ANGEL Learning

ANGEL Learning is a company based in Indianapolis that was founded in July 2000. They have two particular pieces of software that they market, a learning management system (ANGEL Learning Management System), and an e-portfolio tool (ANGEL ePortfolio) that they develop and market. ANGEL originally began as a research tool for Indiana University in 1996 and has since evolved into a whole learning management system.

Face #1: Market Focus. Who is ANGEL’s target market?

ANGEL’s learning management system was originally developed for Higher Learning, but since then has grown and developed and is now a system designed for all learners. A quote from the website says, “Honed by use, our products serve millions of students and instructors from K to corporate.” (http://www.angellearning.com/media/about_us/default.html). As such they serve the three options available for Face #1 – Public Schools, Higher Learning, and Training needs.

One customer is the University of Waterloo.

Face #2: Types of Offerings

ANGEL main offering is the infrastructure for a learning management system. Included in this they also will manage the infrastructure for their clients to provide them with exactly what they need, and offer hosting in case a company / school needs to ‘outsource it’. ANGEL also offers documentation and online help with their system.

ANGEL also provides courses online (self led or instructor led) or onsite to teach their clients how to use their product effectively (specifically designed for “instructors, instructional designers, course developers, system administrators, developers and others who use ANGEL”).

ANGEL’s offering seem to be most specifically geared towards Infrastructure, but they also offer various Services to ensure that their system works for each client (“tailorable user interface [and] flexible backend database integration).

Face #3: Who is the Buyer?

ANGEL fits most of the categories available on this face as well. I believe that the most prominent buyer would be Higher Education facilities, such as the University of Waterloo in Ontario (one of their clients). The learning management system was originally intended for use in higher education and so it seems to follow that this is their biggest stake. In this manner ANGEL’s buyer would be Learning Bought for Learner.

Learning Bought Centrally – Local Guide Offers to Learner. As ANGEL is also targeting the k-12 and corporate market, this would also be an important category.

ANGEL’s learning management system is not intended for individual buyers (Learner buys Personally), and although they sell their product globally (“profitable firm with global reach”) they are more targeted towards corporations and companies than countries, so while some countries might buy the product, I don’t believe that Learning Bought Nationally – Open to Regions – Local Guide Offers to Learner is an intended buyer.

Face #4: Global Markets

ANGEL serves Wired Anglophone Countries, European Countries with Language Skills, and European Countries Requiring Translation (i.e. their software is used in the Colegio de Estudios Superiores de Administracion in Columbia). I am unsure of exactly what the numbers are, or whether ANGEL serves any more of the categories in this face as their website doesn’t clearly provide this information. I have emailed the company and will post an update in a comment if/when I receive a reply.

Face #5: Development of the Market:

I would have to say ANGEL is: Market Supports Export Oriented Learning Technologies and Substitution of Imports. As ANGEL’s market is very large, it would be impossible to suggest that there are not competitors within it, such as WebCT by Blackboard, or Desire2learn. However ANGEL seems to be very confident with its ability to attract customers and to maintain good relations with those customers so that it will not be replaced with those competitors.

Face #6: Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

I believe the goal is Learning Technology Works with a Well-Developed Learning System. What I mean is that the goal of the company I believe would be to integrate it into existing learning systems, such as university campuses. This way the students would have online access to notes etc., and various courses would be completely online, but students would also have the option of taking classes in the physical classroom. (This integration was achieved at my university, Wilfrid Laurier, with WebCT fairly well).

The ANGEL software I don’t believe is imposed, I believe that professors at universities (and instructors at corporations, teachers at k-12 schools) have the ability to incorporate it into classes or use it on its own for distance education (such as at Waterloo University), but there may still be tensions between those that are used to a physical environment trying to teach in a completely online environment. ANGEL does however provide services, including ‘webinar’s’ to try to minimize this discomfort.

September 26, 2008   2 Comments

eConcordia

eConcordia is an online learning company owned by the Concordia University Foundation.  Check link for more info: www.econcordia.com

Looking into eConcordia’s market niche is quite interesting for me as it has offered me my very first e-learning experience almost five years ago. 

