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Reaching a Bigger Pond: Tools and Technology for Forming Community


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for Community Engagement Showcase, Cairns, 6/11/07

Published in: Technology, Education
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Reaching a Bigger Pond: Tools and Technology for Forming Community

  1. 1. Reaching a Bigger Pond: tools and technologies for forming community Community Engagement Showcase Cairns, Nov 6 th , 2007
  2. 2. Community in the 21 st Century
  3. 3. INTERNET = COMMUNITY The task is to carve out your own bit of it for your community.
  4. 4. Learning in the 21 st Century <ul><li>“ I have seen predictions that a student doing a 3 yr course by 2012 will experience the situation where most of the knowledge they have gained in yr one will be completely out of date by the time they finish yr 3.” </li></ul><ul><li>“… the only sustainable approach by VET will be to find the learning and teaching strategies which will ensure that people embrace attitudes and behaviours anchored in lifelong learning.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is becoming …an imperative for industry to have staff who are lifelong learners and highly ICT literate.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greg Black, CEO, (Campus Review 16/10/07) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Internet and Community- what happens? <ul><li>You connect less with some of the people around you in your daily life </li></ul><ul><li>You connect with people you already know via a different medium (online) </li></ul><ul><li>You connect with people you would otherwise have had no contact with </li></ul>
  6. 6. Online Community – what’s the appeal? <ul><li>You connect less with some of the people around you in your daily life! </li></ul><ul><li>You connect with people you already know via a different medium (online). (You get to know people differently) </li></ul><ul><li>You connect with people you would otherwise have had no contact with </li></ul>
  7. 7. Online Community – what’s the appeal? <ul><li>You can connect with multiple people with similar interests at the same time (many to many communication.) (Group discussion) </li></ul><ul><li>Some simply prefer communicating online </li></ul>
  8. 8. Backdrop: Social Networking Sites <ul><li>MySpace, Facebook ( 75% of yr 11/12 students in Australia have a MySpace site) </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr (photo sharing) </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube (video sharing) </li></ul><ul><li>etc </li></ul>
  9. 9. Today: <ul><li>The Webhead Community </li></ul><ul><li>Voice on the web </li></ul><ul><li>What tools do you need? </li></ul>Image courtesy of mosmanlibrary
  10. 10. Types of Community <ul><li>Face to face group starts to communicate online (eg AFS) </li></ul><ul><li>Group meets online and decides to meet f2f (Twitter in WA) </li></ul><ul><li>Group meets online and longs for f2f contact! </li></ul>
  11. 11. Developing Online Community The Webheads Experience
  12. 12. Where do Webheads fit? Face to face Community IT Community IT Individuals + WEBHEADS = + IT Community
  13. 13. The Palace
  14. 14. Webheads - origin <ul><li>Vance’s class were online after mine </li></ul><ul><li>We decided to unite the classes </li></ul><ul><li>Obvious signs that the group wanted to stay together </li></ul><ul><li>Vance proposed that we call ourselves WEBHEADS </li></ul>
  15. 15. Who are the Webheads? <ul><li>“an experiment in world friendship through online language learning” </li></ul>300 + members
  16. 16. Where are the Webheads? in approximately 50 countries
  17. 17. Webheads Today <ul><li>In 2007, the Webheads community is alive and well (weekly meeting, daily communication, many gather each year at the international TESOL convention in March, Elizabeth and partner visited me here last summer….) </li></ul>
  18. 18. How/why has this community survived?
