LeMill and Eduspaces/eLGG – Groups and Networks

We were today looking for some statistics of the members and learning resource in the LeMill.net. It looks that LeMill is growing smoothly. I think we are still far from a “critical mass” that will make LeMill “self-sustainable”. Still, the future looks promising.

In LeMill.net we now have 1022 members, 238 content modules, 2540 media pieces, 59 descriptions of learning and teaching methods, and 144 descriptions of learning and teaching tools. Here are some examples of these:

Member: Martin Sillaots

Resource: How to write equations in LeMill (multimedia page)

Resource: Future Learning Models and the Impact of Visual Culture (Presentation)

Resource: Grammar exercise: the future (Exercise)

Resource: Kosteikko – maan ja veden välissä (Progressive Inquiry Learning Object)

Method: Study Project / Project Learning

Tool: Viddler

In the last days there has been close to 20 new members registering to the community every day. If things go on like this we will double the numbers in 50 days

Eduspaces/eLGG is a social networking site dedicated to education and educational technology. The service exists to promote the use of cutting edge technologies within education.

My impression is that most of the Eduspace users are mainly using the blog service and the 20 discussion groups of the site. In the Eduspaces (eLGG) there are about 8000 members.

I don’t think that LeMill and Eduspaces/eLGG are competing. Actually they are not even very similar kind of services, though they are both made for people working in the field of education and social platforms. What are the main differences? There are differences in the features and tools of the platforms, but I see one more fundamental difference that is probably effecting on them.

According to the Elgg.org site:

“Elgg is an open source social platform based around choice, flexibility and openness: a system that firmly places individuals at the centre of their activities.” (http://elgg.org/)

The same description could be used in LeMill with a minor (but very important!) change in it. It would be like this:

LeMill is an open source social platform based around choice, flexibility and openness: a system that firmly places shared objects at the center of its member’s activities.

So, there is a difference – an important difference. I am not sure is this difference is reflecting some kind of philosophical or cultural differences in the thinkingg of the designers of these two systems. It is possible.

We believe that communities, first of all, need objects they are developing together. The objects are the clue keeping communities together. In Eduspaces there are groups, shared bookmark lists and other things that are kind of tools for working with shared objects. Still it seems to fail to offer tools supporting shared ownership of objects. I also do not find how Eduspaces tools are supporting longer commitments to develop objects.

I think LeMill and Eduspace are both, first of all, “network” services, but I think LeMill have better support for “groups” working with shared objects.

So, finally, I see here onnection to the discussion about groups and networks we started with Stephens Downes about a year ago in New Zealand. LeMill is for a service for “networks” interested in to form “groups” to co-construct things together.

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