Recommended Reading Summary: A Chapter of “Emerging Technologies for the Classroom”

In October, I posted some recommended reading that complemented one of my classes on gamification.  I’ve since started writing chapter summaries (here is the last article) so people can “preview” some of the great books out there and hopefully end up reading them!

Below is this month’s chapter summary.  Google Scholar features most of the chapter for free.  For the full text, here’s a Springer Link, which is free with subscription, or you can purchase the chapter or book.

Chapter 9: “Like, Comment, Share: Collaboration and Civic Engagement Within Social Network Sites,” by Greenhow and Lee, in Emerging Technologies for the Classroom: A Learning Sciences Perspective.

Social media and social networking sites allow individuals and groups to collaborate and learn together.  Social media has a different impact on the learning experience, compared to technology that is often utilized in the learning environment.  Students often use technology in the classroom for independent study or for research purposes.  Social media on the other hand supports research while also encouraging a learning process that is rich with peer to peer interaction.  Teaching and learning practices benefit from the collective knowledge that social technology provides.

Social media practices can facilitate new forms of collaborative knowledge construction.  It encourages civic engagement in broader communities of practice.  And social media can encourage an environment of trust, where individuals share information about themselves and their interests.  Establishing a level of trust within a social group can make the learning process more effective.  And cultivating a professional network can lead to opportunities above and beyond the learning experience.

A social networking site (SNS) is a web-enabled service through which individuals can maintain existing ties and develop new social ties with people outside their network.  Other examples of social media include media-sharing services like YouTube and Flickr, collaborative knowledge development through wikis, and creative works like blogs and microblogging.

There are opportunities to use social networking in both formal and informal learning settings – meaning social networking can be used regardless of whether learning objectives are determined for an experience.  Cultural and technological trends have sharply increased the amount of interest in social media, and access to technology is increasing as well.  Social network sites can bridge the gap between the formal learning environment of the classroom, and informal environments like afterschool programs or communities of practice.  They can also help instructors better understand the interests and backgrounds of their students, making it easier for them to cater to the students as individuals.

Social media can facilitate learning experiences through debate, allowing students to compare their opinions against those of a broader community.  It can also allow students more direct access to communities outside of their familiarity, such as people in other countries or industries.  This access can provide students with context and a better understanding of how the information they are learning applies to the world as a whole.

Students can use social media sites they are familiar with outside of school – Twitter and Facebook for example – to discuss what they are learning and gather information.  Using familiar social media tools may allow students a greater level of comfort during the learning process.  Instructors can also use specialized applications, such as learning management systems, to provide a more structured environment.  Instructors can use students’ activity feeds to monitor levels of engagement and adjust the curriculum accordingly.

The use of social media and social networking sites to facilitate learning aligns with the constructivism approach to learning design.  Students, teachers, and other parties take a flexible role within the social media space, often acting as mentors and mentees within the same setting.  All participants are encouraged to express interests and creativity, and collaborate to reach a collective goal.

Social media supports the exploration of realistic, complex problems because learning is taking place in the real world.  Learners can provide feedback through multiple channels and post questions or comments whenever they feel the need.  Research can be self driven and may incorporate multiple social media platforms if the learning environment allows it.

Using social media to facilitate a learning process comes with obstacles that educators should address in order to ensure the learning experience is successful.  It’s important that social media be applied with intention and vision, if it is meant to facilitate specific learning objectives.  Administrative vision and planning are critical.

Also critical is addressing online privacy and security concerns that relate to student usage.  Students may need to be taught how to responsibly and ethically use social media platforms.  The school culture must be accepting of collaboration and group activities in order for social media usage to be effective.  The evaluative environment in particular should emphasize digital literacies and competencies that align with the use of social media.

Instructors may choose to overcome challenges by partnering with library media specialists who have a greater familiarity with technology integration and information technologies.  It may also be beneficial to involve youth workers and other adults who can assist in extending instruction into the community.  Instructors may need to persuade school administrators to change policies involving social media – or instructors may choose to have students only use technologies outside of school hours.

Instructors may find it useful to prove the effectiveness of social media by collecting data related to learner engagement and the effect on desired outcomes.  Results can be shared with administrators and other parties in order to generate discussion about how a school’s policies and educational approaches should evolve to accommodate changes in technology.

If you need a learning technology platform that encourages social learning, check out Adobe Captivate Prime, which you can try for free.

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Everyday Adobe and Working out Loud

I’ve been thinking a great deal recently about the creative process.  I’ve spent a long time “learning how to use captivate” while dabbling in Photoshop, Illustrator, or Adobe XD when I had a need to try to use them, but have realized that without a clear purpose and time to play, I revert to “simpler” and more familiar tools even when I know that it would be a better overall experience to create in Captivate.

Having limited resources (time and staff primarily) to assist in the creative process has a huge impact on the product quality.  It prevents me from exploring new products, expanding my toolset, and ultimately makes for a more mediocre final outcome.  It’s “good enough” but not nearly as good as it can be.

I keep at it, but have been frustrated at what I see as a “gap” in support for the creative process.   There are lots of “how-to” videos, lots of expensive courses, workshops, and certifications, but not a lot I’ve been able to find in the way of practical support for the “everyday” Adobe Captivate (and other Adobe tools)  user.  I would love to be part of a community that would enable me to have someone “hold my hand” and/or mentor me through projects as I have questions.  I know I can post questions in the community but waiting on responses and/or not even knowing if I will get a response delays and can even stop my progress altogether.

During the Adobe Specialist Certification Training Session, Damien said something that has really stuck with me.  He said “I can teach you the craft, but I can’t teach you the art.”  There is a lot of support for the craft, blogs, youtube videos, etc. but very little in the way of support for the art.  I would love to see a “work out loud”, collaborative space that includes every step of the creative process from concept to finished product.  Are there others that feel like this is a need in our industry?  What do you feel would be useful to you as you develop your skills and do your jobs?

The post Everyday Adobe and Working out Loud appeared first on eLearning.

6 Innovative Knowledge Sharing Activities To Include In Your Online Training Course

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10 Tips To Make Your Online Meetings More Productive

With offices spread across different geographical locations, remote meetings have become a norm for most organizations. But the biggest challenge of these meetings is to keep people engaged and interested. This article lists some ideas that could make these meetings more productive. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Learning Technology – How Much Is Too Much?

Learning—does it depend on how much people learn? Or, how much technical prowess we showcase in facilitating learning? Should we use technology to support our strategies? Or, put the whole burden of the learning process on the apparently nascent technology's shoulders? Let's discuss here... This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Effective Use Of Collaboration And Social Learning At Workplace To Improve Learning And Performance

Collaboration is the key to being a successful learning organization. Social learning in the workplace plays a big part in a collaborative learning environment. In this article, I will share my thoughts on how collaborative tools can help employees learn better and improve their work performance. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

5 Questions To Find The Perfect Collaborative Authoring Tool

Who doesn’t want to save time at work? The use of a collaborative authoring tool can be a real game-changer for eLearning providers. To find a truly powerful solution that streamlines your eLearning production, don’t go shopping around unless you’re armed with these 5 vital questions. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.