  19. 19. Webheads Drivers <ul><li>Initially, the vision and enthusiasm of one person – the leader, and no #1 cat herder (Vance Stevens) </li></ul><ul><li>Later, the vision and enthusiasm of several key members </li></ul><ul><li>Common causes : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ESL/EFL/language teaching and learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International friendship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interest in exploring technology </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Refocusing </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in membership </li></ul><ul><li>The wow factor </li></ul>
  20. 20. Webheads Drivers <ul><li>Ongoing personal gain; “What I receive is worthwhile; what I give is valued” </li></ul><ul><li>Synchronous meetings (always 2 per wk – a ‘student meeting’, and a ‘teachers meeting) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Synchronous Meetings <ul><li>Tapped In: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Weekly regular event (Tapped In) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instant Messengers, Virtual Classrooms > voice interaction; webcams </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Drivers: Regular Events <ul><li>Dafne (Caracas) </li></ul><ul><li>Aiden (Taiwan) </li></ul><ul><li>Conferences/Workshops/ Social </li></ul>
  23. 23. WEBHEADS WEBSITE(S) – the Artefacts <ul><li>Collective and individual spaces (pages, blogs, wikis) </li></ul><ul><li>Photos (people, colleges, places of work, family) </li></ul><ul><li>Writings on individual pages </li></ul><ul><li>Resources found and/or created by the community </li></ul><ul><li>All of this can be shared via the Web </li></ul>
  24. 24. The role of technology in sustaining this community <ul><li>Enables communication across place and time </li></ul><ul><li>Affords several modes of communication (email, discussion boards, Instant Messaging, blogs, wikis, voice tools, webcams, virtual classrooms, websites, parallel universes, micro-blogging) </li></ul><ul><li>The email listserv is the lifeblood </li></ul>
  25. 25. Cornerstones: Technology - <ul><li>Enables regular group and one on one communications </li></ul><ul><li>Brings together people who otherwise would be unknown to each other </li></ul><ul><li>Affords multiple channels of communication </li></ul><ul><li>Provides for individual and collective needs </li></ul><ul><li>Provides shared public and permanent record for all to see </li></ul><ul><li>Allows everyone to contribute to this shared record </li></ul>
  26. 26. The Role of Voice <ul><li>Immediacy </li></ul><ul><li>More personal contact </li></ul><ul><li>TOOLS: </li></ul><ul><li>Yahoo Messenger, Skype, Virtual Classrooms </li></ul>
  27. 27. NEW PRACTICES PROJECTS <ul><li>Beyond Text (2005) </li></ul><ul><li>http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Media on the Move (2006) </li></ul><ul><li>http:// / </li></ul>
  28. 28.
  29. 29.
  30. 30. TARGET GROUPS <ul><li>English as Second or Other Language Learners (ESOL) </li></ul><ul><li>Low level literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Those with little recent formal learning experience </li></ul><ul><li>Those with poor keyboard skills </li></ul><ul><li>Those who prefer an auditory style of learning </li></ul>
  31. 31. Global Conclusions <ul><li>Saves times for students, but NOT for teachers </li></ul><ul><li>For types of learners targeted it definitely results in greater participation, and increased levels of satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>Allows teachers and students to know each other differently (changes the dynamic between teachers and learners) </li></ul><ul><li>Allows for individual monitoring/feedback/encouragement in ways not hitherto possible </li></ul>
  32. 32. ISSUES: <ul><li>Public v Private Space </li></ul><ul><ul><li>many feel strange posting audio (‘talking to a computer’) in public spaces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many do not have private access to computers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Record Keeping </li></ul>
  33. 33. ISSUES: <ul><li>Voice allows for complex tone (compared to uniform tone of written text) </li></ul>
  34. 34. Complex v Uniform Tone <ul><li>Using voice in online and elearning environments has been slowly but surely creeping into the educational landscape for several years now. Pioneers of online voice technologies were using them as early as 1997, but the proliferation of the range of available tools and the increase in the speed of Internet connections has made it possible for any teacher with a simple microphone to easily augment their teaching methodologies with online voice tools. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Asynch Synch Oral Written Dialogic Minimalistic Reflective; combination of dialogic and monologic Most structured form of communication COMMUNICATION AXIS
  36. 36. New Practices Voice Tools Workshop Resources <ul><li>Try the links and resources at http:// / </li></ul>
  37. 37. Free Tools for Spoken Conversations <ul><li>Chinswing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>example (advanced EFL listening) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Vaestro </li></ul><ul><li>VoiceThread </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Voice Thread example </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>another example </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Virtual Classrooms (Web Conferencing) <ul><li>Big Bucks </li></ul><ul><li>Elluminate (free 3 person vroom @ ) </li></ul><ul><li>(Or free inside EdNA Groups) </li></ul><ul><li>Very affordable: </li></ul><ul><li>iVocalize ( ) </li></ul><ul><li>Discover-e (Australian) </li></ul><ul><li>Free </li></ul><ul><li>Wiziq – new, but seems good </li></ul><ul><li>Vet Virtual – Framework initiative; still unstable; worth watching </li></ul>
  39. 39. Which tools for your community? <ul><li>Very difficult to get </li></ul><ul><li>consensus </li></ul><ul><li>Try one for each </li></ul><ul><li>purpose (eg Flickr for </li></ul><ul><li>photos) </li></ul><ul><li>Potential to splinter </li></ul><ul><li>the community </li></ul> /
  40. 40. Which tools? <ul><li>Home Base (portal) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication Channels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative Workspaces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Artefact Storage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoting Events </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. What would my community look like?
