I have been asked to beta test a new product from the creators of Raptivity called FlockPod. It is a little Flash application that can be embedded in a blog or web page and allow sharing of many types of content interactions. You set up a profile and can then log into other FlockPods across the web. So far I like the interface. It sits on top of a web page and you can control the transparency of the app.
When talking to the developer last week at Training Tech Solutions, I found that they have many plans for the next steps in development. Give it a whirl (I believe you will need to set up your own beta account). I loaded one poll and will add more elements when I have some playtime.
Note: to close the FlockPod, click the little green minus sign on the left side (It took me a bit to figure this out).
Today was a very busy day at the Learning 2007 conference (Warning wall of text ahead).
I facilitated three sessions. the first was an Industry Session on higher education with Ken Sadowski from the University of Chicago and Keith Koch from Capella University. The discussion covered a number of areas but the one that drew quite a bit of back and forth was over assessment, data, and (gasp) standards for higher education. How far do we push higher education towards accountability? The technology is certainly in place in many institutions to begin tracking both student and instructor online behavior. Is there a need for this accountability?
We also covered The LMS question: Commercial system or open source? One audience member noted that some faculty members at her university were concerned about using Blackboard due to the patent lawsuits and potential for a course system monopoly. A Blackboard representative quickly jumped in the conversation and aggressively defended their right to sue...
The second session I helped to facilitate was a discussion on the emerging K-12 virtual school systems and how they were reaching a tipping point. Julie Young, the CEO of the Florida Virtual School was my co-presenter. I was more of a "guide on the side" in this discussion because most people wanted to ask Julie about FLVS, how they had managed to reach more than 100,000 students with a high degree of quality, and a number of other specific questions. We had planned to discuss some of the joint technology R&D projects between FLVS and the Academic ADL Co-Lab but the hour went by very quickly.
I cannot say this enough: I believe that the momentum that is gathering behind the K-12 online schools in the U.S. is going to be one of biggest stories in the learning/e-learning/education field over the next 5 years. The growth trajectory is simply phenomenal and the fireworks are just beginning as more of the old guard wakes up to what is happening. I predict many upcoming news stories on how states, boards of education, and schools deal with the issue of virtual schools (and the underlying issue of school choice).
The third session I was fortunate to help facilitate was a discussion on how universities and businesses can build better bridges toward collaboration. My co-facilitators were Doug Lynch from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and Pete Goldberg from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. This turned into a rather lively debate about how far should universities go in their partnerships with business and other outside interests. Doug made an excellent point that many of the constructs that separate us are artificial and that more than 50% of faculty already have outside consulting or paid arrangements. Why not make these arrangements a part of how universities operate?
At least one audience member was quite adamant that universities should maintain a separate mission and keep a strong sense of independence from other entities. Is a more collaborative relationship between universities and business (and government) a positive development, a natural evolution, or should silos be maintained?
Tomorrow I get to enjoy the role of active spectator and hope to have time to reconnect with some colleagues.
Be sure to check out some of the pictures in the Flickr stream too (if you are new to my blog, scroll down a bit and look for the pictures on the right side of my blog). More of those to be uploaded tomorrow.
This is from another a pre-conference session. Judy Brown told me I needed to break out of the LETSI session long enough to come to one particular part of her Mobile pre-conference workshop. I am very glad I was able to get to the session.
More real time stream-of-consciousness notes follow:
The part of the session I was able to attend was being led by Fabrizio Cardnali from Giunti Labs in Europe. He noted that the next generation of learning that will be moving forward is going to blend many different components.
I'm not sure we even understand Learning 2.0 yet and we are now headed toward Learning 3.0, which is a blending of the free and open participatory capabilities of today's systems with systems that can provide structure and guidance (I have spoken about this concept several times recently but this was a nice summary). Fabrizio used the term "personal ambient knowledge" to describe the integration of these technologies.
Prediction: within 3 years time the LMS as we know it today will not exist in 3 years (my view is that 3 years might be a bit soon but they will certainly look different).
Interesting note: Moodle is now the system of choice for the military in Europe.
Elliott Masie joined the session for a few moments and noted: This is an emerging area and if you are not confused, you are not learning because this is all new. "Knowledge to the hand" and the current predicted direction is performance support and not typical courseware. Mobile connects to content, context, and community. The devices will know more about who you are and be able to ascertain what needs to be delivered at the point of need. He also said it would be wise to call any mobile initiative a "pilot" for the next 18 months.
David Metcalf on future mobile learning:
New types of barcode systems emerging to allow point-and-shoot learning off of products and spaces. In other words, it will be very easy to point a cell phone camera at one of these barcodes and get immediate information about that product.
As a pre-meeting for L7, LETSI had a number of working sessions to formulate the next steps related to SCORM and how the transition of SCORM from the ADL to LETSI would occur. Below are my notes and raw video from the Sunday morning meeting:
The goal is to have an open, international body to promote interoperability standards for training content.
LETSI will continue the open process that has characterized ADL's stewardship of SCORM. LETSI should be formally chartered within the next few weeks.
SCORM 2004 is a stable technology today but it must change with the times, and much has changed in the last three years. Many new technologies, including collaboration (yeah!), mobile, and games and learning must now be accounted for if SCORM is to remain viable. There is a general recognition that the current SCORM is aging.
Now beginning to look at SCORM 2.0. Core SCORM would become the international standard and, in parallel with that effort, "flavors" of SCORM would form SCORM 2.0. The timeframe for this new SCORM would be about 2009-2010.
Two videos on how this is supposed to work:
Some of the transition from the DoD/ADL could happen as soon as January 2008 but it will be a slow hand-off for a number of technical elements.
Interesting was the proposed IP policy:
1. Full disclosure of any IP claims and patents and an agreement for royalty-free terms (first choice) for patents that do exist.
2. Preferences are given to models unencumbered by royalty-bearing patents.
3. Organizations must agree to world-wide royalty-free distribution of LETSI reference models
4. Organizations contributing standards or specs must agree to submit them to an internationally accredited standards development organization.
Below is a link to the PowerPoint slides from my session this morning at Training Tech Solutions. This was a brief (30 minute) session and I appreciate all of the comments and questions.
Note: The course I showed is not available in the slide deck so, the "course demo" link is not functional. The main benefit of the slides is to access the links to other sites.
I am attending the Training Tech Solutions conference in Salt Lake city this week. I have seen a number of interesting technologies (I am curious to see a release version of FlockPod in the near future).
I am currently blogging in the Tuesday keynote, which is being conducted by from Second Life's K-12 and education community leader Claudia L'Amoreaux. While there was not much new information for me about Second Life, I did like the live connection to Linden Lab's CFO through the game. It is a great example of the increasing move toward "mixed" reality. In the video you see that there is a real audience, the presenter Claudia L'Amoreaux, the presenter's avatar (Claudia Linden) and the CFO of Linden Labs (via Second Life).
These are raw videos shot just moments ago on my cannon 800 camera so do not expect any fancy editing!
Second Life Explanation (Linden Labs CFO speaking) approx. 46 seconds
Second Life Economy (Linden Labs CFO Speaking) approx. 43 seconds.
Live iChat video inside Second Life (Linden Labs CFO Speaking on video) approx. 45 seconds.