Education Fast Forward Debate – EFF6 – coming soon.

I felt privileged to listen to the last EFF debate which had as it principal participants a group of young people from around the world.  You can read more about that event here EFF Debate 5 and find a link to a the recording of the whole event.

EFF 6 is now being planned when the panel will be located at George Thomas Room, Central Hall Westminster during the Education World Forum.  Put this date and time into your diary,  11am (GMT) on the 28th January 2013.  As usual the event will be conducted using Cisco Telepresence and also the video will be live streamed to the internet.  It is planned to have some of the delegates from the Education World Forum conference present with the panel so there will be event more then the usual influential and respected voices involved.

A bit more information about EFF.

Edu­ca­tion Fast For­ward (EFF), an orga­ni­za­tion, spon­sored jointly by Promethean and Cisco, that brings together lead­ing global experts and change agents from the world of edu­ca­tion to dis­cuss ‘the top­ics that mat­ter most’, wants to begin to change that by bring­ing together some artic­u­late and intel­li­gent voices from the world’s youth to dis­cuss issues that are rel­e­vant to young peo­ple them­selves and to their edu­ca­tion.

In July 2012, in the most recent of the five debates orga­nized by EFF to date, a group of elo­quent and youth­ful voices debated the topic ‘From Learner Voice to Global Peace’. The young peo­ple were located all across the globe and came together pri­mar­ily through the won­der of Telep­res­ence (TP), a high-definition video con­fer­enc­ing tech­nol­ogy. The dis­cus­sion that day was not only intel­li­gent and thought­ful: it was truly inspir­ing for every­one involved.

The full debate can be watched and lis­tened to on Promethean Planet.
And now, in Jan­u­ary 2013, dur­ing the annual Edu­ca­tion World Forum, to be held in Lon­don, another group of excep­tional young peo­ple (includ­ing some of the voiced from EFF5) will come together through the magic of TP to talk about ‘From Learner Voice to Emerg­ing Lead­ers’. Those of us involved in EFF have some hopes and expec­ta­tions of what might come out of the event, but we are also highly aware that there must be a gen­uine space in amongst our pre­sump­tions for the hopes and expec­ta­tions of the young peo­ple them­selves to come to the fore dur­ing and beyond the dis­cus­sion.

The pri­mary aim is twofold:

  • bring the voice of youth to the policy-makers’ table, to let the young peo­ple hear some views on the big issues, and to let them debate them openly and fully
  • to bring the policy-makers to the learn­ers’ table so that they have to face up to the issues that are crit­i­cal to the learn­ers before they make their pol­icy decisions

Issues such as the struc­ture of the cur­ricu­lum, how edu­ca­tion is deliv­ered (includ­ing dif­fer­ences in this across the world), the rel­e­vance of edu­ca­tion to their lives, how we might encour­age real change in the rela­tion­ships between peo­ple in edu­ca­tion sys­tems, seek­ing to realise the extra­or­di­nary value that can be sought by tack­ling education’s chal­lenges with peo­ple rather than doing it to them. We need all pol­icy mak­ers to take on board the knowl­edge that they are mak­ing deci­sions now that will affect the gen­er­a­tion ahead, and per­haps more than one gen­er­a­tion ahead.

And all of this will be hap­pen­ing across a truly inter­na­tional matrix of con­nec­tions, cross­ing coun­tries, cul­tures, and com­mu­ni­ties. I will be blog­ging again in the New Year with details of the date and time, and with infor­ma­tion about the key speak­ers, young and not-so-young, who will be lead­ing the discussion.


The Internet of Everything – any Glow Futures relevence #GlowPlus #EduScotICT #ICTEX

It is remarkable now information from one topic can cross-fertilise and seem to be relevant in a difference context.  This post deals with just such an occurrence which I have experienced recently.

