Wednesday, September 29, 2004

e-Blogs of Note -- October 2004, Part I

The E-Learning Queen takes a look at a few e-learning blogs that have caught her eye, and prepares to brief her instructionally designing cats (if she can find them). E-learning blogs are featured, although some are more wide-ranging than that, and deal more with broad social and technological issues that impact our understanding of how e-learning is evolving.





e-Clippings: *Legero*Cogito*Scripto
http://blogoehlert.typepad.com/eclippings/ Not only is the design first-rate, with fantastic use of images, screenshots, and typefaces, e-Clippings is probably my absolute favorite in terms of visionary blogs – ones that really seem to catch the wave of what is looming coming to us in the near future. I completely agree with Mark Ehlert's notion that it is time to start a wiki on e-learning blogs. I suppose the only challenge is to develop certain criteria and categories to help with classifying the emphases. That will not be easy, since the very nature of e-learning is to be interdisciplinary and to cross boundaries. Eventually, it will probably come about that blogs will be places where individuals can share their favorite learning objects, shareable content objects in general, and editing / blogging utilities programs of all types. Ah, who says that the old 2COWS vision died with the dot.coms? If we all pay for a little piece of the system, it pays for itself. e-Clippings brings back that old, wonderful energy, that idealism and vision. Can something be sizzling and refreshing at the same time? See for yourself.


Full Circle Associates Online
http://www.fullcirc.com/weblog/onfacblog.htm
Nancy White is, in a word, inspiring. Her blog, Full Circle Associates Online Interacion and Community Blog, reflects her commitment to the use of Internet technology to help bring about positive change. Community is definitely a touchstone concept here – her communities are ones that come together because of a shared vision and a need to develop tactics and support for bringing to fruition.


Albert Ip – Random Walk in E-Learning
http://elearningrandomwalk.blogspot.com
Albert Ip’s theories and writings about how good narratives are the key to effective simulations are invaluable for any researcher or instructional designer seeking to understand how one could incorporate simulations in an online course. The idea that narrative-driven simulations can be useful even without graphics is good to contemplate, particularly in a video game-inflected world. This is appropriate not only for business and marketing simulations, but for leadership, team-building, and a multiplicity of other applications.

Soul Soup
www.soulsoup.net
Wonderful feeds, with valuable commentary. Soul Soup creator Anol has a great sense of what is interesting and useful to people at this point in time, and he covers a wide range of topics. I like his sense of humor – his incorporation of drawing and designs is absolutely delightful. I love the “If Cats Could Blog” contrasting with “If Dogs Could Blog.” Many articles and links that help individuals think about the implications of new developments.


elearningpost
http://www.elearningpost.com/
Excellent discussion boards. My favorite topic: “Ten Damaging E-Learning Myths.” The topics and blogs that are covered are engaging and deal with the way that people really use the Internet at home, in academia, in the office. A commentary on a recent blog, “IM and Work” caught my eye. Just as I thought that IM was beginning to lose a bit of cachet, esp. in the workplace, it seems to be back.

Jay Cross Internet Time Blog
http://metatime.blogspot.com/2004/09/firefox.html#comments

A few weeks ago, Jay Cross posted thoughts on the lightning-fast changeovers from IE to Mozilla Firefox. His arguments and points made seemed remarkably thorough and cogent – and, after reading other articles on the topic, I now believe so even more fervently. I don’t Mozilla yet – I burned myself on browser-browsing, but I have to admit I actually liked Mosaic, and the Netscape products (Netscape Composer is still used to teach basic web editing!), and Opera. Jay’s thoughts encourage participation and a general willingness to beta-test again. His Furl page is quite a nice resource as well.

e-learningpost
http://www.elearningpost.com/
Excellent discussion boards. My favorite topic: “Ten Damaging E-Learning Myths.” The topics and blogs that are covered are engaging and deal with the way that people really use the Internet at home, in academia, in the office. A commentary on a recent blog, “IM and Work” caught my eye. Just as I thought that IM was beginning to lose a bit of cachet, esp. in the workplace, it seems to be back.

Ja
y Cross Internet Time Blog
http://metatime.blogspot.com/2004/09/firefox.html#comments


A few weeks ago, Jay Cross posted thoughts on the lightning-fast changeovers from IE to Mozilla Firefox. His arguments and points made seemed remarkably thorough and cogent – and, after reading other articles on the topic, I now believe so even more fervently. I don’t Mozilla yet – I burned myself on browser-browsing, but I have to admit I actually liked Mosaic, and the Netscape products (Netscape Composer is still used to teach basic web editing!), and Opera. Jay’s thoughts encourage participation and a general willingness to beta-test again. His Furl page is quite a nice resource as well.

e-literate
http://mfeldstein.com/
Michael Feldstein has some insightful things to say about the Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) and how it relates to the Sakai project and other open source initiatives. Before the emergence of wiki’s, I was very skeptical about the viability of anything a) collaborative; b) open-source; c) true sharing (no infomercials). They all seemed to be a variant of the dot.com-era “we don’t have a business model, but we’re so cool it doesn’t matter” mindset. Not to be cynical, but such initiatives often exploit idealism – the ones who chumpishly keep working for “the dream” or the “stock options” while the guys behind the IPO are long gone. Thankfully, OKI seems to be a different breed of cat. The wiki concept certainly does – witness Wikipedia – it’s successfully raising money for hosting (and quite modest bucks -- $50,000 needed vs. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which is looking at $2 or $3 million to keep it from having to go subscription-only). At any rate, the particular focal point here is on educational tool design. What a relief. For anyone struggling with variations of LMS’s, the most pointlessly frustrating process has to be the use of the tools. This is a great example of the power of collaboration – getting the designers, the programmers, and the users together to see how people really use their tools, and where the process snags and slowdowns occur. I’m looking forward to the next set of conversations.



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