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Enhancing Learning with Social Software Podcasts & Wikis & Blogs… Oh My! Susan Connell & Jerry Marino Edited by Minjuan Wang What is Social Software (1)? Computer-mediated communication Web 2.0 Web is 2-way medium, interactive by nature Everyone is a publisher and a contributor

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Enhancing learning with social software l.jpg

Enhancing Learning with Social Software

Podcasts & Wikis & Blogs… Oh My!

Susan Connell & Jerry Marino

Edited by Minjuan Wang

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What is Social Software (1)?

  • Computer-mediated communication

  • Web 2.0

  • Web is 2-way medium, interactive by nature

    • Everyone is a publisher and a contributor

    • Gives added dimensions to instruction, learning, and performance

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Essence of Web 2.0

  • Not really new technology

  • New way to perceive & use the web

    • Ubiquitous access with new devices

    • New tools & desktop-akin interaction facilities

    • Information & (web) services

  • Architecture of participation

B.J. Krämer • eLearning R&D‘08


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Social Networking

Term Network of Social Relations first coined by John Barnes in 1954

Social network: social structure made of nodes (individuals or organizations) tied by relationships representing

a tangle of interactions, e.g., an acquaintance network (sociology)

an association of interest groups (economy)

a network of friends or like-minded (Web 2.0: MySpace, Piczo, ...

B.J. Krämer • eLearning R&D‘08

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Quality of Relationships in Social Networks


Trust, advice, resources, services, …

Business, politics

Loose organization, shared interest, targeted cooperation

B.J. Krämer • eLearning R&D‘08

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What is Social Software (2)?

  • Enables people to connect & collaborate

  • Facilitates formation of online communities

  • Variety of interactions, user-created content:

    • 1-to-1 (Chat, Instant Message, E-mail)

    • 1-to-many (Blogs, Podcasts)

    • Many-to-many (Wikis, Discussions)

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Instant Messaging(IM)

Blogs/Weblogs (Blogger)


Internet Chat(Breeze)


Forums (BB Discussion)

Social network services (Meetup)

Social guides

Social bookmarks (Furl)

Social citations (CiteULike)

Social Libraries (Folksonomy)

Social Shopping (eBay)

Peer-to-peer social networks (Limewire, Napster)

Collaborative real-time editing (Writely)

Virtual presence (MySpace)

Virtual worlds and Massively-Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs)

Other Specialized Apps

Types of Social Software

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Social Software: Quick Comparison

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Technolust (Dodge, 2006)

  • Tendency to lunge after every cool new technology

  • Temporary insanity, blindness

  • Excitement, then disappointment


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What is a Blog?

  • Website where regular entries are made in reverse chronological order

  • Online journal or diary

  • Typically offers commentary or a particular subject or theme (politics, travel, profession)

  • Can include images & links to other sites or other places within the blog

  • May allow reader comments/discussion

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Types of Blogs

  • Personal(http://webquest.org/bdodge/ • http://blog.online-edu.org/minjuan/ )

  • Topical(http://dailykos.com/ • http://chronicle.com/news/ • http://gizmodo.com/)

  • News(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6210240/ • http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/news/)

  • Collaborative (also known as collective or group) (http://educational.blogs.com/edbloggerpraxis/collaborative_blog/index.html)

  • Directory Blogs

    • collections of numerous of web sites with interesting content in an easy to use and constantly updated format

  • Corporate/Marketing/Advertising(http://www.boeing.com/randy/ • http://www.microsoft.com/Communities/blogs/)

  • Advice(http://elsaelsa.com/ • http://www.pfadvice.com/ )

  • Plogs- Personalized blog based on reader’s interest

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Amazon Plog

  • http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/002-9891416-3748056?ie=UTF8&nodeId=16385881

    • authors of books you have purchased on Amazon

    • discover products that have just been released, track changes to your orders and much more.

