Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Media Literacy: Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens - Mar 22 09

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Social networking sites, e-portfolios, the value of online meetings, and the crisis of newspapers are just some of the hot topics inside this week George Siemens' Media Literacy Digest.

Photo credit: D'Arcy Norman

Impression management is the process through which people try to control the impressions other people form of them. (Source: Wikipedia)

Among this week fascinating pointers: How social networks impact the way you introduce yourself to other people?

  • First, your private and public lives are no longer completely separated. They just can't be anymore because as the dividing line between them tends to become more and more blurred. A business speech you made and which has now been uploaded to YouTube by one of those attending it, a Flickr photo album with your kids at the beach, a tweet about a new tool you have just discovered, or a business comment you made on Facebook. You're not a father anymore, a businessman, a friend, a peer: You're all of this together.
  • Secondly, you're not the only one that builds up your online presence. Your peers, friends, and maybe even people you don't know about, contribute to shape your social profile on the basis of the connections they make with you. Others too, participate in defining and making it known, who you really are.

Whether you are interested in how new technologies are changing our society or in the impact new media have on the educational landscape, each one of these weekly digests provides a consistent set of pointers, facts and resources to stimulate your ability to analyze, anticipate and make greater sense of the changes awaiting us.


eLearning Resources and News

learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends

by George Siemens


Social Networking Sites and Social Theory


The internet, specifically social networking tools like Twitter, assaults the boundary between our private and public selves. The many representations of "George" - father, son, brother, employee, friend - move toward one on Facebook.

Social networking and social theory explores this blurring of identities through Erving Goffman's (a connection to Manitoba!) work:

"front stage" and "back stage" concepts have been a useful way to understand social life. Goffman wrote in 1959 of how we keep certain information private, part of the process of impression management."

Impression management is not solely under our control. If you have presented at a conference, commented on a blog, or had someone take an image of you and post (and tag) on Flickr, you exist online. Others participate in defining and broadcasting who we are.


IBM Casestudy of Second Life


IBM reports on a conference held in Second Life (.pdf):

"The meeting in Second Life was everything that you could do at a traditional conference - and more - at one fifth the cost and without a single case of jet lag".

Benefits reported: reduced cost and increased productivity (i.e. less time traveling to / from conference). The paper discusses how the conference was organized - not exclusively in Second Life, video conferencing / web casts were used as well - and the budget ($80,000).

I've been involved in many online conferences over the last few years that have a far greater reach than the several hundred participants mentioned in here. Plus, we've generally done it with a budget of, oh, about $0.

Still, it's nice to see organizations experimenting. New experiences sometimes offer their own reward. I know of colleagues who have been teaching a certain subject matter for decades... and when experimenting with blogs or wikis, suddenly find renewed enthusiasm.
(via Tom Werner)


Workplace Learning


Tony Karrer summarizes views of what workplace learning will look like in 10 years... and offers his own:

Half of the current members of training departments will still be there. The others will have first jumped into these new departments. These will be the individuals who focus on performance, who get informal / pull learning, and who take the lead on understanding the role of technology.

I would predict that this half becomes some kind of management consultant within the next 10 years.

I think Tony is right. Organizational learning / training / development must ultimately be focused on capacity building (i.e. the ability of an organization to enact its goals and to adapt and change rapidly as external realities change).

The current training and development function must be focused in this direction (and in the process, expand their service to the organization) or L & D will be subsumed by other departments.

As I've stated before, learning can no longer exist as a distinct and separate function in an organization




Of all the tools available for educators, e-portfolios have a pleasant mix of "great potential" and "very low adoption". When combined with Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), eportfolios can bridge the gap between formal learning and informal learning.

The Wired Campus is more effusive:

"If we truly want to advance from a focus on teaching to a focus on student learning, then a strategy involving something like electronic student portfolios, or ePortfolios, is essential."


Media and News


Newspapers are the current topic of interest on many blogs / news sites. Seattle PI announces it will stop publishing a paper-version, to focus on online resources (which it states will be more than only an online newspaper but will serve as a community platform).

Then, the State of Newsmedia provides the happily bleak outlook:

"Journalism, deluded by its profitability and fearful of technology, let others outside the industry steal chance after chance online. By 2008, the industry had finally begun to get serious. Now the global recession has made that harder"
(for more, but equally depressing info, read their 700 page report).

Steven Johnson states that the financial crisis has taken what should have been a ten-year evolutionary process and reduced it to a one to two year process. Traditional news can't make the adjustment.

Clay Shirky offers his views:

"Revolutions create a curious inversion of perception. In ordinary times, people who do no more than describe the world around them are seen as pragmatists, while those who imagine fabulous alternative futures are viewed as radicals."
On a side note, this article has been referenced by many blogs. I have yet to encounter one strong critique.

If journalism is important, but newspapers aren't, why aren't these so-called new journalists critiquing Shirky's article? At best, it's being referenced by people who agree with Shirky and ignored by those who don't. Zero critical dialogue doesn't hold much promise for "new journalism" as a valuable counter-balance to existing power holders in society. Even the typically cranky are swooning over the article.


Video of University of Calgary Presentation

Click the image to go to the video

Last week, I was in Alberta for a series of presentations (in Calgary for ADETA and University of Calgary, and in Edmonton for a full-day workshop with Athabasca University). It was great to meet up with colleagues and friends like D'Arcy Norman, Alec Couros, Norm Vaughan, Terry Anderson, Jon Dron, Cindy Ives, and many others.

D'Arcy Norman has posted a video of my presentation at U of C as well as images and links (Thanks D'Arcy!). My intent, and I think I explored too much territory in the talk, was to present how changing information interaction is (will be) mapped into the future of universities.


Clickstream Data Yields High-Resolution Maps of Science

Click above to enlarge the image

Google founders discovered the value of citations (connections) in pagerank, which was based on Garfield's citation index.

Now, armed with better data-crunching capabilities, the same principles of extracting value from exploring connections between articles can be applied on a much larger scale: Clickstream Data Yields High-Resolution Maps of Science:

"Maps of science resulting from large-scale clickstream data provide a detailed, contemporary view of scientific activity and correct the underrepresentation of the social sciences and humanities that is commonly found in citation data."

The data is current provided as images. It would be useful to navigate the resulting "map of science" in an interactive application.

Originally written by George Siemens for elearnspace and first published on March 19th 2009 in his newsletter eLearning Resources and News.

About the author


To learn more about George Siemens and to access extensive information and resources on elearning check out Explore also George Siemens connectivism site for resources on the changing nature of learning and check out his new book "Knowing Knowledge".

Photo credits:
IBM Casestudy of Second Life - IBM
Workplace Learning - Suprijono Suharjoto
E-portfolios - Dana Nicolescu
Media and News -
Clickstream Data Yields High-Resolution Maps of Science - PLoS ONE

George Siemens -
Reference: eLearnSpace [ Read more ]
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posted by Daniele Bazzano on Sunday, March 22 2009, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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