humans learn best – systems that accommodate the unique learning needs of every learner and support the positive human relationships needed for effective learning. Learning environments are the structures, tools, and communities that inspire students and educators to attain the knowledge and skills the 21st century demands of us all."

In the whitepaper the authors also -like Michael Welsch - underline:
"...students are more engaged and more successful when they can connect what they are learning to situations they care about in their community and in the world"

To further guide schools and communities in designing dynamic 21st learning environments, the Partnership‟s Resource 21 site provides a wealth of information on this and other Framework elements at http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/route21/. The "Route 21" is a one-stop-shop for 21st century skills-related information, resources and community tools. The elements described as “21st century student outcomes” (represented by the
rainbow) are the skills, knowledge and expertise students should master to succeed in work and life in the 21st century.

  • Life and Career Skills: These skills describe the ability to be flexible, adaptable, self-directed, socially aware, accountable and responsible.

  • Learning and Innovation Skills: These important skills include creativity & innovation, critical thinking & problem-solving and communication & collaboration.

  • Information, Media and Technology Skills: These skills include Information Literacy, Media Literacy and ICT Literacy.

  • Core Subjects and 21st century themes: Core subjects like math, English and Science should be taught in the context of themes like global awareness etc.

  • Standards and Assessment: 21st century standards, along with a balanced system of assessment that measure 21st century skills is critical. Student assessment, whether by standardized tests or classroom-based measures, is a cornerstone of effective teaching and learning. Taken as a whole, good assessments can not only provide a reliable and valid measure of a student’s learning and understanding, but also help guide both teachers and students on a day-to-day basis.

  • Curriculum and Instruction: Instructional materials and practice should support student mastery of 21century skills.

  • Professional Development: Teachers should be provided with effective training and support skills for integrating these skills into classroom.

  • Learning Environments: Where students learn affects what they learn - today's learning environments must support the teaching and learning of 21st century skills.

This is an overall-model regarding teaching and learning. The objectives are evident. Unfortunately these objectives do not include handable specifications for implentation or examples/ BestPractices.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

the (r)evolution of education and learning

Since the poll and the results offered via the video „A Vision of Students today“ I appreciate the work of Michael Wesch. By chance I discovered a new presentation given by Michael Wesch at the conference "Education Learning Initiative". The title of this amazing presentation is "From the Knowledgeable to the Knowledge-able". It describes the revolution(s) in education -
right now there is one taking place regarding the fast spreading of information by the means of new media tools like flickr, twitter etc. How can we use new media to foster the kinds of communication and community we desire in education? Michael Wesch presents both successful and unsuccessful attempts to integrate emerging technologies into the classroom to create a rich virtual learning environment.

His main points are:

  • learning has to be fun!

  • etwas Infrage-stellen muss das Bildungssystem zulassen, da es gut für die Kreativität und fürs Lernen selbst ist

  • we have to teach HOW to think

  • „it’s all about asking good questions“ => in Michael Wesch's opinion there is a a snificance-crisis for years now: the students ask "How much do I have to do to get my credits/ mark? (!)

  • But more important is:
  • to learn is to aquire information,

  • to learn is to SHARE, DISCUSS, CRITIQUING information and in the end CREATE new information: it’s about creating meaningful connections

  • => to learn is to create … significance

  • Regarding the students' habit it's important to ask ourselves:
  • How can we create significance? How can we create meaningful connections?
  • How can we create students who can create meaningful connections?

The last one made me think of "Re-Brainwashing" ;)
In my opinion students forgot the significance of learning because they are not any more able to see the linkage to their lives caused by the more and more performance-oriented world.

To change students' habits we have to:

  • engage real problems (that really matter to students)

  • engage it with students

  • recognize and harness the existing media environment so that students can recognize and harness them as well

Regarding the last point he stresses that there are no digital natives! (all the new services are at most only 4 years old)
To give a practical insight how to use new media tools he shows examples from his work as a professor at KSU.
After that Michael Wesch asks more critical questions

  • how to get students to better work together on real projects?

  • who is smarter: me or my students?

By asking the last question he puts himself in a neutral position. He knows he should be the expert but he notices that there is cumulative knowledge in front of him. It only needs someone who harnesses it and manages to draw everybody in.
Once more he presents an example out of his work where students were able to ask real relevant (world) questions: the World Simulation Spring 2007

After that he stresses that technology creates linkages between the real and the virtual world. Once more he asks several critical questions:

  • have we prepared our students for this world? => Will students be able to create the information landscape of tomorrow? => have we prepared the students to CREATE this world?

  • rethinking the Basics => what are basic literacy skills?

Monday, 16 February 2009

what's hot for me (via wordle)

Let's play with words ;)
I just tried Wordle (for those how do not know wordle: with this tool you are able to visualize your favourite words by creating a tag-cloud):
To get visualized my mostly-used tags I typed in my delicious-name, waited a few seconds and there it was:

A nice tool to do Brainstorming! :)

Why did I use this tool?
At first: its free ;)
Secondly, I am searching for tools that can be used in LOTSE.

Friday, 23 January 2009

change in transfering knowledge - an exhibition about this important cultural heritage

I just discovered via netbib the interesting exhibition "bookmarks2009" which is organized by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Bibliothek (GWLB) and the Leibniz University Hannover :) In this exhibition antique, precious properties of the Library enter into dialogues with new vehicles for communication. Maybe human beings will have open virtual access to any kind of knowledge in the near future: open access to an unlimited library! But this will never replace the aura of the original.
It is really surprising that LIBRARIES developed such an exciting exhibition! :)

Fortunately this exhibition is also offered online. Moreover it's in German and English (not so common in Germany ;) ).
Furthermore you can get a youtube-tour through various interesting youtube-clips.
Have fun with it and enjoy the you tube tour! :)
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