maandag, april 02, 2007

Reflecting on Innovatium 2007

Last Tuesday the large Innovatium (photos) conference was held in Amsterdam. We were there with a booth (photo after the click). At first I was not so happy with our location. We were upstairs, where none of the action (workshops and presentations) was taking place. But during the lunchbreak people started moving by. Together with Stanley Portier (read his impressions), Frank Benneker and Martine Hilderink we had lots of interesting discussions with the passers-by. We handed out our official flyer, as well as other interesting articles (Morgaine and Wheeler, as mentioned earlier).
There were two conversations that I would like to make note of here. I had a rather interesting conversation with a teacher that was involved in educational projects for and in third world countries (in Africa). His questions were about using Sakai on outdated PC's (should work!) and regarding the bandwidth needed for Sakai on the end-user side (is not so high, not much graphics), as well as the horsepower needed for a server to install and deply Sakai properly (should be OK, you can do it all with opensource software for the whole stack). He already knew quite well that Sakai (but also Moodle) are opensource and therefore free to deploy, which was good to hear! This reminded me of the ITC institution here in Enschede, that has told us that they have some problems with using Blackboard with their partner institutions in the Far East (this kind of use is apparantly not allowed according to the licensing terms).
The other conversation that I found interesting was more a philosophical one: what do we, as an educational institution, really need to offer (with regard to ICT applications) to our students in this Web 2.0 world? Can we not make a proper VLE just by referring the students to stuff like Google (e.g. Gmail, Docs and Groups) and all the free content that is out there. The problem here is, in my opinion, that Google (or other Web 2.0 stuff) is not free in the same way that Sakai is free. There are a lot of restrictions that apply when using Flickr, for example.

1 opmerking:

  1. Hello Wytze

    Your last paragraph is quite interesting. If you want to discuss about a VLE or a LMS in the world of Web 2.0 you have to come to the conclusion, that you don't really need a VLE. You only need a virtual desktop. Important is more what a university needs. A institution need a system with authentification, for the grades, the portfolio, the calendar etc.

    So the tools in the VLE are not so important, that it seems to be. The interfaces to the campus systems are the key parts.

    This is main advantage of Sakai to other other systems like Moodle or Blackboard. It is a framework and it is open and it is using open standards.

    Best regards from Germany