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Many Students Loosely Joined: Social Software to Support Learning EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Web Seminar Terry Anderson, Ph.D. Canada Research Chair.

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Presentation on theme: "Many Students Loosely Joined: Social Software to Support Learning EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Web Seminar Terry Anderson, Ph.D. Canada Research Chair."— Presentation transcript:

1 Many Students Loosely Joined: Social Software to Support Learning EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Web Seminar Terry Anderson, Ph.D. Canada Research Chair in Distance Education

2 Overview Setting the Context Affordances of the Web Emerging Pedagogies Granularity of Social Learning 2.0 Social Learning 2.0 across: Personal Learning Environments Formal education delivery Institutional learning Design principles for educational social software 2

3 Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada * Athabasca University Fastest growing university in Canada 34,000 students, 700 courses 100% distance education Graduate and Undergraduate programs Master & Doctorate – Distance Education Only USA Regionally Accredited University in Canada  Athabasca University 3

4 Values We can (and must) continuously improve the quality, effectiveness, appeal, cost and time efficiency of the learning experience. Student control and freedom is integral to 21 st Century life-long education and learning. Education for elites is not sufficient for planetary survival ‘...one cannot understand an organization without trying to change it...’ Curt Lewin (http://www.solonline.org/res/wp/10006.html) 4

5 The Net Changes Everything! Affordances of the Net, Net 2.0, e-learning 2.0, Semantic Web and related other acronyms: Content Communication Agents (Anderson and Whitelaw, 2004) New pedagogies 5

6 Affordance 1. - Massive Amounts of Content Any information, any format, anytime, anywhere Customizable content Interactive content User created content Open access content 6

7 A Tale of 3 books Open Access 90,000 downloads 4 years after pub. - 6,000/month 350 hardcopies $50.00 Free at cde.athabascau.ca/online_book Commercial publisher 934 copies sold at $52.00 Buy at Amazon!! E-Learning for the 21 st Century Commercial Pub $ ,000 copies in Arabic $8. 7

8 Content - conclusion Abundant, cheap or free Need to learn to develop business models and culture allowing us to share and re-use content Don’t build your value on your content - cost of copying and distributing dropping to zero Content is necessary, but not sufficient, to create a quality learning experience 8

9 Affordance #2 High Quality, Low Cost Communication Multi mode Synchronous, asynch Text, audio and video A2A (avatar to avatar) Stored, indexed and retrievable Reflective, emotive and cognitive Mobile, Embedded & Pervasive Learner, teacher, community and commercially created 9

10 Affordance #3 Agents Google Alerts MeetingWizard RSS Athabasca Freudbot AIML E-Advisor Are you ready for AU? Agents 10

11 Your Comments or Questions? 11

12 Together create Social Software Content Communication Agents WIKI Blogs FaceBook Del.icio.us Flicker Filtering SecondLife Calendaring Geotracking Learning , Skype, IM Learning Objects Open Access Press Google Alert RSS 12

13 Mashups by Chaz Maloney 13

14 Challenge: To Create Incentives to Sustain Meaningful Contribution The New Yorker September 12,

15 Pew/Internet "Teens and Social Media” 2006Teens and Social Media Who is Using the Net? 15

16 Choosing the right tool? apps as of Feb. 18,

17 Taxonomy of the ‘Many’ Dron and Anderson, 2007 Group Conscious membership Leadership and organization Cohorts and paced Rules and guidelines Access and privacy controls Focused and often time limited May be blended F2F Metaphor : Virtual classroom 17

18 Group Network Shared interest/practice Fluid membership Friends of friends Reputation and altruism driven Emergent norms, structures Activity ebbs and flows Rarely F2F Metaphor: Virtual Community of Practice 18

19 Group Network Collective ‘Aggregated other’ Unconscious ‘wisdom of crowds’ Stigmergic aggregation No membership or rules Augmentation and annotation through use Data Mining Never F2F Metaphor: Wisdom of Crowds 19

20 Group Network Social Learning 2.0 Dron and Anderson, 2007 Collective 20

21 Social Learning Each of us participates in Groups, Networks and Collectives. Learning is enhanced by exploiting the affordances of all three sources of social learning. Issues, memes, opportunities and learning activities arise at all three levels of granularity. Tools are optimized for each level of granularity 21

22 Social Learning Applications in Educational Contexts GroupsNetworksCollectives Personal Learning Environments Formal Education Organizational Learning 22

