Friday, May 7, 2010

Avatar Make-overs and Ghosts

Avatars are going through makeovers in Tourism and Hospitality classes at the Hobart Campus. New bodies, new make-up and hair, new wardrobes... are being developed as avatars find their identity and expression. Avatars then have their photo taken to go in their blogs.

It hasn't all been easy though... Some network issues still need to be resolved that are stopping teleports - no-one can get to the mall yet to do shopping! :-) We have learned that if you become a ghost (white cloud) and lose your body you can replace your outfit from inventory to get your avatar to become 'real' again.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Polytechnic 2.0

... will help us become more informed, responsive, innovative and learner-centred...

Unprecedented opportunity to achieve more open, accountable, responsive and efficient leadership...

Once information and learning resources are liberated as key organisational assets, possibilities — foreseeable and otherwise — are unlocked through the invention, creativity and hard work...

These statements are derived from Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0 - an Australian Government Taskforce report calling for public agencies and public servants to engage more using the tools and capabilities of the ‘collaborative web’ or Web 2.0.

This comes at a time when there are calls from within educational institutions in Tasmania to restrict and even block altogether access to Web 2 services such as Facebook.

As the Report states:

Government 2.0 requires leaders to engage with what is for many, an unfamiliar and challenging agenda. Are we up to it?

Though it involves new technology, Polytechnic 2.0 is really about a new approach... the existing culture of hierarchical control and direction must change sufficiently to encourage and reward engagement.

The Report has been released under a Creative Commons 2.5 Australia Licence allowing a new document Engage: Getting on with Polytechnic 2.0 to be derived from it - mostly by replacing the word 'Government' with 'Polytechnic' and focusing on learning and the learner.

This derived version outlines a Polytechnic 2.0 agenda in terms of three pillars:

  • Leadership, policy and governance to achieve necessary shifts in culture and practice.

  • The application of Web 2.0 collaborative tools and practices to the institution as a learning organisation.

  • Open access to leadership and management information and to open educational resources (OER).

Polytechnic 2.0 presents challenges to some well established organisational and educational practices and has the potential to change the relationship between our institution and its learning communities.

Getting back to Facebook there are many educational reasons to question the calls to restrict or block access to this and other web 2 services. According to the 2009 Horizon Report:

“Increasing globalization continues to affect the way we work,collaborate, and communicate. Information technologies are having a significant impact on how people work, play, gain information, and collaborate. Increasingly, those who use technology in ways that expand their global
connections are more likely to advance, while those who do not will find themselves on the sidelines. With the growing availability of tools to connect learners and scholars all over the world — online collaborative workspaces, social networking tools, mobiles, voice-over-IP, and more — teaching and scholarship are transcending traditional borders more and more all the time.”

For more see In Defence of Facebook.