And for our next conference, not only are we being charged for the reception, drinks, dinner, accomodation on top of a £385 conference fee (3 days, no speaker discount, all authors must be registered) but now a little extra if we want to work while we are there …. looks like I’ll be walking up the road to Starbucks or McDonalds!
I’m just back from a conference in Newcastle where I took my little eeepc for note taking. Unlike the OU event, where everyone had a machine of some sorts, there were only a few laptops in evidence. Plenty of macs, even an air, and a couple of other people with eeepc’s. however, the main problem was juice. There was only one socket in the lecture theatres, and not a single one available in the lobby/restaurant/entire ground floor (believe me I looked everywhere!). What’s more, I really missed having mobile broadband. The free wifi was almost impossible to log in to (very secure!) and I only got on once and then it locked me out for the rest of the session!
I attended a workshop where the OU sought views from OU staff, students, and alumni about the Social:Learn project. I haven’t been so enthralled by a workshop in years and I have been pondering why that should be. I think there are two main reasons:
The social:learn project is fascinating. It started in response to the nightmare scenario of someone picking up the best of the free web2 tools, social networks and some dynamic Associate Lecturers to make an online university to compete with the OU. The social:learn team have tried to do the same, but for the OU, instead of against it. The result is not just another tool, but a way of thinking about higher education that provides a place for a learning network online. Martin Weller’s slideshare explains it fully. There will be tools, which I will write about in another post, but the glue is a place to organise, share and record learning online in a social way. This may sound like nothing new, but the revolutionary part, for me, was the premise that although the ‘glue’ will be OU, the tools and services interacting with the system will be chosen by the students. The big question is: will students grok it?
I had already ‘met’ several of the conference participants through twitter, seesmic and the closed ning network set up for the workshop. Meeting them in person was great, but our previous use of web 2 social networks lead to an amazing back channel during the workshop and presentations. There was plenty of social chat, mostly about the free chocolate, but rather than a distraction, this added to the general conversation and thought processes, with ideas being discussed in real time in the room and being added to the ning network or picked up later in question sessions. If we could get students this involved in their lectures could it revolutionize the way they learn? Reingold has suggested that we make use of the back channel and engage with it which is exactly what was happening here.
What a poor commercial move by a company looking to sell to the education sector. In education we generally like to learn from our mistakes, criticism is part of the learning process. It is a shame that TALMOS doesn’t have an educational ethos as a company.
Dawkins isn’t on twitter then. How depressing. His team have gone into overdrive (I seriously doubt he scanning tweets and blogs himself) and posted a comment to my previous post about how popular his account had been. I guess this is what happens when you move into the world or arguing reason against religion, you leave yourself wide open to the cranks.
Having ventured bravely into the world of the terminal (konsole) last night to rectify a problem with accessing our BT home Hub wireless over WPA, I thought I had better do something useful and try a post from the eeepc.
Apart from awful typing, as I still get used to the keyboard, the layout of wordpress is fine on the eeepc screen (unlike MS outlook access for my work email which involved too much sideways scrolling!). I have used kwout for the image (by installing the firefox add-on), mostly using jing for screen captures at work or the iMac.