Innovate Articles

Thought I’d just do a quick run through of some of the innovate (title graphic small ‘i’, text big ‘I’ – I know about those problems ;o) articles I found of interest, now much as I was singing it’s praises yesterday having a good look at it (past the registration which Stephen rightly gets annoyed about… especially with the opt-out sponsorship!) am not that impressed with the discuss articles function (dull, different page, board-esque effort) and the lack of trackback… and I mean, you’ve logged in, where’s the use of your email in the ‘update me of future articles / future comments on this article / responses to my comment’ etc. Hmmmmm.

Anyway, Chris Dede is a very interesting interviewee but I’m not sure I agree with his first two future ‘interfaces’ whatsoever. To speculate that education will be revolutionised through the availability of content is kinda missing the point if you ask me, we have enough content already and, um, it didn’t happen through TV did it? Equally troublesome is the belief that we will vicariously conduct ourselves with digital avatars but his third, where we are essentially ourselves, the net is about communication and we’re just more hooked up into it sounds about right. Again though, ’tis not about content… it’s about communication, promise :o)

Joel Forman is from a similar school of thought (perhaps) and sees video games as part of or giving rise to an ‘instructional revolution’ of sorts. This paper, Video Game Studies and the Emerging Instructional Revolution is interesting in that I think that games, especially online, will play a larger and larger role in society and to learn about some of the fields in which this is happening is great. However, again I think this misses the point… games only succeed in a learning context if they are between people, it is the social and cognitive aspects of them that impact on people and you can make your simulations as interactive and get them “to adjust themselves to the learning styles, processing speeds, and skill levels of individual users” but you just will not be able to do anything that even borders on the value of a conversation or an interplay of people. The most valuable stuff to come out of this will be the serendipitous encounters learners make while scooting round their virtual worlds. Sorry.

Finally Jonathan Maybaum contributes a straightforward and valuable perspective on enterprise vs. individual web publishing in Web Publishing for the Individual, Not the Enterprise. In what amounts essentially to an examination of the potentials and practices of institutions operating with enterprise based CMSs (i.e. WebCT) and those using (mostly) decentralised applications such as (in this case) UMSitemaker he finds that with the latter the “success of this system is affirmed by the rate and scope of its adoption (i.e., across virtually all major units at UM), as well as by the rich variety of creative purposes for which it has been used.” Now how he got around the ifs and buts at the start of the article is a mystery to me ;o)

Technology administrators at academic institutions strive to produce Web sites that have a consistent look and feel. but… Individual faculty members and students need the freedom to express themselves creatively.
Public Web sites are necessary to support missions such as community relations, dissemination of scholarly output, and recruitment of faculty members, students, and staff. but… Private Web sites are needed to support research collaborations, the selective sharing of copyrighted materials, and the delivery of personalized data and services.
Novice users need a system that is simple enough for them make Web sites with hardly any training. but… More advanced users need a system that is flexible enough for them to make Web sites with few limits.
Central administrators need to be able to limit resource utilization and enforce policies. but… Local support staff need enough authority to be able to help their users expeditiously