Thursday, September 06, 2007

Theme Review - Social Networking (Live blog apologies for any typos)

Marion Miller - Jisc Rsc Manager Yorkshire/Humberside

Evidence of a much greater focus on the learner and the learner experience throughout the sessions.

Learner Control or Learning Enabling might be an overarching theme.

Which technologies empower learner, in learning and learning resources - wikiversity starting to use new spaced for learning, but using a tradition subject based category - I would guess this will change over time. Introducing scholar also had a large element of control, but user defined tags are now developing.

Great that we have moved a long way from VLEs to content and collaboration across institutions.

Shared ownership federated searching, mapping of resources to curriculum structures. Rss feeds linked to user entered complex searches - see the details elsewhere in the blog

Some reluctance to share or recommend resource to others - learners confidence seems to need to be strengthened.

Reducing sustainability risks by spreading content across sites - but what about the Intellectual; property rights issues.

Copyright and IPR issues kept emerging. Plagiarism is podcasts is more challenging to check than on text. Licensing material, has it been agreed before it is uploaded.

Inclusively has been a key issue in a number of talks - TechDis of course being key.

Learner Readiness foe Web 2.0. Are learners ready for it. Are they comfortable with using these technologies? How do we avoid excluding people. Clear evidence has been shown that Web 2.0 tools are not being used by students as much as we expect - so digital natives they are not.

Locus of control moving to the learners, but learners can resist. Some like strict boundaries between formal and informal learning.

Some new learners need social time with the technologies - start them out having fun before they engage. Help avoid the fear of the unknown.

Podcasts - see this post for what informed this part of the talk.

PDAs and blogging - technology barriers - issue about openness and lack of ownership. Learners went off and made a separate wiki because they preferred it - don't enforce - allow.

Wiki-based peer tutoring - OU Netherlands - reported here.

Support is a key issue - how do we support staff, how are they encouraged in its use - key questions, maybe less clear answers.

Pedagogic planners were a useful insight and could help enhance the staff development issue - see post on this.

14-19 project across local authorities paper - I didn't see this one, but it would be useful for out Blended Learning in Schools project. Team based collaborative sharing around well designed learning projects. Coaching not instructing as the tutor role.


  • What makes for successful social networking?
  • Can they be used in learning?
  • Do the learners want to be engaged with learning in these environments?

Digital Storytelling was also an excellent topic - opportunity to create can liberate learners. Learner has choice with tight focus. Can do it themselves


  • Less mention of technology
  • Greater focus on learner and learning.
  • Learner needs is also a focus
  • Practices and pedagogy
  • Tutors use of tools to understand potential
  • Small steps get people involved not big projects.
  • Learner are the conduit of communication not just receivers.

What do we need next
  • Longer Studies
  • How we measure impact and how we measure it over time
  • How learners perceive web2.0 technologies.
Thanks Marion for a great summary which captured all the sessions I was at, and gave me a flavour for those I missed. Really helpful.

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