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Using Social Software: Blogs, Wikis, Social Bookmarking


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Presentation slides for the Using Social Software: Blogs, Wikis, Social Bookmarking session, 2 April 2009

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Using Social Software: Blogs, Wikis, Social Bookmarking

  1. 1. Social software: blogs, wikis, social bookmarking Ian Calder Information Services and Systems
  2. 2. Part 1: Blogs <ul><li>Blog - a journal-style personal web site you can edit directly in your web browser and which allows visitors to leave comments to posts/pages you publish. </li></ul><ul><li>Structured chronologically, you can update a blog as frequently or infrequently as you wish. </li></ul><ul><li>Content can include text, images, attached files and also multimedia elements (in some cases). </li></ul>
  3. 3. Part 1: Blogs <ul><li>Most blogs tend to be personal spaces but collaboration is possible. </li></ul><ul><li>The software which powers blogs can either be installed on a server or can be used via free web-hosted sites, examples of which can include; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wordpress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogger </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What can you use blogs for?
  5. 5. Blogs and learning <ul><li>Development of thinking and writing skills </li></ul><ul><li>Ideal tool for thinking, planning, reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing of resources made easier </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstration/documentation of progress/evolution of processes </li></ul><ul><li>Comments allow for discussion and critique </li></ul><ul><li>Try new technologies and methods </li></ul>
  6. 6. Characteristics of a blog <ul><li>Journal format / reverse chronology (most recent post displayed first) </li></ul><ul><li>Posts or pages </li></ul><ul><li>Comments can be added by viewers </li></ul><ul><li>Use of links to help organise the content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>categories (tags), date </li></ul></ul><ul><li>RSS feeds - allows your blog to be delivered via other sites </li></ul><ul><li>Single author or multiple author - collaborative </li></ul><ul><li>May be personal, but also possibilities for departmental/institutional, etc </li></ul>
  7. 8. Examples of blogs in King's <ul><li>KCL ISS Etheses at King's blog </li></ul><ul><li>King's Graduate School </li></ul><ul><li>War In The Modern World </li></ul><ul><li>KCL Medical Ethics and Law </li></ul>
  8. 9. Examples of blogs elsewhere <ul><li>'Stephen's Web - OLDaily' (Stephen Downes) ( </li></ul><ul><li>'Making Change - ideas for lively learning ( </li></ul><ul><li>e-literate ( </li></ul>
  9. 10. Activity 1 <ul><li>Looking at some blog examples and thinking about how you might use blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Go to: </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you click on ‘Training’ from the list </li></ul><ul><li>Login with the username and password provided </li></ul><ul><li>From the Course List click on the section '00 Training 1 - Introduction to Blogs, Wikis and Social bookmarking' </li></ul><ul><li>Click on the folder 'Blog examples‘ </li></ul><ul><li>Spend the next fifteen minutes looking through some of these and make notes on any features you like, or dislike and think about the potential applications that blogging might have for your own teaching and learning </li></ul>
  10. 11. Activity: Creating a blog using a free account <ul><li>TASK A: Create a blog using - this gives you a much more powerful set of features to use for blogging than in Blackboard Vista. You will need to set up a account, but this is normally quite quick to do and is free. Once it is created you can start creating posts and then link to your blog from inside Blackboard Vista. </li></ul><ul><li>Notes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is a supporting presentation showing this procedure in the 'Introduction to Blogs, Wikis and Social bookmarking' Blackboard Vista section that you will have access to this afternoon. Or, afterwards access it from </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A free online blog using is not hosted on King's College London servers - for any sensitive information this may well not ne an appropriate host </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. Some of the main blogging tasks you will perform using the Dashboard <ul><li>Creating new posts (or pages) </li></ul><ul><li>Adding files or images to your posts </li></ul><ul><li>Moderating comments </li></ul><ul><li>Editing previous posts (or pages) </li></ul>
  12. 14. Creating your first post
  13. 15. Adding an attached file to a post
  14. 16. Adding an image to a post
  15. 17. Some other areas and settings in the Dashboard to be aware of <ul><li>‘ Edit Posts’ is where you can manage your existing posts, e.g. Edit, Delete, Preview </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Note some options you have about comments to your posts allowing/disallowing comments / trackbacks/pingbacks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Post revisions allow you to see a record of updates you have made to a post </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Media Library’ is where you can manage your uploaded files, images, etc </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Users’ is where you can add other people who can contribute to your blog, e.g. you might want to set up a collaborative department/project/course blog </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Users can be allocated different degrees of access, similar to Blackboard Vista concepts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ Comments’ is where you manage any comments submitted to your posts, e.g. Approve, Mark as Spam, Delete, Edit, etc </li></ul>
  16. 18. Activity - continued <ul><li>Task B: After you have created your own blog add a link on your section home page so users can access it. </li></ul><ul><li>Task C: Try returning to the Course List and visit other participants newly created blogs - interact with the blogs, noting what features have been enabled or used - and try leaving some comments. </li></ul>
  17. 19. The WordPress blogging tool <ul><li>Positive aspects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>more customisation of layout, look and feel - easier to digest / search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ability to include widgets, link to allow RSS feed, etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>easy inclusion of media files </li></ul></ul>
