2009 Horizon Report

The 2009 edition of the Horizon Report is being launched today at the ELI Conference in Orlando. The Horizon Report is a long-running  qualitative research project that seeks to identify and  describe emerging technologies likely to have a large  impact on teaching, learning, research, or creative  expression within learning-focused organizations. It is exciting to see the result and to have participated and contributed. Thanks Larry, Alan, Rachel for the invitation. I surely learnt a lot.

The report has been released under a Creative Commons license and can be  downloaded as a pdf file from the NMC website or the Horizon wiki, which also shows openly (no need to login) the methodology and various phases of the research process.

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Did you know that…

The World Wide Web was invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, who envisioned an open, universal information system connecting all people.  Now, despite the fact that many attribute to Tim Berner’s Lee the expression the read and write web and that he has been going on it since forever, he is not the one who coined the expression.  Likewise, long before the terms “read and write” or “Web 2.0” (the trendy commercial term Web 2.0 popularized after the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004) suggested that there was a turning point in the use of the web, many of the ideas had already been featured in implementations on networked systems.

The phrase “read/write web” in today’s sense first appeared in Edd Dumbill’s blurb for his site writetheweb.com in 2000. In 2001, Dave Winer built a website called The Two Way Web, which articulates a vision of publishing where the “content and the editing environment (are) totally integrated”. Richard MacManus (2003) connected the phrase with Tim Berners-Lee’s original vision of an easily and intuitively editable Web. Dan Gillmor then used it as a chapter heading in his We the Media ⁠(2004), complete with the quasi-attribution to Berners-Lee. This quasi-attribution got cemented in the title of a BBC interview in which Berners-Lee validated blogs and wikis as forms of web authoring that reflect his original vision. In a podcast interview for IBM,  Tim Berners-Lee described the term “Web 2.0” as a “piece of jargon.” “Nobody really knows what it means,” he said, and went on to say that “if Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along.” (text script)

Berner’s Lee campaigned straight from the beginning for browser makers to build editors into their software rather than just make browsing clients. He failed getting this wish past the Mosaic people in 1993/94, who came up with the first widely popular Web browser, and from there on out the idea of an editing/browsing client has been a losing proposition. The W3C came out with a proof-of-concept browser named Amaya, but the W3C has always been funded by big Internet companies such as Microsoft and Netscape –so it couldn’t possibly compete in the browser market with its own financial backers.

In 1999 , my students and I published on a web that was already a “free” platform and connected schools.  Highwired Network, Inc. ended up as the finalist of the Moot Corp in 1998 for having created “an intuitive, web-based tool that allows high school teachers and students to publish customized, on-line school newspapers at zero cost.” Watch mpg (rm file) announcing the product.  In 2000,  HighWired.com achieved to raise a second round of financing ($30 million) in venture capital and while Don Young, president and CEO at the time  announced confidently “HighWired.com is well positioned to stay at the forefront of the industry”, the company collapsed in 2001 like many others of the dot-com bubble. Before it did, however,  I managed to retrieve the work my students had published online for their classroom newspaper, The Classmate since 1999.  In 2003, they started blogging . I only gathered up courage a year after in January 2004. (5th anniversary this month!)

Almost twenty years after he invented the Web, Tim Berners-Lee is now leading the effort to create the World Wide Web Foundation (“Web Foundation”) as the next phase of fulfilling his original vision: the Web as humanity connected by technology. The mission of the Foundation is:

  • to advance One Web that is free and open,
  • to expand the Web’s capability and robustness,
  • and to extend the Web’s benefits to all people on the planet.

The Web Foundation is currently developing plans to fund projects around the world through these strategically integrated programs:

Tim Berner’s Lee, one of the VIP guest invited by the FLOSS community,  launches the  Campus Party Brasil event on Monday, January 19th and a plenary session on the Semantic Web (dubbed Web 3.0) is scheduled for Tuesday 20th.

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Campus Party Brasil 2009

Campus Party LogoEdney de Souza (Interney) is in charge of the Campus Blog at the 2nd edition of the national Campus Party, which will take place in São Paulo from January 19th to 25th  2009.

The mega event,  sponsored by Futura Networks and Telefonica, was first launched in Spain and  is now yearly organized in Brazil, Colombia and Ibero-America. It covers  12 different areas:  Astronomy, Blog, Games, Modding, Robotics, Simulation, Design, Photography, Music, Video, Development e Open Source. Last year’s creativity session was split up into Design, Photography and Video, so as to better mark the event as a cultural happening.

