09 November

Experts at the Open Ed 2010

OpenEd & OER

Open Ed 2010

The Open Ed 2010 Conference brought to Barcelona during last 2-4 November some of the greatest worldwide experts on education technologies. Many of them have been guests of the UNESCO Chair of e-Learning  all over the years in their activities or seminars.  A quicklist of some of them:

Brian Lamb
http://blogs.ubc.ca/brian/ (Abject learning)

Tom Caswell
http://tomcaswell.com/ (Tom’s Two Cents)

David Wiley
http://opencontent.org/blog/ (Iterating Over Openness)

Raquel Xalabarder

Pedro Pernías
http://twitter.com/ppernias (Twitter)

Scott Leslie
http://www.edtechpost.ca/wordpress/ (edtechpost)

06 April

RUSC: Digital culture and creative practices in education

Education Worldwide

Guest author: Elsa Corominas
RUSC – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya


Elsa Corominas is Economist, Ph.D candidate in Sociology by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Editorial Secretary of RUSC.


A new issue of RUSC (the e-Journal promoted by the Univeristat Oberta de Catalunya and its UNESCO Chair in E-Learning) has been published this week.

This issue opens a new phase of the journal, with two important changes. First, its periodicity has been modified: from the next issue, RUSC will be published every July and January, and numbers will include a monographic section and 5 or 6 additional articles each one. Secondly, RUSC has been adapted to the Open Journal System. All these changes are expected to improve the quality of the journal.




The picture is “Ascii Soup” by Jessica Reeder on Flickr. 

On this number we include, the monographic has been coordinated by Juan Freire and it’s titled “Digital culture and creative practices in education”, consisting on five articles by Enrique Dans, Alejandro Piscitelli, Tíscar Lara, Aníbal de la Torre and Brian Lamb and Jim Groom; they all analyse the impact that digital technology and Internet are having on education, understood as a process based on knowledge, communication and social interactions. Professors and students face drastic transformations with the emergency of digital culture, which may cause the need of changes in educational institutions’ role and organization. <(p>

Another five articles complete the issue; one of them (Aguado-López, E.; Rogel-Salazar, R.; Becerril-García, A.; Baca-Zapata, G.) analyses the universities’ presence in the Network and the digital gap between United States and the rest of the world; the second one (Ávila, L.A.; Miranda, A.; Echeverría, M.R.) analyses the best ways of sharing information in virtual platforms and how virtual communities are constructed for investigation. Another of the articles (Bozu, Z.; Imbernon, F.) studies a work experience among Catalan universities aimed to create communities of practice and knowledge. In a fourth article (Rodriguez, A.) a personal experience tells us how people with visual disabilities can learn data processing sciences. Finally, the last article (Hermes, E.) deals with the pedagogical and reflexive use of the new technological tools as one of the main factors for the creation of processes enable to respond to the needs of the Knowledge Society.

Please, visit http://rusc.uoc.edu for further information about the issue (articles are available for download).

24 March

Brian Lamb: the emergency of an open education

OpenEd & OER

Disclaimer: this post is an exercise of liveblogging. Even when the content remains forever, must be understood as juncture, with some imprecisions. 



Brian Lamb’s dynamic conference @Zemos98, picture by Julio Albarran 

Disclaimer: before starting the talk, Brian shared all the material of his talk.

Brian’s beginning is amazing, he hasn’t started with a speech, he just asked everyone to show him their worst hate during 10 seconds so that he can record it on video and put on youtube. A teacher starts with a performance. Next step: watching a short documentary about copyright breaker DJ Girl Talk. Taking this as a beginning point, he talks about his three lines of speech:

In addition to the obvious issues of copyright, and we determine the ‘originality’ of an idea, let’s think about other ways that “the past” is asserting control over “the future”… and ways in which the essential properties of digital media are not understood by those who are making key decisions.



As shown above, the representation of the English language tags on the wikipedia makes obvious that all the wikipedia anonymous contributers, who are not paid or promoted, form the perfect example of what a well done collaborative work is.

Next step: he is mentioning the Murder, Madness and Mayhem course that inspired Jim Groom to create the term edupunk. Jon Beasely-Murray asked his students to write entries in the wikipedia about latinamerican literature “speaking” about dictators because the English articles about the topics were very poor: the result is that the topic became a huge success on the wikipedia, and some of the work groups where featured on the main page due to the quality of his work. All right, that’s edupunk.

Some other adventures in wikipedia:

The creators of these wikipedia articles are creating a very important source of knowledge. Quoting the original source:


Why does this work appeal so much? 

* fast, cheap, and out of control…
* augments traditional literacy with new media literacy
* results in genuinely useful public knowledge resources (perhaps the essence of open education resources)
* students will respond to tasks that are authentic

About the work with weblogs, it is very important for students to have their own platform. More examples, by chance held by the same professor running the wikipedia experiment:

After talking about the work of the students, comes the time about the cost of this educational model. The topic is simple: the cost is zero (personally, I’d say tending to zero): there is no cost on making blogs or creating wikipedia content.

