Monday, February 26, 2007

OpenID Links

OpenID is an open, decentralized identity system that attempts to provide a solution to the multiple log on ID systems to access various sites across the internet. At O´Reilly Radar, Brady Forrest gives some of OpenID Pros:

  • You probably already have one - Via your AOL page or SixApart blog
  • You can make your own website into an OpenID provider - This is very simple and is what makes it so appealing to bloggers.
  • Saves you time when trying new sites and features - You already know your namespace is available
  • Desktop support is coming via Vista and Firefox 3.0
  • Easy to maintain multiple identities - All you need are different URLs
  • It's decentralized - Not owned by any one company (MS Passport) or standards body (Liberty Alliance)

More and more sites and companies are OpenID enabled. On February 20 the ReadWriteWeb blog states "Digg is the latest company to declare its support for OpenID. This follows on from recent announcements of support from Microsoft and AOL. And as Techcrunch noted, Yahoo, LiveJournal, and Wikipedia are some other organizations that had previously announced their support".

More interesting Links/Blogposts on OpenId: (the following list will be updated regularly, kindly let me know if you know other links)


During the next couple of days I´ll be attending the PROLEARN internal review and the thematic workshop on social software which will take place in Vienna. PROLEARNs goal is to achieve a greater focus on questions of European importance and a better integration of research efforts. Therefore PROLEARN will initiate and improve cooperations between various actors of academia and industry in the area of technology enhanced learning. More information about PROLEARN is available at the project homepage. I´m mainly contributing to the following workpackages:

  • WP1: Personalized Adaptive Learning
  • WP4: Learning Objects, Metadada and Standards
  • WP9: PROLEARN Academy
  • WP12: Roadmap
  • WP15: Social Software

Friday, February 23, 2007

Google Apps Premier Edition vs. Microsoft Office

Google announced yesterday the release of new Google Apps Premier Edition; "a new version designed to take on all the challenges presented by businesses with complex IT needs. For $50 per account per year, you get the whole Google Apps package plus many new business-oriented features, including access to our APIs and partner solutions (so it’s easy to integrate with existing systems), conference room scheduling for Calendar, 10GB of inbox storage, extended business hours phone support, and mobile access to your email on BlackBerry devices (just in case you can't get enough at the office)".

The new premier edition combines GMail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Startpage, Google Docs and Spreadsheets and Google Page Creator into a hosted service.

Will Google Apps Premier Edition be the alternative to Microsoft Office?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Personal Learning Environments and OpenID

I had a short discussion with Wolfgang Neuhaus on OpenID and Personal Learning Environments (PLE). In an earlier post I wrote “we don´t need a trusted site that supports OpenID and acts as an identity provider, our PLEs will be our identities”. Wolfgang then asked me "What does that mean? If I use all the different services of my PLE, how do I login to each one without OpenID? I want to forget this huge package of passwords that I am carryíng around all the time …".
My answer to Wolfgang´s question was that a URL is one type of identifiers that can be used with OpenID, so why not to use the link to a PLE -which should be unique- to login on all OpenID-enabled sites? The identity provider in this case would act similar to UDDI registry for Web Services. That is, we just need to register the link to our PLE to what I would call “OpenID registry” or "PLE registry".

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Google Master Plan

Does Google really worry about our privacy...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Web Widgets

Michael Pick defines Web widgets as "tiny web applications that allow online publishers to easily distribute their content in a way that facilitates snappy integration by other blogs and web sites".

Other sources on widgets:

Informal Learning Video

Jay Cross talking about Informal Learning...

Formal OR/AND Informal Learning?

In a recent post, Harold Jarche writes "The conversation around informal learning has been heating up a bit lately, with Stephen Downes’ critique of Jay Cross’ mixer analogy, as well as Bill Brantley’s attack on the entire book".

My personal view on the same is that we don´t need just formal learning or infomal learning. Actually, the need for formal or informal learning depends on the level of mastery: novice, experienced or expert. Novices need more formal, structured, knowledge-push model of learning while experts require more informal, self-organized, knowledge-pull model of learning. What we would need is rather a new model of blended learning which is not just a combination of e-learning and classroom training but a personalized combination of formal learning, informal learning, and knowledge management (KM) within a social context via e.g. Web 2.0 technologies. I want also to stress that with KM I don´t refer to KM interpretations which
view knowledge as object that can be captured, stored, and re-used but rather to interpretations that focus more on the personal, social, dynamic, and active representation of knowledge.

Personal Learning Environments

Graham Attwell talking about the ideas behind Personal Learning Environments...

Elgg: A New CMS?

In a previous post, I mentioned that Elgg is not a Personal Learning Environment (PLE), it´s just another online portal or a new centralized LMS. Recently I ran across 2 posts by Dave Tosh: Elgg and Drupal integrate followed by Moodle and Elgg, Drupal, Moodle and OpenID part two pointing to the integration of Elgg, Drupal and Moodle. I´m wondering if this is not the confirmation that Elgg is not more than a CMS: Content Management System like Drupal or Course Management System like Moodle.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Learning by creating the best mix

Jay Cross has borrowed an analogy from a recording studio to present the learning mixer below.

