Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Media Literacy: Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens - Aug 23 08

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How can the educational system we pay for via our taxes change and transform itself into a new way to prepare our young people for an even faster-changing future? Are there alternatives out there?

Photo credit: D'Arcy Norman

As I have promised you last week, George Siemens has made himself available for a short, informal video conversation in which we have discussed several interesting topics that some of you had also suggested. [I was not able to bring in all of your suggested questions, both because of the limited time available in this conversation (the video runs about 32 mins) and also because I have gotten some of your suggested queries way too late to use them in this videoconference.]

If you are interested in seeing me and George talk about the state of education and schooling today and the down-to-the-ground issues a parent of any teenager meets today you may find this enjoyable to watch. The other topics we cover include a simplified explanation of connectivism and its relevance to non academics, as well as education future direction and social media hype.

Here the video interview and, right after it, George's habitual quality selection of issues, topics and resources to keep an eye on while trying to make sense of it all.

Robin Good interviews George Siemens on connectivism, learning, social media and the future of education.


eLearning Resources and News

learning, networks, knowledge, technology, trends

by George Siemens

20 Free Ebooks On Social Media


I haven't read all of the ebooks listed... but this is a useful listing of 20 free ebooks on social media.

The list includes resources on podcasting, blogging, usability and related subjects. I'm not entirely convinced I like the term social media anymore. In the sense that all media (whether creation/production, transmission, reception...and even when media is treated as storage, it still aspires to be viewed) require a producer and consumer, doesn't the notion of media have an inherent social trait?

NSF and The Birth Of The Internet


Ray Schroeder provides a link to a great resource: NSF and the Birth of the Internet. The site includes a mix of timelines, images, videos, interviews, etc.

As prominent as the internet is in our lives, it's worth having at least a functional understanding of the stages of development as well as future directions. We need something similar for the development of educational technology...

Social Media Classroom


Howard Rheingold has been working on a project called Social Media Classroom to incorporate emerging technologies into classrooms. An instantiation of his platform can be seen here for an upcoming course he is teaching.

The software - SMC - pulls together wikis, blogs, tagging, media sharing, and other tools familiar to the read/write web crowd. This type of centralized tool set is important for introducing the next wave of adopters to distributed social media.

I'm unsure at this stage whether Rheingold's software allows for incorporation of learners blogs that exist outside of the software - i.e. if I have an existing blog, can I post there? Or do I have to use the course software exclusively? I'm of the mindset that developers of software, such as LMS', need to design for two groups: the majority who are just starting to adopt social media and the minority who are well on the journey and want to keep their existing space and identity.

Rheingold provides a short introduction to the software in this 8 minute presentation.

Key quote: don't worry about keeping up with the technologies so much as keeping up with the literacies the technologies enable.

Explaining Leads To Information


I've been trying to gain a better sense of the role universities will play in society in the future. At one point, we thought content was the value point of universities. Wrong. MIT's OpenCourseWare initiative changed that. Ok, then the interaction with faculty is the value point. And wrong again. Open communication and collaboration in online environments with networks of peers and experts gave us control over our interactions. Fine.

Then the value point is accreditation. Yes, for now. Our ability to rate, review, comment, and provide feedback has increased with the development of the read/write web. I'm not sure how long we can build education's value on the concept of accreditation. As I've frequently suggested, we can glean much insight from a field that has spent more time journeying down the path of shifting value from content to something else: the news/journalism/media industry.

Jay Rosen, in National Explainer, advocates a new role for journalists. Instead of presenting information, the objective is to assist readers and viewers in making sense of complex subject areas. The ability to do this rests on the journalists ability to provide coherent, memorable explanations.

In my presentation at Madison a few weeks ago, I emphasized that the role of university may well become one of being a coherence-maker, helping learners make sense of information abundance and change. Sure, universities have always done this... but they have done so from a perspective of authority rather than engagement.

Facebook In Education


I was interviewed by a radio program today on the role of Facebook in education. My view: very little research has been conducted on whether the high communicative value of Facebook translates into academic value.

Do students want educators to integrate Facebook into instructional activities? Or do students prefer to use these tools for more social purposes? As educators we are often drawn to tools in popular use, assuming we can co-opt them for academic purposes. "Oh look, everyone has a mobile phone/Facebook account/Second Life avatar...let's use that for educational purposes".

InsideHigher Ed asks the key question: Will Colleges Friend Facebook?

In a related vein - the term creepy treehouse has acquired a fair bit of traction to draw attention to differences of intention in the use of popular technologies and processes for teaching/learning.

Web 2.0


One of my favorite past times is to whine about the term web 2.0. I don't like it. It turns what is inherently a process in to a product. It's a marketers dream. It smacks of hype. And so on. Yet the term appears with increasing frequency in books, articles, and conference themes.

Don Hinchcliffe states that web 2.0 is the more popular "new internet" term. He then provides a good overview of how the term evolved, how Gartner presents it in their hype cycle, and how "2.0" is impacting the development of concepts such as enterprise 2.0.

Location-Based Learning and Working


For some reason, we like to do certain things in certain places. It's not as comical a statement as it first appears. Consider work: we go to work, sit at a desk, or lecture in a classroom. We have a habit of eating dinner at the table (well, for some, in front of the TV).

We have a "go to" mentality. Why? I haven't a clue. But that mentality is changing in a few areas.

Consider business - many workplaces are moving away from the traditional "go to work" mentality. Distributed workforces, increased travel, and internet connectivity leave many professionals with only a limited presence at a particular physical location.

Consider another perspective: "we go to classrooms to learn". It may have been more valuable at one time, but with meetups and internet connectivity, I wonder if classrooms are going to go the way of business offices: distributed, open, mobile.

Are Social Networking Sites Good For Business?


I often encounter this type of question with regards to education: Are social networking sites good for business? The question assumes that SNS possess some intrinsic value in themselves.

Simply put, social networking services are good for communicating and connecting with others. If that's your aim - in education, business, or whatever - then, yes, these tools can be useful. Outside of an aim, in keeping with Gibson's concept of the need of an agent to perceive affordances or action potential of a tool, SNS have no value.

Presentation: Designing New Learning Landscapes

I delivered a presentation to ABEL at York University this morning: Designing new learning landscapes.

While preparing for the session, I was looking back at what kinds of questions we are asking today as compared to questions we were asking only ten years ago. The types of questions we are asking obviously provide and indication of what we are seeking... i.e. questions reveal a mindset or goal-orientation. Many of us have moved from asking "is technology effective" to "how can we use technology as a lever for transformation".

The new orientation makes an enormous difference in where we'll end up in the next decade...

Photo credits:
20 Free Ebooks On Social Media - One Laptop per Child
NFS and The Birth Of Internet - Ray Schroeder
Social Media Classroom - Howard Rheingold
Explaining Leads To Information - Olaru Radian-Alexandru
Facebook In Education - Facebook © edited by Daniele Bazzano
Web 2.0 - Matteo Pompoli
Location-Based Learning and Working - OSTILL
Are Social Networking Sites Good For Business - Vincent Oliva
Presentation: Designing New Learning Landscapes - George Siemens

Originally written by George Siemens for elearnspace and first published on August 22th 2008 as weekly email digest on 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".

George Siemens -
Reference: eLearnSpace [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Saturday, August 23 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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