Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Better Blogging

I've not been a very active blogger. Most of the little time I get away from work is spent catching up with other interesting blogs and websites. One of the blogs I follow is the Bamboo Project Blog. That is how I came across the 31-day Comment Challenge. The concept sounds interesting and will probably give blogging newbies like me the opportunity and the motivation to connect with the rest of the world. So, I've decided to jump in.

While reading up on this challenge, I came across the earlier one on better blogging. The tips from that challenge have now been added to my "to-do" list.

Let's see how everything turns out. The past few days at work have been relatively relaxed...the few days of transition from one project to another. So, I've been able to read up more, write more, learn more, and basically do more. I've got myself started on a number of new things. Soon, I may go back to the days of very little time for anything. But, I hope to keep this momentum going inspite of that.

And if you are part of The Comment Challenge remember to add the " comment08 " tag to your post.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My first steps in e-Learning 2.0

E-learning 2.0, much like Web 2.0, is about communicating, collaborating, and experiencing content first-hand. Over the past year or so, I’ve been reading a lot about all the exciting new stuff happening in the industry.

I have to admit when I first heard about and read blogs, they never quite seemed educational to me! They were more for, well “time-pass”. But, now, blogs are where I’m learning most from, especially, the new learning trends. Those blogs are what inspired this one! Just reading about what others have done, are doing, will be doing is enough to set me want to know, want to learn, want to do more! In the same “genre” are podcasts, webcasts, etc. which I’m yet to try myself...maybe some day I will.

Then, there are wikis. I was intrigued about its potential; especially after I read someone describe an actual course they developed with a wiki as one of the elements. That’s when I thought… well, maybe this works. So, I went ahead and created one! No, its not in the public domain right now…maybe I’ll put it out there when I feel more confident about they way it is shaping up. But, I’m definitely warming up to the idea of how it may work in a classroom/community/group based learning system. There are some concerns about the authenticity and credibility of the information people put up in these wikis. There are reports that the original wiki, Wikipedia may have some accuracy issues since the content is not ratified by experts. This is also leading to serious concerns because a huge number of people, students and teachers included, are increasingly using Wikipedia as a source of reference for practically everything under the sun! That said, the power of wikis as a collaborative tool is definitely worth considering, especially in an instructor-led learning environment, where someone can ratify the wiki contributions.

What other exciting stuff have I learned? Well, there’s rapid e-learning. I’m not a great fan of using rigid, inflexible templates to create look-alike courses, and I definitely don’t subscribe to the notion that someday anyone will be able to use them to create meaningful, effective learning. However, I do see the utility of using the rapid e-learning tools too. Especially, now that I know not all of them are as rigid as I thought they were. You can definitely create some pretty neat stuff with them. So, I’ve decided I’m going to start using some of these tools.

The other interesting e-learning 2.0 development is Second Life or virtual worlds in general. This is an area I’ve only really read about and am itching to try. And in all probability that is going to be the thing I do next (when I manage to get enough free time of course!).

Oh and that reminds me of the regular educational games -the serious kind that people are now thinking of calling Immersive Learning Simulations. I created a few of them some time back for a K-12 audience and well, I want to do more! I loved the concept, challenge, and creativity involved in creating them. I absolutely believe that games can be a great educational tool if designed correctly.

I guess that’s my list of what I’ve learned and what I plan to learn about e-learning in general and e-learning 2.0 in particular.