I totally agree with Jay and I believe that what we need today is a new pedagogical model based on a personalized combination of formal and informal learning within a social context. Consequently, new forms of certification and accreditation are required.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Public GMail

Gmail is open to all. "Gmail sign-ups are now open worldwide! No more waiting for someone to invite you—just create an account directly at What better way to share the love with the people you care about than with Gmail chat with <3"

Gmail Theater: Why Use Gmail?

What is e-Learning 2.0?

Tony Karrer has a nice article on e-Learning 2.0. Tony writes: "What is e-Learning 2.0?" "is really not an easy question to answer, but let me take you through what I see as the cornerstones of eLearning 2.0. And let me apologize up front that I’m not trying to give any kind of formal definition. Instead, I’m trying to describe how I see eLearning 2.0 playing out in the short-term and medium-term for people in corporate eLearning."

My own "view" of e-Learning 2.0: The freeform application of Web 2.0 concepts for learning.
I think that we cannot have a precise definition of "e-Learning 2.0" unless we manage to define "Web 2.0" and more important "learning" in a precise way. However I believe that both "terms" are very troublesome and complex such that any sole definition will fail to define the whole landscape. So let´s concentrate on the concepts behind e-Learning 2.0 rather than trying to find a common definition for the same.

Online Connectivism Conference

On his elearnspace blog, George Siemens writes "after a fairly involved week of dialogue and presentation, the Online Connectivism Conference is now finished". More information is available at the connectivism blog and different resources related to the conference (presentations, audios, discussion forums etc.) are available on the conference website. Well worth a look!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Yahoo! Messenger integrates with Yahoo! Mail

On the Yahoo! Mail Beta blog, Ryan Kennedy announced the integration of Yahoo! Messenger with Yahoo! Mail. Ryan also provided a "screencast that runs through how the integration works and what you can do now that Messenger and Mail are sitting side by side in your browser".

Google Search AJAXified

The ReadWriteWeb blog pointed to the AJAX based integration of maps into Google Search. "Google has introduced a bit of Ajax into its main property search, by way of integrating Maps on some searches...However, we should note that this new Ajaxified search feature is not fully deployed yet - only a small percentage of returned results come with mapped addresses". This new feature is shown in the picture below:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Community of Practice

An interesting quote by Bev Trayner: "... the more work I do for online communities of practice, the more I have to meet people face-to-face."

Second Day of the Online Connectivism Conference

On the second day of the Online Connectivism Conference, Will Richardson has given a talk on Connective Teaching: How the read/Write Web Challenges Traditional Practice. Here is The abstract of his talk:
"In the traditional information delivery model of instruction, teachers were seen primarily as content experts who were charged with making sure their students "learned" a certain set of knowledge. This model was built inherently on the idea that knowledge and information were scarce and that if students weren't exposed to it in school they would be unlikely to learn it elsewhere. Today, however, knowledge and information are abundant and fast changing. In this environment, the emphasis of our teaching must shift away from content to instead focus on helping students build their own networks of trusted sources through which they can find and evaluate relevant content on their own. But what does this shift mean for our own personal and professional practice? Can we guide our students to be independent, lifelong, connected learners without first building our own communities and trusted networks for learning? And how can we best model for our students the effective and ethical use of a connected world in our own lives? This presentation examines some of the ways in which expectations for professional practice are changing to reflect this new learning environment and looks at the challenges to implementing those changes".

On his Connectivism blog, George Siemens has provided a link to the talk audio. He also has pointed to discussion around Will's talk. Below are some quotes as given by George:

What is a connected education?: "...when everything knowable can be known, then what it means to be educated ought to be up for grabs."

The Gift of Connection
: "Teachers, during the most stressful period of teaching probably in the history of mankind, we have been given a gift -- a gift of connections with one another."

Tony Forster: "Networking creates the opportunity to meet people of common interests. The edublogging community is great for teachers, but have students benefited?"

Passion-Based Learning
: "Since we have rejected traditional classrooms where students are treated as empty vessels and embraced learning that is learner-centred, passion needs to acquire an important status in education...s an educator, I need to step outside my “comfort zone of content” by sharing my own self: things that I myself am passionate about. I need to stop peddling content and show that I am a learner too."

Graham Wegner: "I do wonder how connectivism can work for the pre-adolescent years of schooling and how technology dependent that form of learning is. I really like a lot of questions Bill raises on his wiki in regards to whether we need to declare allegiance to one theory or another."

Further discussion is available at the conference forum.