I have been reading with interest some blogs by Dave Evans who is Chief Futurist, Innovation Practice at Cisco, the company I work for.  I think his posts are worth a read and can be accessed here.

this video is also worth the 3.14 minutes that it takes to watch

He also writes a series of 4 posts about the concept of the “Internet of Everything”.  He talks about the explosion in growth of the internet in terms of devices connected.  Already exhausted is the original addressing scheme designed for the Internet Protocol (IP) known as IP4 and the new addressing scheme, IP6 is being deployed as now.  The later opens the door for the connection of an uncomprehendable number of devices.

I would encourage any one reading this post to follow the link to Dave’s blog and read more.

This has caused me to reflect on the implications of this sort of trend for Glow.  Dave quotes some remarkable facts about not just the number of devices which will connect but the impact of their ability communicate with each other.

This has caused me to reflect on my own experience of using current social tools such as facebook, which I use daily.  I have noticed that the adverts which I am being targeted with are increasingly relevant to my interests.  Nothing amazing here and to be expected.  The facebook business model is all about having the ability to exploit what facebook knows about the people using it’s service to maximise the effectiveness of its advising operations.  I think its fairly obvious that if you push an advert about car sales toward someone that you know is getting ready to change their car they may be more likely to take notice!

Have you ever deleted an advert from your facebook home page – try it and notice the short survey you are asked to complete – which is of course gathering more information about your reason deleting the advert!  Here is the question asked before the advert is hidden.

Advert hidden

We’ll try not to show you this advert again.

Why did you hide it?

  •  Uninteresting
  •  Misleading
  •  Sexually explicit
  •  Against my views
  •  Offensive
  •  Repetitive
  •  Other

Interesting that this can be interpreted not so much in the context of the advertisement being hidden, but more about what facebook should show you in the future!  Of course you cannot totally remove the advert panel – and it will be re-populated in the future with adverts which facebook thinks are more relevant to your interests.  I guess the more you hide the more focused the adverts shown will become.

So what relevance to Glow?

Could the same principle/approach be applied to Glow in the context of improving education opportunities for learners?

Suppose that Glow had at its heart a knowledge base about its users (called the directory in the original Glow implementation) , their interests and most importantly their learning.  Suppose a learner is working on some topic but experiencing some difficulty with a concept – the system might know this because they took a test and did not perform well.  If the knowledge base has access to this fact then a consequence could be that the learner is targeted with – not adverts for commercial products – but a series of links to resources that deal with this topic/issue in question…..  Such a feature could bring some advantage to learners by helping them to see immediately relevant resource based on their current learning activities.  I agree with the concept of communities where people with like interests can get together – but we should also exploit push technologies where people can be targets with “adverts” (for want of a better word)  about resources that could overcome their current learning hurdles!

More simply if the knowledge base knows that the pupil is currently in the Maths class then we might expect the user to be targeted with Maths resources, when they enter the French class the UI could be rendered in French and so on – you can see how this approach might be developed further to the learners advantage????  The knowledge base would of course need to be updated by the second so that the system can respond in a timely manner to user needs.  Of course this approach can apply to all users – not just learners…..

I can see that it’s easy for facebook to develop its underlying knowledge base since facebook is essentially a single platform – with a number of plugins to provide additional functionality. There will always be challenges to deploying such a service when the platform is disaggregated and made up from a collection of disconnected tools.

With all of this in mind I really think that the designers of the next generation of Glow might consider much more than just the UI and Components which might be included but also to consider the value of developing and expanding the user profile to include information from the learners on going experience so that the system has the capability to identify learning issues and also to push relevant learning assets as needed.  I see some comments about making Glow more user focused – might the idea raised above be something worthy of exploration as the new platform is conceived a another entity of the Internet of Everything?  I think that this raises the case for a Core Glow service which is concerned about user identification, authorisation and accounting supplemented with a dynamic user profile.  The profile needs to be able respond to triggers associated with the learners daily activity as well as storing relatively statc data such as name, class, school etc….  Lets call this the Glow Dynamic Directory for reference purposes.

Perhaps we should consider the following title for Glow in the future – “The Glow of Everything”.