Discover the Latest Trends on Edutainment and E-Learning

June 22, 2007

Hi there!

I would like to share with you a very interesting article that covers the latest trends on Edutainment and E-learning Today.

The visionary Richard MacManus depicts a very interesting analysis of the main players and pioneers on these fields, and how the market is reacting and accepting these new and diverse offers:

One of the strongest, but least hyped, uses of web 2.0 technologies over the past couple of years has been e-learning.

readwritewebWe’ve covered this topic extensively on Read/WriteWeb – and so we’re pleased to bring you this overview of e-learning 2.0, including the leading web apps and sites in this niche, and predictions for its future.

In August Steve O’Hear (now last100 editor) wrote an introduction to e-learning 2.0. He noted that teachers and students are embracing web technologies such as blogging and podcasting. Although not designed specifically for use in education, these tools are helping to make e-learning far more personal, social, and flexible.

According to Steve, the traditional approach to e-learning has been to employ the use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), software that is often cumbersome and expensive – and which tends to be structured around courses, timetables, and testing [examples listed below]. That is an approach that is too often driven by the needs of the institution rather than the individual learner. In contrast, e-learning 2.0 (as coined by Stephen Downes) takes a ‘small pieces, loosely joined’ approach that combines the use of discrete but complementary tools and web services – such as blogs, wikis, and other social software – to support the creation of ad-hoc learning communities.

Examples of e-learning 2.0 apps and websites

edublogs.org and wikispaces.com are two examples of blog and wiki resources for e-learning. Steve’s post includes many other examples of edu-blogging, podcasting, media sharing and social networks. There are some interesting web apps for students popping up, for example a collaborative note taking app called stu.dicio.us and the ReadWriteThink Printing Press – which enables users to create a newspaper, brochure, etc.

elggFor an in-depth look at one of the leaders in this space, Steve profiled Elgg – a social network for education. This is an excellent example of how web 2.0 is shaping e-learning. Elgg is social networking software designed especially for education – built from the ground up to support learning.

Described by its founders as a ‘learning landscape’, Elgg provides each user with their own weblog, file repository (with podcasting capabilities), an online profile and an RSS reader. Additionally, all of a user’s content can be tagged with keywords – so they can connect with other users with similar interests and create their own personal learning network. However, where Elgg differs from a regular weblog or a commercial social network (such as MySpace) is the degree of control each user is given over who can access their content. Each profile item, blog post, or uploaded file can be assigned its own access restrictions – from fully public, to only readable by a particular group or individual. Click here for an insightful interview with Elgg’s founders.

Note that this type of e-learning social network is similar to “smart” social networks, in which you can put access controls around your personal details, so that only people you trust can see them. Facebook, imbee, Vox, and Multiply are all examples of smart social networks.

Another great example of an e-learning 2.0 app is ChinesePod, which we profiled in November. ChinesePod teaches Mandarin over the Web. It uses podcasting, RSS, blogging – and other Web 2 technologies – to teach Mandarin Chinese. The business model is surprisingly simple – subscriptions to language-learning materials. This complements the free offerings – basically, the Mandarin podcasts – very nicely. For example, if you want to dive into learning Mandarin straight away: select one of the episodes, plus you can participate in the discussions. The first level subscription is called ‘Basic’ and gets you a PDF transcript of the podcast. If you want get really serious about learning Mandarin, sign up to the premium subscription service and receive learning resources such as Review Materials and Lesson Plans.

The community aspect of ChinesePod shows what can be done with web 2.0 technologies in e-learning. Check out the Community page – which has a forum, wiki, blogs, photos, rss feeds. All the usual pieces, but each has a practical purpose. The wiki has extra links and information, the forum is well-used by users, the photos are lovely (of China), and there are a lot of great rss feeds to choose from.

Google, Microsoft, Apple, IBM – active in e-learning 2.0

What else is out there currently in Internet-based education software? Well for a start, the Internet BigCos all have products in the e-learning segment. Google offers the free Google Apps for Education (includes Gmail, Chat, Calendar, Page Creator, start page). Microsoft has a range of education products (including live.com hosting/email and potential groupware for education), and Apple offers free podcast hosting for education (iTunes U). IBM is also a player in the education sector.