Monday, February 12, 2007


During the past couple of days, I’ve been attending a PROLEARN WP12 meeting at Brunel University London. My colleagues Daniel Burogos, Vana Kamtsiou, Lampros Stergioulas, Jacques Dang, and Tapio Koskinen were there. Paul Lefrere and Ambjörn Naeve have joined us via Skype. In the first phase of PROLEARN roadmap, we came up with 6 vision statements:
- VS1: Everyone should be able to learn anything at anytime at anyplace.
- VS2: Learning as a means to support and enhance work performance.
- VS3: Promote innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship at work.
- VS4: Learning as a means to increase employability.
- VS5: Market take-up driven by transparency, wider choice at all levels, selection optimization and consumer driven market.
- VS6: Access to professional learning for all – extending the knowledge based society.

In this meeting we identified and analyzed the gaps of the 6 vision statements i.e. a comparison between the state of the art and the vision statements has been performed in order to identify the gaps between what is available today and what is needed for the future. The results will be presented at the PROLEARN review which will take place in
Vienna, February 28-March 1.
The meeting was very productive and has again shown that active participation and collaborative knowledge creation is a very effective way to learn.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Prototype 1.5 PDF

Thanks to Josh Clark, the PDF of the complete API documentation of Prototype 1.5 is available and can be dowloaded here.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

Web 2.0 in just under 5 minutes...

First Day of the Online Connectivism Conference

On the first day of the Online Connectivism Conference, George Siemens has given a talk on Connectivism: Learning Conceptualized Through the Lens of Today's World. Here is The abstract of his talk:

"Knowledge and learning are forefront in the progress and advancement of humanity. At no other time in history have we stood before as rich a panorama of opportunity as we do today. Our access to information, knowledge, global conversation, research, and the experiences of generations past provide a firm foundation on which to build the society of tomorrow. Yet openness, abundance, and access raise new concerns. The ability to cope with today's knowledge deluge, to engage learners in co-creation of content, and to enlarge classroom walls to include diverse perspectives requires a new conception of learning. Theories of cognition and learning that have served well in the past seem frail, ineffective, and out of touch with the reality of learners and the new context and characteristics of knowledge today".

George has posted some highlights and discussions from the first day of the Online Connectivism Conference. Below are some quotes as given by George:

Stephen Downes: What connectivism is - "connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those connectivism, there is no real concept of transferring knowledge, making knowledge, or building knowledge. Rather, the activities we undertake when we conduct practices in order to learn are more like growing or developing ourselves and our society in certain (connected) ways."

Chris Sessums: Connectivism and the contextual lens of poverty - "Digital technologies and their affordances represent both educational opportunity and impossibility. While the Internet and the read/write web provides an opportunity for thousands of people to connect and expand their networks, enhancing their ability to co-create knowledge (and even earn a salary), those without access are essentially disenfranchised at a number of social, political, economic, and educational levels."

Barbara Dieu: First Reactions "As a secondary school teacher this has been the case. I have never learnt and connected so much as in the past years. If I had not done this, my mind would have been geographicallyand intellectually restricted to the four walls of my classroom, of my home and of my close friends. I would have never had the chance to interact with experts and peers from different areas and my knowledge would have been limited to the books or conferences I was never able to afford the time or the money."

Tony Forster: "For me the debate is not whether Connectivism has the necessary depth to be called a learning theory, whether it deserves to be an -ism. For me the important issue is what can be learnt about living and learning in a connected world when 1000 people from round the world connect in a way which was previously impossible."

Virginia Yonkers: "if everyone in the organization is thinking alike, there is an "organizational knowledge" that has been created, won't there also be a tendency to squash creative thinking, thus making connectivism just another way to socially engineer an organizational structure/culture?"

Michael Hotrum: "Textbooks and professors should not position themselves as experts who can claim to keep pace with the changing face of knowledge - but they can guide us, can provide trusted nodes, a framework, a foundation and skill set that enables and maximizes our learning journey."

Vicki Davis: " I intentionally read people out of my field at least twice a week. I have several other folders (a lot from the business world) that I read continually besides my educational peers and mentors. Sometimes I learn things from photography websites. Sometimes I glean something from the news. Sometimes somebody is a real jerk to me about something I said, but I go on a bunny trail that takes me to new knowledge. The world is a stage."

Sharon Peters: "In my experience, the difficult issues of the digital information age are alarming and somewhat frightening to those educators who are beginning to become aware of them, particularly those who realize they are not prepared. Frankly, I have never seen as wide a gap as now between our students and their teachers in terms of facility of technology."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Docs & Spreadsheets integrates with Gmail

On the official Google Docs and Spreedsheets blog, Ken Norten announced the integration of Google Docs & Spreadsheets and Gmail. He writes "The Gmail team has launched a one-click import feature...Whenever those of you who use Gmail receive a spreadsheet or a document in an email, you will see a new link next to the "Download" link that says "Open as a Google document." Click on that and the attachment will automatically be imported into Docs & Spreadsheets and added to your personal document list where you can make changes, invite collaborators and search for it later". A nice new feature indeed.