Hello, I’m here to speak with you today about social networking & learning with our students – and in particular I’ll discuss some key considerations around digital identity, privacy and authenticity.
In the early 1990s, I did some work teaching computing in community-based programmes – programmes for women returning to paid work, for the long-term unemployed, for older people. At that point, the PC was no more than 15 years old, and in widespread use for less than that. Once a student remarked that it felt like she had fallen asleep and missed the computer revolution, and my colleague said, you didn’t fall asleep, you just blinked. That’s very much what this time feels like in education. Affordances in technology in the past decade have changed what we CAN do in education, enormously. Many people, of course, have tried to express the significance of THIS time for education...
And at a keynote talk at this conference last year, Stephen Heppell looked to the future. It is, surely, a significant time in education, and I feel that we – those of us gathered here and others – are explorers together creating the future.
This is a slide I prepared for a conference several months ago... which I share with you for two reasons:Firstly, it summarises my philosophy for learning -- as an explorer!I connect with other educators through personal connections and through social media. Because they share, I have learned from them, it has informed my own teaching. I’m informed, inspired and encouraged by examples of fellow explorer-educators, and then I try things! I do my own work in my own contexts, and then share my thoughts, my students’ work, etc.The cycle continues...My PLN has enabled me to learn from many people... about openness, social media in HE, digital literacies and more.The 2nd reason I share this slide is because it is how I encourage my students to learn. As a motive for sharing and openness... if the work of others enables them to create better work, then why not share and continue the cycle.
My compass for these explorations is AUTHENTIC LEARNINGLearn by Doing. In real-world contexts, if possible. facilitate self-directed and independent learning encourage confidence & cultivate skills such as judgement & flexibility (a challenge for most learners!)Authentic learning is often “messy”, as is real-life!
But there is great value in authentic, meaningful learning...So let’s do it, right?! Why aren’t we all doing this?
5 main challenges... which I’d like to touch on briefly.
Awareness – (TECHNOPHOBIC)begins with questioning “what’s wrong with the traditional ways?”learning about alternatives, what others are doing, what works well/failed?This is where our own PLNs come in!
There is seeing, and then there is deciding to change. These changes are not simple, they require a great deal of thought, learning, trial & error... Commitment to change is required.
The next two challenges differ at 2nd / 3rd level... so I won’t go into much detail.First is access to technology – to devices, mobile or otherwise, and internet/wireless
Next is authority to make changes. In 2nd level, with the state exams, this may be much more difficult than at 3rd level, but there are challenges in both sectors. Do you, as an educator, have the authority (or support from authority) to transition to student-led learning?
And finally... and only at this point, can we even talk about Learning Design.There are those who say that with the advent of technology, the role of the teacher will be diminished, or replaced altogether. But it is here that I would argue the role of the teacher/educator is paramount.Who are your students?What stage are they at?... technology, maturity, anxiety, etc.What authentic learning activities can you develop with your students, what structures can you put in place, to meet their needs, to challenge them, to light that fire?DESIGN is key! e.g. objectives? format? open/closed? individual/collaborative? tool choice?This is where the role of the teacher is paramount! Knowing your students, meeting them where they are, creating appropriate structures and supports to enable them to create their own learning.
There is discomfort here, for both educators and students. Our roles are different. But the challenge is essential. I will ask students to be active learners, to choose their own learning paths.Howard Rheingold acknowledges this he says “there is a certain amount of vertigo in self-learning”.The role of the teacher changes, becoming more of a facilitator. We don’t simply leave students to their own devices. As Howard Rheingold says, the role of a facilitator is to say: “This is the size of our universe” – provide context, some structure.Connectivism, too, encourages us to embrace authentic, networked learning within formal education. This means educators shifting from CONTROLLING learning activities, to INFLUENCING. Many of us understand and embrace the value of this, but it is important to understand the dialectic, that changes in educator roles are intimately connected with changes in learner roles.Here is how that played out in my experience teaching a Prof Skills module....
MY challenge Design authentic learning, from a learner perspective for a 2nd year BSc IT module. OLD: research skills / report writing / class presentationNEW: adding online publishing, producing digital media (not just text), and social media, social networking, social bookmarking, etc.“It only makes sense to use SM to teach about issues surrounding SM.”The course requires that we explore digital literacies, so we explored privacy, digital identity, digital footprint, curation, etc.ASSESSMENTDesigning assessment is a critical part of learning design. Students will be steered (constrained) by assessment requirements. In this module, I gave students opportunities to engage online using both Twitter and Google+ --- which they accepted. Social media & social networking an important aspect of this, i.e. instead of writing a paper on privacy, digital identity, etc. Students use social networks & discuss these topics online, and then reflect on research & the process.
