Thursday, January 08, 2009

Generation Zed approaches autonomy
Educational institutions respond to learner choice

draft notes for a possible take on BETT

depends on finding enough quotes and evidence to convince OhmyNews editors that there is a genuine story here

Z comes after X and Y, at least that bit is ok with the fact checkers

from the Wikipedia

Net Generation

In his book Growing Up Digital, business strategist and psychologist Don Tapscott coined the term "Net Generation" for the group, pointing at the significance of being the first to grow up immersed in a digital--and Internet--driven world. Accordingly, some say the final year of Gen Y is between 1993 and 2000 because they would be the youngest people to appreciate the changes of the Digital Revolution

(citation needed, adds the Wikipedia)

So if z starts in 1993, some of these people could be aged 15.
Sometimes students make choices about the courses they sign up for. This gets attention from the people who plan budgets. So some of the interest at BETT ( and in how universities are presented to potential students) follows the views of generations y,z.


"autonomy" was a central concept in research by Taylor Nelson for the IT Economic Development Council in 1987. They predicted that the "Inner Directed Group" could reach 55% of the UK population by 2010. So what happened?


Learning Zone, Alexanderplatz, Lancaster


Theory on Networked Learning. Has it changed since 2002? Can it be related to practice? Has it been explained in language that is easy to understand? Where could anyone find out more about it?

Some of these ideas are from the 1960s or earlier. May still relate to conversation at BETT.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

BETT background

Long ago there used to be general purpose computer shows. In the UK these were often at Olympia. Part of the attraction of BETT is to recover some memories of Olympia at capacity with computer conversation. My friend Gary may remember the names of the previous events so more on this later, after Thursday or Friday, possible days to meet up.

In the USA the show was called COMDEX but is now about Consumer Electronics or else only one survived. From the UK we only get the search results anyway but it seems that consumer electronics set the pace.

Slightly off topic- Last time I was at Lancaster University I had hoped to check out Waterstones and ask about the Sony Reader, implications for literary culture, resource planning for teaching and learning etc. But it turned out that the Sony Reader was only in stock at the Waterstones in central Lancaster. The traditional university has deep links with the print industry so it is slightly surprising that the latest publishing technology is not launched from campus. But maybe the reasoning around this will become clearer.

Heading back on topic but cannot find the blog from around the time of Adobe MAX when there was discussion about Adobe changing their stock symbol to "FLSH" in the same way Sun changed to "JAVA". I like this idea as it clarifies a change and leaves Adobe Classic as a way to describe what I am more familiar with. Relevant to BETT Adobe(FLSH) covers video on mobiles, animated websites and other stuff that students use at home or when moving about while Adobe Classic covers books, academic journals, basic word processing as most schools require.

I don't mind watching video but it is the Adobe Classic area where I think there could be some immediate progress. As Adobe have lost interest in this sort of thing there may be lower prices for software quite soon. Open source alternatives are pretty good for document creation. Open Office has the features most people use. Also I think the people who write open source code are as likley as anyone to make the connections between open document formats, XML, and ePUB or other formats for e-books and mobile devices. Vista is still not established despite the large Microsoft stand at BETT. So the XML paper spec is not really doing that well. Adobe do almost nothing to promote PDFXML so my impression is that the current PDF format is likely to continue. It turns out that the PDFXML Inspector works just as well with ePUB so ePUB has potential as a way to publish from XML-friendly sources.

The ePUB format has some wide support. The Sony Reader and the Digital Editions Reader from Adobe. However it is not that easy to create. Should be possible from InDesign but it is hard to find much about this. Will Microsoft offer "export as ePUB" in Word? More likely they are worried about Silverlight and video. A couple of years ago they announced Grava and the news link is still from 2007. Probably they will concentrate in this area, not just text.

I have discovered the eCub EPUB creator by doing some searches between paragraphs. See the blog from Julian Smart. Not tested yet. On the TeleRead blog David Rothman has invited the open source community to develop an ePubWriter as part of Open Office. At the moment I am not sure how this will work out but open source and XML have grown together so far.

XML is also the basis for JDF, a way to describe print requirements. the printing industry has yet to find a way of promoting this to print buyers. But it may be that a combination of PDF and JDF is the only way for print media to respond to e-books for speed and cost.

BETT is not advertised as a show about publishing and e-books. But the issues will turn up somewhere.

Open source promotion at BETT will be in the gallery. Moodle for knowledge management or document storage or whatever term fits best is at N2 with Synergy Learning. Open Forum Europe is at SW104 with links to most open source software.