Monthly Archives: July 2009

My personal Review of the E-Teachers Conference

Although I am the initiator of the E-Teachers Conference I would like to share  my personal point of view of the evening mixed up with some comments I got in chats and via email.

Let me start with a general overview.

I opened the ETCon with my provocative theme “Lesson Slides and Virtual Classrooms. Do we really need them?”. The presentation had three parts: thoughts about slides, thoughts about webmeetings and thoughts about users.

Basically I explained that both slides and webmeetings are not “education natives” meaning they were developed for the corporate world for a whole different use. I also mentioned the problems involved using lesson slides like boredom and information overload and with webmeetings like weak internet connections and overstrained users.

In the part about the users I mentioned the different kind of user types today, the digital natives, settlers and immigrants and that most of the potential customers today belong to one of the last two groups.

My conclusion was that on Monday I did not really need a virtual classroom to teach but that I see potential for the future when the majority of potential users won’t have infrastructural problems to use them anymore.

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A new Life for old Content – Thoughts on Syndication Part 1

Imagine you sold a product for decades and decades and it sold really well, and I mean brilliantly. Imagine you wake up one morning and suddenly no one seems to care about your product anymore.

In the past couple of months we saw this on the publishing market. Newspapers and Magazines are closing because blogs and Twitter stole their show.

Encyclopedias are discontinued after over 100 years because no one is buying them anymore. Even the new kid on the block, the CD or DVD version is discontinued because no one can compete with  internet based versions or Wikipedia.

The state of California is switching to e-books in its schools. First reason they are cheaper and the Governator needs every cent but honestly, if you see the growing demand of e-readers like the Amazon Kindle it is only a question of time when other states will follow suit. And remember, Bill Gates is still working on his dream of the tablet PC.

I guess, if you are in that industry you saw the impacts coming nearer every day. So what could they do? Some chose the way to publish audio books which is quite a strong market in Germany these days. Others are publishing on the Kindle there is even a project where you will be able to design a custom printed newspaper just for you.

But what about the huge market of education material publishers? Well, it seems as if they found out a great way to save themselves: content syndication.

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italki.com brings back and old friend: the Language Marketplace

The title of the latest italki Press release is quite a statement:

italki Partners with Eleutian to Offer US‐Certified Teachers and SpeakENG Content “Powered by Pearson®”

Pearson, does it ring a bell? Exactly, Pearson announced a partnership with Livemocha a couple of month ago. You can read my post about it over here.

But to me the fact that italki is calling themselves “the italki Marketplace” is even more interesting. So lets have a look on the news from Shanghai.

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The Learning Approach of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants

Based on my blog post why Learning Communities are the most efficient way of learning right now I made a Screen Cast about the Learning Approaches of Digitial Natives compared to Digital Immigrants and what effect this should have on the development of learning products.

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The Proof that Language Learning Communities are the most efficient way of learning right now

Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning.

This is the title of a report published by the U.S. Department of Education. I think it is a must read for online education companies although it was made for K-12 education in the U.S. because it clearly shows why language learning communities like Livemocha, Busuu or Babbel are so popular and seem to satisfy the needs of their members.

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Fuze Meeting – Online Lessons on iPhone and Blackberry?

This is a guest post of my dear friend and colleague Aniya aka TheEnglishTeacher.

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Fuze meeting is an online web tool that lets you host meetings (and of course lessons, need be) so what, you say, well the interesting part about it, is that you can host them via your mobile device, thus being BlackBerry or iPhone wow!!! Having said that it is early days yet (a few teething problems) but this could be a big break through for the future.

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Myngle is nominated for the Europas

As these are the first Europas of TechCrunch in Europe I can understand that not everything is working at 100%. But adding companies at the last days of voting seems a bit odd to me.

Yesterday Myngle was added to the list of The Europas: Best Web Application Or Service (EMEA) but by now everybody should have voted anyway.

The same happened to Busuu.com, btw. They were added to the list on monday.

So right now it is a vote of “who has the fastest, biggest and most active community”.