Saturday, 29 May 2010

What is Web 3.0?

The semtech investigation and report looked at Semantic Technologies for Teaching and Learning,
TIROPANIS, T., DAVIS, H., MILLARD, D., WEAL, M., WHITE, S. & WILLS, G. (2009) Semantic Technologies in Learning and Teaching (SemTech) - JISC Report.

This analysis might prompt some readers to seek orientation from other sources, a few of those are listed below...hint - includes videos and the phrase Web3.0

some links to stuff which tries to answer this question...

a short film from Kate Ray

Web 3.0 from Kate Ray on Vimeo.

You can find background information on the film and related posts on Kate Ray's blog

or you might like to read what Tim Berners Lee has to say on some of the Design Issues

Tim Berners Lee - Design Issues: Linked Data

Tim Berners Lee on the Next Web A TED talk from tbl (2009) - the "Raw Data Now" talk

From WC3 - a quick introduction to linked data Linked Data intro from WC3 on Slideshare

Interlinking with DBPedia

Some tools for organising information

These complement my post on tools for visual literacy which is mostly what I am working on at the moment




Wednesday, 26 May 2010

UK government Con-Dem-Nation of Web Science

it has been decided to go for quick and easy cuts, the civil servants are keen to please neir new masters, and the new masters (for it is such, there are so few women) are much minded to make propoganda gains at every opportunity

how does it go

first we have a treasury announcement that there will be a "cut of £18 million by stopping low priority projects like the Semantic web ",
At this stage you have to admire their ambition, in thinking that they can cut the semantic web, but hey, that's another story...

some time later the same day, the announcemnt is modified to read

£18 million including funding for the Institute of Web Science, a proposal which is still under development, and low priority projects like the SME Adjudicator.

Sir Tim and Professor Nigel make an announcement (see footnote for full text)
Yesterday, as part of its £6 billion spending cuts, the new Government announced that it was unable to offer funding to the proposed Institute for Web Science.

Now either this had been the result of some hard bargaining from the lib part of the condemnation team, or maybe the zealous civil servants were not apprised of the benefits of such initiatives which only a few weeks early the Tories had trumpeted in their technology manifesto, where linked data was seen as a key to cutting wasteful spending, and creating additional wealth

in particular

our plans to open up government data and spending information will .. help us to cut wasteful spending, ... it will also create an estimated £6 billion in additional value for the UK

this was surely then a rash cut? don't we think?

the words mysterious and ways leap to mind....

Footnote the following statement on the cut of proposed funding for the Institute for Web Science

The Institute for Web Science: Statement by Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee & Professor Nigel Shadbolt

Issued 17.30, Tuesday 25 May 2010

Yesterday, as part of its £6 billion spending cuts, the new Government announced that it was unable to offer funding to the proposed Institute for Web Science.

The following statement has been issued by Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, of the School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton:


"We are obviously disappointed at the announcement. However, we do understand that immediate decisions had to be made about what not to start, pending a wider review of priorities in the Spending Review.

Today, the web site of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills notes that the Institute for Web Science remains a proposal still under development.

Naturally, many people have been asking what this means for Web Science and we wanted to provide an assurance that the future remains bright.[1]

Many people have also been asking about the future of the open linked data initiative in the UK after the change of government.

It is clear from the new government's Big Society declaration [2], the Coalition Partnership [3] and speeches such as David Cameron's to TED [4] before the election that open government data is a high priority. Our understanding is that the portal will in fact grow significantly in the months to come.

Linked data and the new technologies supporting it will, in the near future, enable better public services to be delivered for less, and promote new business opportunities.

The government is maintaining its commitment to the linked data it has already published and to the very large amount which remains to be published.

Recall that the process of opening up UK government data is really in its early stages, and while much has been accomplished there is very much more yet to be done.

Also remember that this work, while essential for the UK’s good governance, prosperity and competitiveness as a place to do business, is part of a wider global movement.

The UK over the last 12 months has played a leading role in this movement. Recently we have seen a re-launch of the USA's portal, [5], with a large easily accessed trove [6] of linked open data from US government, and many applications.

