Thursday, April 19, 2007

A shift from aging, top-down classroom technologies to mashup space, mashup spaces comprising del.icio.us feeds, blog posts, podcast widgets

Maybe there is a glimmer of hope.
Elgg, open-source social networking software developed at the University of Brighton, has been designed specifically with academic uses in mind.

Students, tutors and researchers each get a profile page, a blog, photo sharing and friends lists, and they can create and join on-site discussion communities. Some of these features might cause tutors to balk, but Elgg's creators say the collaborative, conversational exchanges in which today's students have become so fluent outside class are the best way to deliver learning inside it.

"The virtual learning environment model used by nearly all universities these days is based on the traditional tutor-led, course-structured mode of learning and doesn't easily allow for significant participation by students or for crossing course boundaries," said Stan Stanier, the school's learning technologies manager, who oversees a 33,000-member Elgg installation. "Higher education is meant to be an environment for student-centered and collaborative learning."

Broadly, Elgg represents a shift from aging, top-down classroom technologies like Blackboard to what e-learning practitioners call personal learning environments -- mashup spaces comprising del.icio.us feeds, blog posts, podcast widgets -- whatever resources students need to document, consume or communicate their learning across disciplines.

2 comments:

Ben Werdmuller said...

Just a quick note - contrary to the article, Elgg wasn't developed at the University of Brighton. It's been a Curverider endeavour since the start.

nobrainer said...

I'll go ahead and predict that this advancement, like just about all advancements of the last 40 years, will have no significant positive impact.