Twitter was clear: either totally public or totally private (DM)Google+ was less clear: either totally public or private to our circle... but private circle posts can be shared. “LEAKY CIRCLES”Twitter was useful for DM’s between students and myself.Twitter was useful for sharing articles, thoughts, quick suggestions.
Google+ was useful for more in-depth reflections, e.g....
Even reflections on Twitter!
And... a reflection on Khan Academy.
Our class / Our class together with LIT class / the world!Beetham: “Interplay between physical and virtual spaces.” – very interesting!Really interesting was the interplay between physical and virtual spaces: I got to know my class very quickly synergistic effect
Students reflected on this use of social networks, with a large audience
3 themes...Fascinating, is that these are very personal and individual considerations, that we negotiate daily -- as well as exploring them with our students. This puts this kind of teaching in a different realm to teaching effective research skills, for example.
DI = the persona we present across all digital communities It is often said that we leave our "digital footprint" behind as we share and interact online. Elements of our DI include information that we create ourselves -- as well as information about us which is posted by others.In class, we discussed DI:Protect your digital identityProactively choose/create your digital identity an act of identity construction, “self authoring”
Growing number of studies examining how students negotiate this different spaces.Lea (2009) found that students who were relentlessly public with their social identities were very reluctant to manifest their academic identities in public ways.We must help students negotiate this!! i.e. Develop/manage identities, express opinions across academic & social spaces.Only way is by DOING it!
Who are you? And how to you construct YOU online?
Digital identity on Twitter – statisticsDigital identity different! Google+ had a real-name policy... this has since been changed, but the trend has been set.
We have to embrace play!Moodle/BB = students are themselvesTwitter / SN’s = anything they want to be value here, but we must be willing to accept & engage.Web *IS* a place for play & experimentation... pseudonyms, avatars, different IDs in different placesWe *ALL* do this to a certain extent!We must allow our students to do the same.
What *is* privacy?Is it closing the door? Is it closing the door to whom we wish, when we wish?The nature of digital artefacts is that it is very, very difficult to ensure the privacy of ANYthing online!Mark Zuckerberg, asserts that sharing or "public" is the new social norm. Jeff Jarvis, author of Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live, acknowledges that fear accompanies the adoption of any new technology and notes that "we will make a lot of mistakes as we develop social norms around how to treat information online". Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together, maintains that democracy requires that we retain a zone of privacy around the individual.danahboyd writes about being aware of an "invisible audience" -- defines 4 key characterisics of information (about us) which exist online. Persistent: recorded & archivedReplicable: can be duplicatedScalable: potential visibility is greatSearchable: accessible through searchPrivacy on Twitter – it doesn’t existPrivacy on Google+ ... set up circles... But they are leaky! Private posts can be shared Circles can be invited others (and others can do this!)
Students read, discussed and shared reflections on privacy in Google+.Some were very particular about their privacy (their nature, advice given in schools,???)
Others embraced openness.This was incredibly powerful, and one which demanded a lot of discussion. Students replied to one another, but I felt it was important to acknowledge various stances on privacy. At the same time, I adopted my Challenge but Honour stance... asked students to take the challenge and then reflect. Some liked it, some didn’t.
Authenticity... what is authentic?Authenticity: Who am I? We all have different voices in different contexts.FB – T – G+ and offline... Friends, family, students, strangers, etc. Helen Keegan has written of the “tyranny of authenticity”Our online voice is performed, to some extentWhen we encourage students to manage their DI, we adopt a rhetoric of openness & authenticity.Transition from ‘me’ to ‘professional.me’ students must make their own choices & evolve their own voice The notion of assessment gets in the way of authenticity. It can’t help but!
Even though the grade was based on participation... This was hard to avoid.MEASURING... effort, engagement, reflection (Dave Cormier, rhizomatic learning)
Authentic learning is messy! There are no digital natives – students have a wide range of feelings about online privacy, many very sophisticated!Social networking w/ students is challenging (for all), must anticipate wide range of student responses...[-] won’t participate, did not like the activity[+] embrace, aha!, favourite classConclusions! Sensitivity to students’ emerging online identitiesWeb is a place for play & experimentation... expect and encourage “play” with DIs This will entail pseudonyms, avatars, inappropriate photos, etc. We all do this It will be messy.... final word to students.
