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From Entertainment to Education: Can Social Software Engage the Reticent Writer? 5th European Association for Academic Writing Conference 30 th June- 2.

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Presentation on theme: "From Entertainment to Education: Can Social Software Engage the Reticent Writer? 5th European Association for Academic Writing Conference 30 th June- 2."— Presentation transcript:

1 From Entertainment to Education: Can Social Software Engage the Reticent Writer? 5th European Association for Academic Writing Conference 30 th June- 2 nd July 2009 Coventry University, UK Dr Amanda Tinker and Gillian Byrne University of Huddersfield

2 Reticent Writers “Writing is something that I knew I would find hard from the beginning, and I found the essays a challenge…English has never been my strong point.” “At first I struggled to find a starting point; I kept writing something and then kept crossing it out. I did this several times…” “I did begin to start the work for my essay, however soon became bored and unmotivated, choosing to leave that and start a more appealing project. I was only putting off completing the essay, as I dislike them so much.” “I have been out of education of 3 years which as a result meant getting back into the swing of writing essays was difficult.”

3 Great expectations of ICT Ipsos MORI on behalf of JISC (2007) Great expectations of ICT: How Higher Education institutions are measuring up [online]. Available at: [Accessed 20th February 2009]http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/publications/ 75% Recognised value for enhanced learning 25% Encouraged by academics Social networking tools

4 Outline Case studies of the technology Wikis – Collaborative research & writing Blogs – Reflective Writing Pedagogic issues – level of integration Student feedback Concluding thoughts

5 Social Networking Postgraduate MBA IBM2 Marketing Pilot Bridging Course Harness enthusiasm Engagement Web 2.0 technologies

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8 Ning: Student Evaluation ‘ It was good and different trying out the new technology; it broke the day up well.’ ‘It was attracting my attention to keep working and not to be bored.’

9 Why (and which) Wiki? PBworks (www.pbwiki.com)www.pbwiki.com “As Easy as a Peanut Butter Sandwich”! Collaborative Writing/Research Teamwork Structured Multimedia Password protected Link from VLE Integrated Learning ‘Need ’

10 Module Integration Example Module SessionsWiki Activity Introduction to module and ‘Getting to know your team’ Writing individual profiles on wiki front page, team photographs and what they hope to achieve in the module; team visit to art exhibition and writing collaborative exhibition review Team work and team building Establishing team ground rules, area for team meeting notes and actions Time Management and Project Planning Developing team project plan Academic Research Space to collate collaborative research findings for team project Harvard Referencing Collaborative creation of reference list Oral presentations PowerPoint slides can be uploaded onto the wiki for team collaboration and editing Reflective Writing Area on the wiki with questions to prompt reflection on teamwork project and process

11 Example Art and Design

12 Wiki – Concluding Thoughts “The wiki was a very useful tool to consolidate our group work “ Collaborative research, writing and referencing Monitor team performance Communication - /text/facebook Organisational skills Appeal Learning curve Peer Learning

13 Integrated Learning Portfolio Module Fabric Development & Design Fibre to Product Design Contextual Studies for Textiles & Fashion Visual Research Academic/Company/Market Research Essay writing Referencing TeamworkTechnical Research Report writing Oral Presentations From ‘Bolt-on’ to Integrated Computer-aided Design (CAD)

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15 Capturing reflective writing and learning

16 Working with: Wordle.com

17 The Student Voice: Reflective Writing as a Transformative Learning Process “…….understand what you have actually learnt…..helped me see that I have been learning and not noticed [it].” “…… changed how I will record my learning in the future, ….additionally my formal writing technique has improved.” “Helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses in depth; useful in documenting my learning development which has had an impact on the way I work.” “Interesting seeing how ideas/opinions change in space of a year. Useful - reminds me of things enjoyed/ didn’t enjoy. Can help to think up new ideas and see strengths/flaws/improvements needed. Essential to keep learning new things” “Hard but interesting …..helped me to remember what I had done throughout the year and showed the progress and development made.” “…..helped me realise what to change next time” “I now understand how I have developed …..and shows my achievements……thoughtful and gives direction.” “I’ve found that reflecting on your work allows you to see how and what you can improve and where your strengths lie. I also find it a form of self encouragement and it shows how you are gradually growing.”

18 “I can now see just how important the blogs will be for future reference. I do intend to use this practice in my second year of study. Even if it is not required by the syllabus next year, it has in the end been extremely helpful to look at my work along the way.” “Originally I did find it quite tedious having to write blogs online. I saw it as a waste of time, when I could have been doing something more practical. I did not make my first entry until 10th December…but from then onwards, I made entries when I wanted to express my feelings or simply wanted to write about what I was doing to clear my head. I soon discovered that doing so did help my thinking process which reflected on my design process, the two interlinking.” “When we were first told about the blog entry requirements, I was unsure as to why it was relevant. But as soon as I had done my first I realised how much of a help it was and how it was very useful to write a sort of diary to record our steps and thoughts…I found it extremely useful to reflect on everything and my actions as it pointed out my weaknesses and strengths. I have really learnt from this experience and it had definitely helped my development as it has made me aware of my own feelings.” Overcoming Barriers and Discovering Value

19 Engaging Students Level of Technology Integration and Required Commitment Voluntary/Supplementary Formative Summative Compulsory/Integrated Bridging Course Social Network Postgraduate Wiki ILP Blogs Study Skills Team Wikis

20 Concluding Thoughts No automatic transition from writing for social networking to writing for social learning. Clear potential but need to develop mechanisms to enable students to discover and realise this. Technology as space for shared and collaborative writing Creating learning communities – making writing public Can we ‘bridge the gap’ and engage students? Integration/embedding Link to teaching and assessment Enjoying writing as a transformative discovery process Based on qualitative research - one-to-one interviews with students conducted over two years - Jisc has built up a picture of how students are using IT to manage their social lives. Most are confident and competent IT users, but they are too often unaware of how they could apply their skills to enhance their studies. Phipps recalls interviewing a first-year female arts undergraduate who professed absolute ignorance of e-learning or web applications. "She was updating her blog at an internet café and then started integrating photos from her Flickr site on to the blog. At the end of it she said, 'That's not technology. That's what I do.' “ Hoare, S (2007) 'Students tell universities: Get out of MySpace! Guardian 5 November [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 January 2009]. <

21 Concluding Thoughts No automatic transition from writing for social networking to writing for social learning. Clear potential but need to develop mechanisms to enable students to discover and realise this. Technology as space for shared and collaborative writing Creating learning communities – making writing public Can we ‘bridge the gap’ and engage students? Integration/embedding Link to teaching and assessment Enjoying writing as a transformative discovery process


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