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Blog Affordances (Dodge, 2005)

  • Easy publishing

  • Self-expression

  • Personality

  • Audience

  • Peer feedback

  • Community of learners

  • Chronology

  • Reflection

  • Reduce transactional distance (Saba, 1988)

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Uses of Blogs in Teaching (1)

Design ideas for teaching

  • Learning Journals

  • Collaboration with teams or distant classrooms

  • Role playing

  • Topical information sharing

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Uses of Blogs in Teaching (2)

  • Facilitate critical thinking and knowledge construction

  • Component for formal and informal learning

  • Take a critical and reflective stance

  • Develop writing and communication skills

  • Develop both autonomy and community

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What is a Wiki?

  • Type of website that allows users to add, remove & edit content,

  • Derived from Hawaiian term for “quick,” also interpreted as acronym “What IKnow Is…”

  • Simplifies creation of HTML pages to facilitate collaboration

  • Ideal for hierarchical information

  • Incorporates internal & external links and indexing functions

  • Can include graphics

  • See Wikipedia.org and wikiindex.com

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Wiki Software

  • Free & fee providers

  • Use your server or theirs; web or intranet

  • Public or password-protected

  • Examples:

    • Wikispaces.com

    • Seedwiki.com

    • JotSpot.com

    • Pbwiki.com

    • OddWiki

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Wiki: Examples

  • Wikispaces:


  • Best Educational Wikis of 2009


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Wikispaces Private Label Bridges Cultures

  • http://www.wikispaces.com/site/privatelabel/case-study-bridge

    The BRIDGE Project, an intercultural project between Australia and Indonesia, uses Wikispaces Private Label to bridge cultural divides and foster communication among educators in the two countries. 

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Use Wiki to Collaborate on Projects

  • How to teach large online classes


  • A wiki from our Games & Simulation class:


  • An ITS summer project on evaluation tools:


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Wikis Affordances (Dodge, 2005)

  • Easy publishing

  • Collaboration

  • Peer feedback

  • Editing / Refinement / Clarification

  • Organizing & chunking

  • Objectivity

  • Specialized Knowledgebases

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Uses of Wikis in Teaching

  • Collaborative Documents

  • Micropedias: focused reference

  • Individual or collective knowledge management

  • Branching Stories

  • Exegesis

  • Learning Management Lite: post assignments, feedback, peer review

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Instant Messaging & Chat

  • Informal communication

  • Peer-to-peer or small group

  • Can include video

  • Examples:

    • AOL AIM

    • MSM Messenger

    • Yahoo Messenger

    • iChat

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IM as a Collaboration Tool

  • Expedites short informal communication

  • Team-building

  • Collaborative aid for teams that may be in disparate locations

  • Component of collaborative tools such as Breeze or WebEx

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IM/Chat Affordances

  • Collaborative development

  • Instant feedback

  • Supports learning and coaching initiatives

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What is Podcasting?

  • Digital recording …

  • Made available on the Internet for downloading to a portable audio player or PC with Podcast client (e.g. iTunes)

  • Programs can be downloaded manually or automatically whenever there is a new episode via RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

  • Downloads can be played, replayed, archived

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Podcasting Affordances (Dodge, 2005)

  • Self-expression

  • Collaboration

  • Personality

  • Sense of audience

  • An actual audience

  • Planfulness

  • Ubiquitous learning

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Podcasting and Pedagogy (1)

  • Record lectures or supplementary material for time-shifted listening/viewing

  • Audio references (recordings of noteworthy speeches, conferences, bird calls, etc.)

  • Guest Lectures/Interviews

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Podcasting and Pedagogy (2)

Possible student activities:

  • ????????

  • Soundscapes

  • Magazines, Radio Shows

  • Re-enactment, role playing

  • Interviews: experts, topics, man-on-the-street

  • Use in conjunction with blogs to afford feedback

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Legal Implications of Social Software (Wang, 2006)

  • Defamation

  • Intellectual Property (Copyright/Trademark)

  • Trade Secret

  • Right of Publicity

  • Publication of Private Facts

  • