You may think this a strange choice for a Learning Technologist to review – “Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do: A Manager’s Guide to the Social Web” by Euan Semple - but I’m reading this more out of my interest in Social Media and how we use it in our everyday (personal and professional) lives, rather than my interest in management styles or business process. That is to say, however, that these don’t interest my as well, it’s just my main focus is in our use and abuse of social media, whether it’s deliberate or accidental (or just plain ignorance).
I can’t remember now how I came to hear about this book now; it could have been the Amazon digest email recommending it based on other books I’ve bought or browsed, or it could have been someone on Twitter, but the blurb resonated with me on a level of my own use of social media. The book aims to provide:
“managers in all sorts of organizations, from governments to multinationals, with practical advice, insight and inspiration on how the Web and social tools can help them to do their jobs better … this uniquely people-centric guide to social media in the workplace offers managers, at all levels, valuable insights into the networked world as it applies to their challenges as managers, and it outlines practical things they can do to make social media integral to the tone and tenor of their departments or organizational cultures.”
In the book you can easily change the business-orientated wording and terminology to an academic and/or student orientation and the book is still relevant and informative: just how do we use social media, how can a single employee or students ‘like’ or tweet impact the organisation, school, or institution? Continued…
The more I think, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I question. The more I question, the more I find I don’t know. The more I want to know, the more I question, well, everything, and the unhappier I become.
Why is this? Shouldn’t I be happier with more knowledge, more detail, a better understanding of who I am and the world I live in? Shouldn’t this mean I am better placed to affect and effect change in my life, my family, my work, my finances, my home, my health, etc.?
This is part 9 in my series of ‘What is a Learning Technologist?’ Read Part 8 here, and follow the links on my About page to the other parts.
I was never ‘encouraged’ to think at school – we had our notes dictated to us and we were told what to learn for the tests. I was ‘average’ in exams (and that’s being generous), and just about scraped in to and through University. Even after 4 years there I never really thought much about what I was doing, I just went with the flow, just happy to pass and move on. It wasn’t until 2007 and working at Bournemouth University that I started to question what I wanted to be, who I wanted to be, and how I wanted to get there. It wasn’t some profound personal journey, it was just the environment I worked in .. Continued…
Registration is still open so, if you’re not one of the 900+ soles already involved and engaged, why not pop along to octel.alt.ac.uk and join in?
What can we expect, now we have more details than were previously available? Weekly emails, weekly webinars (including archived recording as well), and an email providing an overview to the week ahead. This is exactly the kind of student engagement and signposting I’ve been highlighting and pushing through my work and writing before. It is nice to see that I am in tune with ALT and those who are creating/running this MOOC! Thank you.
“ocTEL aims to accommodate your communication preferences as far as possible, so wherever you feel most comfortable writing – as long as it is not behind a password login – we will do our best to collect it up and add it to the general mix.”
Well, the first extended week is set aside for an induction to this MOOC, MOOCs in general, and the platform itself – Continued…
“How will new mobile phones, technology such as Google Glass – the wearable gadget that searches for whatever we look at – and social networks like Facebook and Twitter influence our searches? Should we be concerned that sensitive personal information is being filtered through a small number of companies?”
“The future of search could have more of an effect on us than we think.”
“As we move through the world, we have an innate sense of how things feel — the sensations they produce on our skin and how our bodies orient to them. Can technology leverage this? In this fun, fascinating TED-Ed lesson, learn about the field of haptics, and how it could change everything from the way we shop online to how dentists learn the telltale feel of a cavity.”
There there are those of us (me included) moan about the march of technological innovation over function, development for the sake of it. Few can argue that bringing technology into the fore for those with disadvantages is a bad thing, that developing and using technology to enable.
While Katherine shows a couple of uses and examples in the video what else can we do with this, how can this be used in education? By introducing touch in this way you can bring any substance or texture to the classroom where it would not be possible (or safe) to do so. What does moon rock feel like? What does hard enamel tell you about the integrity of a tooth? What does the surface of a scarf feel like when it’s frozen in liquid nitrogen? How do you spot a possible failure in an engine block when it’s running at 9000 rpm. To experience these things can bring the subject, the science, the learning alive where you would not always be able to?
What do you think, a worthwhile use of enhanced technology and something that can ‘add value’ to a classroom experience?
If you’ve been away (for a long long time) you may not have heard about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). If you’ve been away for only a short time you’ll know of these things, but you may not have heard of Futurelearn.
In short, Futurelearn is the first UK-led “multi-institutional platform for free, open, online courses” whose aim is to “increase access to higher education for students in the UK and around the world by offering a diverse range of high quality courses through a single website.”
All good stuff so far. With the experience and weight of The Open University behind it, and partners including the British Library, the British Council and other leading UK Universities (Leicester, Bath, Warwick, Cardiff, etc.) it poses a significant investment of time and energy to ‘do it right’. Futurelearn
“believe there is great potential to change the way people access high quality higher education. With our partners, we are seizing the opportunity to create amazing new learning experiences, twinned with a clear pathway to qualifications for those that want them.”
