Winners of Platforms for Networked Innovation Competition

Skeltrack 1.4: Jitter smoothing from Joaquim Rocha on Vimeo.This video shows the Skeltrack Kinect one of the winner of Platforms for Networked Innovation Competition.


Networks of Regional Innovation: The case of the Atlantic Region Policy Forum,
15th November 2012 – Oxford Internet Institute

Special Jury Award

The Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford, as part of KNetworks project, organized an online competition to identify the innovative activities with high outreach that have been carried out by organizations within the Atlantic Region (transnational cooperation between Ireland, Spain, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom).

This competition was aimed at academics, practitioners and stakeholders focused on knowledge transfer, tourism, and e-government collaboration with particular links to the Atlantic Area (Ireland, Spain, France, Portugal, United Kingdom).

The Platforms for Networked Innovation Competition is funded by the “Atlantic Area Transnational Programme” in cooperation with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The winners platforms of this competition are:

1st place: SSMS+ (Social Media Surgery + – software for social media surgery network)

SMS+ is software designed to enable people to organise and monitor ‘social media surgeries’. A network that fosters civic conversation and develops on-line skills. It enables users to set up meetings, advertise them, inform and track their networks, and monitor quantitatively and qualitatively what exactly happens at them. It provides reports and records simply and effectively. It is free to use for community groups and active citizens, but can be re-engineered for specific purposes in organisations that pay for it. It enables people to share knowledge and connect with each other.

• 2nd place. Bentham Papers Transcription Initiative.

Transcribe Bentham, launched in September 2010, is a pioneering and award-winning crowdsourced manuscript transcription project, which has done a great deal to promote engagement between academics and non-academics. The project makes available digital images of University College London’s vast Bentham Papers collection, and recruits online volunteers to transcribe the material and encode their work in Text-Encoding Initiative-compliant XML. Since its launch, volunteers have transcribed over 4,500 complex manuscripts, or an estimate 2.2 million words. Volunteer-produced transcripts (a) will feed into the production of the new scholarly edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, being produced by UCL’s Bentham Project; and (b) will be uploaded to UCL’s digital Bentham Papers repository, thereby making available to all a collection of unparalleled historical and philosophical importance, and ensuring its long-term preservation and sustainability.

 • 3rd. joint place: TKNIKA INNOVA (Regioanl Innovation Management Model)

Innovation Management. Vocational Education and Training and further education: One of the main problems facing VET colleges and further education institutions is the gap that elapses between a new technology or innovation is discovered at a university, at a research centre or even at a company, and arrives to the ducational system is too long. TKNIKAINNOVA, the Innovation Management Model, allows educational institutions and also SMEs to develop innovation projects in Technology, Teachers´training, ICT and e-learning or Management. The processes the model is based on, are the following: 1º.- Capture of ideas through a transversal following up system at regional, national and international levels 2º.- Preparation of pre-projects that can be evaluated as innovative and then offered to the colleges to be developed. 3º.- Development of the Project. Selected teachers working half time with TKNIKA, half time at their colleges 4º.- Transfer of the results to the rest of the teachers and colleges of the system 5º.- Evaluation of results of the transference. This model also allows to develop a culture of innovation for the whole staff of TKNIKA and for all the trainers of VET colleges and further education in the Basque Country.

 • 3rd. joint place: Skeltrack (The Free Software skeleton tracking library).

Devices like the Microsoft Kinect introduced new ways of interacting with technology. This device gives information about depth, i.e. the proximity of objects to the camera. Using skeleton tracking software on top of this information, it is possible to infer what and where are a human skeleton’s joints. This knowledge open a number of possibilities that will be more and more a part of our lives, influencing how we can interact with objects in our environment This entry introduces Skeltrack, the world’s first Open Source library for skeleton tracking. By being open and compatible with commercial use, Skeltrack opens many possibilities to both independent developers and companies. This entry’s summary explains the problem Skeltrack solves, the advantages it gives, the reception it had since its release and the good prospects it has for the future.

The jury consisted of Dr. Lucy Power, Prof. Jose Tribolet, and PhD Student Tim Davies.
(This is a cross-post previously published here).