MARKET FOCUS

eConcordia offers some of the same higher education credit courses that are offered by Concordia University in a traditional setting, while also offering non-credit courses, professional development courses.  Additionally, the creation of custom-designed training courses for corporations.

TYPE OF OFFERINGS

eConcordia offers services:  access and development of courses, development of advanced portals and web application, online tools, web hosting.

BUYER

The buyer varies depending on who eConcordia is dealing with and what type of service is being offered.  When designing a training course for a specific corporation, or a mandatory credit course for a higher education institution, the learning is being bought for the learner.  However, when an optional course (non-credit, professional development or elective) is designed and offered by a higher education institution, the primary buyer is at the institutional level yet it is still essential that the service is eventually desired/bought by the learner.

GLOBAL MARKET

eConcordia services are offered in both English and French.  Services are otherwise available world-wide.  A relevant example is eConcordia’s development of a certificate in Canadian Studies to be offered to Internatiaonal Students before they relocate to Canada.  More info: http://cjournal.concordia.ca/journalarchives/2006-07/oct_26/007924.shtml 

Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

In servicing Higher Education, eConcordia compliments the traditional established learning system. However, when dealing with corporations, there is a high potential that it is substituting for other forms of learning or even replacing the existing learning systems.

September 23, 2008   4 Comments

Working in a global context: some other analysis frameworks

This posting is also linked from my response to Deepika’s analysis of a development project in India in which she participated. Her cube analysis described the project, its aims, its activities and results.

It did not go well, and this I believe may be common in development projects where many contextual factors are in play simultaneously making it extremely difficult to manage the environment in which a project design is both engineered and implemented.

There are guidelines for this kind of work that are published by international development agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The approach is often one of extensive pre-planning to ensure that development funding is used in an optimal (and not necessarily “ideal”) manner. Below are two versions of a common framework called the logical framework approach (LFA). One is from Australia’s development agency. The other from Norway.

AusGuideline – Australia’s LFA guidelines

Logical Framework Approach: handbook for objectives oriented planning – Norway’s LFA guidelines

No matter how well planned a project is, it plays out in a context that is often beyond your control as a project manager or participant. What is is often more useful than “the actual plan” is a way of analyzing what is happening in real time in order to make mid-course corrections

One theoretical framework for this kind of project monitoring and improvement is provided by activity theory (AT). AT provides a way of understanding data within the project so that you can take steps to change things in mid-stream. In a sense, this is what may have happened with Recombo over its multi-year set of pitches and business model adjustments to achieve a new and more optimal model as a fit with its technology. The organic sense of something not working ran up against the business reality, and a change of course was needed.

The AT approach is often used by experience designers and human computer interaction (HCI) specialists as a way to understand how people react to technologies in various situations. It is very much a contextual approach to analysis that can apply in a broad variety of projects. A nice metalink to the University of Colordo’s AT resource page can be found below.

Activity Theory

You may also have some other ideas about working in a global context, based on your experience or previous reading or research findings.

What I’m trying to emphasize here is that you do often have a hunch when something is not working or will not work. What is essential is to understand that hunch within a framework of practice that allows you to vett future experiences and act upon them.

We’ve offered the Cube, LFA, and AT as potential frameworks for analysis. Are there others you know about or use?

September 21, 2008   4 Comments

DynEd International

DynEd International (http://www.dyned.com) is one of the more established providers of English Language teaching software. I heard of DynEd when I was in Japan as some folks I knew had used been using it. Having not explored it myself, I decided to focus my cube analysis on it. Established in 1987, it has a clearly established track record and while headquarted in California they have offices/representatives in a number of places around the world. English is one of the most taught subjects world-wide and their international focus reflects the size and diversity of the language learning market.

Face #1 – Market Analysis

DynEd has products aimed at all segments of the market including corporate (& government), K-12, university, and additionally broadcasts lessons on Voice of America (the lessons they broadcast are actually parts of two of their products which clearly helps build product awareness for them). The courses they offer are tailored for each of these market segments with some overlap.

Face #2 – Types of Offering

The current line-up of Dyned products are software courses that are downloaded (or in some markets CDs which was their original product) that include lessons, placement testing, student record management, and teachers guides.

