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04.08.2015
This paper describes a learning experience called EduCamp, which was launched by the Ministry of Education of Colombia in 2007, based on emerging concepts such as e-Learning 2.0, connectivism, and personal learning environments. If you imagine a workshop on the use of information technology aimed at teachers or anyone else, a recurring image will be that of computers arranged in rows, all facing the same direction, with a facilitator at the front indicating to participants the steps they are to take. Emerging opportunities made possible by new technologies have, so far, changed very little about the technology training programs offered to teachers. These observations were the starting point for a series of experiences developed by the Office for the Promotion of Higher Education at the Ministry of Education of Colombia, aimed at exploring opportunities and alternative scenarios for helping higher education teachers to discover new ways of using ICT in their practice. During the second semester of 2007, a series of workshops on the use of social software tools was designed and implemented. This experience suggests that, for some teachers, a change in their perception about technology use can be achieved through activities that confront their deepest convictions about what it means to learn and teach, allowing them to discover themselves as apprentices in a continuous process and as members of a larger community to which they can turn for answers. The Vice Ministry of Higher Education of Colombia, through the Office for the Promotion of Higher Education, launched an ambitious project in 2004 to foster the development of different aspects of the integration of ICT in Colombian higher education institutions.
Starting in 2005, several teacher and administrator training programs were offered nationwide. The international seminar held in 2007 discussed emerging concepts such as e-Learning 2.0, personal learning environments, and informal learning, and it posed the challenge of introducing these ideas and their implications for the design of learning environments to higher education teachers. The original idea of the EduCamp workshops emerged from conversations with Nancy White, Jay Cross, and Fernando Diaz del Castillo (at the time, the person in charge of the use and adoption of ICT for Basic Education at the Ministry of Education).
So the question was how to enable technology adoption processes for teachers, based on “over-the-shoulder” learning and in an environment that reflected some of the emerging concepts mentioned earlier. The workshops were focused on exploring the use of a broad set of social software tools, articulated around the characterization and enhancement of the personal learning environment (PLE) of each participant, a concept whose first documented appearance corresponds to a workshop held by the UK’s Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in November, 2004 (Wikipedia contributors, 2009). Interestingly, the notion of a PLE does not yet have a precise definition in the academic community (Trafford, 2006). In the latter case, a PLE diagram may include, with more or less detail, the physical spaces in which people learn, the people from whom or with whom learning happens (teachers, mentors, colleagues, other learners), the media used to access relevant information (textbooks, academic articles, television, radio, newspapers, blogs, wikis, mailing lists, etc.), and the tools used to compile that information or to interact with others (including, usually, a variety of social software tools). There was an interest in getting participants to experience different forms of organization for collective work, enabling each learner to discover and explore his or her interests using technology, outside of a curriculum and objectives predetermined by others. An unconference relies on minimal structure, allowing participants to decide the issues to be addressed within a broader subject area. The workshops were designed with a defined yet flexible structure, which brings together several concepts and has a specific interest in the adoption of social software tools.
It is important to note that, to the author’s knowledge, back in 2007, there were no documented training experiences specifically related to personal learning environments, even though there have been courses and workshops related to the use of social software tools for several years now. The workshop began with a check-in, at which each participant received a laptop computer to use throughout the day. The session started with an initial introduction of the participants, using chat tools such as Chatterous to facilitate the quick collection of information. The chat was presented as the workshop backchannel, a space to discuss both presentations and activities during the day. After a presentation of the context of the workshop and some ground rules, the basic ideas related to the concept of a personal learning environment were presented.
Then each participant characterized the current state of his or her PLE in the way he or she saw fit (list, diagram, graph, etc.), using as guides the tool sheet and some questions proposed. Given that the elements of a PLE change from one person to the next, this exercise usually turns into a personal reflection, where there are no right or wrong answers but simply opportunities for growth. An important part of PLE characterization is to identify the technological tools that are part of the PLE, so the workshop participants used the descriptions and links included in the tool sheet as a guide. During the final part of the first exercise, participants identified on their tool sheet those tools that could expand or enrich their PLE, depending on their personal needs. It is worth noting that this exercise helped participants to think about the environment in which they learned, making visible that such activity happens not only in formal spaces. Based on the set of available tools, each learner selected those he or she wanted to learn.
With this roadmap, participants worked on the expansion of their PLE, using as an input the stickers representing those social software tools that each person knew and the tool sheet showing the tools each person wanted to learn about.