New report: Strategies for Network Innovation

We are delighted to present the new report “Strategies for Networked Innovation”, a working paper for the Knetworks Project Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. This report was produced by Robert Kenny (Co-Founder at Communications Chambers) as a working paper for the Knetworks project with the assistance of Cristobal Cobo, Ralph Schroeder, Eric Meyer and William Dutton at the Oxford Internet Institute.

If you want to download this publication, click here Strategies for Network Innovation [pdf, 3MB]

Acknowledgements: This study was supported through the Knetworks project (Knowledge Dissemination Network for the Atlantic Area).



Radical openness in education [presentation]

We live in an exciting time. Digital technologies are becoming increasingly ubiquitous changing the centres and peripheries of knowledge production and consumption. Today it is essential to identify new learning perspectives enriched by distributed, open and collaborative communities. This talk will explore how to overcome the resistance to change in educational organizations based on key drivers in radical openness that can reshape the current education ecosystem. The idea is to discover remarkable open knowledge initiatives (i.e. open educational resources, massive online courses), new certification systems (i.e. open badges, peer assessment), new profiles (data broker, desing thinkers or digital curators); as well as distributed research networks. This presentation compile some of these trends and aims to open a dialogue of possible scenarios for education.

KNetworks Competition: Networks of Regional Innovation

At the Oxford Internet Institute we are pleased to announce a competition for the most innovative web-based platform enabling regional networks of innovation for public, private or research organizations.

The platforms should foster innovation in the three areas of knowledge transfer; tourism; or e-government – broadly conceived. They should be particularly relevant to the Atlantic Area (link), but again this should be interpreted in a wide and inclusive sense.

Candidate organizations will need to submit an online profile/form explaining why they deserve the award). Entries will be judged by a panel of experts and by popular vote. The top three entries will receive a 5,000 EUR prize for their institution. The deadline to participate in this competition will be the 29th of October 2012. More information here:

Traditional face-to-face higher education will become a privilege of a few

In the coming weeks I’ll meet a number of researchers who are working in ICT, learning and innovation from the University of Granada. In preparation, I’m compiling some resources and documentation that I hope will be useful for them. Here some early conclusion of resources that hope will be interesting for those who are exploring new frameworks and trends to understand the changing scenarios of education but particularly on learning and distributed knowledge practices. Please note that some of the resources enclosed linked a pdf.

  1. Educational institutions might lost their exclusivity in terms of high quality content delivering []
  2. The definition of relevant skills need to be defined/updated not-only by education institutions (other stakeholders need to have a voice) []
  3. We need to invest more in professional development (and more time to collaborate). More resources are needed not only meet the learning standards but exceed them []
  4. Learning cannot be understood as passing an exam but as an never-ending, social, and organic timeless process []
  5. There is no correlation (so far) between the kind of technology and the type quality of learning outcomes []
  6. Face to face education will be particularly for the privileges students (the rest might tend to take massive education). []
  7. A more flexible approach is required in term of knowledge/skills/literacies validation []
  8. Not only open sources is needed (open hardware but primarily open knowledge) []
  9. Open does not only mean for free. Today open means a more diverse distribution of tasks (curation, founding, distribution, etc.) []

Open Access Education and ‘south-south’ cooperation


Recently there has been increasing interest in the benefits obtained from free knowledge provided through open access initiatives. In the last decade a number of relevant initiatives have been created to promote open access practices in education and research [i.e.: Open CourseWare Consortium, Science - CreativeCommons; UNESCO Chair in Open Educational Resources; Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge; EU Commission announced new measures to open up science].

Why Open Access matter? The society as a whole can benefit from accelerated research cycles (immediate access to findings) and new possibilities of (self/informal) learning. Researchers and educators who provide open licence educational/scientific materials gain visibility, recognition and expand their networks. Broader and more rapid access to scientific papers and data can make it easier for researchers and businesses to build on the findings of public-funded research. Publishers likewise also benefit from wider dissemination and higher journal citation impact factor of their articles.

For instance, the European Commission announced by 2014 all articles produced with funding from Horizon 2020 will have to be accessible:

  • articles will either immediately be made accessible online by the publisher (‘Gold’ open access) – up-front publication costs can be eligible for reimbursement by the European Commission; or
  • researchers will make their articles available through an open access repository no later than six months (12 months for articles in the fields of social sciences and humanities) after publication (‘Green’ open access).