23 1. Formal Education and Groups: Classes and cohort Increases: completion rates achievement satisfaction Same logistic challenges as for institutional, campus - based learning Can operate ‘behind the garden wall’ to allow freedom for expression and development - refuge for scholarship 23

24 Formal Learning and Groups Longest history of research and study Need to optimize: Social presence Cognitive presence Teaching presence (Communitiesofinquiry.com) Established sets of tools – LMS Synchronous (video & net conferencing) 24

25 Problems with Groups Confining in time, space pace, & relationship Often overly confined by teacher expectation and institutional control Isolated from the world of practice Do not lead to self directed lifelong learning Paulsen 1993 Relationships 25

26 Challenges of using informal social software tools for formal tasks Control Support Privacy Assessment Ownership and perseverance 26

27 Example: The Educational Blog Structural characteristics: Multimedia Chronological order Web based, easy to edit Networked Characteristics Linked to other sites Syndicated (RSS, Atom etc) Comments and Trackbacks– spammed Pedagogical Reflective, personal, archival, communicative, public 27

28 How are Blogs used today in Groups? “You are required to post at least two messages to your blog and respond to the postings of at least two other enrolled students. Please use your postings to address the issue discussed on pages of your text. Your post and responses will be assessed for 10% of your final grade To protect your privacy, your blog is not accessible outside of the LMS and postings will be destroyed at the end of the course.” Paraphrased from major UK university graduate school requirements 28

29 2. Formal Education and Networks Provides resources from which students’ extract and contribute information In school one should learn to build, contribute to and manage one’s networks Through exposure provides application and validation of information and skills developed in formal learning Networks last beyond the course - basis for ongoing support and advise from alumni and professional communities 29

30 Formal Learning with Networks Each of us may belong to many networks Network use creates social capital Networks connect self-paced and independent learners Network leadership arises in multiple formats 30

31 Network Tools Most web 2.0 apps including: Profiles: Finding significant others Blogging - outside the garden wall Resource recommendations finding highest quality content (Slashdot, Diig, Cite-u-like) Scheduling meet-ups for study, debate, collaboration WIKIs and other open collaboration tools Commercial Social Networking sites- Facebook etc. 31

32 Network Pedagogy Connectivism Learning is network formation: adding new nodes, creating new neural paths “ It is not what you know, but who you know to ask.” Siemens, G. (2007) Learning as a tool to develop social capital Social capital and social relationships “ enlarge the concept of individualism to include the ability and obligation to work with others when the task demands it.” Edgar H. Schein,

33 33 Text Stepanyan, Mather & Payne, 2007 Elgg.org Network Tool Set

34 Network Pedagogy Will Richardson 34

35 3. Formal Education and Collectives Collectives aggregate, then filter, compare, contrast and recommend. Personal and collaborative search and filter for learning Smart retrieval from the universal library of resources – human and learning objects Need to develop and practice skills and interest to easily contribute to the collective (tagging, sharing whenever possible, leaving traces) (only 16% of users are taggers (Pew, 2005) Allows discovery and validation of academic norms, values and paradigms 35

36 Collective Tools 36

37 Collective Example: Terry’s Store From Collective, to network, to group 37

38 Explicit Explicit recommender systems: 38

39 Blog indices by topic, readers, value 39

40 Digg Monitoring collective recommendations is real time 40

41 Your Comments or Questions? 41

42 Steven Warburton,

43 Design Principles for Many Student Loosely Joined Principle of Adaptability; Principle of Evolvability; Principle of Stigmergy Principle of Constraint, Principle of Parcellation; Principle of Scale Principle of Sociability Principle of Trust Principle of Connectivity Principle of Context (Dron, 2007) 43

44 Strategies for Social Software Adoption Try a new tool every term Use the right tools for the right context Social software applications must: Radically improve access, enjoyment and effectiveness of learning and teaching. Must not significantly increase costs, while developing opportunity for new revenues Must be visible, easy to use and accessible Be viral 44

45 Conclusion: Benefits of Using Social Software tools and concepts Lifelong learning skill Enhances involvement with and awareness of learning process Creates legacy and real world artifacts Supports collaborative learning Supports reflective learning Meets expectations and competencies of ‘net generation’ Increases integration with institution, teacher, other students & larger communities 45

46 “ "He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever." Chinese Proverb "He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever." Chinese Proverb Terry Anderson Blog: terrya.edubogs.orgterrya.edubogs.org Your comments and questions most welcomed! 46


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