Google seems to be particularly active in education, amongst the Internet companies. It has Google for Educators, described as “a platform of teaching resources”. Also its Google Enterprise Professional program has at least one education provider – Blackboard become the first member of the program to focus primarily on educational institutions.

Not to mention that online office products can be used to enhance collaboration in an education setting. Google Docs & Spreadsheets for example. In effect, the BigCos are able to leverage their current product range and promote them to schools.

Collaborative E-learning Systems

As well as blogs and wikis, there is a class of e-learning 2.0 software that is more of a platform product. These are referred to as collaboration systems and examples are Elgg, Nuuvo and Digication. As Digication’s Jeffrey Yan explained in January, e-learning 2.0 tools are often promoted by educators in a grassroots manner. Which when you consider the usual hierarchical academic setting, is an interesting trend. Jeff told R/WW there is a community of users who support these tools and “their approval/disapproval with features, functionality and direction can make or break a [e-learning] company.”

As for the near future of collaborative systems, Jeff Yan says that blogs, wikis and podcasts will start to merge with more educationally focused systems in 2007.

Traditional Learning Management System (LMS)

Also known as Virtual Learning Environments (VLE), examples are Blackboard, Moodle and Sakai (the latter two are open source) As we hinted at above, the big commercial software like Blackboard is very ‘old school’ and doesn’t have much focus on the community aspects of learning. They’re expensive and are generally seen as clunky and difficult to use – not unlike traditional Content Management Systems in enterprises (Vignette, InterWoven, et al). They also have a lot of features that most teachers and students don’t want or need.

However there are some newcomers that are interesting – call them LMS 2.0 perhaps 😉 As well as Digication and Nuvvo, there is Chalksite and haiku LMS.

Conclusion

As this article shows, there is a lot of web 2.0 activity in the e-learning space – including from the big Internet companies like Google and Apple. The current era of the Web is all about two-way communication, collaboration and ‘read/write’; and the classroom is an ideal place to utilize these technologies. In the comments, tell us some of the e-learning apps or experiences you’ve encountered.

It seems that Edutainment and E-Learning are here to stay and becoming more and more accessible till the day that talking about del.icio.us, youtube.com, or any of these sites, will be so common as using this wonderful technologies!

I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I did!

Help spread the word! Add it to Delicious or Digg it!

Cheers!

Questor

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Wanna learn languages? Go online!

November 25, 2006

Have you ever wanted to learn languages but never found the time nor the right place to do it? Well, here’s your shot!  

All you have to do is get your I-pod, download all the foreign music you like and download the lyrics of the songs you’re listening to. That’s how, experts say, you’ll easily learn and enjoy at the same time! There’s no need for teachers, books or tests! You’ll find yourself speaking different languages in no time!   However, if you like a more traditional approach, you’ll find many interactive programs online to help you. Some of which are: 

1)    Practice English online! (http://www.1-language.com/ ). In this page you’ll find different tools for learning such as flash games, grammar quizzes and more. You can also get info for studying abroad and (here’s the best part) there are also other languages available such as Italian, Spanish and more!  

Roaring tiger killing a crocodile, photo from: Jardin des Tuileries, Paris

2)    Learn French online! (http://www.frenchassistant.com/default.asp). Here, you’ll get practice online French language lessons and question generator. And it’s free!!  

International penpals free and online

3)    Learn German online! (http://www.deutsch-lernen.com/). You’ll find 10 German lessons for total beginners and 24 German grammar lessons for advanced learners are complemented by numerous interactive German exercises, an introduction to new German orthography and 2 online German tests to improve and to evaluate your German proficiency. You’ll be able to study tips, famous quotations, an online dictionary to translate German terms into over 70 languages and international pen pals!!! 

4)    Learn Italian Online! (http://www.iluss.it/). Wanna test your Italian language level, learn Italian with our online courses, build your Italian language vocabulary, listen to Italian texts and dialogues, read Italian short stories, learn Italian verbs? Here’s the right place!   So, once you make up your mind, tell us about it!Any comments? Suggestions? Leave them here!!!!

Already speak Spanish, check Edutainment in Spanish 

Stay tuned…

KIKI


Personalized education….Which is your personality type?