Conversely, the promised benefits of Open Access for developing regions are not necessarily realistic. For instance, Open Society Foundations has made noteworthy contributions in a few developing countries (i.e. Brazil). Unfortunately these are rare exceptions and not the norm. Open content is insufficiently adopted by academic and educational organizations in these regions. Although there are particular ‘Open Educational Resources and Open Access’ [OER & OA] initiatives in developing countries, the immense majority are produced by individuals or institutions from developed nations and therefore not always sufficiently adapted to the circumstances of the target country. This imbalance is problematic.

Some of the key proxies to understand this growing divide are lack of social and cultural capital; geographical location (developing countries) and language barriers (non-English speaking communities). Moreover it is not possible to develop a culture of OER & OA if the inhibiting factors are not analysed with local stakeholders.

Open Society Foundations, for instance, has made noteworthy contributions in a few countries developing (i.e. Brazil) unfortunately these are rare exceptions and not the norm. New efforts are needed in this field not only to enhance traditional north-south collaboration but also to foster  ‘south-south’ cooperation. We welcome the existing OA initiatives [i.e. Global OER Graduate or our OportUnidadProject.EU] but also we encourage supporters to contribute towards enabling the creation of new projects in this field.

Peter Suber prepared an Open Access Overview which include a great compilation of ideas in this field. Some of this benefits described by him need to be carefully reviewed by education senior manager and policy makers from developing regions. Let me highlight some of them here:

OA serves the interests of many groups.

  • Authors:  OA gives them a worldwide audience larger than that of any subscription-based journal, no matter how prestigious or popular, and demonstrably increases the visibility and impact of their work.
  • Readers:  OA gives them barrier-free access to the literature they need for their research, unconstrained by the budgets of the libraries where they may have access privileges. OA increases reader reach and retrieval power. OA also gives barrier-free access to the software they use in their research.
  • Teachers and students:  OA puts rich and poor on an equal footing for these key resources and eliminates the need for payments or permissions to reproduce and distribute content.
  • Libraries:  OA solves the pricing crisis for scholarly journals. It also solves what I’ve called the permission crisis. OA also serves library interests in other, indirect ways. Librarians want to help users find the information they need, regardless of the budget-enforced limits on the library’s own collection. Academic librarians want to help faculty increase their audience and impact, and help the university raise its research profile.
  • Universities:  OA increases the visibility of their faculty and research, reduces their expenses for journals, and advances their mission to share knowledge.
  • Journals and publishers:  OA makes their articles more visible, discoverable, retrievable, and useful. If a journal is OA, then it can use this superior visibility to attract submissions and advertising, not to mention readers and citations. If a subscription-based journal provides OA to some of its content (e.g. selected articles in each issue, all back issues after a certain period, etc.), then it can use its increased visibility to attract all the same benefits plus subscriptions. If a journal permits OA through postprint archiving, then it has an edge in attracting authors over journals that do not permit postprint archiving. Of course subscription-based journals and their publishers have countervailing interests as well and often resist or oppose OA. But it oversimplifies the situation to think that all their interests pull against OA.
  • Funding agenciesOA increases the return on their investment in research, making the results of the funded research more widely available, more discoverable, more retrievable, and more useful. When funding agencies disburse public funds, OA helps in a second way as well, by providing fundamental fairness to taxpayers or public access to the results of publicly-funded research.
  • Governments:  As funders of research, governments benefit from OA in all the ways that funding agencies do (see previous entry). OA also promotes democracy by sharing non-classified government information as widely as possible.
  • CitizensOA gives them access to peer-reviewed research, most of which is unavailable in public libraries, and gives them access to the research for which they have already paid through their taxes. But even those with no interest in reading this literature for themselves will benefit indirectly because researchers will benefit directly. OA accelerates not only research but the translation of research into new medicines, useful technologies, solved problems, and informed decisions that benefit everyone.


