Social Networking for Student and Staff Learning


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This slideshow describes a project aimed at working out practical teaching and learning scenarios for social bookmarking and RSS feeds
in order to get OU teachers to use these tools in their courses and student support
Funded by
The Open University Practice Based Professional Learning Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning:

Published in: Education, Technology
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Social Networking for Student and Staff Learning

  1. 1. Social Networking for Student and Staff Learning This slideshow is informed by a project funded by the Open University Practice Based Professional Learning Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (PBPLCETL) Mary Thorpe & Andrew Brasher with thanks to Phil Greaney, Stuart Brown, Mick Jones, Keith Honnor, Sharon Slade, Chetz Colwell and Non Scantlebury
  2. 4. and it’s own community site
  3. 6. But it hasn’t always been like that… and Old habits die hard – new ones can take time and energy to introduce
  4. 10. … and share them with our network
  5. 11. Social Networking for Practice Learning <ul><li>A project aimed at working out practical teaching and learning scenarios for social bookmarking and RSS feeds </li></ul><ul><li>In order to… </li></ul><ul><li>Get OU teachers to use these tools in their courses and student support </li></ul><ul><li>Funded by </li></ul><ul><li>The Open University Practice Based Professional Learning Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning: </li></ul>
  6. 12. 4 faculties: Education & Language Studies, Health & Social Care, Business and Educational Technology
  7. 13. <ul><li>A story of practical usage by practising teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Primarily using Delicious, Google Reader – </li></ul><ul><li>Robust tools that offer ‘time well spent’ benefits </li></ul><ul><li>But still not yet in common usage for teaching & learning </li></ul><ul><li>How we set about to change that </li></ul><ul><li>What happened and where to next </li></ul>Social Networking for Practice Learning
  8. 14. Delicious - Why use it? <ul><li>Bookmarks accessible via Web not just own machine, so access anywhere, anytime </li></ul><ul><li>Using your own tags (or keywords) helps organise your resources according to your needs </li></ul><ul><li>Harvest the efforts of other users </li></ul><ul><li>Set up a network of users whom you follow, targeting people who have shared interests </li></ul><ul><li>Build up a shared repository with colleagues using shared tags </li></ul>
  9. 15. Tagging – who uses it? <ul><li>A survey posted to weblogs, BBs, newsletters - drew 244 usable responses – ‘tagging experts’ – 48% use tagging at least once a day </li></ul><ul><li>Most frequent usage was tagging for personal resource retrieval, not sharing with a network or searching the collective </li></ul><ul><li>40% admitted not retrieving saved resources </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘for’ tag hardly ever used – 22% not aware you can send a bookmark to another user in this way </li></ul><ul><li>Most use because they mainly work online plus use a service that uses tagging e.g. Delicious </li></ul>Stefanie Panke and Birgit Gaiser (2009) Social Tagging in Knowledge Organisation: Online Survey on the Users’ Perspective
  10. 16. Panke & Gaiser: Social Tagging in Knowledge Organisation – Online survey on the users’ perspective For the majority of respondents the personal knowledge management is more important than making content accessible for a broader community.. … Social tagging is rather used as a data-recall facility or customizable filing system and not as a display for a virtual calling card. It appears that knowledge organization stands in the foreground, whereas the communicative qualities of social tagging appear to be rather an additional value than an end in itself.
  11. 17. What were the key features for a teaching and learning context? The social and communicative possibilities <ul><li>For Delicious it was </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agreeing to use shared tags </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agreeing to add notes to identify key points about each bookmark </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting up a network of the student & tutor group </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>resources found by students on the same course would be tagged the same way </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>finding what others have found would be quick and easy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Notes would make clear why a resource was relevant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resources could be sent to specific users using ‘for:’ tag </li></ul></ul>
  12. 18. The very different context of teaching and learning <ul><li>Students and staff are time poor and task oriented </li></ul><ul><li>Where is the cost-benefit trade off for time spent using a new practice-tool? </li></ul><ul><li>How does it relate to the core purpose of what a teacher is already doing – e.g. does it contribute to delivering the learning outcomes of courses ? </li></ul>
  13. 19. What does it take to get teachers to use a new technology? <ul><li>We can </li></ul><ul><li>Any/all of these tactics alone often do not generate action by teachers – we also need to……. </li></ul>List the affordances of the technology Provide short demonstrations of how it works, what its advantages are, etc Develop case studies about how others have used it
  14. 20. … use it ourselves <ul><li>first consider how you could use it to support your learning. Think about the advantages as well as the challenges it would pose for you, and how it would fit in with your existing practices. Then think how these issues would apply to your students. </li></ul><ul><li>Make a conscious effort to use the new tool as a habit. </li></ul><ul><li>Observe the changes that occur in your learning processes </li></ul><ul><li> / </li></ul>The ‘eat your own dog food’ principle
