Online communities and interactions -reflections on the use of new social and participatory media Gráinne Conole The Open University, UK Open Language Forum, 12th Aprl 2011
Today’s educational context• Fast changing technological environment• New digital literacy skills needed for learners, teacher and the workplace• The importance of creativity• Mechanisms for fostering creativity
Harnessing the media 13 Follow Spanish speakers on Twitter Post in Spanish on Twitter and facebook Change facebook skin to Spanish Join relevant social networking groups of language learners e-dictionaries and Google translate (with care!) Listen to online podcasts Read Spanish newspapers online Download Spanish mobile phone apps
14Effective use of new technologies requires a radical rethink of the core learning and teaching processes; a shift from design as an internalised, implicit and individuallycrafted process to one that is externalised and shareable with others. Change in practice may indeed involve the use of revised materials, new teaching strategies and beliefs - all in relation to educational innovation. Conole and Alevizrou, 2010
Deﬁnition • Derived from Latin ‘creo’ to create/make • About creating something new (physical artefact or concept) that is novel and valuable • Ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, partners, relationships and create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations
Connecting, new knowledge & creativity 19Connecting tonew people andnetworks givesyou new insights,and makes youmore creative http://www.open.ou.nl/rse/Rory_Sie/CoCooN.html
Why is it important?• Essential skill to deal with today’s complex, fast and changing society• Discourse and collaboration are mediated through a range of social and participatory media
Stages• Preparation: identifying the problem• Incubation: internalisation of the problem• Intimation: getting a feeling for a solution• Illumination: creativity bursts forth• Veriﬁcation: idea is consciously veriﬁed, elaborated and applied
Technologies• Can promote creativity in new and innovative ways• Enable new forms of discourse, collaboration and cooperation• Access and repurpose knowledge in different forms of representation• Aggregation and scale - distributed and collective
Key questions• What is the nature of creativity?• What are its key characteristics?• What is the relationship between creativity and general intelligence?• How can creativity be fostered and supported?• What is the nature of collaborative creative practices?• How can technologies be used to promote and support creativity?
Open practices What are the implications ofadopting more open approaches?
Social and participatory media 25 Media sharing Blogging Mash ups Messaging How are social andCollaborative participatory media Recommenderediting systems being used to enable open practices? Social Virtual worlds networking and games Social Syndication bookmarking
Open design Shift from belief-based, implicit approaches to design-based, explicit approaches Learning Design A design-based approach to creation and support of coursesEncourages reflective, scholarly practices Promotes sharing and discussion Conole, 2010b
The nature of community Complex, distributed, loose communities are emerging Facilitated through different but connected social networking tools such as facebook, Twitter, Ning Users create their own Personal Digital Environment Mix of synchronous and asynchronous tools Boundary crossing via the power of retweeting Links between interests, rather than places
So what is a community?[Community does not] imply necessarily co-presence, a well-deﬁned identiﬁable group, or socially visible boundaries. It doesimply participation in an activity system about which participantsshare understandings concerning what they are doing and whatthat means in their lives and for their communitiesLave and Wenger, 1991Virtual communities are social aggregations that emerge fromthe Net when enough people carry on those public discussionslong enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form webs ofpersonal relationships in cyberspace.Rheingold, 1993
Community as a process Constantly evolving and changing Shifting groups and depths of relationships Dynamic, evolving and potentially transformative Both directed and serendipitous interactions
Community indicatorsParticipation CohesionSustained over time Support & toleranceCommitment from core group Turn taking & responseEmerging roles & hierarchy Humour and playfulnessIdentity Creative capabilityGroup self-awareness Igniting sense of purposeShared language & vocab Multiple points of viewSense of community expressed, contradicted or challenged Creation of knowledge links & patterns Galley et al., 2010
Final thoughtsOpen, participatory and social media enable new forms of communication and collaborationCommunities in these spaces are complex and distributedLearners and teachers need to develop new digital literacy skills to harness their potentialWe need to rethink how we design and support learningOpen, participatory and social media can provide mechanisms for us to share and discuss teaching ideas in new waysWe are seeing a blurring of boundaries: teachers/ learners, teaching/research, real/virtual spaces, formal/ informal modes of communication and publication
The future?• Limitless potential of technologies• Individual, tools and collective• Augmented and gesture technologies• Blurring the boundaries of real World Builder and virtual worlds
References Conole, G. (forthcoming), Designing for learning in an open world, Springer Conole, G. (2010a), Review of pedagogical models and their use in e-learning, http:// cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/2982 Conole, G. (2010b), Learning design - making practice explicit, ConnectEd conference, Sydney, 28th June 2010, http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/4001 Galley, R., Conole, G. and Alevizou, P. (submitted), Community Indicators: A framework for building and evaluating community activity on Cloudworks, Interactive Learning Environments. Conole, G, and Alevizou, P. (2010), A literature review of the use of Web 2.0 tools in Higher Education, HE Academy commissioned report, http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/EvidenceNet/ Conole_Alevizou_2010.pdf Galley, R., Conole, G. and Alevizou, P. (2010), Case study: Using Cloudworks for an Open Literature Review, An HE Academy commissioned report. Alevizou, P., Conole, G. and Galley, R. (2010), Using Cloudworks to support OER activities, An HE Academy commissioned report. Conole, G., Galley, R. and Culver, J. (2010), Frameworks for understanding the nature of interactions, networking and community in a social networking site for academic practice, The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. Conole, G. and Culver, J. (2010) The design of Cloudworks: applying social networking practice to foster the exchange of learning and teaching ideas and designs Computers and Education, 54(3): 679 - 692. Conole and Culver (2009), Cloudworks: social networking for learning design, Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 25(5), pp. 763–782, http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet25/conole.html.
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