Social learning in the academic environment is about creating an environment where students can consume content, create content, and collaborate on content creation. Individuals can come together to create content, share knowledge and experiences, and learn from one another to improve their productivity. It is also a way to extend formal content-based learning. Learners become contributors, not passive recipients of information. Whether participating in a blog site, collaborating on a wiki assignment, or commenting on a podcast, users are actively engaged.This principle goes hand in hand with the flipped classroom model. Flipped classroom inverts traditional teaching method, and delivers instruction online, and moving homework into the classroom. Engaging students with activity based learning, instead of lecture.With social learning, doesn’t matter where the student is, how far the distance is, they are still able to participate in a flipped classroom, learning from the instructor, as well as peers, using Web 2.0 tools, such as online discussions. Discussions and lecture happen outside of the classroom, and classroom time is reserved for collaborative learning.
Teachers created 3 videos a weekStudents viewed the 5-7 min videos at home (or on campus in the lab if they didn’t have internet at home)Classtime was devoted to labs and other interactive activities. Students had debates, discussions, and were able to learn from each other in addition to the recorded video.The results were tremendous. When Clintondale put their course materials online and began using social learning in their classroom, they saw over 30% decrease in failure rates.
As part of a state-mandated internet safety program Community High School District 99 needed to institute a way to build awareness of internet safety. Jon Orech, Instructional Technology Coordinator, at South High School saw this as an opportunity to showcase internet safety in an innovative way, with the help of Campus Pack 4. Orech, though, views this approach simply as compliance, foregoing any educational element of the requirement. He believes that rather than just one day a year, every day should be internet safety day, so he set himself to work on creating the Digital Citizenship Project. In this project, students learn about cyber bullying awareness and prevention as well as strategies to protect themselves if they are victimized. Orech envisioned creating partnerships between his high school and middle school's across the country where the older students would mentor and guide the younger students on some anti-bullying best practices. To accomplish this, Orech used social media outlets like Twitter to engage educators across the nation, specifically targeting middle school teachers whose students would be interested in having a “Cyber Mentor.” He received enthusiastic responses from school districts spanning the country, and subsequently assigned one of his high school students to serve as a mentor to 2-3 middle school students. The students were able to collaborate online, and discuss their experiences with cyberbulling. In one example that Orech shares on his blog, three students are discussing an instance of bullying, and one of the students, in defending another victim of bullying, is inadvertently bullying one of the other students. The high school mentor drew her attention to her behavior and encourage her to be more thoughtful in choosing her words. Orech is encouraged by this type of communication among the students, saying “The middle school kids responses are jaw dropping. They show empathy, are willing to open up themselves, ask questions and are truly interested in what our students have to say."Over 1,000 students have participated nationwide to date.
EnviromentalSustainablility is an ever-growing subject, as researchers are discover new ways to practice sustainability with the goal of maintaining our environment for future generations. This science is also being taught in the classroom, and Lynn University has found a unique way to engage students on this topic with the help of Campus Pack 4.Last semester, Professor John Tebes tasked students with tracing the history of Lynn University’s efforts. Professor Tebes took this assignment further by integrating social learning, and creating a wiki that will serve as an evolving catalog of the university’s sustainability efforts.Students had the option of sitting in on a university committee meeting, or contacting committee members directly to discuss the goals of program, and how they have developed over the past several years. Then, they recorded the information using the online tool. Additionally, students were asked to reach out to their local home communities to study the sustainability efforts and add their findings to the wiki. This took the project from beyond the institution by adding other cities and communities to the wiki for comparison purposes. One of the unexpected benefits of this project was that many of the students’ parents began to take an interest in the sustainability practices of their local communities, which helped to spread the word of how important it is to engage in sustainable practies. A number of students also represented countries outside of the U.S., so it added an additional perspective to see how sustainability is being managed international. This semester, the project will continue, as new students will add to the original wiki, and include updates to Lynn University’s sustainability efforts as well as gather information from their own communities.
Social Learning Best Practices
Social Learning 101: Best PracticesHal HerzogDirector, Product ManagementLearning Objects, Inc.
What is it?Social learning = user-centric learning Source: Jeremy F. Strayer, OSU, Knewton.com
ResultsClintondale High School near Detroit flipped all of their classrooms: Source: Jeremy F. Strayer, OSU, Knewton.com
Commonly used Social Assignment tools:•Wikis allow students to work together to build knowledgebases, synthesizeresearch, write papers, and present projects.• Blogs give students an audience for their writing, encouraging thoughtfulnessand clarity and enabling learning through online debate, peer modeling, and peerreview.• Journals engage students in reflective writing in a private space, and can beused to track activities and progress over time.• Podcasts facilitate learning-on-the-go and can be used to disseminate languagelessons, recorded lectures, and supplemental course material. Both instructorsand students can post Podcast episodes and threaded commenting allowsparticipants to discuss the works within the same podcast site.• Discussion boards allow students to engage in an online forum on any topic andshare thoughts and reply to each other’s ideas in a more informal manner.
Personal Learning Environments• Online space for every individual in the institution• Create and publish content outside the course• Ready access to peers, courses, and organizations• Robust sharing and personalization options• Build a collection of academic work• Selectively share resumes, projects, and work• Integrated experience between personal space, course, and co-curricular activities
Case Study: The Digital Citizenship Project• State-mandated internet safety program• High school students mentor junior high school students across the US• Over 1k students have participated nationwide
Case Study: Lynn University• Environmental Sustainability course, learning new ways of practicingsustainability• Information was gathered in a wiki, representing both US and internationalsustainability efforts• Brought awareness of topic to entire community
Case Study: Baldwin-Wallace College Learning Objects, in conjunction with Baldwin-Wallace College, is a proud recipient of the 2011 IMS Learning Impact Award for implementing a Campus Pack Personal Learning Space, which led to a 15% increase in retention of B-W College 101 students.