One student made this remark in the final feedback for the module. Another student didn’t like the Google+ activity – said “I know how to make online comments”... thinking that the activity intention was functional rather than creative/reflective. However, that student enjoyed the module and won’t use G+ again, but understands it.Both of these students learned, and both taught me something.
Final quote from KF and NS...
Social Networking with Our Students: digital identity, privacy and authenticity18th April 2012 Catherine CroninPELeCON #pelc12 @catherinecronin Image CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 maistora
“More change will happen ineducation in the next ten years Image CC BY-NC 2.0 owaie89 than in the past one hundred.” Stephen Heppell (2011) “There has been more pedagogic change in the past ten years than the previous one thousand.” Donald Clark (2011)
CONNECTCC BY-NC 2.0 DO Image CC BY-NC 2.0 Jamie Pichora Ima SHARE Image CC BY-NC 2.0 youngdoo
instructor-led → student-ledindividual → collaborativein class → online, open 1 classroom → authentic learning
Meaningful learning occurs withknowledge construction, not reproduction;conversation, not reception;articulation, not repetition;collaboration, not competition;& reflection, not prescription.Jonassen, et al (2003)Learning to solve problems with technology: a constructivist perspective.
Challengestudents...but honourwho and wherethey are. Image CC BY-NC 2.0 Michael Mistre
2nd year Professional Skills module BSc Computer Science & IT + digital literacies social media, social networking Images: CC BY-SA 2.0 rolvr; CC BY-SA 2.0 openDemocracy; CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 inju
Forum: @CT231 CT231 circleSharing: public & dm public & circlesTagging: #ct231 #ct231 + #litetModule sharing links & sharing links &activity: messages reflectionsPost- some use v. little usemoduleactivity:
#studentvoiceSocial media...“Recently our class has begun to usemore social networking sites likeFacebook and tools like DropBox toshare notes and keep up to date withlectures. I found this to be a greatbenefit in studying and managing mywork.”
#studentvoiceTwitter...“If a student is working on anassignment and they don’t understandsomething, who better to ask then toask the lecturer who set theassignment!Twitter allows this question to be postedinstantly, the lecturer or indeed anotherstudent would be very prompt in theirresponse.”
#studentvoiceKhan Academy...“Strange putting a face to the voice ofmy first year maths lecturer!Khan Academy is possibly one of themost useful sources for studentsstudying maths. The idea is simple, Ifyou dont understand the first time youwatch it... watch it again.”
#studentvoiceSocial networking...“Changes my view of social networksjust being used for mindless chatter.They can actually be useful forresearch and feedback if usedcorrectly.”“I would recommend Google+especially in universities because I hadaccess to all this great reading inrelation to technology that people hadfound, that I would probably never findon my own or read in a book in a
#studentvoiceOpenness...“I was wary about joining a circle of peoplethat I did not know. On Facebook I alwaysmake sure that what I post or what I amtagged in will not be seen by people who Ido not want to see it.”“I did not like adding the LIT studentsbecause I have never met them.”
#studentvoiceOpenness...“I learned a lot more about writing to the public.Before this I would have been less likely toexpress my views to a group of people onlinewhereas now I would not have a problem indoing so.”“By posting publicly it opened up our world toother academics or people who are justinterested in the topic... I don’t think anyonewould have thought that the author of one of theworks we were researching would get involved.”
Although as this was an assignment I felt like your posts were not only being graded by your lecturer but everyone in the circle too.Some people offered their opinion only to just get the assignment done and not to really engage in any conversation on the topic. authenticity Image CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Photonquantiqu
#studentvoiceGrading...“As this was an assignment I felt like yourposts were not only being graded by yourlecturer but everyone in the circle, too.”“Some people offered their opinion only tojust get the assignment done and not toreally engage in any conversation on thetopic.”
#studentvoiceFinal feedback...“The module was useful and fun, the onlycomplaint was that it was a lot of work.I learned a lot of things and changed someof my own perceptions and habits online.Changes happened from what I learnedthat I wouldnt ever have thought, like myuptake of Twitter.”
Learners need to practice and experiment withdifferent ways of enacting their identities, andadopt subject positions through different socialtechnologies and media.These opportunities can only be supported byacademic staff who are themselves engagedin digital practices and questioning their ownrelationship with knowledge. - Keri Facer & Neil Selwyn (2010)