Archive for March, 2008


For the Future Project, we will interview some forward thinking swedes, active in the blogosphere. Starting tomorrow, there will be hour long interviews that we compile and ut into our article. The interviewees are:
Fredrik Paulsson:
Stefan Pålssons first:
Stefan Pålssons second:
Peter Karlberg:


Evaluating the Horizon Report

In the future project, A good source for what others think about the development in learning, is the Horizon report. A very good work indeed. I have tried to get a historical overview on the reports from 2004 to 2008. Its interesting how some of the ideas have continued and developed. For instance mobile learning. In 2005 it was called “Ubiquitous wireless”, 2006 it was “Phones in their pockets”, 2007 had just “Mobile Phones” and 2008 calls it “mobile broadband”. I think these are all pointing towards the potential and development of the mobile learning. Unfortunately, I have not seen any practical examples that are really good yet.

The social web is one trend that has been proven very true. In 2005, the Horizon report called this “Social networks and knowledge webs”. Then the idea continued as “Social computing” in 2006, “Social networking”, “User created content” and “Massive multiplayer Educational gaming” in 2007, while in 2008 almost all of the trends reported were about the social web, such as “collaboration webs”, “collective intelligence” and “social operating systems”.

 Educational games is one more of the trends that comes back every year. 2005: Augmented reality”, 2006: “Educational gaming” and 2007: “Massive Multiplayer Educational gaming”.

So these three trends will be very interesting to follow. There are pros and cons with them all, so I suppose I have to dig in to find the gems in all subjects.

Informal learning – what is it really?

A somewhat hyped expression the last few years is “informal learning”. I have heard it, used it and at last I came to think about what it really means. “Informal” in popular adult education is a welcome and positive way to regard learning. You learn everywhere, in any situation. It is a central aspect of the sociocultural learning theories too. But what do I learn? When I get really drunk at the pub  I learn something, apparently. When I watch a stupid youtube clip for the tenth time too?  But how do I experience that I have learned something? How do I measure that learning? How do I know how to use the experience and the things learned?

And what can schools and learning institutions use from the informal learning? That it is a good idea to start teaching at discoteques? (A metaphore to what is going on in every social network on the web at the moment)

A fight broke out in the blogosphere when Bill Brantley went through Jay Crosses book “Informal learning“. Here are some qoutes:

“Informal learning is just another hype-filled, buzzword that pretends to be a radical change from the past but is really bits-and-pieces of other learning methods badly packaged.”

“Cross’ definition of informal learning is so wide open it can mean almost anything.”

An interesting statement. I cant help but feeling the same way about the statements from some people I have discussed with. Informal learning has its benefits, but which ones? And in what way? I am in the middle of processing that.

Slideshare presentation of our lecture

Here is the presentation from the conference last week:

Teaching as a service trade

Two indications on this matter: A teacher/school can not just sit and wait for the students to come to them and be taught according to the teacher’s preferences. The students can very well be better than the teacher at some aspects of the learning experience: the media, the ways to find information and so on.

Also: In a series of articles in Swedens DN (roughly translated Daily News), the journalist Maciej Zaremba, unveils a culture where students have come to regard their education as customer service. They pay for a good education and expects to gain knowledge, good grades and treats the teacher as a clerk in a shop.

Does this degrade teachers and their trade?

Here is the article, but only in swedish:

Competence and digital gap

Of course it is not easy to change the learning community. One of the main problems is that many teachers and many students do not have the competence right now, to take advantage of the tools that are available on the web.

For some reason, it is often presumed that the students, particularly the younger ones, automatically has huge knowledge of the web. But this is not the case. Some do, but mostly it is very shallow. If you can handle your Facebook account, does that mean you can use the web and web2 as a meaningful learning resource or your personal learning environment? I am not so sure.

And the teachers… I feel a bit sad for them, beacuse they always get the blame for the system errors. The whole education system is slow, conservative and of course, lack the recourses to be in the front line of the development. Continuation courses in digital media would be very clever to make teachers  more competent in these matters.

This slow system is confronted with students that are extremely fast to pick up new trends and new methods. So it leaves a large gap between the scool and the individual. Also it leaves a gap between the school world and the business world, which uses these tools more and more.

So I can identify four parts with gaps between them, when it comes to digital competence: the student, the teacher, the school world and the business world. Since three of these parts are in the same system, it is meaningful to aim recources toward these and make a real change.

More on mobile learning

I visited the Adult Education Conference in Stockholm on monday-tuesday. Among others, I saw a seminar on mobile learning, which was not very impressive. The lecturer, backed by five company representatives, confirmed my objections regarding quality and such. Also, the seminar was focused on technology, not the pedagogical issues. So we saw bad video quality and salesmen trying to sell technology. Also we saw the “intelligent, individually adapted language course”. Which meant a 1996 style word test.

I sat there watching and thought “Is there something I am missing out on? Or is this just an equivalent to a telephone call or a chat, with some simple tests attached to it?”. I can see the pros with a portable way to follow education, communication and all that. But we need larger screens, larger keyboard and more use of the voice among other issues for this to work satisfactory. A laptop computer seem to be a better toll, but a bi lless mobile I suppose. The future high speed connections is also an important development for this technology.

And where is the visions and innovations? Why use a mobile phone with its certain pros and cons, just as a computer with static learning resouces and a chat? Boring. So now you think “can he do it better?” Well, I will try to explore some visions I have, regarding the real advantages of mobile learning, which I think is the freedom of movement. I will come back on this subject with some content to show.

About this blog

Starting from a project about foreseeing the future of learning, this blog is an output of thoughts, ideas, comments and research. I am trying to be practical too, providning examples of the different aspects of the subject. My name is Pelle Filipsson and I work as a web pedagog.