28.7.08

job opportunity - lecturer media & communication

Jobs at Technology Innovation Centre

Lecturer in Media & Communication

Interactive Media team

Further Details



25.7.08

[employment opportunity - virtual world learning]

Jobs at Coventry University

Senior Research Assistant

The socio political impact of virtual world learning on higher education

Learning Innovation Group

£28,290 - £34,794 per annum

We are seeking an efficient, experienced researcher for a study funded by The Leverhulme Trust. The study seeks to explore ‘The socio political impact of virtual world learning on higher education' using participatory action research and will examine staff and students from a wide range of disciplines in Higher Education Institutions across the UK. It will investigate their conceptions of and decisions about the way in which they teach and learn at the socio-political boundaries of reality.

You will have a PhD in education or a related discipline and work closely with the Director of the Learning Innovation Group (Professor Maggi Savin-Baden) to ensure the smooth and efficient running of this study. This post will run for the duration of the study until starting on 10 September 2008, or as soon as possible thereafter. The post will be based at Coventry University, in the Learning Innovation Research Group.

Your experience will include working at a responsible level chiefly in a research environment and use of web 2.0 technologies and use of social networking platforms and familiarity with immersive world such as Second Life will be required. Reporting to the Director of the Learning Innovation Group you will undertake research and support the work of the PhD students appointed to on the project.

It is likely that interviews will take place on the 5th September.



23.7.08

[transliteracy, m-learning & africa]

The title is quite a mouthful but still doesn't really get at the enormous potential that Alex Smith's manifesto for African Mobile Literacy suggests. Alex has had the brilliant idea to translate stories into African languages and make them available in formats available for dissemination via mobile (seems to tie in well to the PART group's research into transliteracy). The idea has come about due to the lack of access African young people have to read/hear stories in their home languages. An appalling idea if I imagine not having stories available in English or Italian. So, Alex has created a manifesto and is asking for help. Are there designers translators (perhaps Anietie Isong) and educators (I'm def. going to help out as best I can and draw on my Inanimate Alice Education Pack experience) out there who would like to be involved. If so, comment on Alex's blog post.

Thanks to
Karina for the head's up.

More on mobile learning here from
Leonard Low.


[ioct honorary phd - howard rheingold]

Howard Rheingold received his honorary phd during the afternoon ceremony at DMU on the 16th of July...I received mine during the morning so we didn't managed to cross paths but here is a token from the day: Howard with Professor of New Media, Sue Thomas and Director of the IOCT, Professor Andrew Hugill:



Now...I just need to photoshop myself between my supervisor and advisor! (me jealous of the kodak moment...no........)


Note Howard's advice given during his acceptance address: "
Pay attention to irrelevant details and follow intriguing but useless connections."

21.7.08

[twitter overload]

[ TIR-W Volume 9 no. 2 Instruments and Playable Text ]

From the guest editor Stuart Moulthrop:

"Our work is animated by the desire to evoke from simple rules a plausibly infinite set of expressions. We come at this problem from various perspectives, techniques, and points of the aesthetic compass, and we arrive at happily different results, but a certain resemblance remains.

For Judy Malloy, who was a master composer when I was still learning canon and fugue, the key to invention lies in the artful crossing of pattern and chance, of musical and cybernetic form, in her "Concerto for Narrative Data."

John Cayley, who would be our Che or Tristan Tzara if this were an actual movement, gives us a newly re-engineered version of "riverIsland," an exploration of poetry-as-simulation that continues to define the possibilities of its form.

Next come some younger though no less accomplished talents, beginning with Shawn Rider, a writer, digital designer, and meta-gamer who is represented here with two pieces, "PiTp," a work laid open deliberately to digital intervention, and "So Random," a story that tells itself each time, specially, just for you.

Elizabeth Knipe, another relatively new player, offers "activeReader," an interactive media piece that brings its own interpretation of reader engagement and emergent, open form.

Nick Montfort, equally at ease with aesthetic programming and the long-form palindrome, offers what we might call a minimum instrument, "The Purpling," a maze of recirculating expression built from humble Web pages.

