Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bonk goes Bonkers

Same day, different talk - I have to say that Curtis has unbounded energy. He did over 100 talks last year as well as editing a book and teaching. This time it was called "Podcasts and Wikis and Blogs, Oh My: Online Learning is Not in Kansas Anymore". We had some great comedy with Bush jokes, air guitar, wigs and audience participation. Once again we were off in a whirlwind tour of some of the newer trends in technology and learning. Some interesting examples of how free technology gadgets are being used to woo students into courses in the US, then some dual-coding theory and research from one of my favourite researchers in learning - Richard Mayer. An analysis of generational learning (Silent, baby Boomer, Gen X, Gen Y, Millenial and Neomillenial then his 10 technology trends:

1. Wireless
2. Mobile
3. Reusable Content Objects
4. Blogging
5. Electronic books and wikis
6. Podcasting
7. Virtual Worlds
8. Collaborative tools
9. Open Courseware
10. Social networking (Web 2.))

Nice list and Curtis had a wonderful line-up of examples. I came away having confirmed what I had suspected for some time, that learning-specific technology (LMS, LCMS, authoring languages, virtual classrooms etc) are being superseded by cheap, often free, software and tools on the web that were never designed for learning, but do the job just as well, if not better. Blogs, wikis, podcasting, virtual worlds and many collaborative and web 2.0 tools come from non-learning backgrounds. This was confirmed at a talk I heard at the Web 2.0 in learning symposium last week at Reuters, where Kristian Folkman saw the LMS market as being in terminal decline.

Curtis is a good speaker but I learnt just as much when I had dinner with him the night before these talks. The amount of effort he put into The Blended Learning Handbook was, to use the US term, 'awesome'. Nice guy doing us all a big service by publishing and getting out there.

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