From Kodak Culture to networked image

We are everywhere

[See Dr. Edgar Gomez Cruz's album]

Enclosed you will find the prologue of the new book: “From Kodak Culture to networked image. An ethnography of digital photography” (original title in Spanish: “De la Cultura Kodak a la imagen en red”), writen by Edgar Gomez Cruz. This prologue was prepared by Sarah Pink from Loughborough University.

Edgar Gomez Cruz’s work responds and contributes to an emergent strand in scholarship around Communications and Media characterised by theoretical and practical turns away from the semiotic and towards the ethnographic, experiential, habitual and non-representational. In doing so it participates in the process of re-defining this field of scholarship in relation to a series of key theoretical and methodological moves that cross social sciences and humanities literatures and invite new interdisciplinary understandings of digital media. The geographer Nigel Thrift’s formulation of non-representational theory, he writes, ‘takes the leitmotif of movement and works with it as a way of going beyond constructivism’ (2008: 5). Such approaches, like that of the anthropologist Tim Ingold, have key critical implications for visual culture studies (see Ingold 2011: 316). They enable us to understand how the relevance of photography in the world goes beyond the visual content of images themselves and is bound up with their relationship with the multiple other things that are on-going in the worlds that they are part of. In this context alternative theoretical approaches have opened up new avenues through which we might comprehend digital photography. Indeed Ingold provocatively poses the question: ‘Should the drawing or painting be understood as a final image to be inspected and interpreted, as is conventional in studies of visual culture, or should we rather think of it as a node in a matrix of trails to be followed by observant eyes? Are drawings or paintings of things in the world, or are they like things in the world, in the sense that we have to find our ways through and among them, inhabiting them as we do the world itself?’ (2010: 16). The same of course should be asked of the digital photograph. Likewise conventional approaches to the study of digital photography through visual content are revised through the turn to practice theory, which has become an influential paradigm in sociology. Practice theory offers an analytical lens that turns away from the focus on culture. Instead as Andreas Reckwitz puts it: Practice theory ‘decentres’ mind, texts and conversation. Simultaneously, it shifts bodily movements, things, practical knowledge and routine to the centre of its vocabulary’ (2002: 259). These theoretical moves thus create a context where we have new and inspiring tools and frames through which to think about digital photography and the persons and things with which it is co-implicated in the world. Indeed to develop a contemporary study of digital photography involves departing from conventional analytical techniques in the study of the image. In doing so it moreover calls on scholars to follow the increasing urge towards working across and beyond the confines of traditional academic disciplines.

In this contemporary context a series of key research questions emerge relating to how we might understand how photographic images are produced and consumed as we move through and make the on-line/off-line environments of which we are part. It urges us to ask what, moreover are the implications of this for the roles and potentialities that photography and photographs have in our lives. To understand photography in this way then requires the study not of the image itself but of how these stories, experiences and trajectories emerge. It also requires us to ask how these narratives are interwoven with histories of technologies and the industries associated with them.

“De la Cultura Kodak a la imagen en red” is perfectly positioned to take on this challenge. Edgar Gomez Cruz’s is a project that has precisely brought together both the nature of the online/offline world – what he calls ‘onlife’ – and new approaches to understanding the image, media and the ways we engage with these. This book is on the one hand about a world where people go on excursions with their cameras, in different weather conditions and localities, where they eat together, laugh together and photograph together. Their experiences of the world are framed through these embodied experiences of the environment, of socialities and of things and it is from these experiences that their photography emerges. Yet in this off-line world the web is never far from our realities or, in the case of the photographers with whom Gomez Cruz worked never far either from their intentions. The meanings of photographs, we learn, from his meticulous and in-depth ethnographic study, are not to be found in any semiotic analysis of their content. But rather, in the stories of how, why and where they were taken, their trajectories as they were uploaded to flickr, and in the affective relationships and conceptualisations of both self and the world that emerge with and/or in relation to them. Yet as we are also made aware, these contemporary photographic worlds have grown through time through a historical form of relationality with an analogue world. Indeed to understand the nature of contemporary digital photography is also to ask questions about digital media and socio-technological change. To achieve this Gomez Cruz works at the intersection between media studies, anthropology, sociology and science and technology studies.

