Archive for June, 2007


notes about cyberwar

June 29, 2007

Various forms of cyberwar were tested on Estonian servers in May and June 2007 after the removal of Bronze soldier, the icon of russian population in Estonia.
The nature of these attacks has been analysed recent month:
popular servers get overloaded
sudden overload of life-vital servers, so called cascade wepon
governmental and medical information flow would be stopped
outside connection stops functioning
the whole society will be paralyzed


The Big ideas of Web 2.0

June 29, 2007

Is web 2.0 the Future of the Web

Bebo White keynote at Ed-Media 2007

First, he started of reformulating his heading: The Big ideas of Web 2.0

Some comments from the others what we mean by web 2.0:
Putting the We in Web
the Living Web

Bebo: Don’t define web.2.0 based on the social software companies activities – scale from the stupid to novel, from mondane to brilliant

It is not:
– semantic web
– a new collection of technologies
– just collection of tools (blogging, wikis, ajax)

Web 2.0 definition is still evolving
– marketing buzzword

For Bebo it is more an attitude, an answer to the question to which answers are not clear

Web 2.0:
– shiftes the focus to the user of the information, not to the creator of the information
– information moves beyond to website
– information has properties, that can be aggregated, move around
– it is information, not in pages but microcontent units
– interaction is not limited what we can do
– users have control

Going beyond page metaphor of web 1.0
It is a hype

Hype cycle of new information technologies
Web 2.0 sits on top of the hill of the hype.
hype cycle

Reflects the natural evolution of the web:
– technology to support it is finally available
– attitude is not new, power is put back to the user
– enables using platforms interconnected

In terms of natural evolution we have a division to data-centric semantic web and user centric Web 2.0
What will happen after this division?
Prepare our tasks and data, prepares us psychologically

Drivers of web 2.0:
– computing power: pc based data centres, doubling computer power
– connectivity: low cost, wireless
– device proliferation: pda-s cellphones
– internet standards: xml-based integration
– user interfaces: are many

Web 2.0 environmental drivers:
– long tail – collective power of small sites that make up the bulk of the web’s content
– web reached a critical mass of trust, use and reuse, information content sources
– dot-com collapse forced web re-examination
– users developed the expectation of fulfillment, people can do evaluations, which become part of the content, people feel as if in control
– useful and fresh data
– manipulating and adding the data
– advantage of user’s collective experience
– participation and trust

Web 2.0 as an educational technology?

Article: Web 2.0 for educators
Technology and learning
Bebo White 2007

Education is:
– a basic group interactions
– the science of online audience engagement
– an intrinsically data-driven science

Turning data into knowledge and wisdom
L.A. Ackoff

data knowledge
connectedness/understanding scale

Most web 2.0 applications are interfaces sitting on top of databases, which could be used to create knowledge

Eric Schmidt:
It is not about search, it is about using the information – computer should show what i am typing, why cannot systems give us better answers?

Turning data into knowledge: defining patterns, programming the web, use pipes, data as streams?

People don’t want to search, people want to get job done.

There was an interesting comment about that we will find the data we are anticipating, if we have the conceptual framework of the seeked data beforehand, we will find totally different kind of data.
I wonder, do i want the machine decided for me what i want to find – would it be the other people in the network who would decide for me what i want to find?
For example, i tried Quintura and Clusty for some favourite keywords and the results were below my expectations.
I wonder how much Bebo White follows the intelligent agent centered ‘information’ tunnel (see Brown and Duguid, The social life of information) ideas and to which extent the social awareness around information is part of the picture?
By the way, seems that the same worry about where we might be going in this information search was expressed in Jon Dron’s weblog reflection.

Web 2.0 is not the future of the web, but it is playing a big role in the future of the web.

Other notes from keynote.


Terry Anderson keynote

June 28, 2007

Terry Anderson’s keynote at Ed-Media 2007
Social learning 2.0keynote slides

I wonder how Terry Anderson actually defines affordances. The list he introduced seems a bit learning-environment property-centered rather than emergent in the activities. I would rather disagree of using the affordance term like this.Or, if to take a second thought web 2.0 is not only tools and in this case, we can see these affordances as part of the activity system affordances. Some of the affordance descriptions of Terry actually involve the verb for action and some properties and some in this sense maybe i could name them affordances.

Affordances of web 2.0:
– massive amounts of content

– communication: high quality, low cost

– agents (rrs, google alerts, MeetingWizard etc.)

Terry has previously written in his blog about Models of the many. In his keynote he elaborated this topic again.