There is more being added to all the time, whether it is the NaPTAN data, a GB national system for uniquely identifying all the points of access to public transport, or the eagerly anticipated COINS database detailing Treasury spending [7].

As we enter a phase of cutting back on many things, the linked open data movement is a crucial tool, for government, public and industry to get the most value from the important resources being opened up. During times of austerity, transparency is essential, and open data will play a crucial role."

Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt








Posted by Joyce Lewis on 25 May 2010.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

What do you want?

Can you help us?

We are interested to learn what students make of the ways in which we use technology as part of the fabric of activities while they are at University.

Here at the University of Southampton we have been using technology for learning for almost twenty years.

Over that time the world has changed, our newest undergrads can probably not remember a time without the web, probably have their own computers, and many carry and rely upon phones for communication (text and emails) and electronic diaries.

Computers are now part of leisure time (the vast majority of students appear to be on Facebook for social contact and leisure chats) and many students may be surprised that there are certain areas where the university still reles on paper based methods rather than uses a computer system to manage and automate our adminstrative processes.

Of course some of the ways in which we manage our processes may be historical, or we may be constrained by administrative needs and preferences for paper records and personal contact.

The question is - WHAT DO YOU WANT??

In 2009 we worked in partnership, with SUSU and ran an electronic survey about the student experience of technology in learning at the University. We have analysed the results that many students provided for that survey. Now, we would like to work in a more in-depth way with a group of students from across the University. We would like you to think about what technology works well for you, how it works well and what you value about the way in which it works. We would also like you to think about the downside of using technology in your academic work. Most of all we would like you to help us come up with some solutions which could really make a change.

In order to complement the information we have gained from the surveys we are looking for volunteers to take part in some short electronic consultations.

You will be asked to respond by a mix of email and web forms - and a few of you may be invited to some face to face meetings.

If you are interested in helping us understand what students want, so that we can feed this into the planning and change processes please email Su White

Thursday, 6 May 2010

TELUSS - Virtual Group Discussions

When faced with many possible choices of what to do next, it is sometimes difficult to decide what changes need to be given the top priority.

Academics and support services at the University of Southamtpon have been reviewing the technology infrastructure and support which we provide for students at the University.

This activity is taking place under the catch-all title of "The Southampton Learning Environment'. As part of this activity we are gathering information from new and existing sources which build a picture of everyday experience of technologies for learning at the university. We are calling this project TELUSS(Technology Enhanced Learning University of Southampton Surveys) - because we are asking students to tell us what it is like

In 2009 we carried out an extensive survey with students mainly to identify

1) what technologies students use for learning and for study

2) what support students receive when using technology

3) what are the major problem areas which exist in relation to using technology

Following on from this study we are looking to recruit student experts to provide some in depth insight into this important aspect of university life

Discussion with the groups will be managed using a combination of email and web through a four stage process

1) recruit participants (by responding to an email request)

2) asking an initial single question about potential for improving the technology infrastructure for learning (on and off campus)

3) asking students to consider a list of points which have been consolidated from the answers to the first question and to vote on the three items which they consider to be the most important.


Learning and Studying with Technologies - TELUSS

We can expect students at University to use a whole range of technologies in many different ways to help them learn and study for their degrees.

Academics are likely to be interested in this from two separate, but inter-related perspectives

1) Big Picture

What is the big picture view of current practice and the implications of this for the future long term development of practice in Higher Education?

2) Local Practice

What are the current practices and needs of our existing students in our own institutions - and how does this look compared to the big picture?

Hype vs Hope ( and truth and reality)

In addressing this we need to be able to :

sort out the hype of behaviours

challenge headline grabbing ideas and stuff that sells books

Beware of the hyperbole of moral panic, alarmism, and generalisations based on the leisure habits of time-rich young people

Find evidence from the reality of practice

Remember that

The behaviours of our students are likely to be constrained by time and driven by pressing imperatives

The needs and purpose of university education includes introducing learners to new ideas, and equipping them with multiple literacies, not least digital literacies

You probably already use technology in many different ways to help you learn and study for you university degree what three changes would you suggest the University introduce which would make a real difference to that aspect of your study at Southampton.