Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 Year in Review

"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." - Mark Twain

"Another fresh new year is here/ Another year to live!/To banish worry, doubt, and fear,/ To love and laugh and give!" - William Arthur Ward

2011, we barely knew you. You brought earthquakes and tsunamis, unemployment, an Arab Spring, and an Occupy movement. There were blizzards when you first arrived, drought and wildfires as you took your first steps, tornadoes, floods and stifling heat waves as you reached midlife, and strange storms in your latter days. You saw the end of the Space Shuttle program, Oprah's 25-year reign over daytime television, Borders bookstores, and American troops in Iraq. You take with you Steve Jobs, Elizabeth Taylor, Joe Frazier, Amy Winehouse, and many more we will miss. From my desk at CCC, here are four things I'll remember you for:

1. TTIP Consolidates. We learned in early spring that TTIP (Telecommunications and Technology Infrastructure Program, which funds CCC Confer and several other statewide projects) was going to experience budget cuts. To cope with reduced funds, a plan was developed to consolidate TTIP projects into two centers. Tim Calhoon, Director of the California Community Colleges Technology Center, will be directing the California Virtual Campus (CVC) along with CCCApply and CCCTran. My end of the deal will include CCC Confer, 3C Media Solutions / Edustream, and the @ONE project. My sincere thanks to Bill Doherty, who will be retiring at the end of next month, and Lenora Pinkston (who will remain at Evergreen Valley College) for their help in the transition and planning for this consolidation, and to all of the staff from these projects who have collaborated to ensure an effective alliance of minds and efforts. We're a terrific team and I'm fortunate to be part of it.

2. Mobile Learning. In January, I was part of the Mid-Pacific Information and Communication Technology (MPICT) Winter ICT Educator Conference in San Francisco. One of the tracks that fascinated me and all of the attendees had to do with educational mobile apps: there are thousands of them, and they're multiplying! The Horizon Report predicted that this would be the year for adoption of mobile learning, and it certainly seems to have been a banner year for iPhones, iPads, eReaders, Androids, and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).  Irvine Valley College hosted a symposium entitled "Mobility Matters" in March, where I joined Craig DeVoe, Jim Gaston, Bob Bramucci, and several others to discuss mobile computing and the impact of mobility on learning and higher education. (Incidentally, I'm going back to MPICT next month for the 2012 iteration; hope to see you there!)

3. Open Learning Heroes. The 2011 Online Teaching Conference at Orange Coast College used the theme "Be an Open Learning Hero" for good reason. Open educational resources are a growing part of the landscape. Early in 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor introduced the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program, a $2 billion effort that mandates the use of openly licensed materials. Open Educational Resource University (OERu) began to take shape this year, along with the Open Course Library. And State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg proposed a bill that will allocate $25 million to create free online college text books and establish the California Digital Open Source Library. View Jane Park's presentation, "Opening the Door to Sharing Content in Education," by clicking here. Eric Frank's talk - "Free the Text! How Open Texts are Disrupting Publishing and Improving Outcomes" - can be viewed here. And Steve Hargadon's keynote, "Open Learning: The Future of Education" is available here.

4. Learning is Social. Facebook now has 800 million users, more than half of whom are daily users. Over 900 million objects (pages, groups, events) are shared every day on the site, with 250 million new photos uploaded daily. 350 million of Facebook's active users connect from mobile devices. It took three years, two months, and a day from the first Tweet to the billionth Tweet on Twitter. Currently, it takes a week to send a billion Tweets.  Twitter now adds an average of 460,000 new accounts per day, and saw a 182% increase in mobile users in 2011. Google+ was introduced this year and is nearing 100 million users (all adult). Michelle Pacansky-Brock calls this "The Era of Participation" and we're all (willing or not) participants.

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