From anthropology Gomez Cruz takes an ethnographic approach that involves long term and everyday engagements with people as they interweave the practice of digital photography with other elements of their lives. He participated in the world and lives of the people he wished to learn about in a way that is more akin to the doing of anthropological ethnography than to its simple borrowing for an interdisciplinary exercise. The depth, consideration and reflexivity of the relationships he describes – and he has been known to say that he considers the participants to be co-authors of his work – is at the core of the types of understandings he is able to bring to his analysis. There is nothing superficial about this work. It is a ‘felt’ ethnography –in both the affective and physical sense of participation.

This means that when Gomez Cruz writes of the shift to Flickr culture, we can gain a strong sense of this not as a culture to be studied as if it were text, or to be analyzed semiotically. Instead, Gomez Cruz’s study shows how culture, from this perspective is emergent, and produced through the very everyday photographic practices that he participated in and studied. Flickr culture, in my understanding, is presented to us as something that is made. The ethnographic approach is a route to showing us how that socio-technical process happens through the intricacies of social relationships, how it becomes part of life through its embeddedness in routine and habitual practices, and its interwoveness with other domains of everyday life and special occasions.

This book then, stands as an example of how we might go about researching and understanding the new digital and web technologies that form part of the everyday worlds we live in. It calls on us to look beyond the confines of our disciplines, to innovate with new methods and approaches and to attend to the detail of ethnography. To communication and media scholars it issues a call to comprehend digital media content as more than text to be read. Rather in this context a visual image is an outcome of the interweaving of social and technological processes and practices. As such it reminds us that in everyday life the moments when photographic meanings become powerful might be those that are contingent on these trajectories, rather than produced independently from them. To anthropologists it offers a reminder that the everyday worlds that we research are increasingly places where the online and offline are also interwoven, and that indeed they might be neither experientially separate nor analytically separable.

[this is a cross-post]


Thrift, N. (2008) Non-Representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect, London: Routledge.

Ingold, T. (2010). Ways of mind-walking: reading, writing, painting. Visual Studies25(1), 15-23.

Ingold, T. (2011) ‘Worlds of sense and sensing the world: a response to Sarah Pink and David Howes’ in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale 19(3): 313–317.

Reckwitz, A. (2002) ‘Towards a Theory of Social Practices: A development in
culturalist theorizing’ European Journal of Social Theory, 5(2): 243-63.

Scholarly publication in (slow) transition to open access


[Further Reading/Information: EU Commission announced new measures to open up science in Europe and UK open-access policy was announced.]

Data from citation indexes can be analyzed to determine the popularity and impact of specific articles, authors, and publications, and the introduction of the Journal Citation Reports (JCR from Thomson Reuters) had given bibliometrics a great methodological push. Science indicators research has also been instrumental in the development of the field of scientometrics since the seventies (Russell & Rousseau, 2002).

The past few decades have seen a large number of citation analysis studies being undertaken in various research fields, from natural sciences to social sciences and humanities. Citation analysis results have also been used widely in scientific evaluation for purposes such as tenure and promotion of academics (Borgman & Furner, 2002). Today bibliometric techniques are increasingly used as an intrinsic component of a wide range of evaluation exercises. However, the current tendency is for institutions to be graded more on the visibility of their products then on their long-term reputation or resources (Russell & Rousseau, 2002).

A number of academic journal databases exist today, offering indices of citations between publications and mechanisms to establish which documents cite which other ones. They differ widely in cost to the user. Scopus and the JCR are major citation indexes that limit their records to those journals deemed by experts to be scholarly and significant to the journal’s given discipline (Bergman, 2012). Both are subscription based, generally to libraries. Other, freely available, citation indexes include CiteBase, CiteSeerX, Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search.

The JCR’s citation indices have been used as the data source for most of the citation analysis studies reported in the literature to date. They have contributed significantly to the wide application of a citation analysis approach in various studies and in scientific evaluation, but have also drawn considerable criticism, especially when applied to the evaluation of scholars.

JCR is considered to be one of the largest academic citation databases, containing over 46 million records relating to 11,261 high impact journals (Pleabani, 2010), including 1,400 journals that are open access (Zhang, Li, Liu, & Zeng, 2012). Scopus is also regarded to be large, with 46 million records (Delasalle, 2012) relating to 18,500 peer-reviewed journals (1,800 of them open access; Elsevier, 2012). It is worthy of note that these two databases register about10% of the open journals indexed in their respective databases.

