Fundamentals: Taxonomies for Learning

One project I have for 2009 is to create a framework for Professional Learning (PL) at Macquarie University. I’m pretty happy to get asked to say the least. The course will offer 26 hours of PL. It will follow the Open University 13 week timetable. The course is Foundations of Web2.0. It uses the ‘back story’ of how we have got to here, why we need to change and just where the opportunities lie. It will use simple ‘tools’ to address how and were pedagogy can be expanded and enriched – without being an ‘expert’ in IT.

Here’s how I’m approaching this.

Element #1 – Taxonomies for learning and teaching

Before we can effectively talk about blogs, wikis, podcasts etc., we first need to get our heads around a few things.

  1. The internet is designed to be dis-organised! – so how can we organise information scaffolds to guide learners?
  2. You can’t search the internet! – So if I can’t search ‘the internet’ – what can I do with it?
  3. Search engines are not free! – so what is the costs of using Google in the classroom?
  4. 80% of people who use the internet use 1 taxonomy! – and they don’t even know it!
  5. Folksonomies can save the world! – But first, they need to change your understanding.

Here are some workshop questions …

Example A – Someone searches “curb morning sickness,” “you’re pregnant he doesn’t want the baby,” “baby names,” “abortion clinics charlotte nc,” and “engagement rings” – in that order. – What will Google think?

Example B – The word cloud – taken LIVE from AOL’s search engine. (I deleted the offensive words). This is what people (today) were searching for.

Example 3: The zero option”. Type in “What is a field mouse?” into the bar where the URL should go and press return. Here’s what I got – a direct LINK to a website. Firstly – it will be different in IE and Firefox. Next, thats where the address should go! and lastly – how the hell did it know I’d accept this as the best result? Does it do the same if you type the same thing into Google? How about Yahoo? How about the Google Task Bar – or even Excite (do they exisit?).


2 thoughts on “Fundamentals: Taxonomies for Learning

  1. Dean,

    I am interested in what you have. I am not entirely certain what the back story is leading to, so I am hoping you will write more?

    Michael Netzley
    Communicateasia blog

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