  15. 21. <ul><li>Advisory Group involves representatives from faculties – vital bridge to tutors and course teams </li></ul><ul><li>Tutors from Business and Health and Social Care worked as a distributed group with video and how to guides to enable them to set up and use SN tools </li></ul><ul><li>Each set up a personal account on Delicious, Google Reader and Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Communication via </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A private Facebook group to discuss experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flashmeeting - audio-visual conferencing tool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A group wiki to document how they used the tools & to design activities for OU courses </li></ul></ul>
  16. 23. <ul><li>Structured activities designed for tutors to use, enabled them to get to know each tool and use it to achieve a goal for the project. E.g.……. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each tutor designed an activity for students to use Delicious on a course they knew well </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tutors worked in their faculty group to agree on priority RSS feeds for keeping up to date in their area </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tutors used the project wiki to document their experiences and upload their response to tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Use of Delicious, RSS and Twitter now designed into a module in the MA in Online and Distance Education H800 Technology Enhanced Learning: practices and debates </li></ul>
  17. 24. Delicious, RSS & Twitter now used on OU Masters in Online and Distance Education H800 Module: Technology-enhanced Learning: practices and debates <ul><li>Tutors & students set up own accounts using ‘how to’ guides </li></ul><ul><li>Course study activities include setting up your tutor group as a network on your Delicious account </li></ul><ul><li>Students, tutors and course team save relevant resources using shared tags: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>H800_2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>H800_block1_2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>H800_block2_2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>H800_block3_2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>H800_block4_2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Students use Delicious and RSS to search for resources addressing key issues in the course </li></ul>
  18. 25. 2hrs 1hr 2hrs 1hr 6hrs Visual representation of the course created using CompendiumLD
  19. 26. Delicious/Google Reader & ALs <ul><li>Evaluation of our online course with tutor moderators suggested that up to 6 hours (per tool) would be sufficient for most ALs to set up accounts and start using each tool effectively </li></ul>
  20. 27. Delicious/Google Reader & ALs Once I began using Google Reader the course brought the whole process to life for Me. Again the instructions in the Word document and the videos were extremely easy to follow. Being able to add feeds which keep one up to date with new additions to each subscription makes an enormous difference…Although I use a computer during a very large proportion of my professional and off duty life, I am far from being an expert
  21. 28. Faculty ‘hands on’
  22. 29. <ul><li>Demonstrating independence in learning - going beyond course resources by searching and describing found resources from the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Skills in information literacy - Active processing through tagging and description of resources </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative learning - The network makes one student’s work available to all – increases likelihood of finding good material, promotes idea of learning from each other, builds resources from year to year </li></ul>Link to learning outcomes – important if you’re going to get take up by teachers and learners
  23. 30. <ul><li>Tutors had no difficulty designing activities to deliver learning outcomes such as: </li></ul><ul><li>For Health and Social Care </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Locate Information relevant to health and social care issues through reference to a range of sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluate the reliability of different sources of evidence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a wide range of study skills appropriate to degree level </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For OU Business School </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You should be able to reflect and critically appraise the human and technological dimensions of developing and implementing strategies for managing knowledge in practice </li></ul></ul>
  24. 31. Using new technologies involves learning new practices not just picking up a tool <ul><li>The tool is waiting for you to pick it up and just use it </li></ul><ul><li>You’ll find out how to use it for teaching and learning by being told its functionality </li></ul><ul><li>Tools that are easy to use can be easily explored - exploration/play are the approach that teachers will use ‘naturally’ – because you COULD just use it without support, you will do and you’ll then see how it can be used for teaching </li></ul>Think practices/practices with tools This approach usually doesn’t work
  25. 32. reflections <ul><li>To use a technology is to make a change to your own practices </li></ul><ul><li>Practices with technology take time and </li></ul><ul><li>Require a positive trade off between time & benefit </li></ul><ul><li>The value-added potential of Delicious and RSS for T&L was identified in advance and made the focus for practical activities </li></ul><ul><li>Structured activities based on selecting and using key features of social networking tools enabled teachers to see the possibilities for teaching and learning and commit to using them </li></ul>
  26. 33. <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>My bookmarks for SNPL project on delicious </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Or </li></ul><ul><li>Website for SNPL project on PBPLCETL website </li></ul><ul><li>Social networking Learn About Guide </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Social networking in plain English video </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>What is social networking? </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Map of Web 2.0 apps HQs </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>List of social networking sites </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Social network services’ definition from Wikipedia </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Social networking blog </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>