This topics drive us to the concept of Open Education. Most people is working in Open Educational Resources (OER) search engines and lists. Again, the cost of sharing knowledge (educational content, in this case) is Zero. A very interesting thing in here are Mobile Course Discussions, that allows us learning anywhere and anytime with no cost. This technologies, combined with the use of RSS are the perfect fift for expanded education.

Quoting Cory Doctorow (Science Fiction Writer and one of the most famous Creative Commons supporter):

“If you blow your works into the net like a dandelion clock on the breeze, the net itself will take care of the copying costs.” — Cory Doctorow, Think Like a Dandelion

A simple explanation of what RSS is might be found (as usual) in one of the Commoncraft Videos:



Brian’s speech about edupunk is too well documented and authentic to be reproduced here, and even when it might be an abuse of the quotation rights, here it comes all his code related on the presentation:


What’s the deal with EduPunk? 


My only cred on this issue is I was there when EduPunk was born. We talked about writing a punk-themed zine along the lines of Hackety Hack on how to run an ed tech operation for no money. (Later we did do something like that with a different theme, the survivalist-tinged Radical Reuse).

To me, and perhaps me alone, the great enduring value was in three posts Jim wrote right after that discussion.


It generated an ungodly number of blog posts, and garnered a surprising amount of attention outside the world of education.

The South by Southwest Panel


L-R: Jim Groom, Stephen Downes, Barbara Ganley, Gardner Campbell

  • Audio here – revealed some strong divergences on the panel, some withering critiques from the audience backchannel…

Update 30/03/09

You can hear Brian Lamb’s talk in English here. Introduction was made in Spanish. No English version, sorry.

24 March

Expanded education symposium: who is Brian Lamb?

Education Worldwide

Disclaimer: this post is an exercise of liveblogging. Even when the content remains forever, must be understood as juncture, with some imprecisions. 



This post is egocentric, I’m really sorry about that. But let me continue, you might find some useful information though.

I have to introduce Brian Lamb this evening at Zemos 98 Festival, so I have decided to organize my ideas about him in this post as a previous exercise to my spoken introduction.

I completely agree with novelist Vladimir Nabokov: one of his biggest reasons in order not to give live interviews was that he was much better writer than speaker, so why should he speak about his novels? I feel in a similar way every time I have to speak to an audience. That’s why I have decided to write this post, I prefer to put my ideas on a text before communicating them in a talk.

I heard about Brian Lamb many times, all of them by some of my colleagues telling wonderful things about how this professor innovates in the use of learning technologies. Everybody was speaking about him in such a good way that in my mind he became like a untouchable pope with miles of distance between me. That image soon felt when I met him personally. It was during UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning Fifth International Seminar, where he assisted as part of the audience: dressed up with a black shirt with big white music keys in. To me his image was near to one of those Nudie country suits. Weird for a Canadian teacher, isn’t it? I thought the same.

After this first impact I started to talk with him and to me he seemed a really nice person, he was actually trying to speak some Spanish so that I could feel more comfortable with him. We didn’t talk about e-Learning, neither about technologies or mash-ups, we spoke about his son and family, for at that time he was a visiting professor at UOC and had his family (including his girlfriend’s mom) with him.

The rest of the things I know about him I learned from his weblog:

He is an expert on social learning and open education, formerly Emerging Technologies Discoordinator with UBC’s Office of Learning Technology.

A fast look to his weblog give us very interesting information: his very innovative idiosyncrasy as learning professional is accompanied by a very acid and fun sense of humour. Some of his most famous articles are titled making funny (and atractive for the audience) winks to cultural stereotypes and myths. For example:

Brian is also a very valuable speaker. Let me summarize some of the ideas he recently expressed on an interview published at UOC’s web site:

  • About educator refusing technological innovation:

    There are a lot of really legitimate grounds to feel insecure, but I believe that if the university addresses those challenges head on it can actually thrive in a more open, disaggregated knowledge environment, really actively engaging the wider community. 

  • About Web 2.0 uses in education:

    My approach is to look at what is working out in the Web 2.0 and try to see what lessons we can learn. And it seems like the projects that are successful there have an invitation to participate as a big part of that. It is the idea that individuals doing the things that they want to do can nonetheless be part of something bigger. The opportunity to offer feedback, the idea that a piece of media once created can be replicated, adapted and mixed with other pieces of content… 

  • And some more, just see how he inspires others. In this case is Jim Groom, creator of the term edupunk, writing:

    The ability for Brian to simultaneously challenge and embrace ideas may be facilely discounted as contradictory or incongruous. But, in fact, it is this faculty that made this talk so deeply inspiring, it wasn’t only unbelievably gripping as performance, it was also deeply evocative as a means to elegantly problematize while affectionately living within some of the basic tenets supporting the infra-structural ideas of educational technology. Brian’s final slide sums it up even more eloquently… 

These are just some examples of Lamb’s value as a educator and speaker, but there are many more. Some of them will be shown today at his talk, some of them will be appearing on his weblog. The rest of us should just sit down, open our mind (as Jimi Tenor says, they should be like open books, so that we could read some others mind easly) and let him inspire us.