Reading: Hashtags and retweets

I’m getting back into reading around things I enjoy and things that matter to me. What better place to start than with the archives of the RILT, the ALT Reasearch in Learning Technology open access journal.

Hashtags and retweets: using Twitter to aid Community, Communication and Casual (informal) learning, by Peter Reed.

Since the evolution of Web 2.0, or the Social Web, the way in which users interact with/on the Internet has seen a massive paradigm shift. Web 2.0 tools and technologies have completely changed the dynamics of the Internet, enabling users to create content; be it text, photographs or video; and furthermore share and collaborate across massive geographic boundaries. As part of this revolution, arguably the most significant tools have been those employing social media. This research project set out to investigate student’s attitudes, perceptions and activity toward the use of Twitter in supporting learning and teaching. In so doing, this paper touches on a number of current debates in higher education, such as the role (and perceived rise) of informal learning; and debates around Digital Natives/Immigrants vs. Digital Residents/Visitors. In presenting early research findings, the author considers the 3Cs of Twitter (T3c): Community, Communication and Casual (informal) learning. Data suggests that students cannot be classed as Digital Natives purely on age and suggests a rethinking of categorisations is necessary. Furthermore, the data suggests students are developing their own personal learning environments (PLEs) based on user choice. Those students who voluntarily engaged with Twitter during this study positively evaluated the tool for use within learning and teaching.

Reed, P. (2013). Hashtags and retweets: using Twitter to aid Community, Communication and Casual (informal) learning. Research in Learning Technology, 21.

Image source: Petit Louis (CC BY 2.0)

Preface: A decade of Web 2.0 – Reflections, critical perspectives, and beyond

Über zehn Jahre nach Tim O’Reilly’s programmatischen Gedanken über “What is Web 2.0?” hat First Monday wieder ein Themenheft zum Stichwort zusammengestellt (2008 gab es das erste, “Critical perspectives on Web 2.0″). Spurensuche ist angesagt, 10 Artikel liegen vor, von “Web 2.0 user knowledge and the limits of individual and collective power” (Nicholas Proferes) bis “The blogosphere and its problems: Web 2.0 undermining civic Webspaces” (Alexander Halavais). Vielversprechend. Umfangreich.
Michael Zimmer und Anna Lauren Hoffmann, First Monday, Volume 21, Number 6, 6. Juni 2016

A Typology of Web 2.0 Learning Technologies

Das ist cool! Der Autor hat 212 Web 2.0-Technologien identifiziert, “that were suitable for learning and teaching purposes”. Daraus wurden dann 37 Typen von Technologien, zusammengefasst in 14 Cluster, wie z.B. Text based tools, Image based tools, Audio tools usw. Die Technologien werden alle kurz vorgestellt und verlinkt. Zum Stöbern und Entdecken. Denn: “Results of this study imply that educators typically have a narrow conception of Web 2.0 technologies, and that there is a wide array of Web 2.0 tools as yet to be fully harnessed by learning designers and educational researchers.”
Matt Bower, EDUCAUSE, 10. Februar 2015


Sag mal, wie geht das?

Eine kurze Fallstudie, im brand eins-Stil erzählt: Die Erste Bank in Österreich hat Alt und Jung zusammengebracht. In Workshops, die “Entdeckungsreise Web 2.0″ heißen und in denen die üblichen Rollen von Mentor und Mentee vertauscht werden. Der Hintergrund:

“Die Erste Bank setzt seit 2012 stark auf Onlinebanking. Um zu verhindern, dass die Berater nicht weiterhelfen können, wenn Kunden beispielsweise Nachfragen zu Apps haben, stattete die Bank die Mitarbeiter mit Smartphones aus. Dass sich im Laufe der Zeit alle selbst mit den Funktionen vertraut machen würden, erwies sich jedoch als Irrglaube. Vor allem ältere Führungskräfte nutzten die Geräte so wie zuvor ihre alten Mobiltelefone: hauptsächlich zum Telefonieren. Statt für Schulungen nun externe Fachleute zu beauftragen, setzte die Bank auf ihre hauseigenen Smartphone-Experten: die Lehrlinge und Berufsanfänger.”

Der Artikel erzählt flüssig, lässt auch kritischen Stimmen Raum, will allerdings etwas zu viel: Reverse Mentoring, vier Generationen am Arbeitsplatz, Diversity, digitale Transformation von Unternehmen. Trotzdem lesenswert.
Sarah Mühlberger, brand eins, 09/2014

Lernort YouTube

Wir sprechen heute von videobasiertem Lernen oder E-Learning, von Microlearning, der Khan Academy und MOOCs. Und diese Stichworte, Projekte und Trends sind ohne YouTube, ohne die populäre Videoplattform, kaum denkbar. Hier haben sich unzählige Kurzformate und Stile etabliert, die auch die Bildungsarbeit auf vielen Spielfeldern des Internets prägen. Hinzukommt, und dieser Aspekt nimmt im Rahmen des Themenschwerpunkts auf #pb21 einen zentralen Platz ein, dass YouTube auch eine typische Web 2.0-Plattform darstellt, ein soziales Netzwerk, das zum Selber-Produzieren und -Senden animiert. User-Generated Content, wie es so schön heißt. Themenschwerpunkt auf #pb21, das heißt wie immer: eine Reihe von interessanten Artikeln, Gesprächen, Interviews und Links zum Thema.
Jöran Muuß-Merholz, #PB21 | Web 2.0 in der politischen Bildung, 17. Juni 2014

‘The Survival of Higher Education’ by @timbuckteeth

I’ve been following and talking with Professor Steve Wheeler for several years now, and have had the honour of presenting at his Pelecon conference and sharing the billing at the eAssessment Scotland conference.