Like last year, I will also be part of the blogging area. I was invited to participate in a round table on “Blogs in the Classroom” together with Eric Messa (FAAP), Luiz Biajoni (Instituto Macuco), Claudir Segura (PUC-SP)  on Wednesday 21st at 16:35.  The panel will be moderated by Bob Wollheim (Sixpix Content). Rafael Bucco (editor of Results On magazine)

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the Web and Pau Garcia-Milà (eyeOS) are some of invited stars and you bet I will be tweeting, photographing and reporting on the event.

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Black Sheep Only

Could not resist this invite from Cazé (Espaço Gafanhoto) in my inbox – Black Sheep Only and confirmed my presence for Wednesday, 17th (the Results ON Day)  to hear what an intrepid group of web entrepreneurs has to say about innovation, entrepreneurship, how crisis is a synonym to opportunity, reflect on strategies and maybe start partnerships.

A series of quick 30-minute talks has been scheduled, during which each entrepreneur will present their projects and plans. It is also the launch of the special edition of the ResultsON Startups highlighting the best 2008 startups and entrepreneurs, some of whom I have befriended during blogcamps and barcamps. Edney (Interney and Pólvora) invited me for a round table on educational blogs at the next Campus Party in January 2009 and promised to give this poor educator some tips on how to survive in this Brave New World.

The event is being supported/sponsored by Sebrae, Senac and Nokia.


14:30 Opening
15:00 Fiore Mangona (Nokia) – Innovation and (R)evolution
15:30 Alexandre Thomé (Endeavor) – Why venture out now?
16:00 Luiz Colombo (Motiv) – Digital signage
16:30 Emerson Calegaretti (MySpace) – Web business
17:00 Edney Souza (Pólvora) – Social Media
17:30 Intervalo
18:00 Franco Lazzuri (Cietec) – Let’s invest
18:30 Ariel e Mackeenzy (Videolog / TiVi) – Creating new businesses
19:00 Daniel Heise (Customer First) – Innovating
19:30 Manoel Fernandes (Bites) – The meeting of 2 worlds: blogs and businesses
20:00 Alexandre Fugita (Startupi) – The art of starting up
20:30 Johny Carvalho (PontoMobi) – Opening new markets
21:00 Aleksandar Mandic (Mandic) – The entrepreneur: a black sheep?
21:30 Launch ResultsON Startups
21:45 Cocktails and night out

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Ewout ter Haar (STOA) and Carolina Rossinni (Berkman Centre) organized an open informal meeting on Open Educational Resources at USP last Friday morning. Invited international speakers, Melissa Hagemann ( OSI ) and Joel Thierstein ( Associate Provost from Rice University and CEO from Connexions ) came together with a group of Brazilian academics  to give a brief outline of their projects and discuss issues like sustainability, federated architectures for OER implementation, Creative Commons Licenses, the impact of such projects on intellectual property and the implications for the publishing industry. It was interesting to participate in this event, get to know what is happening here and the issues faced. (presentations can be found here).

After an explanation of the work conducted at the Open Society Institute and a brief outline of the history of the Open Education movement and initiatives,  Melissa pointed to The Cape Town Open Education Declaration, which is

at once a statement of principle, a statement of strategy and a statement of commitment… meant to spark dialogue, to inspire action and to help the open education movement grow.

1741 individuals (1742 now that I have added my name) and 177 organizations have signed the declaration. Pilot countries comprise Poland, Australia and Brazil.

Some open repositories (which do not require a subscription fee) : Arxiv, DOAJ, Dspace, PubMedCentral, OpenDoar, Eprints Soton, Scielo Brazil, Hindawi, Public Library of Science, Springer Open Choice, Bioline International.

While Connexions founder Richard Baraniuk was discussing OER at the Berlin Online Educa,  Joel Thierstein, Cnx’S executive director, showed us (here in São Paulo) how their open source platform allows professors and teachers to  “Create Globally, Educate Locally” by giving them the possibility to create, collaborate, build/share custom collections. Users and authors can find content on a page by page basis through an interconnected repository (400+ textbooks, 7000+ lego modules from students, teachers, professionals  worldwide) and remix it for their needs. Authors retain copyright and license it via open access licence to share, copy and transmit the content. Hard cover copies of personalised textbooks created by mashups of different content were passed around.