The stickers were critical because the presence of a sticker meant that whoever was wearing it knew about a specific tool.
One rule for this stage stated, “If someone approaches you to learn about a tool, you are obliged to help.” Thus, once learners identified potential teachers, it was just a question of saying hello and asking for information about the tool of interest. Taking advantage of the fact that each participant had a laptop with a wireless connection, the expert explained and showed the apprentice how the selected tool worked, helping him or her to explore it and subscribe to it, using his or her own computer. This activity challenged the idea that it is essential for everyone to cover the same curriculum in the same time frame, as well as the notion that it is possible to learn everything about a topic.
After working on the expansion of their PLE for a couple of hours, participants were invited to brainstorm about how the tools explored could be used in their personal and professional practice. Once the participants were distributed at the different stations, they began five-minute brainstorming sessions about the educational affordances of the tool assigned to that station. Each reporter took notes of the ideas generated at each station, which were then posted on a wiki. Using this design of distributed brainstorming, attendees covered 12 different tools in just one hour, listening both to the ideas of their peers and the additional ideas recorded by the groups that preceded them.
As mentioned above, one of the intentions of the workshops was to expose participants to several types of collective learning methodologies that would enable them to discover new possibilities for their daily practice. Using the stations from the previous part of the workshop, participants were invited to lead and participate in half-hour group discussions. The discussion topics were proposed throughout the day, using an idea from Open Space Technology: a large board was put in place with two half-hour slots in which attendees could propose, at any time of the day, their discussion topics around a global issue (the challenges associated with the use of social software tools, for example).
The last part of the workshop was focused on a personal reflection on what each participant had learned.
The survey invited participants to reflect on what they had learned, what they would have liked to have learned, the immediate actions to perform with the things learned, and whether they would recommend the workshop to someone else. The workshop included activities that created new opportunities for interaction among participants.
This aspect was the first un-structuring element, because the attendees came to a workshop on technology and discovered an informal and flexible environment, which was integral to the activities taking place. The initial experiment was conducted in the cities of Bogota and Medellin in December, 2007, including over 100 attendees in each city. The duration of the workshops has varied, from eight hours in 2007 and 2008 to six, four, and even three hours in 2009. Given that hosting an EduCamp is not an easy task, its voluntary multiplication is an unexpected and happy situation.
It is important to emphasize that the relation between theory and practice, in this case, began to surface after the workshops were done. Therefore, although it is possible to find relations to specific techniques, methods, or theories, the workshops did not intend to represent a determined theoretical position. This means that the following account is necessarily incomplete, and perhaps the reader will be able to identify new patterns and relationships that are not covered in this analysis. The EduCamp reflects some of the ideas on connectivism and connective knowledge proposed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. Throughout the workshop there are neural connections created that reflect the external social network, for example, “I learned about this tool with this person.” In this sense, the EduCamp implements some connectivist ideas, especially those related to diversity of opinion, the connection of specialized information sources, and decision-making.
In addition, the EduCamp acknowledges learning as chaotic, continuous, and complex, made possible by co-creation and connected specialization. The strategy adopted by the workshop also reflects some characteristics of a network of connective knowledge, referred to by Downes as “semantic condition” (2006). The role of the participants mirrors the expected role of a learner in what is proposed by Downes as a possible network pedagogy (Downes, 2006): They are part of an authentic environment, are involved in observation and emulation of good practices, and engage in conversations about practice. Nevertheless, it is worth saying that the role of the teacher is actually distributed among all the participants in the workshop. In the rhizomatic model of learning, curriculum is not driven by predefined inputs from experts; it is constructed and negotiated in real time by the contributions of those engaged in the learning process. As mentioned earlier, the identification of these ideas was a process subsequent to design and implementation.


When asked whether the workshop met their needs and expectations, 62% of the respondents qualified the experience as “Excellent” and 32% as “Good.” This pattern is seen in other aspects of the survey, where an “Excellent” rating was selected in over 50% of all cases, and the combination of “Good” and “Excellent” was consistently over 85%. One of the most common themes in the comments registered was related to the time available.
In addition, 12% expressed a new perception of the value and possibilities of ICT in their personal lives, and only 5% mentioned new perceptions about the nature of learning and the role of the learner in a networked world.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that 10% of participants expressed recognition of how little they knew about this area and of the need to continue with the exploration and adoption of these tools.