Steve often writes individual posts or, like recently, he writes a series of post with common themes to expand or challenge a certain approach or concept of education – his 2010 series on ‘Distance Learning / Distance Education’ initiated some interesting discussions. Steve has, this time, been looking at the survival of Higher Education – please read all of Steve’s posts, you know you’ll be the  better for it.

I’ve linked to Steve’s original work here, as well as my response I posted to his website – I concentrate on  specific aspect of his posts/series, but please be sure to read the full posts so my comments (and the quotes) are not taken out of context: 

The survival of higher education by Steve WheelerThe survival of higher education (1): Changing roles

“The embedding of digital technology into the fabric of everyday study has also changed the way students learn (Colllis and Moonen, 2002) and is more in keeping with what younger people expect (Veen and Vrakking, 2006). Now students can assume more responsibility for their own learning and design their own study trajectories. They are able to learn while on the move using personal devices, and are able to access a vast storehouse of knowledge through ubiquitous access to the Web. Communication is also an easier prospect with texting, instant messaging and shared learning spaces becoming ever more common place. In many ways, and for most students, it would be hard to conceive of a way of learning and working that was devoid of the Web, e-mail or mobile phones.”

I replied “yet, despite the movement towards ‘student as agents‘ is there not also talk about the reluctance to engage with students in this way? I read about so many examples of teachers and educators trying new and different approaches to engagement and ‘learning’  yet the common theme of all the posts is the seemingly lack of support from their management and/or school authority. Is it the technology that is scary or the concept of including the students in devising and creating their own learning … after all, how do they know what they need to know as they don’t know it yet?”

The survival of higher education (2): Changing times

“The essential premise underpinning the use of any Social Web application is that over a period of time it genuinely becomes self-supporting, and that the students will enjoy the freedom to produce their own content and study pathways. The problem with this is that students may not always be as accurate or fastidious in their content generation as they could be, and may need guidance on the pathway they choose to take. However, there is evidence that students begin to support each other when they share the same online space and have mutual goals to achieve.”

This can be the best and worst element of the inclusion of social tools in a learning environment – for some it will take longer to learn the tool than perhaps to learn the subject? We already recognise the importance of including new tools, software, or technology in a sensitive manner, but we cannot escape the fact that some will adopt it easily and quickly, and for others it will be a barrier to the actual learning and put them off the whole process.

I guess it’s a case of “know your audience” and include when and where you think appropriate and, if necessary, be prepared to adjust so individuals are not disadvantaged?

The survival of higher education (3): The Social Web

“There is a sense from many younger students that the institutional managed learning environments are not popular tools, because they fail in comparison to the more colourful, flexible and accessible social networking tools that are available for free on the internet. Further, students enjoy personalising their online spaces, a task that is not particularly easy or positively discouraged within institutional systems. This is particularly evident on a cursory inspection of any social web space, whether it be Facebook, Snapchat or any other popular free space. Students ‘pimp’ their pages, adding colour and textures, favourite images, links to their favourite websites, including mashups to video sharing sites such as YouTube and photo sites such as Flickr. This was often impossible or forbidden on university and college sites, where a corporate branding and image uniformity was enforced and surveillance imposed.”

How do we, the ‘institution’, deal with this? Many Institutions have an expensive and ‘recommended’ learning management system (LMS) or virtual learning environment (VLE) which, obviously, they want to see used in order to tick a box to say it’s being used and it’s been worth the effort and money spent on implementing it.

If these systems are not up to scratch, that they don’t or can’t mirror the systems and tools students are used to using in their everyday ‘social’ activities then is the time of the single-instance LMS / VLE come? Are we better off using off using multiple tools (with multiple sign in accounts) for our needs (Apps, DropBox, WordPress, FaceBook, Twitter, etc.) or does the single sign-on system still have it’s place?

The survival of Higher Education (4): 5 key objectives

Steve makes some good points here about what ‘we’ need to do to make technology less conspicuous and more inclusive, that  it’s not always good to lead the drive for this technology but it’s possibly worse to be the follower or laggard?

“Teachers need to see the relevance and application of new technologies. For teachers to adopt new technologies, they must first see the applications and understand the benefits (as well as the limitations) of the tool. If a tool adds nothing new to the teaching and learning equation it will be perceived as irrelevant and will be rejected (cf. Norman, 1990).”

As always I can go back to my age old answer that the inclusion and use of any technology, not just for education or learning, needs to be ‘appropriate’ and ‘considered’, that there needs to be a reason for it’s use and that it needs to add something to the requirement for learning. The reason for implementing something new or something innovative can be as simple as saving time, increasing efficiency, improving effectiveness, streamlining workflow, etc. but the improvement should be as a result of the technology, not because of it.

The survival of Higher Education (5): Recommendations

“Teachers may see new technologies either as opportunities or as threats. Whatever their views, the teachers who are most likely to be successful will be those who embed new technologies into their courses, and who adopt a role that us supportive of flexible and mobile learning. Technology will not replace teachers, but teachers who adopt new technologies will probably replace those who don’t.”

I know that for my two boys – one just started school, the other starting in September – I want their teachers to prepare them for the world they live in. This is not the world the teachers (of whatever experience or background) were trained in or grew up in themselves, this is the world in which my two boys live in NOW. This world has touch screens and streaming video, it has gesture control and games with artificial intelligence, it has possibilities and no apparent limitations. If my children are to survive and flourish in tomorrow’s world then it starts now; at school , at home, with friends, with teachers.

Photo by Felix Burton on Wikimedia Commons.