According to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), an authoritative listing of peer-reviewed scholarly open access journals, the volume of high quality peer-review journals is growing quickly, as well as the number of authors who want to publish in open access journals.

DOAJ represents a great opportunity particularly for “hybrid open-access journals” where only some of the articles require payment and the rest are open access. ‘Gold’ and ‘Green’ open access journals also suggest new funding models (Oppenheim, 2008; Houghton & Oppenheim, 2010). Authors can use the JISC-funded RoMEO, a searchable database of publisher’s policies with simple guidelines about how to publish self-archiving journal articles.

JCR citation indices indicate that the number of times a document is downloaded in full text format from an electronic archive relates statistically to the number of times it is cited in other indexed journals. There is also evidence that the number of downloads influences citations, and that citations influence downloads (Moed, 2005). Interesting analyses on the relationship between citation and download can also be found for Citebase, an impact-ranked search service that indexes open access papers in ArXiv.

Other research indicates that free access to scientific articles increases the number of resulting citations; open access academic articles are cited by peers more quickly than articles published in non

-open access journals. Studies indicate that open academic publications are therefore likely to benefit science by accelerating the uptake of research findings and by maximising the impact of scientific production (Eysenbach, 2006; Piwowar, 2010; Wagner 2010; Borgman 2011, Norris, Oppenheim, & Rowland, 2008).

However, it is also fair to mention that other authors have expressed skepticism about whether open access articles are cited frequently (Davis, Lewenstein, Simon, Booth, & Connolly, 2008;Brody, Harnad, & Carr, 2006; Gargouri et al., 2010).

A remarkable example of a repository of open access academic content is the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), which encourages the early distribution of research results and content, downloadable at no charge to the user. SSRN has registered 56 million downloads to date, totalling 1,000,000 per month. The SSRN eLibrary has indexed 7.7 million references and 5.2 million citations.

The ‘open access’ movement in the scholarly literature can offer promising possibilities for stimulating scientific work, by: a) providing access to research; b) speeding up scholarly communication and scientific dialog between researchers; and c) offering greater visibility and impact opportunities.

A few weeks ago UNESCO convened the World Open Educational Resources  Congress. One of its invited speakers was Harvard’s Lawrence Lessig – co-founder of Creative Commons – who explained that knowledge elites ought to ensure free access to content for those sections of the population who can’t pay for it. He emphasized that being a member of the academic community carries an obligation to enable access to one’s own work. Lessig also explained the importance of adopting new forms of access that remove unnecessary controls that are automatically built into the current system of publication. He added that while he believed that author rights are important — “I am against abolitionism… I think copyright is essential” – and didn’t believe in a dichotomy of “open” and “closed” work, he considered it important to recognize more flexible models of publication.

As Zhao (2005) acknowledges, it is well known that JCR citation indexes is still the main data source for citation-based science evaluation, pushing scholars to publish in journals indexed there.

The slow move of journals to open access and the low participation rate of faculty in institutional repositories indicates that simply promoting the benefits of new formats of scholarly communication is not enough. If full-text open access scholarly publications were to be used as data sources for citation-based science evaluation, scholars might become more motivated to make their work available for open access, knowing that it is counted in bibliometric evaluations.

Finally, it seems necessary to bring open access and new publication formats into the tenure evaluation system. Doing this can not only contribute to the tenure process, but may also serve to promote open access and a more efficient knowledge dissemination.

Acknowledgement: Special thanks for Eric Meyer and David Sutcliffe who provide valuable feedback to improve this text.

Picture ftom

Special issue Borderless society: the “new” work and education (call for papers)

In a world driven by exponential accelerating technological and social change, globalization, and a push for more creative and context-driven innovations, how can we ensure the success of ourselves as individuals,communities, and the planet? This special issue of On the Horizon explores the converging future of learning,work and how we relate with each other in this emerging paradigm. Of particular importance are the emerging class of borderless “new workers”, “neo-nomads” (or knowmads):

[…] a nomadic knowledge worker – that is, a creative, imaginative, and innovative person who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. Industrial society is giving way to knowledge and innovation work. Whereas industrialization required people to settle in one place to perform a very specific role or function, the jobs associated with knowledge and information workers have become much less specific in regard to task and place.

