Special E-Learning Grab Bag

Greetings from St. Petersburg, FL – where they haven’t forgotten the true meaning of humidity (drip drip drip drip…) I’m down here for a few days to work on an e-learning project at the Poynter Institute. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a few e-learning-related items that have caught my attention lately.

TOP OF THE LIST: RSS, Knowledge Management, and Me: Reflections, Aug. 4: Kathleen Bennett explains how she’s experimenting with using webfeeds to enhance the NLII Learning Objects Virtual Community of Practice.

Here’s the rest of the list:

  1. E-Learning and Language Change, by Henrik Hansson and Sylvia van de Bunt–Kokhuis, First Monday: Much e-learning is created in North America but has a global audience – so is it contributing to the English-ization of languages? Are e-learners in the Netherlands more likely to speak “Denglish?” And if so, so what?

    The authors write, “Language and culture are closely intertwined. Young people quickly adopt “universal” chat and SMS–codes and communicate globally. But how acquainted are teachers with these codes? And if they are not – how efficient are chat and other communication modes in e–learning? What if English is the most predominant language in e–learning? For students there are clear disadvantages in learning in a language other than English if you collaborate with native English speakers. Part of the meaning of emotions might be filtered out due to a language gap. Bates (1999) compares the disadvantages of non–English speakers with a fictionally scenario. What if China became the predominant economic power in this century? If so, Mandarin would become the predominant language of the Internet. Native English speakers would have to learn Mandarin if they were interested in participating in international programs.”

  2. Against Collaboration: Collaborative Learning Environments, by Martin Terre Blanche, Aug. 27: A good discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of learning in groups.
  3. Also fromMartin Terre Blanche , see the Collaborative learning environments sourcebook – everything you always wanted to know about communities of practice but were afraid to ask.
  4. Wide Open Spaces: Wikis, Ready or Not: by Brian Lamb, EduCause, Sept./Oct. 2004. An excellent in-dpth discussion of how wikis can be used in education, especially as a tool to subvert departmental tunnel-vision in higher learning.
  5. Finally, this isn’t specifically about e-learning, but it might as well be: Are Useful Requirements Just A Fairy Tale? (and why an IA should care): Boxes and Arrows, by Dan Willis, July 14. The title says it all.