Last in train is my own "Under Language," a sort of talkative poem with consequences, far less credible in its claim to infinity than most of its companions, but still a kind of game, for those who will play."


Read the new issue here.


20.7.08

[job opportunity - creative industries research fellow]


Jobs at National Endowment for Science, Technology & The Arts (NESTA)

Creative Industries Research Fellow

Policy & Research

Contract:
Three days a week (or equivalent), Six month initial contract with possibility to extend for further six months

Salary:
£40,000-£50,000 (pro-rata), plus benefits

Closing date:
5pm, 13 August 2008

Location:
London

Core Purpose of Role:
This role will involve researching and writing analytical pieces on the creative industries and helping Hasan Bakhshi, who leads NESTA's policy development and research on the creative industries, to manage NESTA's ambitious programme of research on the Arts & Innovation.

The position will suit an analyst who wants to combine a NESTA research fellowship with their academic research or freelance work on the creative industries, or someone who is seeking a secondment, as we can be flexible on the exact pattern of working hours in the week.

To apply:
To apply, please email or post your CV and covering letter to recruitment@nesta.org.uk, or Tanya Holland, NESTA, 1 Plough Place, London EC4A 1DE.

For further information and to review the Candidate Brief and Role Profile please visit our website at
http://www.nesta.org.uk/creative-industries-research-fellow/.

NB. Interviews will take place on Wednesday 20 August.



19.7.08

[my rss + wordle = tag cloud 2.0]



You can make your own text cloud at Wordle by uploading a link to any site with an rss feed, linking to a delicious feed or pasting in text manually. This application seems to have quite a bit of potential in the classroom...perhaps as a way to help students summarise important aspects from their reading or as a way of offering a visual interpretation of data.

18.7.08

[my phd graduation day - july 16 2008]

It feels like grad actually arrived quite quickly. I submitted the thesis the first day back after Christmas hols in Jan.'08, had the viva in Feb. and then the graduation ceromony the same year! I was the last graduand to be awarded a degree during the ceremony and had time to admire the surroundings. De Montfort Hall was filled with smiling graduates, the organ player who leant an air of tradition to the proceedings and numerous proud and loud friends and family. I can't believe it's all happened and now I can look back and it's already the past and I got to wear that bonnet!

I had an amazing supervisor - a great teacher and supporter (check out the lovely post she wrote) - Prof. Sue Thomas who was there at grad. dressed up in her finery. Thanks Sue! My thesis advisor, Prof. Andrew Hugill also helped me immensely though sadly I missed him at my grad. ceremony (I think he was busy with honourary PhD recipient Howard Rheingold who received his own degree that same Wednesday afternoon!). Thanks too to my external examiner Dr. Ruth Page who helped me be the first ever IOCT phd graduate!







video

13.7.08

[conference: science in the 21st century]

Sounds like a conference that anyone interested in transdisciplinarity and web 2.0 (for lack of a better term) should go to. Just take a look at some of the talks like Katy Börner's talk on "domain maps of abstract semantic spaces" ( scimaps.org) or Jacques Distler on how blogs, wikis etc... are reshaping communication in the sciences or Barry Wellman and Rainie Lee on "Networked Individualism and the Triple Revolution: Networks, Internet and Mobility."

"Times are changing. In the earlier days, we used to go to the library, today we search and archive our papers online. We have collaborations per email, hold telephone seminars, organize virtual networks, write blogs, and make our seminars available on the internet. Without any doubt, these technological developments influence the way science is done, and they also redefine our relation to the society we live in. Information exchange and management, the scientific community, and the society as a whole can be thought of as a triangle of relationships, the mutual interactions in which are becoming increasingly important."


Sep. 8th-12th 2008, Perimeter Institute, Waterloo, Ontario

12.7.08

[job opportunity - multimodal learning]

Research Fellow in Educational Design and Evaluation (0.5fte), London Knowledge Lab, Faculty of Culture and Pedagogy Salary in the range £28,290 – £30,013 per annum, pro rata

plus pro rata of £2,323 London Allowance

Fixed term for three years.

