Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Activity 22 An open education technology #h817open

I have mentioned before in this series (activity 19)  the need for students to be able to collect together links to the resources given to them on a course merged with those resources discovered by themselves. Let's refer to this tool category as PINC (PLN Information Node Curation). A PINC tool, most usefully a cloud app, will have these features:

  1. a central repository of information nodes (links and documents) culled over a lifetime of learning; by definition this should be capable of:
    • information node insertion/edit/deletion
    • convenient searching
    • export in convenient formats
  2. a personal tagging/labeling system to structure what is likely to be a very large collection
  3. the ability to share any or all information nodes (make public and maybe more targeted sharing)
  4. quickly accessible over the Internet from a wide variety of devices to include smartphones, tablets, laptops, even wearable devices; some devices will allow local storage for off-net access
  5. automatic backup and ability to download all information for archiving purposes
In my experience some existing apps come close to these PINC requirements although none meets them completely:
  • Evernote: a widely used app/service that can store a very large range of information types and now has easy sharing
  • Diigo: primarily a link repository that took over and expanded upon the early now reincarnated Delicious service; this repository is only useful if all information nodes are resource links
  • Mendeley: primarily a citation repository which is widely used to share academic references as well as links; PDF and data files are also handled well; the recent takeover by Elsevier casts doubt on its long term survival
All the suggested PINC apps come with free versions although the paid service offers not only more features but also promises more longevity, a major requirement for a service that will be needed over many years.

It was pleasing to see the early creation of a shared Diigo list of references for this Open Education MOOC but it appears not to have survived week 1. The excellent list of references provided for us on #h817open are currently scattered over several OpenLearn pages. It would be more useful if all references were gathered together in a public repository of some sort that will survive the end of the Open Education MOOC.

I would be very happy to hear of alternative PINC tools that other people are using. Please comment below.