31 October 2006

Benefits of Using Social Software for Young Learners

Something new for me to ponder this week and linked to a previous post relating to selecting the right tool for the job ...

The question was raised this week as to whether it is a myth that the young are all technology savvy and will easily pick up the use of technology for learning. One lecturer noted that the young are great at SMS and mobile technologies, but trying to engage them with a blog or a wiki and sitting down at a PC is not so easy. I noticed an earlier comment on this blog also drawing attention to the age factor.

So, is age a factor that we should be considering more when we choose technologies for learning? Perhaps moblogging, podcasting, and mobile learning are better suited to the younger students and wikis, blogs and forums are better suited to the more mature student.

The benefits of using the technology for learning for the clients has to be paramount when we select different technologies. So, what are the benefits for young learners if social software is used in their learning experience? And what about the more mature student - what are the benefits for them?

24 October 2006

The Value of a "Social" Approach to Learning

I am pondering one of the questions we are considering in this research, viz "What do you value most about a more social approach to capability development and professional learning practices?" Of course, attending a workshop can be quite social given the right context and participants and I've heard the comment many times that you can't socialise online - you need the face-to-face to really connect. I don't agree - I have had wonderfully social events online over the years. Certainly with the development of Web 2.0 technologies we are provided with many tools to connect, network, and learn together so to engage with these technologies we are choosing a more 'social' approach in the online environment.

Why do we value this more 'social' approach to learning?

18 October 2006

Horses for Courses - what about blogs?

I’m interested to find out more about the different reasons blogs are being established. Of course you all know from my posting below, that establishing this blog and gaining a presence is presenting quite a challenge. Some very wise and experienced bloggers have suggested that it would take me at least 6 months to gain a presence, and during this 6 months I need to do lots of reading and lots of posting to other blogs so that people out there start to know who I am and will come to my blog to ‘hear’ what I am saying or in the Web 2.0 way, RSS my blog to know when I am saying something. Gee, that takes some time and I am not sure that I really want that sort of presence. I want to have a life so in between reading, posting to other blogs, posting to mine, I need to fit in my work, my family, my garden (which is my passion these days), my friends, etc etc. (not all in that order either).

So, what am I trying to do with this blog you might well ask! I don’t see this as my blog. I see it as the Social Software Research Team’s blog – there will be other posters (you can see the names on the side bar). We set up this blog to share some of our findings, our insights, our questions, our thoughts as we travel the research road, with the hope that someone out there will read them and link to their blogs/wikis/whatever with their thoughts. Have we chosen the right tool? Is it possible to establish the presence we need in a short timeframe – the life of this project is only 10 weeks?

Choosing the right tool to do the job is really important. It is often said that different technologies are used because they are new and everyone thinks they should be using them. Perhaps we have done the same.

What about using social software, viz blogs, wikis, social bookmarking and virtual conferencing in the VTE teaching and learning environment? How are they being used now? How could they be used better? Which disciplines do they suit best? Should they be used at all?

And what about using the same software for capability development within and across organizations – are they the right tools? How are they being used now? How could they be used better?

Any thoughts anyone?

13 October 2006

Musings from a New Blogger

Well, my foray into social software through this research blog and associated wiki has given me a few headaches to say the least!

First of all I had to learn some html again - I put that aside a long time ago but if I wanted to customise there was no choice, but then the real challenge began - How to attract subscribers???? I have sent private emails, posted to listservs all to no avail although I was so excited when a couple of contributions were made to our wiki. However, I really thought the advocates of social software would be keen contributors and this would be easy (as I hang my head feeling rejected).

Yesterday some enlightenment from someone willing to give me feedback - I really wasn't using web 2.0 technologies the web 2.0 way - I needed to link to 'stories', experiences, blogs, wikis rather than ask for contributions on mine! Hooray - I was so grateful for feedback and so grateful to learn. Thank you Sean.

BUT how do I find out where to link?? Sure, I can do a Blog search and I've certainly been doing that and have found some great blogs, which when I find a moment I will add to our blog list, but how do I ask the questions I need to ask if I can only comment on blogs, not post? I've searched postings looking for one I could both comment on, and sneak in a mention of our research project but haven't found anywhere yet and I know it would be rude of me to sidetrack the conversation by blatantly advertising our blog and wiki as an unrelated comment.

And the most active discussions I've found seem to be through listservs/eGroups. Hmmmm ...

Now, I am not new to technology, but if my frustrations of the last week are anything to go by, how on earth do we expect social software to be used more widely by VTE practitioners? Comment anyone - can you see me out there and hear this plea for help??

10 October 2006

Web 2.0 Philosophies

What is your interpretation of Web 2.0 philosophies? Are they important to you?
What do you value most about a more 'social' approach to capability development and professional learning practices? We are keen to have a better understanding of what all this means and how it can be applied so please don't hold back - add your comments here.

09 October 2006

Social Software for Learning

The Social Software for Learning Blog is a space for discussion, discourse and debate within the Social Software/Web 2 Technologies Research Project being funded by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework's Knowledge Sharing Services and Research and Policy Advice projects.

We encourage all those interested in social software for learning within and across organisations as well as in teaching and learning environments, to participate in this research project by contributing both to our research wiki and this blog.