Published on July 14, 2009
Dr Steven Warburton, King’s College London Centre for Distance Education Annual Conference, February 2009 DESIGN CHALLENGES FOR FUTURE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS: LEVERAGING THE POWER OF SOCIAL SOFTWARE
context • How can we exploit social software to create rich distributed learning spaces? • What are the challenges we need to address to accomplish this?
What are our design choices?
thinking about future learning environments
Image by Flynn Burhoe Making the connections
learning is about conversations • if learning is a social activity … • how do we facilitate conversations and interactions around educational content and resources? • can learning content be considered a ‘social object’?
social objects “An egocentric social network places the individual as the core of the network experience (Orkut, Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendster) … while the object-centric network places a non- ego element at the center of the network. Examples of object-centric networks include Flickr (social object: photograph), Dopplr (social object: travel instance), del.icio.us (social object: hyperlink) and Digg (social object: news item).” Stutzman (2007, p.1)
the power of social software • the attraction of social software is that it offers a platform for transforming content and resources into social objects
Case Study 1 BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES AS SOCIAL OBJECTS
problem: how do we transform our bibliographic data into social objects
Bibsonomy – open source bibliographical management software http://www.bibsonomy.org
VRE – Graduate student virtual research environment
1. Integrate Bibsonomy
2. Add commenting functionality
3. Enhance resource discovery through tag cloud
solution • Leverage the power of a social library system: – maintain core functionality of Bibsonomy codebase – personalisation, discovery, tagging, groups and sharing – add social functionality through a commenting system, local search, local groups, and contextualise by embedding inside a VRE (Virtual Research Environment)
Case Study 2 SCALING UP LEARNING USING A DISTRIBUTED TOOLSET
emerging technology maps: course designers
Integrate personal tools
Access, organise, manage and discover content
emerging technology maps: learners http://www.flickr.com/photos/actionhamster/2850879730/
transitional design for learning • It is not so much about doing away with institutional VLEs but rather shifting their position as the central point of reference - by allowing integration with and aggregation to and from other distributed tool-sets that may be personally owned by the learner
challenges for the future
1. what are our models? VLEs? hierarchical industrial PLEs? a personalised open model that can respond to distributed model with increasing student numbers flattened structures and and pressures on staff time community-based knowing • architecture of participation, • reusable learning objects, democratisation, collaboration, quality frameworks, standards (SCORM, LOM, QTI) autonomy and ownership • scripted learning activities (IMS • emergent classifications LD) • remix, reuse, redistribute • content and assessment driven • Open Educational Resources VLE deployment • self centred knowledge acquisition
2. who are our learners? • educating the Net generation • http://www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen/5989 • the Google generation is a myth • http://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/stories/2008/01/googlegen.aspx “The report by the CIBER research team at UCL shows that research-behaviour traits that are commonly associated with younger users – impatience in search and navigation, and zero tolerance for any delay in satisfying their information needs – are now the norm for all age-groups, from younger pupils and undergraduates through to professors.”
3. who are our teachers? “Teachers are split over the merits of Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, according to research conducted for ntl:Telewest Business. Half of teachers questioned believe that Web 2.0 applications, such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Wikipedia are valuable educational tools, yet the rest felt they are a distraction with no real academic benefit.” http://www.nmk.co.uk/articles/1020
4. where are our learning spaces? negotiation of meaning Traditional student (resistant) Net generation (open) Internet, social software: VLE, institution: informal formal ‘Educational blogging’ – an emergent, disruptive learning space blurring the boundaries between informal and formal i.e. the demands of the internet versus the demands of the institution.
Dr Steven Warburton School of Law King's College London Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Liquid Learning at http://www.liquidlearning.org
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