November 19, 2006

Have you ever found yourself in a classroom full of people very different from you? Have you ever wondered if personality is somehow determined by context, physique and even education? Nowadays, debate is centered on personalized education. While some argue that we should all be treated as equals others state that there is more intellectual and practical profit out of categorizing people. So, how do you know which type you are? There are many classifications but the most widely accepted is the Myers-Briggs enneagram.

enneagram.png

A person’s Enneagram type (often called “Enneatype”) can only be discerned through self-observation. It indicates the nine distinct personality types and shows how these types move when under stress and when flourishing. Many different schools and teaching systems use the Enneagram as a tool of self-knowledge, as a means of becoming conscious of the ploys and games that personalities commonly play and as a way of discovering the essence that is unique to each personality type.The nine types of the Enneagram are often given names that indicate some of their more distinctive characteristics. Such names are insufficient to capture the complexities and nuances of the types, which require study to understand in their depth. Common brief descriptions of the Enneatypes are as follows:

One: Reformer, Critic, Perfectionist – This type focuses on integrity. Ones can be wise, discerning and inspiring in their quest for the truth. They also tend to dissociate themselves from their flaws or what they believe are flaws (such as negative emotions) and can become hypocritical and hyper-critical of others, seeking the illusion of virtue to hide their own vices. The One’s greatest fear is to be flawed, and their ultimate goal is perfection. The corresponding “deadly sin” of the One is Anger, while the One’s “holy idea” or essence is Holy Perfection. Under stress, Ones express qualities of the Four, and when flourishing, they express qualities of the Seven.

 Two: Helper, Giver, Caretaker – Twos, at their best, are compassionate, thoughtful and astonishingly generous; they can also be prone to passive-aggressive behavior, clinginess and manipulation. Twos want, above all, to be loved and needed and fear being unworthy of love. The corresponding “deadly sin” of the Two is Pride, while the Two’s “holy idea” or essence is Holy Will. Under stress, Twos express qualities of the Eight, and when flourishing, they express qualities of the Four.

Three: Achiever, Performer, Succeeder – Highly adaptable and changeable. Some walk the world with confidence and unstinting authenticity; others wear a series of public masks, acting the way they think will bring them approval and losing track of their true self. Threes are motivated by the need to succeed and to be seen as successful. The corresponding “deadly sin” of the Three is Deceit, while the Three’s “holy idea” or essence is Holy Law. Under stress, Threes express qualities of the Nine, and when flourishing, they express qualities of the Six.

Four: Romantic, Individualist, Artist – Driven by a desire to understand themselves and find a place in the world, they often fear that they have no identity or personal significance. Fours embrace individualism and are often profoundly creative and intuitive. However, they have a habit of withdrawing to internalize, searching desperately inside themselves for something they never find and creating a spiral of depression. The angsty musician or tortured artist is often a stereotypical Four. The corresponding “deadly sin” of the Four is Envy, while the Four’s “holy idea” or essence is Holy Origin. Under stress, Fours express qualities of the Two, and when flourishing, they express qualities of the One.

Five: Observer, Thinker, Investigator – Fives are motivated by the desire to understand the world around them, specifically in terms of facts. Believing they are only worth what they contribute, Fives have learned to withdraw, to watch with keen eyes and speak only when they can shake the world with their observations. Sometimes they do just that. Often, instead, they withdraw from the world, becoming reclusive hermits and fending off social contact with abrasive cynicism. Fives fear incompetency or uselessness and want to be capable and knowledgeable above all else. The corresponding “deadly sin” of the Five is Avarice, while the Five’s “holy idea” or essence is Holy Omniscience. Under stress, Fives express qualities of the Seven, and when flourishing, they express qualities of the Eight.

Six: Loyalist, Devil’s Advocate, Defender – Sixes long for stability above all else. They exhibit unwavering loyalty and responsibility, but once crossed, they are not quick to trust again. They are prone to extreme anxiety and passive-aggressive behavior. Their greatest fear is to lack support and guidance. There are two types of sixes, phobic and counterphobic. Phobic sixes will have a tendency to run from or hide from what they fear, while a counterphobic six is more likely to attack or confront said fear. The corresponding “deadly sin” of the Six is Cowardice, while the Six’s “holy idea” or essence is Holy Faith and Strength. Under stress, Sixes express qualities of the Three, and when flourishing, they express qualities of the Nine.