  42. 42. Other possible complementary tools: <ul><li>Frappr Maps </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Google Earth </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile Phones (audio/moblogging) </li></ul><ul><li>Net to SMS ( SMSpup (free), Telstra </li></ul><ul><li>Survey Tools (Zoomerang, Survey Monkey) </li></ul><ul><li>Google Alerts </li></ul><ul><li>Netvibes </li></ul>
  43. 44. Google Earth
  44. 45. Survey Tools Eg Zoomerang Survey Monkey More at http://
  45. 46. Community Home(s) <ul><li>EdNA Groups (Moodle) </li></ul><ul><li>Own Moodle ($1000/yr approx) </li></ul><ul><li>Google or Yahoo Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook; MySpace </li></ul><ul><li>Protopage (eg ) </li></ul><ul><li>Netvibes </li></ul><ul><li>(Second Life?) </li></ul>
  46. 47. Second Life
  47. 48. Community Roles (Wenger) <ul><li>The inspirational leadership provided by thought leaders and recognized experts </li></ul><ul><li>The day-to-day leadership provided by those who organize activities </li></ul><ul><li>The classificatory leadership provided by those who collect and organize information in order to document practices </li></ul><ul><li>The interpersonal leadership provided by those who weave the community's social fabric </li></ul>
  48. 49. Community Roles (Wenger) <ul><li>The boundary leadership provided by those who connect the community to other communities </li></ul><ul><li>The institutional leadership provided by those who maintain links with other organizational constituencies, in particular the official hierarchy </li></ul><ul><li>The cutting-edge leadership provided by those who shepherd &quot;out-of-the-box&quot; initiatives. </li></ul>
  49. 50. Domain. Community. Practice. <ul><li>Domain:   This is the participants’ common ground – their understanding of the common issues and use of a common ‘language’. </li></ul><ul><li>Community:   This is the socialising, collegiate, relationship element between the participants.  </li></ul><ul><li>Practice: This is the processes by which participants learn by sharing skills and information, and accumulate and disseminate knowledge.   </li></ul><ul><li>(from Marlene Manto) </li></ul>
  50. 51. Joining the Webheads <ul><li>Send an email to </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Annual 6 wk seminar over the Australian summer (as part of annual TESOL convention) </li></ul>
  51. 52. The Internet is…. <ul><li>“ not about dot coms, online malls…. It’s not about routers, servers, browsers.…In fact, the Internet isn’t even about technology. It’s about us. The collective us.” </li></ul><ul><li>COMMONSPACE: Beyond Virtual Community: </li></ul><ul><li>Surman & Wershler-Henry; 2001 </li></ul>
  52. 53. <ul><li>Can you build relationships... …online? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you build social capital …online? </li></ul><ul><li>Can community develop… …online? </li></ul><ul><li>YES!! </li></ul>THE BIG QUESTIONS……
  53. 54. <ul><li>for more information contact Michael Coghlan </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>THANK YOU  </li></ul>