  18. 20. The WordPress blogging tool <ul><li>Negative aspects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>yet another system to learn? more complex to manage? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>moderation of comments - and spam? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>easy inclusion of RSS feeds from other blogs on yours </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>where does the data live? how permanent is it? will the plug get pulled without warning? </li></ul></ul>
  19. 21. Finding blogs published by other people
  20. 22. Part 2: Wikis <ul><li>Website that allow users to work collaboratively by editing/updating existing content or creating new content </li></ul><ul><li>Done via a standard web browser without the need to install any additional software. </li></ul><ul><li>The ability to edit pages may be possible for all users of the site or it can be restricted to a smaller group of users. </li></ul><ul><li>Update of the edited pages is normally instantaneous, with page revisions made recorded and documented through the 'history' feature </li></ul>
  21. 23. Wikis - continued <ul><li>Being web browser-based and normally featuring graphical editing interfaces, wikis are easy to use and can be an ideal way to work as a group on shared information. </li></ul><ul><li>The most famous example of a wiki is Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia that you or I can contribute to by editing directly online. </li></ul><ul><li>Within King's Wiki software called 'Confluence' has been installed and can be used, though at present on a small scale. </li></ul><ul><li>As well as the institutional offering, it is also possible to set up free wiki spaces online. </li></ul>
  22. 24. Uses of a wiki <ul><li>Allows web-based collaboration - edit existing content, add new content </li></ul><ul><li>Single centrally-located copy of information rather than multiple individual copies </li></ul><ul><li>Display of different revisions can demonstrate thought processes evolution </li></ul><ul><li>Collection and reflection of thoughts and materials - e-portfolio capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>May be strongly project or purpose based </li></ul><ul><li>Input from the wider community though comments possible </li></ul>
  23. 25. Ning <ul><li>From Wikipedia: </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Ning competes with large social sites like MySpace and Facebook by appealing to people who want to create their own social networks around specific interests with their own visual design, choice of features and member data. The unique feature of Ning is that anyone can create their own social network for a particular topic or need, catering to specific membership bases.&quot; </li></ul>
  24. 26. Ning <ul><li>Some of the features you will find on Ning </li></ul><ul><li>Member profile pages </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion Forum </li></ul><ul><li>Individual blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Upload and share photos, videos </li></ul><ul><li>Chat feature </li></ul><ul><li>Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusion of RSS feeds and widgets </li></ul><ul><li>Moderation and Privacy - you can make your social network public or private for members only and you can moderate contributions before they are posted </li></ul>
  25. 27. Activity) Exploring a wiki and contributing your own content <ul><li> </li></ul>
  26. 28. Wiki activity <ul><li>Think back to the 'Blogs and learning' slide and the following points which were displayed as possible benefits: </li></ul><ul><li>Development of thinking and writing skills </li></ul><ul><li>Ideal tool for thinking, planning, reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing of resources made easier </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstration/documentation of progress/evolution of processes </li></ul><ul><li>Comments allow for discussion and critique </li></ul><ul><li>Try new technologies and methods </li></ul><ul><li>Having tried out some blogging activities of your own in the previous tasks, add your own thoughts now - do you agree with the above? disagree? have anything else to add? </li></ul>
  27. 29. Part 3: Social bookmarking <ul><li>Online bookmarks/favourites </li></ul><ul><li>No longer tied to a specific computer - access from anywhere by logging in </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing - allow others to see your bookmarks/favourites </li></ul><ul><li>Social - find other people with similar interests easily </li></ul><ul><li>Student tasks - collaborate to build up useful resource links </li></ul><ul><li>Delicious (example) </li></ul>
  28. 31. 4) Flickr and SlideShare
  29. 32. What is SlideShare? <ul><li>A service that allows you to upload files such as PowerPoint, Word, Excel docs, etc and then allow them to be embedded in other places, such as blogs, as they are converted to Flash format. </li></ul><ul><li>A great way of displaying them via the web </li></ul><ul><li>Handy for accessing your presentations from anywhere with web access </li></ul>
  30. 33. What is Flickr? <ul><li>An image (and video) sharing and retrieval system </li></ul><ul><li>Allows you to upload your own images and videos and share them with anyone - or you can set access control on who can view them (family/friends) </li></ul><ul><li>Images/videos can be tagged for easier search/retrieval </li></ul><ul><li>Can be set so you can post directly to a blog </li></ul><ul><li>Social / community aspects - you can see who is commenting, adding as favourites, etc </li></ul><ul><li>RSS feed possible - embedding on other places, e.g. blogs, Ning, etc </li></ul>
  31. 34. Uses of Flickr in education <ul><li>Collaboration and feedback - adding notes or comments to photos - notes can be added to specific portions of the photo - visual arguments can be developed </li></ul><ul><li>As a copyright-free image library - searching for images with creative commons licenses that allow re-use </li></ul><ul><li>As an image repository </li></ul><ul><li>Use of images as prompts or for storytelling ('flicktion') </li></ul><ul><li>Documentation of events, e.g. field trips, etc </li></ul>
  32. 35. Issues with Flickr to be aware of <ul><li>Users need to have a Yahoo account in order to view materials which are restricted to family/friends - does not accept OpenID </li></ul><ul><li>Tagging is user created - therefore inconsistent - people can use different words to mean same thing - searching could be a problem </li></ul><ul><li>Videos are limited to 90 seconds in length, and 150MB in filesize </li></ul><ul><li>Any and all kinds of images are uploaded to Flickr - inappropriate imagery from searches is a possibility </li></ul>