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The Whys and Wherefores of Wookie
 

The Whys and Wherefores of Wookie

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A presentation made to the EEE project in Valladolid, 14th November 2011, talking about ways of thinking about widget services, and describing work carried out in the iTEC and Omelette projects

A presentation made to the EEE project in Valladolid, 14th November 2011, talking about ways of thinking about widget services, and describing work carried out in the iTEC and Omelette projects

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    The Whys and Wherefores of Wookie The Whys and Wherefores of Wookie Presentation Transcript

    • The whys and wherefores of Wookie widgetsEEE, Valladolid November 14th 2011Professor David (Dai) GriffithsThe Institute for Educational CyberneticsThe University of BoltonD.E.Griffiths@bolton.ac.uk
    • What is Wookie, and why am I talking about it?● At IEC we have developed a technical infrastructure for the delivery of services and resources using Widgets● It is now in the Apache incubator, & has created a lot of interest in TEL and in mobile telephony.● It is a potential enabling technology for the orchestration for EEE● I will not go into technical detail, which is available through Apache. I will discuss four ways that I think about the usefulness of the infrastructure● I hope that over the three days we can talk about ● If and how the technology I have described is relevant to EEE ● The research questions which are raised by the perspectives I offer
    • Four perspectives on Wookie(& widget based services in general)● Non-exclusive perspectives which we can use to understand why this generic infrastructure has resonated, and what importance it may have as – a learning design intervention – an interoperability tool – a support for teachers orchestration of the classroom – an articulation of institutional / personal technology● No implied hierarchy in the list
    • a) A learning design intervention● Common sense tells us... ● some learning activities are better than others ● we find ourselves enthused or bored ● we achieve our objectives or we fail to make progress● This suggests we should we be able to... ● identify activities which are effective ● describe them ● provide guidance instructional designers which will enable them to create optimal courses● Cognitivism, and constructivism are both problematic for this approach
    • Koper defined the underlying approach (building on Reigeluth) “...learning design knowldedge consists of a set of prescriptive rules with the following basic structure: if learning situation S, then use learning method M, with probability P.”● Situational, so distance learning is easier● A good rule improves the probability of desired outcomes in a situation● Probability is inexact, because it is situation dependent.● Rules are not value free. People prefer certain learning outcomes and methods above others.● When alternative methods can be used, the learning designer has to evaluate the various methods available and choose between them.
    • Orchestration of learning activities● Take the idea of learning rules● Formalise them (lots of issues here!)● Instantiate them in computer systems so that they could orchestrate activities● IMS LD was intended to do this● It was the starting point for much of the work I have been involved with over the past ten years
    • The technological problem... An implemented rule has to be both● context free (abstracted, so it can be run repeatedly) and● context specific (so that it can make use of the services which are available to each individual user)● How can this be achieved?● A number of groups worked on this in different ways, but our solution was Wookie
    •  Wookie is a widget server for W3C widgets (reference implementation), and largely compatible with Open Social Built by IEC by my colleagues: Scott Wilson, Paul Sharples and Kris Popat Now in the Apache incubator, and building a wider developer community http://incubator.apache.org/wookie/ Developed for IMS LD, but the problem of generalisable / localisable services had very wide application
    • How Wookie balances the general and the specific● Like any trade-off, the Wookie resolution to the problem has costs and benefits ● A single server providing multiple services ● One integration for many services ● You choose your Wookie server, which has default services on it ● Could be at the level of a University, a school authority, a country, the world... ● Specify the server when you set up the course ● No guarantee you will find what you need, but set up of Wookie and its services is simple ● A disk image available if you want to try it out. Contact me
    • b) Interoperability enables Wookie to provide LD services● Widgets are simple: HTML and Javascript, so they will run in any browser. So does an LD player.● Much widget content is delivered across the network, so they provide a tunnel between environments which can be used to provide services from a single source to multiple consumers● We added multi-user capabilities, roles and server side data storage to enable more sophisticated functionality● Delegated authentication to the container
