— S e b l o g g i n g


Sebastian Fiedler Time is flying… and all of a sudden the trip downunder is just around the corner. The recent cold that put me into bed for a few days certainly added to the feeling that I am running late now with preparing and organising things accordingly. Oh, well…

On the other hand there is a growing feeling of excitement to actually go down to New Zealand (and possibly Australia) again. The trip will start off with attending the ASCILITE 2009 conference in Auckland where I will run a symposium titled “Cascading Change: The role of social software and social media in educational intervention and transformation” with Rob Fitzgerald, George Siemens … and others.

As usual, not all colleagues who contributed to the original proposal will finally make it to the event. However, I think this will be an interesting session… even with a smaller group of contributors. More on this in the next few days…

[Sebastian Fiedler]

Sebastian Fiedler …is the title of the book that recently arrived in my mailbox. Unfortunately, Amazon had packed it so sloppily that it looks like somebody has driven a truck over it. Damned.

The book holds a recent collection of contributions to the Helsinki flavour of Activity Theory, edited by Annalisa Sannino, Harry Danies, and Kris Gutierrez (2009). Since I have spent a good part of last summer studying a wide selection of works in this area, it seems an appropriate extension of my growing literature collection in this area.

While I have high respect for some core notions, perspectives, and the general approach promoted by this school of thought, I still struggle with some of the conceptual fuzziness that one encounters in the available literature.

I guess I will start my reading with Yrjö Engeström‘s chapter titled “The future of Activity Theory: A Rough Draft” to get an idea where he sees things going at the moment…

[Sebastian Fiedler]

Yesterday I followed the last panel discussion of the Open 2009 Symposium at the Media Lab of the University of Art and Design Helsinki. They had set up a very decent video stream for the event and a Qaiku based back-channel. The panel focused on “openness” in the healthcare sector. I wasn’t quite sure what to make out of the discussion. While I was listening they never touched the role of insurance companies and the almighty pharma industry in the health sector… and how they most likely oppose any movement towards open data, owndership of records, and so forth. From my perspective, many of these discussions on “openness” and “transparency” often remain strangely detached from questions of power. Altogether, I still regret a bit that I had no time to follow more of this overall event.

Too bad, for example, that I missed the keynote by Yrjö Engeström titled “The Educational Value of Learning by Cheating” on Thursday morning. I think I have only recently read a paper of Engeström where he discussed the (cognitive) advantages of having prepared “cheating” material for oneself. Actually, the “Schulmuseum” in Nürnberg currently runs an exhibition titled “Bloß nicht erwischen lassen! Spickzettel – die verborgene Seite der Schule” that displays over 1000 artefacts prepared for “cheating” in school around the world. I think the psychological role of creating these instruments is highly underestimated.

[Website of Schulmuseum Nürnberg]

In the meantime, down in Bari at the ECEL 2009 conference there were some folks hopping around trying to sell their anti-“plagirasim” software and services. For many reasons, I find the way this “topic” is mostly treated in higher education as incredibly boring, one-sided, and somewhat pathetic…

Whose problem is it really if an adult learner chooses to copy and paste only… ?

[Sebastian Fiedler]

Sebastian Fiedler After a suprisingly long moratorium it feels about right to start this practice again…
Heck, it really has been a while!

[Sebastian Fiedler]