Face #3 – Who is the Buyer

As they cater to a broad range of markets, this depends on the segment. In the case of schools, it is bought regionally or nationally (apparently the French Ministry of Education has endorsed one of their products), in universities it will be purchased by Departments/divisions for the learner, and in corporations/government it will typically be purchased centrally within the organization.

Face #4 – Global Markets

The English language is taught globally and as such and DynEd has representatives that will work with potential buyers around the world. That said, looking through their team, and various products, their key focus is on the pan-Asian market, Europe, and more recently Latin America. By all accounts they have significant market penetration across a range of markets in both the corporate and K-university segments. They tend to focus on Language learners in non-English speaking countries and as such have limited focus on markets such as Canada and the U.S. as evidenced by a lack of material focused on the needs of potential segments such as new immigrants.

Face #5 – Development of the market

DynEd is in a broad range of markets and as such there is some overlap, but for the most part, the Market supports export oriented learning technologies and substitution of imports.

Face #6 – Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

DynEd’s products will not replace actual teachers in the classroom, but for the most part will supplement what instructors do.

~ Joe

September 21, 2008   10 Comments

Focus on Drupal in Education

I’ve decided to focus on a particular expertise of mine, the Drupal CMS.  Although this isn’t itself exclusively intended for educational use, there is a collection of modules which have been created to allow for a Drupal Educational website.

Out of the box, this installation profile allows for student, teacher, and administrative users with different levels of permissions.  Teachers can create groups to organize content around their classes, and students and teachers both can post content into these groups.  Podcasting, video, blogs, and a content management system to boot.  The obvious advantage to this over Moodle is that one can build a website using the same tools that one is building course content.

The faces of the cube:

Market focus

This installation profile for Drupal has been designed with a secondary school in mind, but it could easily be used for any level of education.  It would probably not be appropriate as is for a corporate environment.

Types of offerings

This installation profile doesn’t provide any services for the end user, or any content.  Instead it provides the necessary infrastructure to build content.  Unfortunately the lack of services means that if there is a problem with the site, or the end user wants some customization, they are left to figure it out themselves or hire a professional.

Who is the buyer?

This type of site requires some understanding of the technology being used and could not reasonably be expected to be set up by the average teacher.  This means that the IT personel at a school would have to set it up, however since the profile is free, this makes the set up just following some instructions, and having server space to support it.

It is conceivable that this could be something set up by a district, but they would want to create individual sites for each school in that case.

Global Markets

One of the nice features of the Drupal CMS is that it is possible to translate the interface to any language.  Many languages on already have had most of the interface already translated, and the additional text associated with this installation profile can be translated through the default administration profile of Drupal.

This means that this installation profile could be used in any market where someone is willing to take the time to translate the interface.  Since this requires a web interface, this could be an issue in countries where the internet connectivity is poor.

Development of the market

Other than providing a support group where questions can be asked and answered, there has been no effort made to create a market for this product.  Obviously there are a lot of schools out there they may want to use this product.   Unfortunately they will have to hear about this system through word or mouth of because of a deliberate search for this type of product.

Competition with other learning platforms

There is a lot of competition in the elearning market, so obviously this installation profile of Drupal would have an uphill battle in order to gain an noticable market share.  There are a lot of expensive elearning platforms on the market, and a smaller number of open source platforms, Moodle being one of the leaders in the Open Source field.  What most of these platforms lack however is a proper CMS.  Moodle can be used as more than an E-learning platform, but requires significant customization to create a useable website.  Drupal has this feature built in, although the E-learning portion is weaker than Moodle.

Many schools have worked toward integrating Moodle into Drupal with a shared user base and shared information.  They have been somewhat successful, and this combo might be a better bet than using the Drupal for Education installation profile.

September 20, 2008   10 Comments

Multifaceted

I found this Education Channel Partners report which had a very nice section at the end about how to evaluate products. It has a very clear focus on sales and marketing, which my experience is the most difficult part to get right. So rather than the cube, I will use this multifaceted approach.

http://www.siia.net/education/webcasts/06-28-06/ECP_ExecSummaryandSampleProfile.pdf

The product I have looked at is also unique in that it was created as part of a government contract. I chose it because it is one of the best music education sites I have ever encountered. You can look at it here Sound Junction

Education Market Emphasis The Sound Junction site is geared toward K-12 education as well as homeschoolers and could be appealing to some post secondary institutions

Target Education Contacts In the end user category, target contacts in this case would be Technology Coordinators, Curriculum Coordinators, teachers, students, and parents. In the development category, the site was written in conjunction with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in the UK.