In this article on the Times Higher Education website today – “Futurelearn’s boss on breaking into MOOCs” – Simon Nelson (Futurelearn CEO) claims the course platform “has the potential to become a social networking site for the student community as popular as Facebook”.
With the eBook edition of this book set at £0.00 I couldn’t resist seeing what the fuss is about – this book has received good and bad reviews. But, more importantly, it’s made people question our interest and reliance on online tools and websites and networks and activities.
Even though I’m only a few chapters in to the book already I’m realising my over-reliance and over-bearing interest in putting my work and family life online (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) is not necessary. For the most part it’s intrusive and getting in the way (especially photo-editing family pictures to post to Facebook – yes, it’s sharing for those who can’t be present, but it still gets in the way of the actual event).
“Rather than virtual or second life, social media is actually becoming life itself – the central and increasingly transparent stage of human existence, what Silicon Valley venture capitalists are now calling an ‘Internet of People’.”
“What I glimpsed in that late November afternoon in Bloomsbury was the anti-social future, the loneliness of the isolated man in the connected crowd.”
“Personal visibility, I recognised, is the new symbol of status and power in our digital age. Like the corpse locked in his transparent tomb [Jeremy Bentham], we are now all on permanent exhibition, all just images of ourselves in this brave new transparent world.”
I have always felt a little uncomfortable with the term ‘lurker’ when talking about users who are in the background on online discussions or social networks.
My first thought when someone is described as a ‘lurker’ is:
“someone that would hide in concealment, often for an evil purpose.” Wikipedia
which is what some people used to do in Internet chat rooms when the Internet was in it’s infancy. The term has taken on a less ‘evil’ undertone in recent years, and now ‘to lurk’ is:
“to learn the conventions of an online community before they actively participate, improving their socialization when they eventually de-lurk.” Wikipedia
But I can’t help think of it’s previous definition and use, where someone hides in the shadows for unscrupulous activity (you could argue the same is still going on today). This above new definition is also based on the premise that the ‘lurker’ will eventually be an active participant.
What if they don’t want to? What if the ‘lurker’ is happy being in the background and only offering something when the need arises? Nothing wrong with that.
This is why I would rather use the term ‘listener’ as it seems closer to the truth – they are online and in the online environment with their peers, but they choose to ‘listen’ rather then participate (for many different reasons). They are thinking about and taking notes about what is being said, adding their own voice when they feel the need, but for the most part they stay quiet.
Think about it – when you meet your friends and chat over coffee or a beer – do you ‘lurk’ in the conversation when you say nothing, or do you ‘listen’?
What a great video with so much to say, but I’m concentrating on the elements of the “importance of teacher presence” section, especially given my recent experience with the Coursera / Edinburgh EDC MOOC:
“The role of an academic now is really designing learning environments that engage students. If I’m saying that engagement is the Holy Grail I’d better be engaging in ways they enjoy, not that I’m used to.”
A. Prof. Emma Robertson:
“You have to be there, you have to be paying attention to what they’re saying. And what I find is if you do that effectively in the first two weeks the rest takes care of itself – you’ve established the benchmark that you’re expecting”
Prof. Matthew Allen
“Teacher presence is a very important part of the socialisation of students into online learning, and it’s not that you are therefore dominating and telling students what to learn, it’s that you’re playing the role of ‘guide-on-the-side’, the person who’s there to help the students along but not to become the one they rely upon.”
The rest of the video is also worth watching, for an insight into creating learning environments, strategies for motivating students, and sustaining participation and engagement. A good resource, as are others in the series ‘Learning to Teach Online’.
I’m a Learning Technologist. Regular readers will know I have an interest in using, and understanding how we can use, Social Media and Social Networks with students and learning. It’s not just about helping students understand their ‘digital footprint’, or improving their digital literacy, or how their actions online can affect their employability. It is also about using the different tools and techniques for learning and Social Media and Social Networks are a valuable source of learning materials from many different cultures and backgrounds.
Which is why this book is of interest to me – ‘Using Social Media in the Classroom‘ by Megan Poore. Billed as a book that provides “an overview of different types of digital technologies” it is more important to me and how I work that it also covers more contextual and “constructive guidance on how to safely and intelligently use them as tools for learning”. All good stuff I hope you’ll agree.
This quote from Megan is key to the understanding of the benefits for communication, collaboration, participation and socialisation of, and in, education:
“One of the most exciting features of social media for education is precisely their socialness. They allow us to break out of the paradigm of the monolithic learner into the more intricate and complex world of constructivist, active, and situated pedagogies.” (p. 8)
I am a Learning Technologist. All views expressed here are personal and not representative of my employer. I work alongside students, academics, and administrative staff to understand the uses of technology in Higher Education and to investigate the implications (and applications) of this technology on the ‘student experience’. I connect with like-minded innovative individuals in the fields of eLearning, mLearning, Web 2.0, Collaboration, Blogging through many different forms of Social Media and Social Network websites, all based around my blogging activity, here. Read more »