Reflections in the pond

I’ve been spending a lot of time recently on ‘institutional activity’ which I’m not supposed to blog about because it’s ‘business sensitive information’ and I’ve also been doing some work which is so sketchy that I’d feel a bit stupid putting it up for public scrutiny (example looking at and giving presentations on brain-gaming and future of mobiles in 2015 etc.) I have however finally got a bit of time to piece together some things which I think are useful reflections on recent work.

1. Mobile phones are starting to become the augmented reality devices I always wanted them to be. iPhone is accelerating this change and Android and other more open platforms are assisting. The technology is so ubiquotous (3.2 Billion in September ’08) that it’s a real transformative technology. For a look at my talk visit http://kn.open.ac.uk/public/document.cfm?docid=12387 

2. I’ve started running ‘hackdays’ where a group in my team get together with a group of academics and web savvie people and build something to prototype stage within 24/48 hours in a skunkworks type way (lots of coffee involved). The first one we did was partially successful but the results are yet to be available publically, the second is on “Digital Scholarship” and we’re going to build a set of services around that working with Martin Weller. I really am going to push for this as a methodology to JFDI (Just F*ing Do It) as a release early and often kick-off model which may be something we do more of on JISC projects etc. where we don’t have lots of resource time but we could vertically slice and get small amounts of a lot of peoples time over a short period. I’ll keep you posted on outcomes

3. The “world class” Ambient Technology Labs are now in action and we’ve been promoting these externally, I have given tours of our facility to Maurice Heilblum (President of Elluminate), Diana Laurillard (Chair of Learning and Digital Technologies, LKL) , Mike Sharples (Director, LSRI) and Christine Borgman (Presidential Chair in Information Studies, UCLA) to name but a few. This is all very exciting and they all seem impressed with what we’ve got, the challenge now it to turn this into some active collaboration and build a profolio of active research projects using the facility. I also like the ambassodrial role but find that after sorting out ponies in the mornings I need to take a shower before meeting these people lest they get the wrong impression about my personal hygiene!

4. Lots of really cool web stuff that I’m playing with, huddle and twiddla and so forth, I’m going to post on these things in another blog cos it’s too much to cover now but I’ve got some great ideas of how to apply these in the learning and teaching area.

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About willwoods
I'm Head of Learning and Teaching Technologies in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University.

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