Differently from the States and other developed countries, in Brazil, information and expertise are still scarce, which reinforces the educational gap between the haves and have-nots. Ironically, state funded  and  free higher-ed ( like the University of São Paulo) cater for the higher middle-class who paid for their studies in private secondary schools and preparatory courses to succeed in the university entrance exam. The federal campuses are usual far from the city centre and transport difficult for those without a car. As a result of this, the most needy have to pay high tuition for overcrowded “one size fits it all” night classes at private commercial institutions, many of which of doubtful standard. In formal or vocational education, there is no recognition of prior and experiential learning, which further restricts the entry of qualified people to help out as facilitators, guides or curators.

OERs and open education should be more than “a blip on the educational radar”.  It is important to have access not only to broadband and resources but also peers and experts who help learners filter, discuss, re-mix, create and make this content personally and contextually meaningful.

I hope these first steps will allow Brazilian educators from all extractions find a way to collaborate and partner in networks beyond their schools and universities – across the river in the city of knowledge as Gilson Schwartz  put it and share instead of just “planning to share” so that more people and initiatives follow to open access to meaningful and dynamic education in our country.

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Same or different languages, cultures and practices?

Last August, I was honoured to receive an invitation from Larry Johnson and Alan Levine to join the New Media Consortium (NMC)  2008-9 Horizon Project Advisory Board (pdf file), a multi-disciplinary and international team whose annual work informs the annual Horizon Report on Emerging Technologies for teaching, learning and creative expression. I was a bit taken by surprise as I am not American, do not represent any institution and am not a “regular” member of the organization. Alan assured me that my experience in using new technologies and wide network were of interest, though.  According to him, the NMC wants to reach out more internationally by inviting non Anglo-Saxon members to contribute with their perspectives and get more exposure in Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries. Some steps in this direction:

It has been enlightening to contribute to and participate in this carefully constructed process (totally online and open). The experience , as Larry puts it,

is like a crash course in emerging technology, with the class made up entirely of very knowledgeable experts and futurists.

I also echo Scott Leslie’s words in his post “The Value of Openness – creating the Horizon Project, out in the open.

while I hope you do find the report useful when it comes out in late January 2009, you too can derive much the same benefit as I simply because the process to advise on the Report takes place ‘out in the open’ on this wiki. Indeed, I honestly find the raw materials gathered in the Research Questions (as well as the ongoing hz09 tag in delicious) to be ultimately the most valuable part of the process; inevitably, in order to create a ‘unified’ picture that can be summed up in a printed report certain details are lost, smushed together, improved upon, etc. But all of the raw materials are there for anyone who cares to dig.

Since my exposure to the Future of Learning in a Networked World series of unconferences and during this sabbatical year, I have taken advantage to open myself up to different local communities, participate in various national educational and cultural initiatives and meet the actors. This roaming exposure  (one is usually confined to a professional track, idea or a classroom) and free (but expensive) time has allowed me to observe, compare and reflect on the mores and cultural traits of the different groups locally and internationally.

Participating in the Brazilian Práxis community this year has been one of many such instructive insights. It introduced me to fellow colleagues in different institutions in São Paulo, who are in some way or another involved in the use of new technologies. Like the NMC,  Práxis aims at convening people around ideas and practice, catalyze dialogue, discussion and contributions to the field in the form of cases, papers, demonstrations and other related projects.

However, differently from NMC, an NGO which relies on paid membership and whose open initiative projects happen mostly online to include perspectives, discussions and research from organizations all over the US and abroad, the Práxis community activities are basically local and presential (São Paulo city) and supported/directed by the Bradesco Institute of Technology, which is in turn funded by the Bradesco Foundation.

In 2004,  a small group of K12 ICT coordinators and CIOs from the private school sector in São Paulo gathered at the occasion of an e-learning event to exchange ideas, practice and better get to know each other. In 2008, although most community members still represent these elite institutions, membership has opened up to encompass a variety of new people (who are selected through personal nomination), including technical schools, colleges, universities, edtech, e-learning businesses and big corporations. Membership is renewed annually by a public acceptance to follow at least 70% of the face to face  monthly meetings, during which practice/experience or products (100% proprietary until now) are demonstrated. The Moodle environment serves as a communication distributor, information archive and occasional discussion forum.

I have noticed there is a striking difference between the way innovation is envisaged and practiced. Is it this a result of a national or an organizational culture? Is it local, global or both?

Last night, during our last meeting of the year, Alexandre Zapparoli, from Gartner (Brasil) and Yang Sik Pak, from Daul Soft Brasil made their presentations.

Gartner Hype Cycle 2008

Gartner Hype Cycle 2008

Now, although Gartner partners and networks with institutions and consultants to track breakthrough ideas and how they become established and part of general practice, it targets basically the corporate world business leaders in th etechnology/communications industry.  Its research process and methods are totally closed and the advice reports are delivered for a high fee.

