Nogbad’s Education

June 19, 2008

SociaLearn conference

Filed under: OU, Social Networking, Socialearn, Teaching and learning — nogbad @ 22:31

Back from the SociaLearn conference at Horwood House, Bucks. I’ve mentioned the conference in an earlier post but in case you missed it the public-facing blurb is available on the SociaLearn site and that also gives an overview of the project. Jo has also covered the initial premise on her blog posting (which has just popped up while I was writing this)

The whole event was fascinating and an opportunity to share space with some really imaginative, smart, intelligent, bright, awesomely clever and switched-on people. Jo mentioned the backchannel and I think that’s also the main thing which struck me.

We’d been invited to take laptops and PDAs and there is a (closed) Ning community for catching and discussing ideas. Some of us were also using Twitter and Purk to bash around and develop thoughts – a commentary on the event which was building and scaffolding understanding about how we might do things and where we might take them. And all those thoughts were captured for later analysis and development or restructuring and reassessment – and, to me, that’s part of what using web technologies to support learning should be about. Attending a presentation where I can quickly run a search on an author the presenter has mentioned, bookmark a couple of papers and, perhaps, speed-read a blog piece which outlines their work is my idea of how things should work. Seeing responses to a presentation as it’s happening, watching the shape of people’s ideas while they are sparking off each other, being an active participant rather than a passive observer – that’s all very powerful stuff and even if we can’t make every learning experience like that then we can certainly replicate parts of it by finding ways of introducing learners to these communities of practice.

That’s how I see SociaLearn “adding value”, it’s an opportunity to plug into these roving groups of people with common interests. It breaks away from the formality of tutor group-based conferences and allows students to find groups with which they feel comfortable. Maybe these groups are moving at a different pace or in a slightly different direction but groups can form, work together for a short period and then break up as a different subject group is coalescing. Web 2.0 SNS tools allow for these loose, informal, groupings and learning doesn’t occur in lumps of a given size (see Weller slide 10) and students are rarely working at the same pace and the current OU practice supports the 80% in the middle of the train but the 10% sprinting ahead and the 10% struggling along at the back tend to be alone. If we have a series of groups and students are shown how to move between groups or to straddle a few groups they can find what they need when they need it – peer-supported student-centered learning perhaps?

I need to spend more time structuring these ideas but I also have to write a profile for the PET web site, iron some shirts and clear out the fridge tonight so I’m going to post and revisit another day.

June 16, 2008

Who decides?

Filed under: Social Networking, Socialearn — nogbad @ 9:28
Laura Dewis has blogged about “Allmyfaves” which seems to be an aggregator for web sites it describes as “the creme de la creme”. Not only is it an interesting (and not particularly new) new idea but does it raise some questions about who mediates the web. As the whole thing is already bigger than anyone can embrace we need to rely on signposts so who should we allow to guide us? How can we tell who is credible? Why should we trust this site or Google or Yahoo? No sign here of who the “favies” are, the people who determine the ranking, so do they work for one of the big organizations or are they the same as you and I? Is this another SNS or are we being “sold to”?

June 6, 2008

Slideshow for AL Conference

Filed under: Slideshow, Social Networking, Socialearn, Teaching and learning — Tags: — nogbad @ 7:59

NB Some slides difficult to understand because of the loss of animations. I’ll edit and re upload when time allows

June 3, 2008

(How) Social networks work

Filed under: LCC, Social Networking, Socialearn, Teaching and learning — Tags: — nogbad @ 19:59

Following on from my socialearn post I mailed Stavros about his installation piece and he replied, after reading that post, and pointing me towards Patrick Keiller and the movement of psychogeographers.

As an aide memoir I bunged that on Twitter which automatically updates my Facebook status.

I then got a message from Rob Spence, dare I say a friend though we’ve yet to meet, who had seen my FaceBook status and sent me a link to a book (on Amazon) which is a psychographic view of London.

Okay so it’s not a cure for the common cold but a small group of people (who have never met) exchanged information across the web. Someone else was able to help me “construct knowledge” by offering a contribution to a social commons. Regardless of the use of 21st C applications it harks back to the ethos of cooperation on which the Internet was founded and which Rheingold characterised as the glue which helped build The WELL and still puts at the heart of Smart Mobs.

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