In this issue of Media Literacy Digest, open education advocate George Siemens, takes you to news and stories on emergent media, technology and learning, helping you make good sense of the many changes taking place around you and of how these directly impact your daily lives.
Photo credit: Victor Habbick
Inside this Media Literacy Digest:
learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends
by George Siemens
Of course, the web is not social. Just like technology is not social. Or media is not social. We use these resources for social means, but that is a function of use, not of the characteristics inherent in the web or media.
We compress "social uses of the web" to social web for convenience sake. But we really do not mean it like we say it.
Anyway, in case you are wondering what the social web will look like in the future, it will be about meaningful experiences:
"The past five years of Social Media evolution have focused on growth and adoption, but anticipates that the next stage of advancement is dedicated to improving social functionality. I would also add personalization and portability.
The biggest opportunity for the expansion of social networks is to build bridges between these isolated islands to deliver a more fulfilling, meaningful and productive experience."
Random point - sentences like this do not mean much to most human beings: "The future of the social web must begin with data portability to accelerate proliferation throughout Roger's Diffusion of Innovation adoption system".
A good name is often as good as (or better than) a good idea.
The age of the informavore displays both provocative thinking and a memorable term. The video (about 30 min) is a loosely connected flow of thoughts on:
While we spend much time talking about change, the "becoming" aspect is overlooked.
What are we becoming due to technology? Is it what we want to become? Which parts should we be resisting? Or, for that matter, what have you resisted recently?
Future of education is not an explicit focus in the articles, but can be anticipated as a result of the focus of the articles. Topics include:
I keep returning to a question that is often overlooked in discussions of openness: What happens once everything is open?
So far we have a fair bit of experience with the impact of open content on curriculum, a bit less experience with the impact of openness on teaching / learning, and almost nothing on how the system of education itself is impacted.
Openness is not the end game. It is a transitory stage that will shape teaching and learning. My interest lies with the emerging landscape of systemic change.
Meaning is found in associations. It is simple concept, but has substantial implications. To get an accurate picture of "something", context first needs to be understood. This short video - cannot squeeze knowledge from a pixel - summarizes this point.
An email address, for example, means very little unless we see it in a broader context and in light of associations formed between the address and other entities. Nothing new about that. However, information connectedness raises privacy and ethical concerns.
Should my doctor know my credit rating? My driving record? Should the government be able to get complete, integrated access to all my data (remember Total Information Awareness?).
Spaces and barriers between data are important - only what is required for a particular context should be known to banker / government / doctor / lawyer / employer. However, and this is a significant concern, participation on the open web is increasing data accessibility.
An employer cannot ask a potential employee her / his age. But that information is freely available on Facebook (often). An employer cannot ask about health concerns. But, again, that information can often be gleaned through Twitter, blogging, and Facebook status updates.
I have not had the privilege of visiting Saudi Arabia. As a result, I particularly appreciated reading Tony Bates' experiences of leading a series of workshops in his post: A personal view of e-learning.
The limited adoption of technology in universities is not that unusual from my experience. A growing number of universities are more organized and structured in their online learning initiative, but many do so without strategic considerations.
Technology use is driven at a grassroots level (which is fine, but for system-level implementation, some top down support and resources allocation is needed). Tony's discussion of his presentation experiences and how male / female separate varied by different universities is worth a quick read.
Technology use is routinely equated with social isolation. We are often told (and in turn tell our youth) to "log out and interact with the real world".
Barry Wellman - with his Netville research - was the first researcher that I am aware of who questioned the tech use = isolation viewpoint. People who are connected online often have higher levels face-to-face interactions.
A new Pew Internet (motto: "Why say it in 20 pages when you can say it in 84") report, Social Isolation and New Technology, explores how internet and mobile use influences network diversity and socialization (or isolation).
In the process, the report challenges most myths about online participation:
I posted this last month, but by way of a quick reminder: Call for Chapters: Personal Learning Environments / Networks. Deadline for a two-page abstract is November 15, 2009.
About George Siemens
George Siemens is the Associate Director in the Learning Technologies Centre at the University of Manitoba. George blogs at www.elearnspace.org where he shares his vision on the educational landscape and the impact that media technologies have on the educational system. George Siemens is also the author of Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age and the book "Knowing Knowledge" where he develops a learning theory called connectivism which uses a network as the central metaphor for learning and focuses on knowledge as a way to making connections.
George Siemens -
Future of The Social Web -Leah-Anne Thompson
The Age of The Informavore - Christopher Hall
Openness and The Future of Education - Refat
Cannot Squeeze Knowledge From a Pixel - Vacuum3d
Personal View of E-Learning: Saudi Arabia - Viktoriia Kulish
Social Isolation and Technology - Elena Volegzhanina
Call For Chapters: Personal Learning Environments / Networks - Andrey Davidenko