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June 16, 2006

IWMW 2006 - all things 2.0

Just back from IWMW 2006, a very interesting event for me as its a totally different group of people there from the e-learning crowd I'm used to, and it was extremely encouraging to see institutional IT and web managers showing so much enthusiasm for web 2.0 and the possibilities for students and staff.

In particular the talk by Michael Webb was an excellent demonstration of how, with a bit of willing and some nerve, a fairly small IT department can make a massive difference. I wonder how many were inspired to try something similar? And how many found it completely shocking? (abstract and slides)

The opener by Chris Scott was quite a nice intro, although I'm still not wholly convinced that the institution is the right place to be hosting services - and I think Michael's pragmatic "some services we host, some we recommend" strategy could be the one that holds for the long-term. (abstract and slides)

I guess where I differed from the speaker is that I think the opportunity for institutions hosting student blogs is quite narrow - less than 5 years certainly, probably less than 3. By that point any student who wants a blog will have one before they arrive - and the best option for an isntitution wanting to use blogs to help build a rich picture of campus life will be through tagging and aggregation of externally hosted blogs used by students.

The next day I was speaking with Brian Kelly and Paul Miller in the "web 2.0 behind the hype" session; Paul gave an excellent presentation slides to appear here) on "library 2.0", with some great demos of using Greasemonkey to insert library data on Amazon - so use Amazon to look for the book, and then the script says "its behind you!" or whatever. This is an interesting, and practical, mashup that perhaps can be extended elsewhere. For example, placing an XCRI course search result block into a 43Things "goal" space.

Paul's company has been pulling together library services and exposing them via all kinds of neat interfaces (including a multi-library version of the greasemonkey example) and it was fascinating to look at some of the possiblities, especially when we combine this with, ahem, elearning 2.0.

Which brings me to my talk, which you can download slides for here or here (590k).

I actually stopped quite early in the slides - the session was running over - but I think what I did cover (discovery, pedagogy, learning networks) was probably enough for one day! I had some great conversations afterwards with a few people, and I think I got a few other people thinking about this stuff from a learning perspective, which hopefully will spark some good ideas.

Brian then finished off by whizzing through a whole load of cool technologies.

I didn't catch the rest of the event as home was calling me, but I had a really good event, met some very interesting folk, and learned a great deal. A big thanks goes out to Marieke, Brian, Rosemary, Mahendra, Liz, Julie, Maureen, Natasha, Rachel and the rest of the UKOLN crew (not forgetting Brian The Chatbot!) for having me! I hope to return again for IWMW 2007...

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