Sales & Marketing Methodologies & Activities From browsing the site and looking at the user base, I would say that they were likely to have used sponsorships, strategic partners, and also email/blogs as a marketing methodology.

Staffing The site appears to have moderators which implies staff. In the design phase they employed a Technical development company, Atticmedia Ltd. It was commissioned by Culture Online, part of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, of the UK Government.

Geographic Field Sales Coverage Area This product seems to be aimed mostly at the UK, but is also appealing to any English speaking country which is connected to the Internet.

Product & Service Offerings Sound Junction offers Online curriculum, professional development, educational video’s, and games. In addition they also offer alternate ways to browse their site, with their journey mode. They have lessons online and content that was created by commissioned artists.

Purchasing Options It’s free! (and there is nothing for a fee on the site)

September 19, 2008   1 Comment

Mitchell1 – OnDemand5

Mitchell 1 “the First Choice of Automotive Professionals” has an online learning tool, “OnDemand5” that is a completely self-sustained website dedicated to automotive repair professionals. The images, tutorials and step by step instructions give mechanics, instructors and auto repair enthusiasts, the ability to fix just about anything on wheels.

Market Focus

This is where Mitchell 1 does well as a market leader of their product. Their approach to vehicle repair gives “OnDemand5” a unique balance between technical jargon and plain English understood by a multitude of readers and users. I’ve seen this software package used at the high school level, Technical training schools with apprentices and in the automotive/transportation industry. Many say they couldn’t live without it. All three sectors use Mitchell1 extensively. Albeit, the majority user is the adult learner.

Offerings

OnDemand5 is a dynamic, interactive service with a “one day turn-around” for Q’s and A’s and 1 888 number from 5:30 am to 4:30, based out of San Diego. Although predominantly a service oriented website, their content is the useful information you access from a monitor which is located inches away from the repair task. They have built course ware and content that they host themselves. Backup of client data happens immediately and a snippet of code sends the customer a reminder of upcoming service to their vehicles. It seems that the technical writers are employees of Mitchell1, therefore, the infrastructure, CMS and all material is housed within the Mitchell Repair Information Company. (MRIC) Interestingly, technical repair manuals are still available for sale.

The Buyer

This e-Learning service, as mentioned earlier, can be used on several platforms: high schools, Technical schools and more specifically, Repair Shops including light duty, heavy duty, diesel and tractor-trailer. In the category of repair, Mitchell 1 dominates with an array of products available to the users, each having it’s own purpose. They are; On Demand5.com – (OnDemand5 Repair, OnDemand5 Estimator, OnDemand5 for Transmissions, OnDemand5 Medium Truck and lastly, Vintage Service and Repair) and the mother company supporting OnDeand5 is Mitchell1.com. Mitchell1 supports, MitchellRepair.com, Mitchell1pc.com, MitchellSupport, ASEtestpreparation, MitchellRep, Tractor-Trailer, and lastly, OnDemand5direct. As you can see… tons of information and support available to the buyer of this service. However, with service comes a price. A site license for a single user runs 159.00 per month with a year long commitment to the license agreement. That’s a whopping 1908.00 dollars, taxes not included. Site bundles are also available. At the high school level, I suspect point of purchase would be through a district wide initiative or on the other side of the scale, as a single user to whoever finds this product useful.

Global Markets

From my research at the site, it seems that Mitchell1 products are developed for the North American market, or any English speaking country. Product line supports repair service for Audi all the way to Volvo and expressed as “Import and/or Domestic” With the huge inventory of repair information, Mitchell 1 by far exceeds competitors such as All Data, Jonko or AutoRepair4U, to name a few.