These comments suggest that the experiment was successful not only in terms of its objectives, but that such a proposal could represent a real alternative to more traditional training programs in terms of transformation of attitudes about the role of technology in learning processes.
One of the most interesting (yet anecdotal) comments came from the first workshops done in Medellin in 2007. It is important to note a few things that could bias the survey results: 160 people experienced a shorter version of the workshop, which means that they did not have enough time to develop some of the activities planned. It remains to be seen whether an experience like this can actually transform practices (which should be the ultimate goal of any training program, beyond improving the discourse).
The EduCamps have served as a testing ground for the exploration of ideas concerning the design of learning environments. One area for further research is how the connections established through the EduCamps continue to develop over time and what the impact of the experience is on the educational practices of the participants in the medium and long term.
Even though there are some online spaces available, there has not been an explicit effort to bring participants into them.
It is clear that the workshops have the potential to be a trigger for the development of a community of practice around the social software platforms explored, which helps participants to sustain and enhance the connections they create during the workshop. Even though the methodology has been tested with good results, there is room to explore new possibilities of application, both in face-to-face and online settings. The impact of this work goes beyond the face-to-face classroom because the design of new online learning experiences going beyond the LMS depends on teachers who have adopted some of these social software tools in their personal and professional practice. I leaned about the Pareto Rule over 20 years ago during my corporate life as a statistician. In the book “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferris, he suggests identifying the 20% of your sources that produce 80% of your desired results and happiness.
During the development of my latest hand analysis course, I’ve been contemplating the head line (in the hand) called “The Ruthless Mind”, named by Richard Unger.
This head line indicates a super processor with the ability to get to the bottom line at lightning speed.
If you have a head line, with a flip up at the end, toward the fingers, you’re probably not even reading this article any longer because you know where I’m ‘headed’. Sizzle up your surveillance system.  It’s obviously working for you in its own perfect way.
Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Porters Five Forces explained for use in Practice of International Business EIMSO based course. Free help process, people may substitute by doing the process manually or by excel in a career. Until April 2008, he was Project Manager for the National Program on Media and ICT Use in Higher Education at the Colombian Ministry of Education. This arrangement reflects the typical organization of a classroom, and even when there are laptops available, it is common to organize participants so they look straight ahead or toward wherever the expert might be. Although technology is used, the image of the teacher as an expert who not only decides what makes sense to learn, but also has the final word (through evaluation) on whether someone has learned remains dominant. These workshops, called EduCamps, modeled a face-to-face social networked learning space in which several emerging concepts (such as e-Learning 2.0 and personal learning environments, or PLEs) were brought into play. An important part of this project was focused on the use and adoption of media and ICT, and several strategies to enable the adoption of emerging technologies and methodologies were developed. These included, for instance, three-day workshops aimed at university provosts and online courses on virtual learning environment design and facilitation aimed at higher education teachers. However, it was not clear whether the existing online courses would be the most effective way to communicate these ideas.
Brainstorming took place in August, 2007 about how to design an experience to facilitate what White called “over-the-shoulder” learning (White, 2007). It is recognized that any one can act as an expert in a specific area (the use of a tool, for example) and that knowledge is not exclusively transmitted from one to many (teacher to students), but also can be transmitted among unstructured groups of people. More than an application or computer platform, a PLE is composed of people, spaces, resources, and tools that are interrelated and that interact in different ways depending on the habits and needs of each person.
Given that many unconference techniques come, in fact, from more established methodologies of conversation, some of these techniques were explored. In 2008, some workshops that focused on the development of personal learning environments started to appear (see Leslie, 2008c and Gray, 2009, for example), as well as online resources related to the building of personal learning networks (Waters, 2008).
In all cases, the logistics team of the Ministry of Education leased the computer equipment, given that most Colombian teachers did not own laptops.
It contained general descriptions of various categories of tools, including picture, audio, video, and document publishing and sharing, as well as platforms for social bookmarking, blogs, wikis, RSS aggregators, and social networks, among others. While in other events the backchannel is often articulated through the use of specific tags on platforms such as Twitter, the diversity of this workshop’s participants (who may not have known what Twitter is) made it imperative to select a tool closer to the previous experiences of most attendees (a chat).