I noticed that the data collected and the trends openly suggested by educators for the 2009 Horizon Report did not differ significantly from the ones presented in the graphic above. The focus and objective are a bit different, though.

Gartner recommends an open and free form adaptive structure, open to participation and modification, visible work in progress and create_organize_find_interact flow instead of rigid schemes, access rights, templates and costly infrequent change. Organization should reflect current use and needs and natural group formation should be based on activities and interests. Links, tags, ratings and usage are to determine importance and quality. One should find content through people links and people through content links. Interaction records reinforce personal and group identity, reputation and memory.

As for Daul’s authoring tool combo (TeachingMate and LectureMaker) , although it evidences progress over the ready-made one-size-fits-all software, it still operates in the closed environment model, centred on  transmission mode, which does not help transform the educational practice but perpetuates the sage on the stage, closed silos and expensive walled gardens.

Education, IMHO,  is much more complex than a linear series of events, a politician’s discourse /short-term policy or a measurable and defined pre-packaged product. Learning is a process of reactions and layers which lasts a life-time.

The age of information and knowledge has led education into the media and big business spotlight and  schools/colleges and universities have fallen into the vicious circle of student /teacher bashing. Will educational institutions and businesses ever understand that transplanting a foreign model, installing an LMS system, revamping a classroom with a whiteboard, or submitting and enforcing the use of new technologies will not automatically lead to change?  Focus on people rather than technology, enable and support processes and weave in connections and possibilities for empowerment.

In spite of the innovative discourse and good intentions of many, I still feel that in the country of Paulo Freire and the government’s innovative initiative to support OSS, banking education and delivery practices are still a strong reality. Too many have no or very restricted access to information and social connections and many are paying too high a price for it.

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Tweets for 2008-11-18

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Participatory Media and Practices

This week my interest and involvement with social media in education granted me another invitation to participate as an “interaction facilitator” by twittering the Roda Viva interview with Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia founder),  together with Pedro Markun (communicator and social activist) and Pedro Valente (journalist).  It also led me to the WikiBrasil event in the evening, featuring well-known figures of the São Paulo intelligentzia , who gathered to share their experience and debate open and participatory media in diverse areas.

Update (video)

Live Broadcasting by Ustream

I am also taking part of the II ABCiber Symposium (Brazilian Association of Cyberculture Researchers) at PUCSP, covering a variety of related themes, studies and propositions on how these new technologies are impacting our daily lives, uses, best practices and threats.

Though severe brainfry has set in after listening to so many people speaking, I am also having some difficulty in following the tempo of this generation C – (connected, creative and click).  So, I have forced myself to sit down this morning, set some time aside, concentrate and focus on some of the common traits I have noticed during these events:

  • the possibility to join the debate, witness knowledge being constructed openly and being shared (from many and with many) through social tools and platforms like mobiles, Twitter (+ all mashups), Flickr, blogs, livestreaming, tagging;
  • a tendency of academia and traditional journalists to monopolize the conversation, engage in a navel gazing monologue instead of encouraging and partaking a dialogic relation with the guest speaker and audience.
  • a contradiction between innovative theoretical discourse and conventional institutional practice;
  • a difficulty in bridging the gap between hope and happening, structure and agency, the material and the ideational;

As Jimbo mentioned at some point, the challenge does not really come from the technology itself, which is continuously being improved to facilitate connections, networking and working together. The real obstacles to an open culture of collaboration are deeply imbued economic/social/educational processes, practices and the need to control,  which hamper these conversations and the possibility of exchange and sharing.

Off to one more afternoon and evening at ABCiber and tomorrow a whole day with Práxis members at BIT (Bradesco Institute of Technology) in Campinas for a meeting and lunch with Mitchel Resnick, from  the MIT Media Lab,  with whom Bradesco partners.

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Tweets for 2008-11-11

  • @fugita aproveite pois não sei quando será a próxima vez 🙂 #
  • na ABCiber ouvindo a 2a mesa redonda do dia – por que ler para o público se podemos fazer isso nós mesmos? #
  • passando adiante: flashmob pela liberdade na Internet, contra o PL Azeredo: SP, sexta, 18h, Paulista 900, canteiro central… #
  • testing #bet tag for braztesol edutech sig twitter conversations #