The London Knowledge Lab invites applications for a Research Fellow to work on the design and evaluation of a technology enhanced multimodal learning environment designed to scaffold children’s social interaction and communication skills.

The TLRP TEL funded project “ECHOES II: Improving Children’s Social Interaction through Exploratory Learning in a Multimodal Environment” involves partners from the University of Edinburgh, Sussex University, University of Strathclyde, University of Birmingham, Dundee University, and University of Wales Institute Cardiff, and the position will involve collaboration with all project partners and associated research fellows.

You will collaborate in the design of the ECHOES II environment with other researchers, focusing particularly on the design and testing of the learning activities and the evaluation of the educational impact of the environment.

A Masters or a PhD in Educational Evaluation, Educational or Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Science, or a related discipline or equivalent experience is essential, as are knowledge of empirical design methods, ability to organise and run studies involving children, parents and professionals and ability to analyse and report the results of the studies up to international research standards.Enquiries should be addressed to Dr. Kaska Porayska-Pomsta (K.Porayska-Pomsta@ioe.ac.uk).

This appointment will be subject to an enhanced CRB Disclosure.

Reference: 7AC-CPLKL-4664

Closing date:22nd August 2008

To apply online please visit http://jobs.ioe.ac.uk or tel 020 7612 6159

Further Details


Click here for Employer Profile



10.7.08

[lively learning]

with google's new 3-d avatar-including chat room are there some cool opportunities for using this in our teaching?

According to
A while ago, I looked around the social web and wished that it could be less static. Sure, you can leave a comment on a blog or write a text blurb on your social networking profile. But what if you want to express yourself in a more fun way, with 3D graphics and real-time avatar interactions? I started asking this question as a 20% project, and I'm excited to announce today's release of Lively by Google - a 3D virtual experience that is the newest addition to Google Labs."



9.7.08

[unscientific teaching in louisiana *science* classes]

In May last year I blogged about the Creation musueum that had just opened in Kentucky devoted to telling the history of the world...according to the bible. Well, know there's the Louisian State Education Act "is designed to slip ID in "through the back door", says Forrest, who is a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and an expert in the history of creationism. She adds that the bill's language, which names evolution along with global warming, the origins of life and human cloning as worthy of "open and objective discussion", is an attempt to misrepresent evolution as scientifically controversial.

Forrest's testimony notwithstanding, the bill was passed by the state's legislature - by a majority of 94 to 3 in the House and by unanimous vote in the Senate. On 28 June, Louisiana's Republican governor, Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, signed the bill into law. The development has national implications, not least because Jindal is rumoured to be on Senator John McCain's shortlist as a potential running mate in his bid for the presidency.

***

Supporters of the new law clearly hope that teachers and administrators who wish to raise alternatives to evolution in science classes will feel protected if they do so. The law expressly permits the use of "supplemental" classroom materials in addition to state-approved textbooks. The LFF is now promoting the use of online "add-ons" that put a creationist spin on the contents of various science texts in use across the state, and the Discovery Institute has recently produced Explore Evolution, a glossy text that offers the standard ID critiques of evolution (see "The evolution of creationist literature"). Unlike its predecessor Of Pandas and People, which fared badly during the Dover trial, it does not use the term "intelligent design".

Because the law allows individual boards and teachers to make additions to the science curriculum without clearance from a state authority, the responsibility will lie with parents to mount a legal challenge to anything that appears to be an infringement of the separation of church and state. "In Dover, there were parents and teachers willing to step forward and say, this is not OK," says Rosenau. "But here we're seeing that people are either fine with it or they don't want to say anything because they don't want to be ostracised in their community."

Read the full article at New Scientist.

NB some of the comments in relation to this article in NS are hilarious while others are deeply saddening.