These questions led to an analysis of the physical spaces in which each person learned, the people with or from whom he or she learned, and the media (text, audio, video) most frequently used to access information relevant to personal and professional activities, as well as the technological tools used to obtain and compile that information. Starting in 2008, even though the PLE sheet contained an initial scheme, participants had the freedom to use a scheme relevant to each individual case from a series of diagrams compiled by Scott Leslie (Leslie, 2008a). Then everyone wrote the names of any social software tools that were part of their PLE (even those not included in the tool sheet) on stickers handed out at the beginning, which they stuck to their clothes (see Figure 2). The PLE diagram showed information consumption trends that were unnoticed by them, as well as opportunities for growth based on personal needs. To that extent, the role of the expert in charge of defining what was to be learned disappeared, and control over this specific curriculum (if I can refer to it in such a way) was transferred to the learners.
Thus, the first step in the learning process was to find others who had stickers related to the learner’s personal interests.
It is worth noting that, in an auditorium with 100 strangers, this became a great excuse to strike up conversations and create new contact networks. Given that most of the selected tools allow the publication of material almost immediately, at the end of each consultancy, the learner would leave with an additional subscription to the tool he or she wanted to explore and, ideally, with some form of material published online. In the workshops, learning was modeled as a complex, messy, social process, completely dependent on the context (external and internal), features that made the methodology very close to cognitive and constructivist principles. This collective inventory of affordances sought to give a broader meaning to the expansion of each PLE.
Upon completion of a five-minute session, participants (except the reporters) went to the next table to repeat the exercise with a new tool. At the end of this activity, the contributions made by all participants during their transit through the different stations were collected. For this reason, after the brainstorming session, participants had the option of experimenting with a short unconference. In 2008, instead of a board, a computer was used to record and display the discussion topics. At the end of the half-hour discussion, one person per table reported some of the partial conclusions to the whole group.
An online survey was used, which included questions that explored specific aspects of the organization, activities, dynamics, and facilitation of the workshop.
It is worth noting that the level of un-structure of the space depends largely on local conditions.
This is a critical aspect for the workshop because an inoperative network has negative effects on the experience of participants. Sometimes it was used as a background for activities; sometimes it was used as an indicator of changes that were part of the dynamics of the workshop. In 2008, additional workshops were added, reaching seven cities: Bogota, Monteria, Pereira, and Cartagena during the last week of November, and Bucaramanga, Medellin, and Cali during the second week of December.


Some of these new facilitators, as well as several participants, later decided to take the experience to their own institutions, adapting it to their specific context. Clearly, this means that not all activities can be developed and that the outcomes of the experience vary accordingly.
Many other participants have transferred what they learned during the experience to their personal and professional spaces, changing elements of their teaching and initiating processes to strengthen their online presence. This information is published under a Creative Commons license of attribution, non-commercial use and share alike, which turns it into an open educational resource. While it is clear that there are certain theoretical bases to which the workshops respond, originally they were designed pragmatically to solve specific problems, rather than responding to the postulates of a specific theory or the indications of a given methodology.
It can be argued that there is a clear relation here with what Siemens suggests in his book Knowing Knowledge about the importance of doing (2006, p. A strong catalyst for the workshops was the ideas expressed by Stephen Downes in his article “E-Learning 2.0” (Downes, 2005), as well as the presentation made on this subject by Graham Attwell at an international seminar held in Bogota in 2007 (Attwell, 2007).
In fact, what Siemens calls the “epitome of connectivism” is an adequate description of the activity to which participants are exposed: the “amplification of learning, knowledge, and understanding through the extension of a personal network” (Siemens, 2004). Additionally, it recognizes the impossibility of having certainty, accepting uncertainty and ambiguity as essential and unavoidable aspects of the process. It is somewhat difficult to talk about the role of the facilitator, which certainly is different from that expected in a longer educational process. This community acts as the curriculum, spontaneously shaping, constructing, and reconstructing itself and the subject of its learning in the same way that the rhizome responds to changing environmental conditions.
Arguably, the workshops resemble or reflect some of those ideas, but it is important to clarify once again that they were not included explicitly in their design. Since 2007, different surveys have been used to collect the perceptions of participants, reaching over 620 people (about 59%), as seen in Table 1.
However, it is important to point out the low number of explicit answers related to new perceptions about learning (5%) and autonomy (1%), something that is central to the design of the workshops.
