Web 1.0 = Read
Web 2.0 = Read -Write
Web 3.0 = Read -Write - Research
Web 4.0 = Read -Write - Research - Rambo!
At last I got to meet Stephen Downes in person and attend one of his workshops. Better yet, due to a secret arrangement (Not telling!) I got to become his personal bodyguard (I mean assistant) during this 2-day workshop in Kuala Lumpur (14th - 15th January). You can see me on the picture happily holding tightly to the handheld laser gun (I mean camera!).
In this e-Learning 2.0 workshop facilitated by Stephen (who actually entitled it ' Web 2.0 in Learning'), participants explored a full range of web 2.0 tools, and discussed (including group activities) how these tools could facilitate more effective communication, collaboration and learning. The intention was to explore the underlying technologies and to develop a sense of what to expect in the future.
The thing about attending workshops facilitated by people like Stephen is that you can be sure of discovering a lot of new learning stuff on the way. Here are new learning tools and sites that I discovered during this great workshop:
- Gliffy - A free web-based diagram editor.
- Zoho - Offers a suite of online web applications geared towards increasing your productivity and offering easy collaboration.
- LiveJournal - A free service for your journaling and blogging.
- Bebo - Allows users to share photos with music, and blogs, and draw on members' White Boards.
- Pixer - Lets you manipulate, edit, enhance and apply filters to your digital pictures using only your web browser.
- Ustream.tv - You can broadcast your own live video show for free. You only need a computer device, camera and solid Internet connection. Not bad!
- Worldbridges - A community of communities that use 'homegrown webcasting' and other new media technologies to help people connect, learn, & collaborate.
- EdTechTalk - A community of educators interested in discussing and learning about the uses of educational technology. They webcast several live shows each week.
In addition, we discussed many other web 2.0 learning tools such Ning (Social Networking), Second Life ( 3D virtual world) and Wikispaces, which I have already explored, but are worth mentioning here (Check out the slides to discover the rest!).
Not only did we discover new tools from Stephen, he also discovered a few new learning tools from us, including:
- WiZiQ - Free Hosted Virtual Classroom platform.
- CamStudio - Free Screen Recording Software.
- eSnips - Get 5GB of free space to upload and share your files, photos, videos and music.
In other words, no matter how brilliant we are, we can always learn and discover stuff from others. Therefore, I would argue that Stephen Downes is brilliant, because he knows this and practices it all the time (Any logic here!).
However, of all the things I discovered, learned and explored during the workshop, I personally found the reading resources shared the most valuable to my learning mind. I suppose it is easier to find a new tool or site (at least for me!), than discover a great article or paper among millions. Anyway, here is a list of a few of those relevant and mind enriching writings, which Stephen recommended us to explore further (Check out the slides to discover the rest! 2nd time!):
- The Cluetrain Manifesto - Markets are about conversations (an e-Book by several authors). If you are lazy, at least read the 95 theses to get some idea.
- E-Learning 2.0 - (Stephen Downes)
- What is Web 2.0 - The web as platform. Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software (Tim O'Reilly).
- Educational Blogging - (Stephen Downes)
- How to Be Heard - (Stephen Downes)
- The Long Tail - Why the future of business is selling less of more (Clay Shirky/Chris Anderson).
- MySpace is My Identity Space - (Danah Boyd)
- Wisdom of Crowds - (James Surowiecki)
And the juicy list of excellent reading resources (especially about blogging and social networks) goes on and on (Check out the slides to discover the rest! 3rd time lucky!). As I had not read many of these recommended reading resources before, it was a thrill to discover them.LESSONS LEARNED
Stephen identifies five (5) main future directions of learning (and e-learning) in his slides. I have added some of my thoughts to these five directions.
- Learning as Creation - We increasingly learn by creating/remixing knowledge, products and services during the learning process (not only consuming), with the assistance of increasingly more powerful and user-friendly learning tools.
- Social Learning - We learn by interacting with others locally and around the world, which is increasingly being enabled more efficiently and effectively with the assistance of technology (Global Collective Intelligence). Imagine participating in global learning communities and getting access to some of the greatest minds on this planet with just a few clicks. Here I am talking to Jay Cross, Jane Knight, Joseph Hart, Stephen Downes and Clayton Wright on Skype. The only cost is basically our time.
- Personal Learning Environment - People will increasingly be able to construct their own customized and convenient learning spaces, which integrates all their informal and formal learning tools. In other words, we might soon say goodbye to LMS, LCMS, portals, etc., sooner than we realize. They will probably exist, but we will hardly visit them, and mostly read their news feeds from our all-to-one learning dashboards. One User ID and Password! One Learning Space! Tons of Learning Tools! All are communicating with one another! We can get all our relevant updates from one learning space, and we can update all our learning tools with one update (Create once, publish many). WOW! That is cool!
- Immersive Learning - Augmented reality and 3D virtual worlds with fully immersive tools enabling every sense of our body to engage in the learning process. It also reflects that we will increasingly be able to construct cost-effective simulated learning environments that are close to the real thing. We are able to do and practice things in safe virtual learning environments that we could only dream about in the past (e.g. manage Google, build spaceships, teleport to Mars, discuss global warming with Al Gore, and engage in past civilizations). In short, we can stimulate all our senses to fully immerse ourselves in safe virtual learning environments that are similar, or close replications of the real ones. Practice without getting physically hurt (though, we might get a bit of mental stress!).
- The Living Arts (Things You Really Need to Learn) - We don't follow strictly the requirements and needs of PhD, Masters, Bachelor and Diploma programs, programs are instead tailored to our relevant learning needs, and we are empowered to construct our own learning opportunities and environments that enable and motivate us to find and fulfill our learning potential. Why learn something that we never use, or want to know?
In addition to learning a lot of stuff from Stephen, I learned a lot from more than 40 participants both from the corporate and the education (mostly Higher Education) sectors in Malaysia (picture below). Interestingly, we are also planning to start an official e-Learning community (whereby we physically meet on regular occasions) in Malaysia, and if you are interested to find out more about that, please join or visit our new Malaysian e-Learning Community in Facebook (you need a Facebook account to join).
Finally, I would like to thank FIK International for organizing a great workshop.
Oh, I forgot (this post is getting long!)! You might be wondering why Stephen and the 'Myau' picture. Well, during the first day of the workshop we all suddenly heard the sound of cat ('Myau'), and Stephen probably thought he was going a bit nutty, or the jet lag was really getting to him (which it was, I suppose!). However, it was only a ringtone to one of the participants, and we all had a great laugh! So, the picture is in memory of this funny informal learning incident. Myau!!!
In conclusion, I am glad that I attended the workshop (and became Stephen's workshop assistant), and got to know Stephen better. These are the kind of learning experiences that spark our motivation to learn and explore more. Yeah, now I am also a certified e-Learning 2.0 specialist (by attendance). If you are interested to learn more, please give me a buzz :)