Seven: Enthusiast, Adventurer, Materialist, Epicure – Sevens flit from one activity to another with all the energy and enthusiasm of the Puer Aeternus. At their best, they embrace life for its varied joys and wonders and truly live in the moment; but at their worst they dash frantically from one new experience to another, being too scared of disappointment to enjoy what they have. Sevens fear being unable to provide for themselves or to experience the life in all of its richness. The corresponding “deadly sin” of the Seven is Gluttony, while the Seven’s “holy idea” or essence is Holy Wisdom, Work, and Plan. Under stress, Sevens express qualities of the One, and when flourishing, they express qualities of the Five.

Eight: Leader, Protector, Challenger – Eights are motivated by justice and the desire to be in the right. They worry about self-protection and control. They are natural leaders, who can be capable and passionate or dictatorially manipulative, ruthless, and willing to destroy anything in their way. Eights seek control over their own life and their own destiny and fear being harmed or controlled by others. The corresponding “deadly sin” of the Eight is Lust, while the Eight’s “holy idea” or essence is Holy Truth. Under stress, Eights express qualities of the Five, and when flourishing, they express qualities of the Two.

Nine: Mediator, Peacemaker, Preservationist – Nines are ruled by their empathy. At their best they are perceptive, receptive, gentle, calming and at peace with the world. On the other hand, they prefer to dissociate from conflicts and indifferently go along with others’ wishes or simply withdraw, acting via inaction. They fear the conflict caused by their ability to simultaneously understand opposing points of view and seek peace of mind above all else. The corresponding “deadly sin” of the Nine is Sloth, while the Nine’s “holy idea” or essence is Holy Love. Under stress, Nines express qualities of the Six, and when flourishing, they express qualities of the Three.

Info provided by Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enneagram#Enneagram_of_personality) Which tipe are you? Take the test at http://www.similarminds.com/jung.htmlDid you enjoy this article? Hope so! Leave your comments!

Stay tuned!

KIKI


Is Edutainment effective in the Biz World?!

November 2, 2006

Marc Accetta is a very successful business man who implements Edutainment techniques in the corporate world.

So.. what!? You thought edutainment was only for personal needs, or for learning how to type fast!?

Edutainment in action

The truth is that experts that work with this techniques, know perfectly well that edutainment can be included in training programs, and experience shows that it must be implemented in order to get faster and more efficent results.

We do a very unique training called A View From the Edge, that our participants spend an entire weekend being trained through a series of about 20 characters that act out short plays to teach the points that need to be addressed. We entertain and educate, combined. The concept is known as Edutainment. Much of our success and recognition comes from the results of this annual training. I have been involved with business builders as a Success coach and Seminar speaker for 17 years. Coming to World Ventures in another way to impact one specific company in a powerful way.
says Marc, our biz edutainment expert.

Marc Accetta has achived incredible results implementing this techniques in the real world biz. For example, afer being contracted into World Ventures, LLC, as a full trainer he has produced a high impact on the home business arena producing a record breaking growth, implementing edutainment techniques.

So the answer is YES! Edutainment can have business uses, and very serious ones, that can produce amazing results if managed correctly.

Some words from our expert Marc Accetta:

RESEARCH HAS SHOWN…. Group, cooperative exercises, physical participation, games, activities, role playing, music, art, dramas, theatre, visual aids, story-telling, and that which elicits emotions of pleasure, all work to enhance the learning experience in a beneficial way.

Edutainment Teaches while allowing for Unstructured Free Play and a Chance to Just Wonder and Use the Imagination…

The biggest complaint most experts have with structured programs and over-scheduling for children is that it robs them of the time needed for unstructured free play and a chance to just ‘wonder’ and use their imaginations.

Unstructured free time and a chance to just ‘wonder’ and engage the imagination are very essential requirements for a child’s healthy development of both creativity and intellectual ability.

It is a given, that for healthy development, children, especially young children, need free play time, and lots of it…

Experts also agree that adults would be a lot better off in many ways, if they too had more time to play and engage their imaginations. ‘Wonder’ is a truly wonderful thing to embrace, unfortunately in this day and age, especially if you are a working professional, finding time to simply ‘wonder’ is not always an easy thing to find the time to do.

What better ways to do it than while you are learning the very lessons and concepts that can enable you to change your life for the better, and succeed emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, socially and financially!

Until next time!

Cheers!

Questor

P.S: Don’t forget to tell us if you have implemented edutainment in your business and tell us how!

Speak Spanish? Check out also Edutainment in Spanish