Development of the Market

Mitchell1 is a high end, supported learning technology that is specific to Vehicle repair. With the millions of vehicles on this planet, Mitchell products is the viable choice for the English speaking market. In other words, they do very well close to home. The range and scope of this business is therefore a strong resource right next door. So far, English is the written language at the site and the indigenous user would be the people who have a vested interest in automotive repair. I have not read where they plan to re-create content material for use in other languages, in other countries.

Face 6 – Competing with Other Forms of Learning

A – Computers in any auto shop years ago was unheard of. Because of the cost of Technology, the climate of most repair shops was not conducive to having a “pristine computer” sitting idle that no one wanted to get it dirty. Now, it’s the complete opposite. Key boards are blackened with dirty fingers and monitors need to be wiped constantly from the probing fingers of inquisitive mechanics. Why worry about a filthy key board when you can by a new Logitech for seven dollars and sixty two cents and just through the old one into the land fill… 🙂 (just kidding!)

B – Many people who are using Mitchell1 have said good-bye to text material. Walk into any garage and ask where the shop manuals are? If the guy is close to retirement he may awkwardly turn around, with his fag hanging from his mouth and hobble to the darkest part of the shop where you then choose to say… “aw… it’s OK, I’ll come back later.” These days, most shops are bright and “cleaner” and the computer is a welcome site. Billions of bits of information is just a key stroke away.

C – The learning technology I speak of is not an imposition to the current system, but rather an addition to. OnDeMand5 is an ideal way of learning via the Internet, in a capacity that is appropriate, quick and up-to-date for the subscriber. My pitch!

sorry, mine are always so long…

ddp

September 19, 2008   2 Comments

An alternative to The Cube

As David Vogt noted earlier in Module 3, “There is nothing special about the CUBE. It’s merely one way of organizing an analysis of a learning technology venture. We’ve offered other approaches and would appreciate further ones coming from you and your research.”

To that end, we’ve posted an article from Technovation that outlines another way of assessing technology business ventures coming out of university research environments. We’re wondering whether you have found others during your research that might be useful to note for the benefit of the class.

If so, please post some links in comments to this post

September 19, 2008   4 Comments

Elluminate

Elluminate (http://www.elluminate.com/index.jsp) promotes itself as an elearning or web conferencing solution for real-time online learning. The company is headquartered both in Calgary and Fort Lauderdale. The website mentions that Elluminate is “the winner of several prestigious awards, the company is also one of Deloitte’s 50 Fastest Growing Technology Companies and is positioned in the Visionaries Quadrant of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing, 2007.”

Through LearnNowBC (http://www.learnnowbc.ca/educators/OnlineToolsResources/), BC teachers have free access to Elluminate online meeting rooms and training. I have only had one brief training session, so I’m not really familiar with Elluminate, but here goes!

Face 1: Market Focus
According to its website, Elluminate seems to be targeting all three areas of the market: k-12, higher education, and training needs.

Face 2: Types of Offerings
Elluminate offers infrastructure in the form of a virtual classroom/meeting place. Elluminate Professional Services targets services: Elluminate training; custom implementation through content conversion, etc; integration support (integrating with learning management systems, for example); event hosting; technical support.

Face 3: Who is the Buyer?
The learning is bought for the learner, rather than the learner buying it for him/herself. In most cases, it seems that the learning is bought centrally (the corporation or, in BC’s case, the provincial authority). For BC teachers, training is available through Elluminate, but it is up to the local school to implement local changes in order to create an optimal learning experience for the students.

Face 4: Global Markets
The Elluminate website states that Elluminate is used in 185 different countries. It appears that Elluminate could be used with all of the markets except for “Other Regions with Restricted or Poor Quality Internet Service.” Although Elluminate claims to work with speeds as low as 28.8 kbps, it certainly won’t work if there is no connectivity. Markets with different languages could use the virtual meeting rooms. I am not sure about the ability of Elluminate to work with other alphabet sets (I can’t imagine that the text area would support this), but there would still be some value in the application sharing and the virtual meeting rooms.

Face 5: Development of the Market
Elluminate would work well on the right-hand side of this face – in markets that import or export of content and infrastructure. Elluminate might also work in a market that only supports custom work or indigenous suppliers. Because Elluminate can provide just the virtual meeting place, the content can be developed locally.

