Bristol calling….

And to Bristol…where I attended Professor John Cooks inaugural lecture; attended a seminar given by Professor Rosamund Sutherland; settled into the extremely well equipped postdoc researchers open plan office at UWE; and made a start on putting together a cross-case analysis the previous week.


Social network innovation in the internets global coffeehouses Professor John Cook


Summary from UWE blog:

There is much that we can learn from the past as we explore the issues raised by new technologies and the way in which they are used by learners.

Like the social networking that took place in coffee houses in the 1600s, the Internet-enabled social networks of today, like Facebook and Twitter, stand accused of being so called ‘weapons of mass distraction’ or worse.

In fact, in England in the late 1600s, very similar concerns were raised about coffee houses! However, rather than acting as enemies of industry or distractions to academics, coffee houses in the 1600s were in fact crucibles of creativity, because of the way in which they facilitated the mixing of both people and ideas.

Now the spirit of the coffeehouse has been reborn in our social-media platforms. McKinsey Global Institute, (2012) claim that social networking within companies could increase the productivity of ‘knowledge workers’ by 20 to 25 percent.

OpenWorm is an open source project dedicated to creating the world’s first virtual organism in a computer and fostering growth of a completely open computational biology community. Modern fears about the dangers of social networking are overdone.

Design research allows us to engage in inquiry surrounding the transformative possibilities for learning technologies. In this lecture, he’ll take the view that the neglected area of ‘design seeking’ can help us with attempts designing for scale.

In the Learning Layers Project, we develop technologies that support informal learning in the workplace (Health Professionals in NE England and the Construction sector in North Germany).

Co-design is being used with all user groups to help shape our designs and tools. A model is presented of design seeking and scaling.

The PANDORA design team case study from Learning Layers is used to illustrate the model. PANDORA explores, amongst other things, designs for collaborative technologies for processes surrounding a Significant Event Audit (SEA) in UK Health Sector’s General Practices.

The lecture concludes with an assessment of the model and a confirmation that Internet fuelled coffeehouses are very much alive in Learning Layers and beyond.

The lecture was followed by a two day symposium, comprising papers, round tables and a Mobifest experience, engaging members of the public with a variety of Mobile related activities, inside and outside ‘The Watershed.’

Category: ALTC

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