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Tweets for 2008-11-10

  • Live interview with Jimmy Wales: http://tinyurl.com/53e4mp. Use #rodaviva to send in questions and comments. Time: http://tinyurl.com/jwales #
  • #rodaviva at the studio on the Twitter perch – Jimbo just before us – we’re about to begin #
  • send your comments and questions to #rodaviva #
  • #rodaviva music by Chico Buarque – Roda Viva has just started #
  • #rodaviva Lilian Witte Fibe opens with a short intro about Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales and his new commercial venture Wikia #
  • #rodaviva Wikiquote “A few years ago, I was just some guy sitting in front of the internet.” Jimmy Wales #
  • #rodaviva Now I send an e-mail or edit an article and it makes headlines around the world. I used to be just a guy — now I’m Jimmy Wales. #
  • #rodaviva … I used to be just a guy — now I’m Jimmy Wales. #
  • #rodaviva Otavio Dias wonders whether after obama’s election new technologies will open up democratic processes #
  • #rodaviva JW believes the challenge is how to get communities to collaborate together #
  • #rodaviva questions about the future Obama mandate and possibility hate organizations publishing on the web #
  • #rodaviva Will organizations become flatter ? the fact you have open and participatory media does not really mean the process is uniform #
  • #rodaviva wikipedia model is based on free (like in free speech) source – open software – who funds it? #
  • #rodaviva I wonder whether this model can apply to the Brazilian context, where knowledge is still very scarce and people earn money from it #
  • #rodaviva @carlaarena this is what everyone is looking forward – nothing will happen if the people do not collaborate and make it happen #
  • #rodaviva Wikipedia model relies on donations – 6 million $ a year to keep it running #
  • #rodaviva Can Internet volunteers improve journalism like we are doing now? #
  • #rodaviva Wikipedia is all about a committed community working together – not an easy task #
  • #rodaviva Lilian impressed by the size of Markun’s and Amadeu’s Asus 🙂 has never seen or heard about it #
  • #rodaviva JW on challenge of building search engine transparente and powered by the community – not Google or Coca-like model #
  • #rodaviva is there transparency on Wikipedia? Who are the members of the cathedral? How are they chosen ? #
  • follow the #rodaviva tag on twemes #
  • #rodaviva JWales in Wikiquote : We aren’t democratic. Our readers edit the entries, but we’re actually quite snobby. #
  • #rodaviva JM Wikiquote The core community appreciates when someone is knowledgeable, thinks some people are idiots & shouldn’t be writing. #
  • #rodaviva wikiquote core community appreciates when someone is knowledgeable, and thinks some people are idiots and shouldn’t be writing. #
  • #rodaviva JW on priorities, freedom and money making #
  • #rodaviva even non-profit project needs a “business”model #
  • #rodaviva @fugita mas a wikipedia na realidade tem uma catedral que filtra e censura…não é somente o bazar beneficiente 🙂 #
  • #rodaviva @fugita no entanto tb confio mais em algo que é rapidamente “updated” #
  • #rodaviva good article with JW on digital journalism http://tinyurl.com/5quv8f #
  • #rodaviva Brazilians are at the forefront in CC , open software and culture #
  • #rodaviva our society & culture is not uniform – community based organizations respect and understand local views #
  • #rodaviva belcolucci interviewing JW privately #
  • #rodaviva Cory Doctorow on copyright: http://tinyurl.com/5ptr85 #
  • #rodaviva @cristinacost cultural awareness – easier said than done – our challenge in 21st century #
  • #rodaviva de acordo com @suzzinha…o nome da catedral é Capital #
  • #rodaviva there is a core group who knows each other and decide – who are these people? how transparent is this process? #
  • #rodaviva I like criticism but funny how some people insist only on the dark side #
  • #rodaviva wikiquote real struggle is not between the right & the left but between the party of the thoughtful and the party of the jerks. #
  • #rodaviva what makes one thoughful and the other one jerk? I wonder. #
  • #rodaviva discourse – aristocracy, the homepage czar, meritocracy, reputation and respect come from knowledge, time involvement #
  • #rodaviva is it possible to join the inner circle of the community? how open is it to others and criticism? #
  • #rodaviva my last tweets do not seem to have been captured by twemes 🙁 #
  • #rodaviva I find it interesting how people see the world with the new replacing the old – models co-exist! #
  • #rodaviva access to information is key – people should contribute with their local content so that others can use #
  • #rodaviva did not know there were more Wikipedia articles in Portuguese than in Spanish #
  • #rodaviva how can people with oral literacy express themselves on Wikipedia? #
  • #rodaviva end of program..I hope you have enjoyed it! #
  • @suzzinha # rodaviva boa pergunta..que infelizmente não foi feita 🙁 fica para hoje à noite #

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