Taxonomy of the many

Group (team)
conscious membership
leadership and organisation
cohorts and paced
rules and guidelines
access and privacy controls
focused and other time limited
may be blended F2F

Metaphor: virtual classroom

shared interest/practice
fluid membership
friends of friends
reputation and altruoism driven
emergent norms, structures
activity ebbs and flows
rarely F2F

Metaphor: virtual community of practice

aggregated other,
stigmatic aggregation

wisdom of crowds

Dron and Anderson 2007

Terry was also referring to Durkheim’s Collective consciousness: Collective representations exist outside of the individual consciousness

Interesting was that this keynote ideas reminded me the ideas that i developed some time in last autumn about knowledge that is interpersonal. On my thinking this understanding and acceptance of what kind of knowledge we as individuals, groups and networks and collectives obtain as part of learning is the key factor which brings forth the paradigm change in learning. Learning is too much considered as related with this individual knowledge. Isntead it should be directed towards obtaining and using this collective consciousness.

knowledge forms

I would like to revise this model of knowledge in the light of the taxonomy that Anderson and Dron 2007 are suggesting.


about affordances again

June 28, 2007

There has been some feedback of the affordance ideas at Ed-Media 2007 conference from George Siemens and Terry Anderson. Thus i decided to write here the short abstract of what i believe the affordances are.

To analyze how learners in a given Activity System perceive themselves, the artefacts and tools, and other learners, i find it useful to integrate the notion of affordances. Gibson (1979) originally defined affordances as opportunities for action for an observer, provided by an environment. Gaver (1996) emphasized that affordances emerge in human action and interaction and, thus, go beyond mere perception. This contrasts with the common interpretation that affordances simply refer to situations in which one can see what to do (Gibson, 1979). Neisser (1994) elaborated Gibson‘s concept of affordance and distinguished three perceptual modes:
– Direct perception/action, which enables us to perceive and act effectively on the local environment;
– Interpersonal perception/reactivity, which underlies our immediate social interactions with other human beings, and;
– Representation/recognition, by which we identify and respond appropriately to familiar objects and situations.

Besides the affordances related to the environment, Neisser’s interpretation introduces the interpersonal perception of subjects in action as an additional source of affordances in the social and regulative domain. Another type of affordances relates with learners‘ familiarity of perceiving certain aspects of the environment certain ways, which is culture-dependent.
The mainstream view on affordances in educational technology settings considers them as objective properties of the tools, which are perceptable in the context of certain activities. Thus, it is commonly suggested that tools have concrete technological affordances for certain performances that can be brought into a learner’s perception with specific instructions (Norman, 1988; Gaver, 1996). This use of the concept tends to ignore its relativistic nature and observer-dependence, and seems to imply that affordances should be located in the environment or specific artefacts or tools. Kirschner (2002), for example, defines pedagogical affordances as those characteristics of an artefact that determine if and how a particular learning behavior could possibly be enacted within a given context. Kreijns, Kirschner, and Jochems (2002) have defined social affordances as the “properties” of a collaborative learning environment that act as social-contextual facilitators relevant for the learner’s social interaction.

However, i do not follow this positivist understanding of affordances as part of learning environment. From an interaction-centred view (Vyas et al., 2007) affordances are the perceived possibilities for both thinking and doing, what learners perceive and signify during their actual interaction with an artefact or tool. While interacting with an artefact or tool, learners continuously interpret the situation, and construct or re-construct meanings. Thus, instead of relating affordances objectively with software applications or other complex tools and artefacts, they should rather be related to the Activity System, where learners must realize how they perform joint actions with artefacts and tools in order to accomplish their shared objectives. Affordances emerge and potentially become observable in actions what people undertake to realize shared objectives. Grounding on objectives and tools for particular actions brings along the development of certain implicit or explicit rules for effective action in particular settings. These rules constrain how tools could be used in specific actions. In educational settings, constraints in using the tools in a particular way also arise from the perception of predetermined tasks, objectives and artefacts that are meant to guide and contextualise the learning process. Activities within an Activity System are also constrained by the technical functionalities of tools and services, and the artefacts conveying meanings in a specific domain context.

Actors must develop a compatible understanding of the affordances of a given setting to make effective performance possible within an Activity System. This is true both for the facilitator and learners who want to collaborate. The similar application of the tools, functioning rule-system and distribution of labour that support the realisation of certain objectives in the Learning Environment are realised upon the commonly perceived affordances. Facilitator cannot predefine but only anticipate the affordances of Learning Environment. The Learning Environment cannot be ready when learning starts but has to evolve in the process.

Cook and Brown (1999) and Vyas et al. (2007) assume that affordances should be conceptualized as a dynamic concept. In an ongoing interaction with tools, artefacts, and other actors, we are not only affected by the dynamic situational changes but also by our previous experiences. Thus, our personal dispositions strongly influence what affordances we actually perceive in a given situation at a certain point in time. This dynamic understanding of the affordance concept appears to be entirely compatible with the ideas of Engeström et al. (1999), who described the dynamic nature of interactions between the components of the Activity Systems. The dynamic changes in the perception of Learning Environment must be considered as part of the design model: iterative cycles of grounding and regulation with conversational actions among the learners and the facilitator about the state of art of the Learning Environment as the Distributed Activity System, and the development of these competences would become increasingly important.

affordance components


Alienrescue and cognitive tool use patterns

June 27, 2007

Listening Ed-Media winning presentation “Students’ problem-solving as mediated by their cognitive tool use: a study of tool use patterns.

The study is very similar by methodology what we have been doing in Young Scientist environment.