[mentoring = key to digital literacy]

In his talk James Paul Gee tells us about the 4th grade slump: kids who were reading well up until 4th grade (or even earlier today as Gee notes) suddenly become less than proficient. Gee explains that this is due largely to the shift in English language (we're talking about American schools here I think). As kids enter the educational system, English is accessible but at 4th grade academic English (complex and specialist) becomes the norm. Sure kids need to learn academic English as that is the English used in secondary school and definitely at university however maybe there needs to be a longer kind of bridging process where students are guided from a more colloquial language to the academic one?

Just look at Gee's examples of accessible English and academic and envison how 4th graders would approach them:

Interestingly Gee explains that students who cope with the language change and don't suffer any ill effects to their level of literacy are kids who have grown up in surroundings (parents etc...) where academic language features.

However this literacy gap does not just involve language, it also concerns digital technologies/platforms etc... It's not just about access to mp3 players, the 'net, nintendo etc...it's about access to "good mentors" and "good learning systems."






8.7.08

[phd studentships - virtual worlds and pedagogy]

The Socio-Political Impact of Virtual World Learning on Higher Education

Applications are invited for three three-year, fulltime PhD research studentships for a study funded by The Leverhulme Trust. The study seeks to explore ‘The socio political impact of virtual world learning on higher education' . This study will use participatory action research to examine staff and students from a wide range of disciplines in Higher Education Institutions across the UK. It will investigate their conceptions of and decisions about the way in which they teach and learn at the socio-political boundaries of reality. This study will focus on the exploration of three main themes and a studentship will be attached to each theme

  1. Students' experiences of learning in immersive worlds.
  2. Pedagogical design.
  3. Learner identity.


For more info see here: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/jobs/SL655/Three_fulltime_PhD_research_studentships/

7.7.08

[transdisciplinarity and academia]

With my new job starting on the 1st of August I'm getting ready by reading (and reading and reading!) about transdisciplinarity. Although my post is going to be more focused on a kind of academic transdisciplinarity and creating a context/facilitiating conversations between various disciplines, I'm interested to read/learn/hear/see how other knowledge institutes are grappling with the demand to share information while having to cross (sometimes) radically different research cultures (enter: knowledge translation theory "exchange, synthesis and ethically sound application of knowledge—within a complex system of interactions among researchers and users"). I've just come across a set of interview questions that were posed to Mark Linder (Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at Syracuse University) in January this year. On the blog: Critical Practice for the Next Generation, most of the questions seem to broach issues of transdisciplinarity...how is architecture transdisciplinary, should it be *more* academic or more *businessey.*

In his book, Nothing Less than Literal, Linder has this definition of transdisciplinarity:
"the exchange of concepts and techniques between established disciplines through translation and transference" and one of the interview questions asks: "What would this 'exchange of techniques between the established disciplines' look like, in a practical sense? Are you proposing that the architect take on the roles of the painter, builder, or other professional in order to widen the scope of what is currently considered the 'architects job?'"
I think it is precisely this anxiety that to be transdisciplinary one must be able to wear many hats and wear them well. I suppose this is what the students on the Creative Writing and New Media Master's course at DMU must grapple with. As authors of new media works, must they also be well versed in Flash, html, java, image design etc...? I think this mirrors the development in science from Mode 1 knowledge production and the move to Mode 2:

Mode 1 refers to the more traditional practice of science,
created within a disciplinary, primarily cognitive context” (p. 1), situated within universities, and characterized by a polarization of discovery and application. In contrast, Mode 2, also referred to as “postacademic” and “steady state” (Ziman 1994, 1996) “is created in broader transdisciplinary social and economic contexts” (p. 1), and is based on the principles of convergence and synthesis.
Of course raising the idea of Mode 1 and Mode 2 is not value-free nor does it lack an "imperializing" stance as Mode 2 seems to be the preferred system in the hierarchy (at least according to Gibbons et al. and not that I disagree either...but how to avoid hierarchies in transdisciplinary practises and is it even necessary?)

I wonder how disciplines other than architecture and science are managing issues of transdisciplinarity...