The survey was given at the end of each workshop, so those who could not attend the session for the whole day missed the opportunity to express their opinion. Also, it is worth asking to what extent the audience perceives some of the underlying messages related to new learning and teaching perspectives. The results suggest the experience has an important impact on the perception of attendees about technology and its possibilities as a learning tool, but there are questions that remain open. There are also opportunities of application in subjects other than social software, including the use of mobile devices, for example. The ongoing challenge is to transcend the discourse and make it real, offering concrete examples of the potential that technology may have not only in our educational institutions, but also in our family, community, and professional environments. My analytical mind was put to use identifying and tracking metrics in the Hughes satellite factory in El Segundo, California. To figure out what is most ‘important’ to do he suggests that you pretend you had a heart attack and can only work two hours a day. I call it the ‘Bottom Line Mind.” See Figure 1 with the head line traversing the palm with a flip up at the end. It can be argued that such a spatial disposition reflects a logic of scarcity and information transmission that lies behind the way we think about many of our physical spaces and educational activities (both face-to-face and online), including workshops for the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).
The learner remains, in most cases, a consumer of the information the teacher deems appropriate. EduCamps were intended to enable a different learning environment, directly related to the possibilities of current technologies, in which individual responsibility in the use of ICTs was made evident, as well as the need to consider how (and when) to distribute the role of the expert among a community of learners. Also, an online community for teachers was created, and several international seminars were organized. Also, these courses were focused on the development of fully online learning environments, while most teachers were involved in blended learning scenarios. Also, participants identified the media and tools used to publish information and the tools they used to interact with their professional community on the Web.
This tagging exercise had two purposes: one, to familiarize participants with the concept of labelling resources, and two, to make visible to others those tools that each participant knew. Other considerations included the analysis of the current level of interaction with distant colleagues and whether it made sense to explore new ways to identify and interact with them. In this sense, the first step of the activity brought into play an assertion made by Siemens (2006, p. The apprentice was then invited to add a new tag to his or her clothing as a way of making visible the learning achieved.
It is interesting to note that the setup (about 100 laptops connected all day long) was challenging in most of the venues where the workshops took place. Although a very well-defined structure for the workshops was in place, different auditoriums and targets led to continuous experimentation to adapt the EduCamp to multiple settings.
To date, at least 12 Colombian higher education institutions have held EduCamps in their own spaces, using their own resources, led by people who have found such great value in the experience as to attempt to replicate it. The infrastructure used through 2009 has also been diverse, with desktop computers arranged in rows or along the perimeter of a room with fixed network connections. However, the elements of transparent work (modeling and demonstration) mentioned by Downes are visible, as is the involvement in network activity. Nearly one quarter (24%) of participants highlighted the opportunity of learning specific tools, with blogs, YouTube, and Second Life the most frequently mentioned.
Even though some of the other answers can be related to these two subjects, few people recognize them directly. Finally, there are data missing from the 2007 workshops because due to technical problems, the survey could not be given at the end of the day. Participants have created their own spaces on platforms such as Facebook and Ning during and after the workshops, so the experience could be aimed just to trigger these processes without attempting to centralize them in a single location.
The Law, as an example, demonstrates that 20% of workers accomplish 80% of productivity in any business setting. The goal – improvement – only happens through measuring and responding to those measurements. Taking 5 minutes to read this and respond to your Inner Voice may drastically and irrevocably advance you toward your ideal life. Colombia), and he does consulting work on innovation in education with the use of technology.
Therefore, there was a window of opportunity to offer complementary training alternatives. With these thoughts in mind, a full-day workshop was designed, mixing several techniques of individual and collective work. The sheet has since evolved to include guiding questions for the characterization and expansion of the PLE for each participant, and a white outline on the back, in which each person can draw his or her own PLE (see Figure 1).
Also, participants had the opportunity to explore on their own, using the information provided at the beginning, and several stations addressing different tools were put in place so that each person could choose among different learning alternatives.
This does not mean that a wireless connection is unreliable, just that support for fixed connections for such a high number of people is a more complex demand. Also, workshops based on these ideas have been held in Mexico and Argentina, and there have been experiences with primary education teachers, Ministry of Education staff, and even secondary school students.
From these experiments, it is clear that the unstructured environment has a great impact on the attendees’ perception of the learning experience.
Yet, there has not been any monitoring activity to confirm whether participants keep in touch after the workshops using these spaces, and the activity in the public wiki remains very low.
Vilfredo Pareto was an economist and philosopher (and more) who determined that 80% of the wealth was generated by 20% of the population. It was presented as a “workshop on the use of social software tools” and designed to be offered to about 100 people at once.



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