For example, they analysed log-data of tool-use, self-report data of tool use (questionniares) and stimulated recall of tool-use. Next the datasets were triangulated.

However the results of these data were a bit disappointing, showing the frequency patterns of tool-use and explaining it with students’ preferences.

Certain tools were used more in the beginning, in the middle several tools were used simultaneously and in the end the use of cognitive tools decreased.

Cognitive load was related with understanding the problem. This seems the most interesting aspect in respect of my own studies with Young Scientist. I could pose that the reasons why cognitive load emerged or did not emerge was related with my ideas about perceiving the elements of the problem as a complex translation-system or not. And the cognitive load might have not been the same for all students.

Tools were used for different problem-solving tasks.
Stimulated recall data were analysed using Strauss’ and Corbin’ Grounded Theory Approach.
Patters of students tool use were consistent with the recall and log-records.
Findings confirmed that there is a relationship between cognitive tool use and certain cognitive processes in problemsolving.


web2.0 symposium ideas edmedia 2007

June 27, 2007

Getting beyond centralized technologies in higher education

Centralized learning management systems still characterize the predominant institutional approach to computational support for teaching and studying in higher education. This approach contrasts sharply with the growing dissemination of decentralized, loosely coupled, and networked tools and services that provide increasingly powerful means to augment a wide variety of activities and practices outside of institutional boundaries. Recently, notions of personal learning environments (PLEs) have been brought forward and discussed as a viable alternative to the centralized approach to technological support for teaching and studying that most educational institutions employ. This symposium brings together a diverse group of international researchers to explore the current demarcation lines, potentials, limitations, and possible developmental paths of centralized, institutional approaches to technology support for teaching and learning on one side, and of networked, loosely-coupled tools and services and their surrounding practices on the other side.

Edmedia symposium brainstorming


Sebastian Fiedler – Centre for Social Innovation – Zentrum für Soziale Innovation, Austria
Paper: If youth but know, if age but could: the power of timeworn concepts in technological support for teaching and learning

Robert Fitzgerald – Divisions of Communication and Education & Information
University of Canberra, Australia
Paper: Beyond the LMS: What’s the big idea?

Brian Lamb – Office of Learning Technology
The University of British Columbia, Canada
Paper: How will higher education mash it up?

Bryan Alexander – National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education, USA
Paper: VLE and Web 2.0: the era of the Great Divide

Scott Wilson & Johnson, M., Griffiths, D., and Liber, O. – Centre for Educational Technology & Interoperability Standards
The University of Bolton, United Kingdom
Paper: Preparing for disruption: developing institutional capability for decentralized education technologies


Kai Pata & Terje Väljataga – Tallinn University
Paper: Collaborating across national and institutional boundaries in higher education – the decentralized iCamp approach

George Siemens – Learning Technologies Centre University of Manitoba, Canada
Paper: Knowledge Deluge – Sense making and understanding in environments of abundance


The whole event started with short paper-introductions while the participants could write their ideas on the stickers. In the second half brainstorming was quite lively.
Unfortunately Bryan Alexander could not make to Vancouver.

Brian’s comments.


Design-based research workshop

June 26, 2007

I was visiting the design-based research workshop at Ed-Media 2007 yesterday morning. I took couple of notes at the workshop.

Here are workshop resources online.

Some more resources to the researchers of design-based research.

Design-based research workshop
Tom Reeves, Ron Oliver, Jan Herrington

Tom Reeves:

Identification of problems with participants, development of prototype solutions

DBR is rigourous, relevant and collaborative
Process focused

Products are: affective change (impact on situation) and warranted design principles (Reeves)

Action research, however, is different from DBR, in DBR the design principles must be one of the outcomes.

Educational design research
book 2006
van der Akken, Nieveen, McKenny

Chris Dede
River city curriculum

Yasmin Kafai UCLA

Charles W. Desforges

Jan Herrington:

DBR is..
development research
design experiments
design reserach
Formative research


Bannan-Ritland, 2003
Reeves, 2006

1. Analysis of practical problems by researchers and practioners in collaboration

Start with significant educational problem
talking with practitioners
articulating the problem
have a look at literature

2. A solution: try to come up with it

development of solutions with a theoretical framework

Interrogating the literature:
what aspects of the learning environment are you looking at
what paper says
possible principle

come up with draft principles to inform your research
draft principles compiled
we review technological innovations
design and develop a solution
Appropriate theoretical solution

3. Cycled of testing

how and why solution works and not proof that it works
the theoretical aspect may change in these iterative cycles

4. Design principles
testing iteratively

scientific output – design principles (draft principles, tested principles)
practical output – designed artifacts
societal outputs – professional development of participants

DBR design and evaluation functions
possible to match DBR against evaluation functions
Reeves and Hedberg’s (2003) functions of evaluation
review of concept
needs analysis
formative evaluation
summative evaluation
effectiveness of evaluation
impact evaluation
maintenance evaluation

Some aspects of the DBR approach were disappointing – iterativity was demonstrated only inside the DBR cycles and not between the theoretical aims and design-solution aims, which also occurs.
Why I liked this workshop is because it became clear to me that this methodology is not still established enough.