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WE/ME in epedagogy design » 2007 » March

Archive for March, 2007

Videoconference with George Siemens during Helsinki seminar

Only recently George Siemens confirmed his participation in a VC session during our international seminar. We agreed on having our session on June 6th at 6 pm EET.

You are all invited to post into our blog relevant questions and topics you wish to discuss with him. The idea behind this kind of preparation phase is to create a vibrant discussion forum from which we can filter out pertinent questions.

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Blood cell visualized 3-D

David Bolinsky´s 3-D animation of a blood cell was primarly ment to be a pedagogical tool for medical studies, but it has now attracted even the Hollywood film makers.

The Inner Life of the Cell depicts in 8 minutes what´s going on inside one white blood cell. Bolinsky and collaques at his company Xvivo created it for Harvard´s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. He says that they wanted to make something that would give people a strong sense of a cell – not as a list of topics to be studied, not as a compendium of tables and graphs and charts, but as a “bustling, immensely purposeful metropolis populated very, very densely by these micro machines that do a huge amount of work at great precision and purposefulness”.

See the film on AIM , its better quality than on UTube.

It took 14 months to produce it. Now the Wachowski brothers, the guys who did The Matrix, are doing a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and they had come across the animation and they want to included it to the special effects they’re planning for the movie.

Since the premier show of The Inner Life of the cell last summer in Siggraph´s animation contest they have been getting e-mails from major universities all over the world asking if they could use it for their students, calls from high school teachers wanting it for advanced biology classes … and museums that want them to work on museum exhibits because they want to modernize how they teach science.

Nice clip and the film is beautifull, I would say. It makes the blood circulate the opposite way. Hollywood content is used to do permanent invasion in classrooms, but this time it´s vice versa.

Read the hole story on Wired News



Visual Complexity

“VisualComplexity.com intends to be a unified resource space for anyone interested in the visualization of complex networks. The project’s main goal is to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods, across a series of disciplines, as diverse as Biology, Social Networks or the World Wide Web. I truly hope this space can inspire, motivate and enlighten any person doing research on this field”. cf. http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/

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Towards an ecology of learning

An ”ecology of learning” would change our current thinking of encapsulated and definite VLE containers. It is hard to visualize the idea of a learning environment by contrasting it, e.g. with the description of an educational environment, which seems to be much easier. The dynamism of a learning environment (mass media, daily perception and sensations, informal and formal education, edutianment etc. ) should not be confused with a variation on the theme of education (e.g. instructional design, educational technology etc.) When this happens, ideas about a learning environment become a variation on the theme of education. But if we include the way people interact in exploring, discovering, creating, thinking, making, doing their own unique set of situations and circumstances in the confluence of everyday life then I believe we begin to approach a more useful perspective to explore possibilities for learning.That would allow an assumption that if we change enviroments for learning, the possibilities for learning will change as well. Changing environments whether it is in real or in virtual contexts changes our modes of interaction, they literally change ourselves.Would learning proceed as something that is purely organic, if we define a learning environment as a natural environment?

References:AN ECOLOGY OF LEARNING ANDTHE ROLE OF eLEARNING IN THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENThttp://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/APCITY/UNPAN007791.pdf


Distributed publishing: a demo

I have been talking for some time about creating a method of putting something on one web site and having it published across the web. This is very different from making a link, or using RSS feeds, in both the way it works and its implications.

I have now found a way to use the online word processor Zoho Writer to do this, and I have written about it here: http://www.owenkelly.net/2007/03/13/zoho-for-distributed-publication/ I would be VERY HAPPY if some of you could read this, comment, and if possible try it out by cloning the essay and republishing it on your site.

Even if you only do this on a temporary basis then it will be very useful research for me. I need to see if it actually works, and to do that I need to see it working on some sites where I had nothing to do with the design, layout or content 🙂

I have contacted Zoho about the idea and their initial reaction was highly enthusiastic. They have asked their development team to go through my article and comment. If the developent team are happy with the changes to Zoho Writer I am suggesting then this might actually turn into a fully functional real-world project.

Those who have been keeping up with my wanderings will probably understand why this is a key step forward for the whole idea of a memi.

Yeee hah!!!


VLE – List of criteria for the analysis

Dear VLE-group,

I finally managed to develop my list of criteria for the analysis of a Virtual Learning Environment. You can have a look on it here. Please feel free to comment on it.

Jaap, is it right that we now should fulfill the analysis until end of March? Because there seems to be some uncertainty amongst the students…


Christina 🙂

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Oral examinations based on eConferencing

In this german diploma thesis “Potentiale von WebVideokonferenzsystemen bei Prüfungen” by C. Püschel (University of Konstanz, 1999) the author examines the possibilites and dangers of oral tele-examinations.
Maybe this is useful for some german-speaking students or tutors.


Distance Learning and the studies at virtual universities enjoy rising popularity and spreading due to better technical possibilities. Yet not only the process of learning but also examining could take place at two different localities in the future. The basic question this thesis is going to deal with is whether oral exams can be carried out as web videoconferences. The aspects to be dealt with are whether oral exams can pose an acceptable and equivalent alternative to face-to-face exams from a psychological, formal-legal and technical point of view.
In the psychological part the differences between conventional exams and tele exams are described as well as the effects with regard to perception. Simultaneously, recommendations for the behaviour during such exams and for the composition of the videoconference equipment are given.
In the chapter about the formal-legal perspective further demands to tele exams are formulated. They comprise the agreement of examiner and examinee about the test form, the perfect functioning of the equipment and connection of the conference, the prohibition of making direct expenses for the exam and the fulfilment of organizational demands.
In the technical part the hard- and software components of video conference systems, the importance and function of elementary standards, effects brought about by technical devices, problems and possible solutions are expounded.
A prospect to possible enlargements of videoconferencing systems in future exams, like the introduction of identification systems, increased possibilities of input by touch tablets and devices to record such conferences will follow the basic chapters.
In the evaluation at the end of the thesis it will be made clear that tele exams can be recommended at all costs for psychological reasons, with reservations for formal-legal reasons and under no circumstances for technical reasons at this very moment.