On Can of Worms tonight – “Are Smartphones making us stupid?”

It seems to me they have the potential to do just that, but they also have quite the opposite possibility.

On my normal morning, I prepare to leave for work, grab my iPhone, plug it into my i30, and listen to lectures on Philosophy, Psychology, Anthropology, Religion, Sociology, Mathematics etc…. My smartphone is not making me stupid. It provides me with any number of learning experiences in the format it is best for me to receive it. When I am driving, it keeps my attention and enriches my knowledge. In fact it is such a good learning tool I am considering an iPad so I can work my way through some eBooks in bed.

When I am out and about, I see smart phones interfering with social interactions – people ignoring those with them to FB, SMS, listen to music or play games. Sometimes they look up some innate piece of information, but does it stick or will they just look for the same bit of information again next time they need it?

We have a world of information at our fingertips, but will this information become applied knowledge; wisdom, or is it fleeting data to be forgotten in a moment?

@FionaBurlison tweets People were stupid long before smart phones came in to the picture!” @MadisonshaeB agrees people don’t need smartphones to be stupid”

From the poll, it seems 55% of people think we are getting dumber. Unless parents and educators show the younger generations how new technologies can be used for personal growth, we will get dumber. Kids may be our future, but it’s up to us to ensure they know what to do when they get there…


Are your ICT’s making you smarter?

If not, how can you make it so they are and thereby set a good example for others?


Scott Corry recently blogged about my.tafe – the Learning Management System (LMS) currently used by TAFE Queensland. In his blog he compared it the the LMS being used by USQ.

I just wanted to go on record saying this is not what I have found. The my.tafe LMS is base on Janison, a pure LMS without all the back office goodies of the Moodle platform being used by USQ. Janison is a commercial product which comes with a price tag, and another price tag to put the TAFE stamp on it, and another one for each modification, and another one for training, and another one for upgrades, and re-training, and so on and so forth.

Needless to say I’m not a big fan of the Janison product, but not really through any fault of the product or the company that produces it – I’ll tell you why….Moodle.

Moodle is open source (free for all) software. It comes with a wide variety of plug-ins for almost everything you can think of. All the documentation is online, training is free and online. There are almost two thousand sites in Australia and over 80 000 world wide. Moodle has 70 million users in 7 million courses and all of these stats are just the tip of the iceberg because registration is optional. With around 60 000 Moodle tutorials on YouTube, it’s unlikely there will ever be anything you can’t learn to do on this platform – and as I said, it’s free.

The good news is (still only a rumour), TAFE is looking at a Moodle platform in the very near future.

Learning rocks!

One thing I am really enjoying about Uni, one thing much more obvious in EDC3100 than in other courses, is learning and collecting resources from others.

One of my favourite things about interacting with others is the opportunity to learn from them. Sometimes I learn something little, like how to make a point in a better way, sometimes it’s bigger, like how to understand some previously obscure philosophical context.

Simple learnings from the first few minutes looking at Ellie Rasmussen’s Blog:

  1. the delivery of  information in video format is a brilliant way to go
  2. there is no end to the number of great video’s available online
  3. I will probably not need to produce video so long as someone else has done it before me
  4. Other people have better video creation skills than me
  5. With the right presentation comes the right message
  6. The video Ellie linked to may improve the employment prospects of my friends

There’s more, but then I often learn a lot from seemingly simple things.

Thanks Ellie, now I’m off to read her second blog entry, as soon as I have shared that video on FarceBook….

E-learning and Digital Cultures

I’m returning to the University of Edinburgh for another online offering… in fact I may just do a few courses there.

When I completed their last offering, Introduction to Philosophy, I really liked how they used a different lecturer each week. It looks like the new course will be similar, even though it is from a completely different school within the Uni.

E-learning and Digital Cultures has an introductory video here. Come join me as we learn where education and the digital age intersect.

Fundamentals of Online Education: Planning and Application

Georgia Tech presents an introductory course on the fundamentals of online education through Coursera, and I’m enrolled!

There’s an introductory video here that invites YOU to come and learn about online learning, create online learning materials and to basically get your course/class online. Come and join me as I try to learn to digitise my classroom.

Take it a step further than EDC3100, without the cost, without the stress and without the stringent time constraints of assessment that costs you money if you can’t find the time for it.


I’m becoming a big fan of Coursera. They offer free online courses from some of the worlds greatest universities.

I recently completed and Introduction to Philosophy through Edinburgh University which will be offered again in a few month and which I highly recommend.

Besides the obvious advantages of gaining a basic understanding of philosophy, it’s also a peek into how a top notch university delivers their courses online. You can expect to get some basic insights into online education that may not have appeared to you before. Video presentation techniques that make the university I currently attend (and pay for) appear amateurish. Forums that work and staff that come across really well.

This has been my first Coursera course, my first foray into the free MOOC. I look forward to more in the future, from different universities, different lecturers, in different fields of study. My current course enrollments include Psychology in London, Mysticism in Jerusalem, Human Belief in Philadelphia, and Online Education in Georgia and Edinburgh. I’m going to be a busy boy once this degree is finally finished 😉

I’ll post separately about the education courses as they may be of specific interest to some who are following this blog.

Wearable Tech

“Google Glass is an augmented reality head-mounted display, allowing hands-free access to the web.”

Google denied it would use adverts in this new tech

Yes, Google now comes in a wearable package built right into your glasses! Read all about it here.

How would you incorporate these glasses into your classes?

Okay, maybe this is a bit misleading – this comes from a site which provides a “future timeline” predicting upcoming advancements in technology. Some things from this page (the 2014 predictions) have come true, others are just around the corner.

Take a look at the long range forecasts available from http://www.futuretimeline.net, many of the tech inclusions even have their sources referenced. A very interesting site…


I just came across a tidbit of information I found interesting.

In Dec.’95 there were 0.4% of people in the world with internet access.

In Apr.’95 I was working for Visionstream on the Foxtel Rollout. Soon after this became the BigPond rollout. I was one of the first dozen or so people in Australia with a cable modem, before the network was even switched on.

Bulletin Board Systems (BBS’s) on the 1200 baud modem to internet on the 14 400 then on to cable modem. I was flitting at the cutting edge of technical nerdiness for so long….only to stop in 2000. I wish I had kept up…