Seminar: The Personal Research Portal: The Virtual Faculty or the Net behind the Classroom

The Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research, University of Athabasca, has invited me to impart a seminar in the framework of the CIDER Sessions about my digressions around The Personal Research Portal. The focus here will be on the educator, as I did in my article El portal personal del profesor: El claustro virtual o la red tras las aulas [The Personal Research Portal: The Virtual Faculty or the Net behind the Classroom].

The seminar will take place online — using Elluminate — on Friday 11th April 2008, at 17:00h GMT (in English).

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Instructional technology has suffered, in our opinion, two revolutions and a half during the last decades. The first one was, there is no doubt, the introduction of the personal computer in the educational environment. The second one, the appearance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in a broader sense – that implied, among other things, connecting the PC to the network – and their use in teaching. The “half” left, as it actually is a corollary of the latter, the one brought by the so called Web 2.0, thus giving birth to what has been dubbed as Education 2.0.

Notwithstanding, the emphasis has been put, most of the times, in how these technologies impact the relationship between teacher and student or how these technologies whether and how enhance the learning process and its results: how can ICTs be used to improve education administration, how can they help teaching in a classroom, applications in distance learning, etc.

Our aim in this seminar is to shift out of the spotlight and focus on the “hidden” practices of education, to stress on all the tasks that happen outside the classroom – be it of bricks and mortar or virtual – before or when designing a subject or teaching it to the students, what happens after that teaching, etc. in this necessary phase of reflection and redefinition of concepts, syllabuses, practices and so on… but without students. We want to make some proposals on how educators can use ICTs in their more open, participative and social side to build themselves a place on the net, to weave their own network of colleagues, to share resources, exchange experiences or suggest doubts and questions to the rest of education professionals.

Our ultimate goal would be to highlight that we think it is possible to build a virtual faculty based on their personal portals built with Web 2.0 tools, way beyond teacher spaces inside virtual learning environments or other corporate tools from educational institutions, thus leaving room for individual initiative and, most important, digital presence and digital identity.


Sincerest thanks go to Lynn Anderson for the proposal, all the e-mailing that we’ve been having through the last weeks and the support in preparing the seminar.


The Teacher’s Personal Portal: the Virtual Faculty or the Net behind the Classrooms

My article El portal personal del profesor: El claustro virtual o la red tras las aulas [The Teacher’s Personal Portal: the Virtual Faculty or the Net behind the Classrooms] has just been published in the last issue (#223) of Comunicación y Pedagogía, a monograph about Social Networks in the framework of communication and education.

For those already familiar with my recent interests in open access, open science and open education, you’ll find the article is based on my former The personal research portal: web 2.0 driven individual commitment with open access for development, though this one is lighter (in all senses), fresher, and includes a new section about Open Educational Resources (OER).


As it always happens, I had already submitted the article when I discovered Tíscar Lara‘s article Blogs para educar. Usos de los blogs en una pedagogía constructivista [Blogs to educate: blog uses in a constructivist pedagogy]. I would have undoubtedly used it for my article had I found it before.

Actually, she’s published another article in a Monographic about Blogs in Education issued by the Spanish National Center of Educational Information and Communication (CNICE), whose Head of web contents and educational Television, Carmen Candioti, visited us last October to take part into the Web 2.0 and Education Seminar. The monograph is a good gathering of interesting experiences and reflections about educational blogging and Education 2.0 in general.

When I was writing the article, I couldn’t get out of my head the people that, later on, formally created Grupo Nodos ELE. Grupo Nodos ELE is a group of Spanish as a Foreign Language teachers whom I really admire for their resolution and commitment to work online to share knowledge and efforts to improve their own works. It all began with scattered personal blogs and it’s evolving into a rich virtual community of practice. My kudos to them for that brilliant initiative and the passion they show.

Another initiative I want to highlight is Aulablog, whose blog keeps the Spanish speaking community up-to-date about Education 2.0 projects: I mean, real projects where people do things. Your needed daily dose of reality.

And I want to thank Lorenzo García Aretio, the coordinator of the monograph, and Adolfo Estalella for encouraging me to (re)write the article. Their task was not easy for them, so thank you.

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