Face 6: Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning
This technology seems to fit best where there is already a well-developed learning system. It could also provide a substitute for other forms of learning by displacing face-to-face learning.

September 18, 2008   6 Comments

Web 2.0 Tools: Rolling the Dice With the Cube

Face #3 – Who is the buyer?……When its free!!

For a change of pace, I thought I might focus on one aspect of the cube and raise some issues around the current economic meltdown and implications for  web 2.0 learning technologies.  In particular, I thought I’d focus on face #3 “Who is the buyer?”.  For many of the web 2.0 tools the buyer isn’t anyone.  There are no “buyers” only users. The services are offered free.  There are countless examples of such tools offering  presentation, video, slideshow, music, etc…. The thinking behind many of these ventures is to create a vast user base and then monetize this user base by offering paid premium services or by leveraging the potential of this user base to obtain a buy out by a larger company.  This model has been a driving force behind much of the innovation and creativity we’ve seen over the last few years.  However, in some ways this parallels the attitudes in the greater economy that have led to the current economic meltdown.  Web startups are borrowing time and money today with little or no ongoing revenue security going forward.

The End of Web 2.0 as We Know It?

With no real revenue model these ventures are hollow and highly exposed to external economic variables.  When the economy dips, the likelihood of converting non paying users nurtured on “free”  to premium paying users falls and the likelihood of obtaining a buyout by a larger, but now more cautious company also falls.  The short term “free” model now  becomes a long term charity service.  If I’m the owner of a web 2.0 startup operating on this model, do I stick around and support this venture and devote my time to non-paying users?  What happens when the first prominent web 2.0 tool pulls the plug and leaves users standing at the login page.  Will we loose faith in the reliability of small web startups to maintain our data and thus do we eliminate the “free” business model as a viable web model?

The Golden Age Of Web 2.0

Perhaps we are not only seeing the end of an economic boom, but the end of the web 2.0 boom of online tools where the business model of “free” will be seen as a golden era of creativity and innovation.

Any comments?

September 17, 2008   8 Comments

Fun cube tool

Some Flash Guru wrote a script to take a cube and spin it around with 6 arbitrary images around the cube.  I’ve just adapted to our 6 pictures.  It’s not terribly useful, but it makes for a neat visual.

http://www.unitorganizer.com/myblog/node/310

Check it out, it may give you some ideas.  I may even take my responses to this exercise and add them as images to the faces.  Too bad I can’t then embed the flash here…

September 17, 2008   7 Comments

eXe Through the CUBE

eXe (http://exelearning.org) is an open source e-learning XHTML Editor I came across through the Commonwealth of Learning link on the International Development side of the mind map. The tool is developed in New Zealand and supported by CORE Education.

As an aside, this tool looked quite interesting so I downloaded the software and gave it a quick tryout.  I wish I’d found it sooner, as I think it might have been useful in some of my other courses such as the lesson development projects in ETEC 531, and ETEC 510.  Perhaps others may find it useful this way as well.

Face 1:   Market Focus
The market focus for eXe is probably largely higher-education, but I can also see it being used in the K-12 or corporate markets in cases where CMS’s are also being used.

Face 2:  Types of Offerings
eXe provides infrastructure.  It is a software package that allows teachers and academics to develop content, and publish in a variety of formats including SCORM, HTML, and iPod Notes. It also provides infrastructure that students could use directly to develop eportolios.

Face 3:  Who is the Buyer?
Since eXe is Open Source there is no buyer per se.  It doesn’t really require a local guide.  It is a single user software application and can be downloaded and installed for free by both teachers and students. It is available for Windows, Mac OS/X, and Linux machines.

eXe is basically a fill-in the blanks tool that doesn’t require much technical expertise or understanding. As such, I could see the tool helping Learning Technology department staff in post-secs work with teachers to facilitate course content development.

Face 4: Global Markets
Interface translations for eXe have been developed (remember it is Open-Source) to meet user requirements for a diverse range of languages. The eXe website lists 33 language translations including Norwegian, German, Japanese, Maori, Zulu, and Twi.  The markets would include portions of all the global markets on this face of the CUBE. The key barriers for the eXe market would be language (is there an available translation for the market, or is there someone willing to customize one), and network access (eXe could be used in a LAN situation, or an Internet situation depending on the market need).

