Thursday, April 19, 2007

Elgg on Blackboard’s face

Some excellent folks at Brighton Univeristy (my home town) were given a glowing write up in Wired this week on the use of Myspace, blogging and other webby stuff in schools and higher education. They’re a great bunch and not at all ivory-tower, running regular e-learning talks for people both inside and outside of the university. (They’ve even had me along to speak!)

The Golden Elgg
Elgg is the software that’s creating all the fuss. Rather than keeping stuff like MySpace, Bebo, blogs and other web 2.0 tools OUT of education, they’ve folded them IN. Developed as open-source, Elgg has been designed for education (also now available for corporates). Everyone, whether they’re students, tutors or researchers gets a profile page, a blog, photo sharing and friends lists, and they can create and join on-site discussion communities.

Wired article:

For an external view and some visuals:

It's the blog's bollocks
It’s free, downloadable and has
Blogging, Social networking, File repositories for individuals and communities, Podcast support, Full access controls, Supports tagging, User profiles, Full RSS support, RSS aggregator, Create communities, Collaborative community blogs, Create 'friends' networks, Import content, Publish to blog, Multilingual with Branding/customisation. It’s the blog’s bollocks!

Bottom up is new top-down
Surely this is exactly what an education institution should want – collaborative learning. They’re always banging on about the collaborative environment of a school, college or university, so why not accelerate this using the very technology that the students use anyway. The tide of web 2.0 use has flooded over the campus walls an it’s too late to stop it, so embrace it. There comes spoint where bottom up becomes so compelling that it becomes the new top-down.

Fingernails down Blackboard
So far they have 50 schools and colleges using the software round the world. This could be BIG, and a real fingernail screech down the face of arrogant Blackboard.

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