This issue aims to explore the role of education in developing and supporting such a “knowmad society”.
Suggested topics include (but are not limited to)

  • Roles of technology in human potential development for hyper-individualized creative and
  • innovation workers
  • The role of learning organizations in the creation of personal identity in post-cultural society
  • Key skills and competencies development areas for knowmadic, new workers
  • The economics of education for knowmadic workers
  • Maximizing human potential development in a society embroiled in accelerating change
  • Managing chaos and uncertainty in post-industrial careers
  • Redesigning and reformatting conceptualizations of space and “place” to attend to needs of knowmadic
  • learners and workers
  • New economics and comparative dimensions of knowmadic workers globally
  • What new worker parallels are emerging in other working classes (i.e. blue collar workers)?

Submissions of title and 250-word proposal due: July 1, 2012
Notice of acceptance: July 13, 2012
Papers due: December 1, 2012

Review result notification: January 15, 2013

Submit a paper
Submissions to this special issue of On the Horizon should be sent to the guest editor at John Moravec

General questions to:
Tom P. Abeles, editor
On the Horizon
More information, including full author guidelines, is available at:

Changing Higher Learning Forever?


The first time that I hear about the MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses, video) I thought that it was a crazy idea (I didn’t liked at all). It sounded to me as using the Internet instead of television to broadcast educational contents without caring who, where and how to learn. But after exploring with more details the ideas of Siemens (in discussion with Howard Rheingold) I could understood the rationale behind that.

It is widely acknowledged that the relationship between contents, availability, consumption and learning has been changing significantly in the last years (discussed two weeks ago in Cambridge). Nearly ten years after the creation of the OCW in MIT, now (May, 2011) Harvard and MIT have announced a new ambitious initiative (which will cost $60-Million), called edX: it will host online courses from both institutions free of charge. Since edX courses have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of students, the edX platform will not receive university credit, although they could earn certificates.

What is the main difference between this new initiative and the previous OCW?

Basically 10 years of experiences. The current initiative is inspired in experiences such as the highly commented open course in ‘Artificial Intelligence’ offered by Stanford which gather more than 100,000 students (!). That initiative later evolved into Udacity [more information in Wired Magazine: The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever]

Simultaneously, other educational initiatives have develop interesting practices, such as Khan Academy with millions of students, educators and self-learners using its videos. TED-Ed inspired in Khan also is doing a truly outstanding contribution in this area. Regarding new ways of assessing the learning experience, something recently discusses in an OECD summit, there are interesting initiative to learn from, such as P2P University or University of the People.

Loads of videos and new assessment methodologies are some of the ingredients that feed these changing educational practices. Very little time after the open course was offered by Stanford, MIT announced a new initiative: MITx, which in addition of providing the educational contents for free online, will implement a new system of qualification. Not based on academic degrees but on specific courses certification.

“This certificate will indicate that you earned it from MITx’s pilot course. In this prototype version, MITx will not require that you be tested in a testing center or otherwise have your identity certified in order to receive this certificate” [MITx].

Certainly behind this initiative there are a whole new sets of business models that will be required to explore with details. This new approach seems to be particularly suitable for those professionals who are aiming to re-skilling or keep updated (as well as competitive in a global labour market).

All these disruptive practices came meanwhile there is increasing interest in a creative (and probably very easy to adopt) initiative called Flipped Classroom: Where videos take the place of direct instruction, allowing students to get individual time in class to work with their teacher on key learning activities. Lectures are taken at home or somewhere else (using mobile phones or laptops) and face-to-face classes are used to discuss and promote hands-on learning experience base on the contents previously watched [see video bellow].

Now is still to be seen the middle and long terms implications of all these innovations. Also it will be interesting to see how other world-class higher institutions behave in this scenario. What are the learning implications of all these initiatives? Is open (and more flexible) education just a hype or it will really change Higher Education for ever ?

Probably the next Network of Excellence Internet Science Summer School in Oxford will be a good place to discuss it.

Video Edx

Video streaming by Ustream

Flipped Classroom