UK Study: Computers do not boost learning

A UK study held in Cardiff, Bath, Somerset, Blaenau Gwent and the Forest of Dean by the Cardiff University has “found” that “people were more likely to use the internet for hobbies such as music-making and compiling a family tree” instead of taking part in lifelong e-learning programs.

I agree when people at Cardiff say that “background had more bearing than online access on whether people studied” and, specially, that “once the government provides computer access, it is up to educators and IT companies to put forward the content that attracts people”.

Nevertheless, I guess the sample was not representative for the whole planet but for urban zones at industrialized countries, where there’s a real chance to take courses off-line, say, round the corner, at any school, university or plenty-of-places else.

I you take some other place, a rural village in the middle of an underdeveloped country, access to the network is access to education in most cases.

So, let’s think it twice, it’s alright ;)

[via Online Learning Update]

Technology traps corporates and nonprofits alike

David Wilcox writes about “the technology trap – believing new stuff can fix old problems”.

As he says, “I’m not claiming this offers any great new insight, but it’s always interesting when something developed in one situation fits another… or perhaps something deliberately made simple for unsophisticated users has value more generally”.

I’ve often posted about needs-driven digital divide bridging and this is what the article David is commenting is all about.

My highlights are quite simple (and redundant):

  • Commitment to the vision
  • Action towards the vision

Fellows: facilitating and enhancing lifelong learning

[source Online Learning Update]
[news Including the excluded thanks to easy e-learning]

The Fellows Project is a European Commission funded project (IST/2000/26/247) to foster lifelong learning for all. Within the framework of The Learning Citizen Cluster, the Fellows Project has developed online distance learning services for disadvantaged users in training institutions within four European countries (Austria, France, Germany and the UK) and set up a blended model where presence and virtuallity learning meet to cover different needs in four European countries.

On their Consultancy section I read you can “benefit from the experiences and expertise of the Fellows Partners” but it is no clear at all whether they provide the on-line platform and whether they provide it for free. Same applies for courses and learning objects.

I still wonder, too, why developing a new platform, and still have no clear idea on how it was developed (Java, yes, but… what more?).

Summarizing: good idea, great aim, unclear public benefit from it all.
And I mean it, if goals are good and funding is public, why still I don’t know I can I benefit from it? :P

Tecnoneet 2004: won’t assist

Some weeks ago I wrote I would be speaking at Tecnoneet 2004, 3rd Congress of Special Educational Needs and Information Society Technology.

But I won’t.

Due to personal and professional agendas, it’s impossible for me to travel to Murcia (Spain) these days.

:(

Online Volunteering: run out of imagination?

I am subscribed to three or four zillion newsletters and/or feeds.
One of them talks to me about what do NGOs need in the field of human resources. Cute: they include an “Online Volunteering” category, this is quite new… and cute! :)

BUT, last issue I got from this newsletter, had 6 online volunteering opportunities. 5 of them were related to subscribing online campaigns, sending e-mail to governments or asking you to help this or that web site be known by your friends. Spread the word, parbleu! ;)

Just one of them was about IT online support.

Previous issue was even poorer.

Yep, subscribing online campaigns might be online volunteering… but… aren’t we running out of imagination? Is this the power of online volunteering? Ever heard of added value?

Gray Monday, indeed…

Open source – opens learning

or “Why open source makes sense for education” is an article by Chris Coppola and Ed Neelley (rsmart group)

From the Introduction:

Because of the rise in popularity and consideration of open source applications in all markets from education to government to business, it is critical for all decision makers to understand what open source applications are and what the implications are for their organization.

This is especially true in the education market where budget pressures make the right decision an imperative. This white paper will offer a simple, yet thorough definition of open source in the context of education, describe the new market models, and dispel the myths
about open source.

Well, if understanding what open source applications and knowing what the implications are is specially critical for the education market, see if its true for the education for development “market”, specially these projects run by non-profit organizations.

The source:
Open Source – Opens Learning (333 Kb)

[via eLearnspace]