New toys for my mind

[this article is unedited but released for its links and their usefulness to learners]

This has been an amazing week for discovering new things for my PLE (personal learning environment), and a new stage of developing my PLN (personal learning network) by joining the etmooc which started up this week thanks to Alex Couros who began the idea for its creation. I am a late starter for the global event, an open online course with 1647 people registered! More on this event later, but it is a a great opportunity to connect with other educational technology leaders all offering insight into new forms of teaching and learning.

I also got very involved in the topic of design thinking as well as content curation and discovered some new resources and a lot of new tools to explore. Re-designing the IMD Fundamentals course has been challenging and exciting, as there are so many new tools and resources to work with.

Design thinking brought me back to an early influence in my studies when I learned about Empathic Instructional Design in an article by Maish Nichani, published back in 2002. I was struggling with instructional design theories such as the traditional ADDIE concept [Analyze, design, develop, implement, evaluate]. Basically this style of designing learning is formulamatic and based on ancient times before the digital explosion. Elliott Masie in reference to early, boring e-learning, commented that “Whenever there is a new technology, early usage is often modeled after something that is familiar. ‘Right now, [2001] we see many of the classroom or textbook metaphors shining through.” The point of this is that ADDIE represents detached design, whereas Empathic design is user-centered, where each problem could have and usually does have, unique solutions. So, “in order to innovate, we have to learn to empathize with our learners [or users] and then base our designs on resultant observations and reflections. This trait is essential for all designers.”

This was my wonderful introduction to what we now refer to as Design Thinking, and perhaps a related form – Service Design, which is becoming significant in the world of web Design, graphic design, architectural design, and other design disciplines. For more about design thinking go to ideo.com, fastcodesign.com, and numerous other resources. One special resource is Service Design Magazine, edited by Jari Koskinen, and published by Lahti University of Applied Sciences Series C in Estonia. The publication is the work of cooperating universities in Finland and Estonia and present original thinking and unique perspectives about Service Design and Design Thinking. It is beautiful chaos and I loved the bluesy/browns. Reading it is more important, but very impactful.

A series of articles in websites I discovered about social media in business, SocialMedia.biz, socialbrite.com, as well as Mashable.com which I have followed for years, leads to a number of new tools related to content creation and content curation. The following articles are very informative and an overwhelming group of tools are discussed:

Authors or curators: Who will be the more valuable in the future“, Mashable.com

7 Smart Techniques for content curation“, at Socialbrite.org

Take charge of the curation wave with these slick tools“, by socialmedia.biz

These articles lead you to a mecca of possibilities for your PLE!

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