Monday, August 25, 2003

An Initial Experiment for Attaining Education for All

Alfred Bork comes up again and again in various forums to argue for this project, a rather expensive (18 million dollars) experiment to use computers to achieve Education for All. The approach is meant to work for a very broad range of students from all possible cultural and national backgrounds and it is also meant to be scalable.

While I see the point of trying to come up with an approach that would really make a difference in trying to achieve Education for All, I am far from convinced of the power of computers as the main teaching tool. I still think that qualified teachers are also essential in guiding students individually and I am skeptical about this one-size-fits all approach. Perhaps I'm missing something!
Sharing Knowledge with Yourself

A post in Jim McGee's blog focusing on the need to start knowledge management at the personal level.

"I've concluded that one of the root problems with knowledge management is that I'm that lazy SOB. Until I start to do a better job of managing my own knowledge, why should I expect anyone else in the organization to do so? Weblogs are the first tool I've found that start me on the process of making my own knowledge more useful to me."

While I agree that starting a weblog has also helped me to start using my own knowledge for effectively, I still see a lot of space for improvement. For example, I've seen blogs that assign categories to posts, making it easier to sift through posts addressing a range of sub-topics. I would also want to be better able to search through my own posts.

Friday, August 15, 2003

"Unnecessary Complexity", by George Siemens.

A follow up to the previous post about using simple tools both for teaching and learning and avoiding "unnecessary complexity". That's what I usually call "technological minimalism". It's relevant to all environments, whether we are talking about highly developed countries with 24 hour connections or developing countries with limited and/or expensive web access.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Low Threshold Applications: "A Low Threshold Application (LTA) is a teaching/learning application of information technology that is reliable, accessible, easy to learn, non-intimidating and (incrementally) inexpensive. Each LTA has observable positive consequences, and contributes to important long term changes in teaching and/or learning. '... the potential user (teacher or learner) perceives an LTA as NOT challenging, not intimidating, not requiring a lot of additional work or new thinking. LTAs… are also 'low-threshold' in the sense of having low INCREMENTAL costs for purchase, training, support, and maintenance.' "

These types of applications are particularly useful to more carefully define my own approach to technological minimalism and financial sustainability. Need to find time, no... make time to look at all these low-threshold applications that have been developed and not reinvent the wheel!...

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

IIT, Oops bring the world to village kids

Here is one assumption we might want to reconsider: audio/videoconferencing requires a lot of bandwidth and is therefore not feasible for low-bandwidth environment predominant in developing countries.

This article presents audio/videoconferencing software developed in India that was specificallly designed to work in low-bandwidth environments.

The article mentions key applications in telemedicine and education.