4.7.08

[job opportunity - lecturer in creative writing]

An interesting position at University of Hull:

"Lecturer in Creative Writing, Department of English

A vacancy has arisen for a Lecturer to join the Creative Writing team in this RAE 5-rated department. You will be a prose writer with publications in fiction or non-fiction. Experience in teaching twentieth-century or contemporary literary topics at undergraduate level will be a distinct advantage. You will be expected to sustain and develop our existing undergraduate Creative Writing modules, participate in the Creative Writing MA, and assist in developing the activities of the University's Philip Larkin Centre for Poetry and Creative Writing. Depending on the particular qualifications of the successful applicant, the post will also involve teaching on mainline literary modules in the English Department. A job-share arrangement might be contemplated, so joint applications or single applications for 0.5 of the post will be considered.

Salary range £29138 - £33780 pa.

For more information and to apply please visit www.hull.ac.uk/jobs, phone: (01482) 465272 (quoting vacancy ref: FA343), or for candidates with a hearing/speech impairment textphone: (01482) 466851. Alternative formats available on request.

Closing date: 1 August 2008"



3.7.08

[wesch & edu]

thanks to timoreilly's tweet I've seen this great post at PILOTed about michael wesch and his views on education:

"50% of students do not like school.

0% of students do not like learning.

Is it that some students just aren’t meant to learn? Or is it that schools just aren’t connecting with half the students?

Should we just dismiss that because it was a small survey (fewer than 200) of college students, or should we take a closer look at the way schools work?

The data come from a 60 minute video by Michael Wesch on The Future of Education. Here are some more gems from the video:

The reality is that practically any student could pull up any of the answers on most class tests by entering a query on his or her mobile phone. Why are we emphasizing this type of information and these types of tests?

The result is that the most meaningful student questions in class are

  1. Is this on the test?
  2. How long does this paper have to be?
  3. How many points is this worth

The most common classroom experience is based on the assumptions that

  • Information is scarce
  • Good information comes from an authority
  • Authorized information is beyond questioning

But Web 2.0 shows that everyone is better than anyone; a large group working together can create information rivaling the content of experts. In fact, where we are moving is

  • Ubiquitous networks
  • Ubiquitous computing
  • Ubiquitous information
  • At unlimited speed
  • About everything
  • Everywhere
  • From anywhere
  • On all kinds of devices

The goal of education should be to teach students to identify significance and create meaningful connections. It should enable students to understand how things relate to, contrast from, are similar to, and affect other things; and it should help students find out who they are and how they fit in.

Students only read 49% of what they are assigned, and, of what they read, they find only 26% relevant to their lives.

You improve that by giving some sense of meaning to the class beyond the grade

  1. constructing a larger narrative around the material, a bigger picture that is significant
  2. creating a learning environment that values the students themselves
  3. leveraging existing media and the environment, using the Web which is all around us

Ten free ideas to leverage the Web:

  1. Set up a class page with headlines from Google news on the topic via an RSS feed
  2. Offer a page (Wiki or portal) where students can comment and share videos and articles they find on class topics
  3. Have students responsible for posting and editing the lecture notes online from classes
  4. Devise an online list of topics that will be on the test and have the students write, and provide links for, the study notes
  5. Use a widget that enlarges a student’s picture on the class portal as he/she contributes to the class notes
  6. Assign topics to students or groups, and have them responsible for the content on the class website, portal, or wiki
  7. Maintain online discussions around relevant, interesting topics
  8. Develop online groups or sandboxes for research topics
  9. Have students prepare lectures (video or audio with slides) that can be posted online
  10. Create a Twitter stream that students can access, follow, and contribute to for the class.

Two other videos from Wesch, each just over 4 minutes:



2.7.08

[take a stand against Mugabe]

Visit avaaz.org - the world in action website. Fill in your name and country and a message will be sent to the leader of your country (in the UK that's Gordon Brown). The aim is to get 100,000 messages protesting Mugabe as leader. Right now there have been 49,609 messages sent.