Daniel Staemmler

Things about eLearning, Educational Technology, and more…

Top Lists in the Field of Learning

Often I come across lists of free learning tools and those you have to pay for. However, they always produce a lot of retweets on Twitter. So here is a list of lists that refer to learning tools and in addition blogs that I came across:

Feel free to add to this list in the comment box below. Additions are always welcome 🙂

Filed under: Education, eLearning, Web 2.0, , , ,

TEDTalks – Hans Rosling

Did you ever wonder how to visualize your data that people understand and grasp the information easily? One man who really understands how to do that in the field of international health is professor Hans Rosling from the Swedish Karolinska Institute, who also is the “… founder of Gapminder, a non-profit that brings vital global data to life“. He gave a presentation in February 2006 at Monterey, California at TEDTalks and gave a quiet stunning example of his outstanding work and how to visualize data . To see a recording of his presentation click here. I highly recommend visit the Gapminder tool at the Google website since it “… makes it possible to search deep into Gapminder’s moving graphs visualizing world development“.

The question remains is there any tool or WebApp out there that helps you to visualize, display, share and discuss your data. Actually there is and it is called Many Eyes. I only briefly explored this tool which seems to be pretty comprehensive but easy to use. Any kind of feedback is greatly appreciated.

Last but not least there are a couple of books out there on how to visualize data. A name to mentioned in this regard is the one of Edward Tufte. Here is a list of his books at Amazon. I once went to a seminar here in San Francisco he gave and wasn’t impressed and left after lunch. However, is books are definitely worth to have a look at.

Filed under: How-To, Technology, Web 2.0, , , , , ,

Information is the Key

We certainly live in the Information Society and information is the key to make decisions in a rapidly changing world. There are tools and websites out there that can help us on how to stay on top of the information flood that we experience every day. There are web-based RSS Aggregators out there, e.g. the Google Reader (see here for a review), that enable you to bundle the news and information you are interested in. Retrieving information in this way requires you to find the websites you are interested in, find their news feed, and import it into your news reader. That works for some people quiet well for other not.
Another way to stay on top of new information is to use an email alert service like the one from informaworld. Using their service allows you to get updates on journals, books, reference works, and abstract databases from Taylor & Francis, Routledge, Psychology Press and Informa Healthcare. This is a great way to stay on top of latest academic research and scientific discoveries.
There is also the possibility to set up your own email alert using your own search term. With a Google account you can create alerts that will be send to you per email whenever Google discovers a new web resource that contains the phrase you are looking for.

These are some suggestions to get a grip on all the information that is out there and might be of importance to you. Feel free and add other resources that you know of and that other readers might benefit from by using the comment function of this entry.

Filed under: How-To, WorldWideWeb, , , , , , , , ,

List of Open Source eLearning Tools

Open Source tools are great and there are a lot of them out there that help you to develop eLearning modules / online courses. There are also listings and comparison tools available that go way beyond of the list I came up with in this post but more about that a little later. First of all start with some definitions of what I am talking here about.

There are Content Management Systems (CMS), Learning Management Systems (LMS) and there are Learning Conten Management Systems (LCMS). In general CMS are being used to handle huge amount of data / content on rather bigger websites. The main focus of this software application lies in his capability to handle different versions of documents, multi user workflow and last but not least to publish data / content. In contrast a LMS combines the six following features: (1) registration, (2) scheduling, (3) delivery, (4) tracking, (5) communication, and (6) testing. An LCMS is more of a hybrid of the before mentioned two systems. It combines the learner administration features of an LMS with the content creation capabilities of a CMS. For further and detailed information please go to http://www.e-learningsite.com/lmslcms/whatlms.htm.

The following list is not restricted to L(C)MS and the order is random:

  • Drupal, a CMS that includes blogging and discussion forums. I know that Drupal is used at different universities. Read more about experiences here. Drupal also undergoes evaluation at the University Duisburg Essen in Germany (site only available in German).
  • ATutor is an LCMS that states it complying with the W3C WCAG 1.0 accessibility specifications at the AA+ level and adopts IMS / SCORM content packaging specifications.
  • Moodle, which probably is the most well known LMS that is available as an open source application. I have used moodle during my job at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg to deliver online courses and at my current job here at Shanti’s L.I.F.E. Institute. The setup is not that difficult on a Apache server. I must say though that this LMS seems to be better of use in the academic area since a lot of times progress is being measured by grades.
  • Bazaar is a CMS with the intention to deliver course ware, function as a portal or any other myriad type of web based projects. More information also available at SourceForge.net.
  • Elgg is a social networking platform that brings learners together and enables people to create and share their content. To check out the functionalities of the Elgg software join Elgg.net.
  • ILIAS is an LMS developed since the end of 1997 at the University of Cologn, Germany.
  • dotLRN supports eLearning and digital communities. It has been originally developed at MIT.
  • Bodington is an open source Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) / LMS that is being developed at the Oxford University in England.
  • At UCLA ClassWeb is designed to let instructors create and control class websites.
  • COSE (Creation of Study Environments) is a VLE developed and designed at Staffordshire University.
  • CAUCUS is a web-based eLearning classroom and discussion platform.
  • Whiteboard Courseware System is targeted towards colleges and universities.
  • MimerDesk is a web-based collaborative learning and groupwork environment designed for personal management, computer-supported collaborative learning, carrying out projects, and setting up communities.
  • Sakai is a collaboration and learning environment.
  • Manhattan Virtual Classroom is an open source course management system that runs on Linux and other Unix-like systems. It is developed, designed, and used at the Western New England College.
  • Caroline is another eLearning application that is developed from teachers to teachers. What I like about this application is that it takes a pedagogical model of eLearning into consideration to support the learning process.
  • Colloquia is a Learning Management and Groupware System.
  • LAMS is a toll to design, deliver and manage online collaborative learning activities. Interested in more information?
  • Fle3 is a Learning Environment developed and designed at the University of Art and Design Helsinki.
  • NICENET’s Internet Classroom Assistant (ICA) is a free web-based learning environment for classrooms, distance learning programs, and collaborative academic projects.
  • … Please feel free to continue this list by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page.

