Cloudworks is a project from the OU’s Institute of Educational Technology. It’s described as:
a place for people to share learning design tools, resources and examples of learning activities…. a place where people can showcase their designs and related work, and obtain inspiration and advice when creating new designs
Although the site is essentially a repository, the developers are keen to make it feel less like a repository and more like a social networking site. It encompasses a lot of web 2.0 elements: tagging & cloud tags, comments and RSS feeds. I like the way the site is progressing and look forward to seeing how it develops.
Having said that, I remain somewhat of sceptic with regard to the re-use of learning material and activities (or designs). For me it only works so far… I’ll happily incorporate others’ resources into teaching materials so for example, if I need an image I often search and grab photos from Flickr. But that never extends to a whole activity as I tend to think it will take longer to find and adapt something than to create it from scratch.
While I think I would find it useful to browse sites such a Cloudworks for ideas for activities, rather than the activity in its entirety, I’m not convinced I would. I think I’m more likely to stumble across ideas in conversations with colleagues and other educators or at events such as conferences and staff development sessions. Of course, that’s just me.
Having highlighted my scepticism you might be surprised to learn that I’m working on a similar project! Similar in that like Cloudworks it’s a repository of learning materials and uses Drupal. But different in that it’s small-scale & unfunded – currently a repository of learning materials for teaching French at the LSE but that’s just the acorn… Having liked what I’ve seen at Cloudworks I’m feeling inspired to throw some more energy into our Drupal project, nab some ideas and kick-start some plans we’ve had in the pipeline for a while!
It almost goes without saying these days but I came across Cloudworks on Twitter…