Face 5: Development of the Market
There appears to be some local (Canadian) interest in eXe.  The eXe website publishes a frappr map (http://www.frappr.com/exe), but it isn’t clear whether all the pins indicate developed markets.

Darcy Norman has done a screencast, and a static eportfolio demo of his test with eXe, that also includes some discussion of his take on aspects of the market for eXe.

I am still working on my understanding of this face of the CUBE.  Wondering if someone might give me some insights on this?  Or perhaps I’ve misunderstood the whole exercise!?

Face 6: Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning
Content developed with eXe can be exported in a range of formats that can then be imported into most content management systems (CMS), including Moodle, WebCT, and other Open Source CMS systems. eXe would integrate well with most other learning systems that might already be in place.  It could work within a well developed learning system, it could substitute for other forms of learning, and because it is easy to use, it could also provide a bridge when working with other learning technologies has been imposed.

September 16, 2008   4 Comments

Using the CUBE to evaluate KEEP Toolkit

Warning:  This post is going to be (too?) long.

The product I’ll explore is KEEP Toolkit, an eportfolio tool developed through the Knowledge Media Lab (KML) at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Face 1: Market Focus

Their market is K-12 and Higher Education

“Carnegie is an institution whose thinking and actions are organized around teaching and those who teach, from preschool to graduate school (http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/about/index.asp).

Face 2: Types of Offerings

KEEP Toolkit would fall under the category of infrastructure.

Their web page describes the product as follows:

The KEEP Toolkit is a set of web-based tools that help teachers, students and institutions quickly create compact and engaging knowledge representations on the Web. With the KEEP Toolkit you can:

· select and organize teaching and learning materials.

· prompt analysis and reflection by using templates.

· transform materials and reflections into visually appealing and intellectually engaging representations.

· share ideas for peer-review, assessment, and collective knowledge building.

· simplify the technical tasks and facilitate knowledge exchange and dissemination. (http://www.cfkeep.org/static/index.html)

Face 3: Who is the Buyer?

Rather than buyers, there are users. A university for example is able to install the software free of charge at its own institution and make it accessible to students and faculty from this installation.

Alternatively, anyone can create an eportfolio account that is hosted on Carnegie’s server.

Keep Toolkit stands for The Knowledge Exchange Exhibition and Presentation (KEEP) Toolkit and

is a set of open-source tools developed at the KML [and] is intended to provide an economical and accessible solution to this challenge. The KEEP Toolkit is available to educators and students at all levels as a free service from our website. We have also made the Toolkit available as an open source software application so that institutions, departments, and educational organizations can also implement and administer the Toolkit locally and integrate it into their local systems as needed. (http://www.cfkeep.org/static/about/about.html)

Recently, Keep Toolkit has been placed on the Sourceforge site, and a community to continue developing and sharing developments is being formed. http://sourceforge.net/projects/keeptoolkit/

Interestingly, two Carnegie initiatives will now focus on Higher Education and its need to prepare students for Political Engagement, as well examining how liberal education can give Business Majors a boost.

Face 4 – Global Markets

With this particular product, I would say that most of the users are from Wired Anglophone Countries.

Face 5 – Development of the Market

Market Supports Export Oriented Learning Technologies and Substitution of Imports

The market freely imports content and infrastructure. Local companies also produce similar products for export, as well as providing local services. In some cases, local products replace previously-imported products, either due to better localization of content, or because of a price advantage.

I’m not sure that I am clear on this aspect- my interpretation would be that Keep Toolkit is in a market that freely imports content and infrastructure. Where I work, ( University of Waterloo),  technology is supported centrally. However, because of the nature of higher education, individual instructors may have preferences for one tool over another. Students may decide to use another tool to create their eportfolio, or an instructor may decide to choose another tool. As we try to encourage and help students foster their ability to integrate their learning, it becomes a challenge to support a tool that will be all things to all users. At the same time, reliance on a number of different tools that aim to accomplish the same thing may make it more difficult for students to integrate their learning.