There are a lot of websites out there that also cover this subject. Please have a look at kinoe’s list of free tools or the listing of the e-Learning Centre in the UK. Another great website to compare different L(C)MS is available at the EduTools Homepage just follow the link to Course Management System on this site. Jane Hart, a learning and performance technologist, publishes on her website a directory of free E-Learning Tools. Another list of open source course management systems is available through EdTechPost Resources.

After all these listings there is still a decision to be made if you’re in the market for an L(C)MS. Maybe you find some help by using the tools at the EduTools Homepage or you also can check out this step-by-step guide from the e-learningsite.

Filed under: eLearning, How-To, Social Networks, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Search the Web beyond Google

Usually I search the Internet with Google and tend to forget that there are other search engines out there that might return better results as Google does. Don’t get me wrong, I personally belief that Google is a great search engine that uses a very good (and very secret) algorithm to return an answer to a request. But there are a lot more search engines out there that do a good job and might be more specific for what you’re looking for. Charles Knight a search engine optimizer just publishes a list of 100 alternative search engines at Read/WriteWeb. Maybe you want to reconsider your personal search strategy after reviewing this comprehensive listing.

In addition to the top 100 alternative search engines there are many variations of search engines out there. For instance Alltheweb.com is owned by Yahoo and uses their database but represents the results differently. A good tool to compare search results from Google, MSN, and Yahoo is the search comparison toll from Dogpile. The nice thing about this tool is that the results are displayed in a graphic which illustrates pretty good how different search results can be when you fire up the above mentioned search engines.

Filed under: Search Engines, , , , , , , ,

Your own Social Network

Logo of PeopleAggreagator Marc Canter is the CEO of PeopleAggregator a website where you can create and run your own social network. You either can decide to run a social network on their webserver or you download the source code and run it on your own. Marc Canter strongly believes that the future does not lie in big gigantic social networks like MySpace. No, more so that there will be millions of networks that connect 25 to 150 people with each other, e.g. families and communities. A big plus about creating your own social network is that you determine what kind of content is displayed and what the rules are.

What I like about PeopleAggregator is that you own the data that you feed into it. Whenever you feel like you have to move on you can take it with you. Even though I have no MySpace account I think it will be difficult to take all my friends and content with me once I decided I want to move on.

Filed under: Social Networks, Web 2.0, , , , ,

Zweitgeist – Web 2.0 is alive

Zweitgeist LogoDid you ever wonder who is looking at the same website you do right now? There might be a solution for you out there which is called Zweitgeist (German for second spirit). You install a piece of software on your PC (Apple Macintosh is not yet supported), choose an avatar that represents you in your second, virtual life and voailà it shows up on every website you are looking at right now. This gives you the opportunity to meet other fellow surfers on the same website and communicate with them.

The concept is sort of like the one of Second Life. The difference is the existing World Wide Web is used as the virtual world instead of some “second” world developed by a company. What I like about this Web 2.0 Application is that it allows you to get in touch with people that have similar interests as you do.

I have to admit I have not fully explored Zweitgeist since I am working on a Mac and unfortunately it is not supported for now. If you had any experience with Zweitgeist already or try it out let me know how it worked for you? It could be a cool feature for people who run a blog and can directly and live interact with their site visitors.

Filed under: How-To, Social Networks, Web 2.0, , , , , , ,

Edumio, the Digg Website for the Academic Field

Logo EdumioWho does not know the Website Digg.com where you users can vote for stuff they found on the web and that they want to promote. I have to admit that I have never used Digg so far. However, I just ran across a website named Edumio which basically works like Digg.com only that it targets the academic and educational field. Edumio offers the opportunity to share resources and meet other who have a similar interest. Well, the later one I found already at the CiteULike website.

Using Google with the term “edumio” today resulted in 120 pages that mention/link the website. Nothing compared to the 35 million and more websites that have been returned when I googled for CiteULike. However, we’ll see what will happen to Edumio and there service to digg academic and educational resources/article. – Happy Digging!

Filed under: Social Networks, Web 2.0, , , , ,

MyBlogLog to keep track

MyBlogLog Logo

Mybloglog.com is a nice tool to keep track of who is interested in the same sites and topics you’re interested in. If you happen to have your own blog you can post a snipped of code into your blog and readers will see who else is browsing and reading your blog. I like it because it is connecting people with same or similar interests. Isn’t that what Web 2.0 is all about?

Update (09/01/07): MyBLogLog has been acquired by Yahoo for around $10 Million. (received via paidContent.org)

Filed under: Social Networks, , , , , , , ,

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