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Social networking tools as learning environments: Enhancing or disruptive, and who says so? Susannah Diamond Learning and Teaching Institute Sheffield.

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Presentation on theme: "Social networking tools as learning environments: Enhancing or disruptive, and who says so? Susannah Diamond Learning and Teaching Institute Sheffield."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social networking tools as learning environments: Enhancing or disruptive, and who says so? Susannah Diamond Learning and Teaching Institute Sheffield Hallam University

2 Session Outline ● Explain rationale for using social networking tools for student ePortfolios ● Present project findings ● Reflect on theories about ePortfolios as learning environments ● Discuss future use of social networking tools in HE

3 SHU context ● Context of change: ~ Pedagogic initiatives (eg. CETLs) ~ Further development of student portal ● Aware of importance of new freely available web applications

4 ● New tools...

5 Key questions Should we: ● Use free services instead of 'build or buy' approaches? ● Support student-adopted tools at the expense of traditional environments? ● Enhance learning environments with aspects of social networking tools?

6 Portfolios – an opportunity ● Increasing sophistication of approaches, e.g. Elgg, ePET, PebblePAD ElggePETPebblePAD ● SHU approach to portfolios – for learning, assessment, development AND employability ● A single institution ePortfolio tool would meet resistance ● Portfolios are meant to be student-owned, like the newly available tools

7 Mapping ePortfolio activities to web 2.0 tools Tools Google docs, Zoho, Flickr Blogger, OurStory Wikispaces, Gliffy Facebook, Multiply, Elgg Elgg, Facebook Activities ● Storing work ● Reflecting ● Organising work ● Sharing ideas ● Receiving feedback

8 Portfolios of the future " The institution should not be in control of the portfolio. As a personal life-learning tool, there is no place for organizational control " George Siemens, 2004

9 Wired Portfolios project Aims to explore: ● Students' current perceptions and experience with social software ● The new opportunities afforded by the tools ● Manageability of learning and assessment of 'student-owned' portfolios

10 (n=366) Student perceptions survey ● Online survey in student portal ● 46 responses ● 90% of sample had used websites in an 'active' way Wired Portfolios Survey, Sheffield Hallam University 2007 (n=46)

11 (n=366) Student perceptions survey Which websites have you used in this active way? Wired Portfolios Survey, Sheffield Hallam University 2007 (n=46)

12 (n=366) Student perceptions survey What have you used the sites for? Wired Portfolios Survey, Sheffield Hallam University 2007 (n=46)

13 Student perceptions survey nOption 24I can use the best groupwork tools 23I can use my favourite tools 21I can keep work online when I leave 12 Website might disappear when I need to submit 7Other 6I don't know where to start What would you think if asked to use these tools in academic contexts? Wired Portfolios Survey, Sheffield Hallam University 2007 (n=46)

14 Student perceptions survey " no idea really - I don't understand them " " fantastic - its about time. " " a waste of time " What would you think if asked to use these tools in academic contexts? Wired Portfolios Student Survey, Sheffield Hallam University 2007

15 Student perceptions survey Positive potential ● For collaboration, feedback, and networking ● Use tools that people are already using ● Enhance employability Concerns raised ● Lack of privacy may lead to plagiarism ● Students need new skills and guidance ● Increase complexity of submission

16 Student perceptions survey Which online websites or tools would you use to create an online portfolio, and why? Wired Portfolios Survey, Sheffield Hallam University 2007 (n=46)

17 Student perceptions survey Which online websites or tools would you use to create an online portfolio, and why? Ease of use Storing content Groupwork Show learning process Presentation Validity Familiarity Feedback to others

18 Student perceptions survey "i wouldnt use any of the tools listed above, as i dont feel they are appropriate for secure work, i wouldn't mind using a private tool on bb, that myself and my tutors could access and people i chose it to be visible to " Students have concerns and proposals: Wired Portfolios Student Survey, Sheffield Hallam University 2007

19 " Do we know enough about the ways in which young people and students are currently using blogs and other tools? " " We cannot, for example, assume everyone is happy working in the ‘self-publish’ mode." Paul Anderson, 2007 Relevant literature

20 "The e-portfolio is (or should be) part of a student-owned, student-centred approach to learning which makes it possible for students to actively engage in their learning rather than just be the recipients of information." Tosh et al., 2005 Relevant literature

21 Mapping the data to the tools user-centred active social user-friendly user-controlled interactive engaged democratic public discourse feedback managing identities user-generated user-chosen

22 Mapping the data to the tools user-centred active social user-friendly user-controlled interactive engaged democratic public discourse feedback managing identities user-generated user-chosen Characteristics that students appear to find important

23 Wired Portfolios: Reflections ● Social networking tools are popular with students but they have concerns and proposals for how best to use them in HE contexts ● Next steps will be student focus groups; staff interviews, and student pilots

24 Student-adopted tools: Institutional perspectives ● Lack of control (cost, future reliability of services, security of data) ● Resource implications for supporting diversity of applications ● Cultural issues about sharing of work in academic contexts and beyond

25 Portfolios of the future "Provide a personalised online learning space for every learner by 2008" Department for Education and Skills

26 Portfolios of the future " A PLE is personally constructed and discovered - you don’t “provide a PLE” like you provide the VLE. " Scott Wilson, 2006

27 Student portal, Sheffield Hallam University, 2007 ● Personal customisation of student portal

28 Options for institutions: 1. Business as Usual

29 ● Bring all staff on board with the VLE ● Invest in and encourage appropriate use of a portfolio system ● Manage student expectations about learning environments

30 Options for institutions: 2. Rapid Response

31 ● Embrace external tools used by students (and staff) ● Invest in support for diversity of applications ● No emphasis on centrally supported portfolio system

32 Options for institutions: 3. Proactive Strategy

33 ● Enhance VLEs with features of Social Networking Tools ● Improve integration between portal and student PLEs ● Guide students about appropriate use of external

34 What's the best option? Business as Usual Proactive Strategy Rapid Response

35 References ● Anderson, P. (2007) What is Web 2.0?, Ideas, technologies and implications for education, JISC Technology and Standards Watch ● Siemens, G. (2004) ePortfolios. elearnspace web blog. ● Tosh D., Light T., Fleming K., Haywood J.(2005) Engagement with Electronic Portfolios: Challenges from the Student Perspective. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 31(3) ● Wilson, S. (2006) Personal Learning Environment. Presentation at: Pushing the boundaries of the VLE II, Sept. 28th SURF: Utrecht, Netherlands.

36 Susannah Diamond Learning and Teaching Institute Sheffield Hallam University


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