UW has recently chosen to comply with the Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations (UDLE’s) http://ocav.uwaterloo.ca/background/. This may make it more attractive to have an eportfolio system that supports administrative purposes of gathering data rather than a system that is more learner-centred.

At the same time, we want to support integration and life long learning. A system that integrates easily with the centrally supported LMS is very attractive. At the same, the ability for a student to have access to the eportfolio after graduation may not be possible using commercial software.

Face 6 – Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

“Fostering students abilities to integrate learning- across courses, over time, and between campus and community life- is one of the most important goals and challenges of higher education” (http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/files/elibrary/integrativelearning/what-is-ILP.htm).

Depending upon how it is used, the eportfolio can be very learner centred. Students make connections that are meaningful to them. Although artifacts may come from individual courses, this is not necessarily the case. The eportfolio is a tool that helps students integrate their learning, helps them reflect on what they are learning, and how they are learning, and helps them plan for future actions based upon lessons learned in the past.

In my experience, in some instances, students have been able to choose the tool which best suits their purposes. In other instances, students have been required to use the tool that is centrally supported.

The IMS Global Learning Consortium describes different types and uses of eportfolios (IMS Global Learning Consortium, 2005). The tool that a certain institution chooses to support, or require its students to use will depend upon the way the eportfolio is being used, and what type of information the institution wants to glean from students’ eportfolios. Similarly, the tool that a student chooses to use to create an eportfolio may depend upon the main purpose. Does the student wish to use the eportfolio to showcase strengths to a prospective employer, or does she want to use the eportfolio to help track her development over time, set goals and plan for the future.

The Cube model may not be the best for evaluating initiatives that are open source and encourage a more collaborative and open form of development where all community members adapt tools for their own use, and share this freely with the rest of the community.

I had problems trying to analyse KEEP Toolkit using Faces 5-6. Perhaps there is another model that would work better.

References
IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc. (June 2005. IMS ePortfolio Best Practice and Implementation Guide. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from http://www.imsglobal.org/ep/epv1p0/imsep_bestv1p0.html#1663759.

September 15, 2008   2 Comments

Welcome to Module 3

Hi Everyone,

As you’ve probably guessed already, Module 3 is somewhat like a dry run for your Assignment #1 analysis of a specific venture or a market environment.  There is nothing special about the “CUBE”.  It’s merely one way of organizing an analysis of a learning technology venture.  We’ve offered other approaches and would appreciate further ones coming from you and your research.

Perhaps the most important point of departure for most of you will be to “think global” for your marketplace.  The rest of the world often seems a lot hungrier for learning than North America, but almost everything about making it a business is different.

Please remember that Module 3 is two (2) weeks long – indicative of the attention we’re expecting from you here.   See if everyone else’s cube-mapping activities make sense to you.

We’re looking forward to your contributions,
DavidV

September 15, 2008   No Comments

Texas Instruments

Trying to get a head start this week.

The e-learning product I have chosen to explore is the Texas Instruments TI graphing calculator.

FACE 1

In Canada, graphing calculators are required or recommended for most provincial high school exams, therefore, the market focus would be K-12 and probably spill over into Higher Education as well.

FACE 2

I would say that the Texas Instruments offers services to their clients. Their website has links for applications and downloads which can be added to the calculators. There are also lesson plans, classroom activities, test preparations for both educators and students.

FACE 3

The buyer differs in each individual case. There is the option for the learner to buy a calculator for themselves; however, a parent most likely will buy the calculator for their child to use in the classroom. Additionally, some schools may purchase a large number of calculators for their students so they will all be using the same instruments. Texas Instruments now offers educator calculators that are only sold to educators and administrators in a school bus yellow color. This enables the distinction and monitoring of school property.

FACE 4

Texas Instruments offer their product and services to many global markets including wired Anglophone countries, European countries with language skills, European countries requiring translation, and Asian countries with quality internet.

FACE 5

Because Texas Instruments has so many markets, I would say that the majority of them would fall under the category of “Market supports export oriented learning technologies and substitution of imports.” There are other graphing calculators and other companies that offer similar products.

FACE 6

Texas Instruments graphing calculators will not replace traditional mathematics instruction. Therefore, it is a technology that works well with an existing, well-developed learning system.

September 15, 2008   3 Comments