    • Interoperability generates applications for Wookie● As a matter of policy and convenience we used interoperability specifications: W3C widgets● We ensured that our extensions of the specification were aligned with the W3C● We positioned Wookie as an open source reference implementation for W3C widgets, and successfully applied for admission to the Apache Incubator● As a result Wookie could be used in many environments and platforms, for many purposes● The system we developed for IMS LD is now a focus of quite different research and development activities
    • Thanks to Chuck Severence
    • c) Support for teachers orchestration of the classroom● Learning design hoped to help the teacher by off-loading the responsibility for orchestration onto the computer● An alternative approach is to provide systems which amplify the teachers ability to orchestrate the classroom● A different balance between planning and response to evolving situations
    • The educational environment is highly standardised... We have a standard curriculum We have professionally produced learning materials We have pedagogic guidance and inspection And with IMS LD we have a standard way of analyzing and specifying activities
    • … but we still have “great teachers” and “bad teachers” We give them awards, and we fire them We ascribe the difference to “inspiration”, “personality”, “experience”. But it often seems to be some kind of magic teacher dust This may (or may not) be OK for traditional classroom teaching But when we design computer systems we have to be very explicit http://www.anthonyshome.com/images/Monica%20&%20Karla%27s%20Party/Karla%20Gets%20The%20Magic%20Dust.JPG
    • A working hypothesis: teaching asmodulation of activity and discourse The “magic dust” is composed of coordination and micro-coordination of activity and discourse It is too detailed to show up on IMS Learning Design and similar activity designs It is not well understood, even by teachers... ...but good teachers have a good rhetoric applied at this level and deployed on-the-fly If so, how can we – describe it? – identify it? – analyze it? – support it with computer systems? Wookie provides a means of exploring these questions
    • iTEC● iTEC: large scale pilots to promote innovative use of IT in the school classroom● Wookie delivers services across platforms● Scenario is a Learning Story, supported by a Learning Activity Resource Guide● Like an LD environment & activity instruction● Leaving the teacher to carry out the coordination
    • Moodle example● ITEC target enviroments include LRN, Liferay, Moodle● The VLE is a means of controlling access to a set of services● Resolves problems of legality and complexity for teachers adapting Web services in the classroom.● The same widget, the same instantiation, can exist in multiple locations and platforms (whiteboard, phone, PC, tablet...)● The widget can be controlled by the teacher who can position learners (in Harrés sense) with tools which are to hand ● Change state learners device or access to resources (e.g. widget simulation) ● Provide learners with opportunities for collaboration (forum, shared text...) ● Enable learners to provide input (e.g. a clicker, vote...) ● Enable learners to control devices (embedded widgets? remote control?, RFID / near field...?)http://itec-moodle.eun.org/course/view.php?id=9
    • http://zope.cetis.ac.uk/members/scott/blogview?entry=20090612190435
    • ITEC App Store● The iTEC services and resources need to be ● Stored somewhere ● Described ● Curated ● Made available● The iTEC App Store does this● Major effort, in collaboration with ROLE and OU UK ● removing widget management from Wookie ● revising the APIs ● developing the new App store server● Working prototype, full release summer 2012
    • d) Articulation of the institutional / personal● The idea of a Personal Learning Environment originated with Oleg Liber and his collaborators in IEC Bolton● Technology is increasingly in the hands of the learner, not just the institution● The institution provides services which can be consumed and amalgamated by the learner at their choice of ● time ● place ● Platform● But we didnt want to build one
    • Omelette● Uses Wookie, but not in eLearning: mobile mash-ups combining web and telecoms● Provides functionality which move us towards “PLE” style services which are situated in the users own environment Wookie can provide the same instance to a number of different platforms. The same chat with the same participants can be in your blog on Moodle and on your phone● IEC is working on ● Wookie ● Mash up definition software ● Specification for collections of widgets and their display ● Apache Rave, a lightweight container for widgets
    • Rave
    • Some Omelette widgets Some widgets from Scott Wilson ● International Campus Education - Students Map ● Video (back to coordination) ● Monstermath● Widgets working with the phone ● Phone pollhttp://demo.ict-omelette.eu/wookie/http://labs.cetis.ac.uk/
    • Some final comments● Widgets are just one strand in a number of interwoven technological developments, including ● HTML 5 ● Websockets ● NodeJS● I have related the technology to education, but educational certainties are also being challenged● In IEC we move in an ongoing dialogue between these two areas● How we model the causal efficacy of our interventions and their different aspects is a major challenge● Not a proposed truth about widgets but a suggestion for approaching a discussion of the technology
    • Gracias por su atención D.E.Griffiths@bolton.ac.uk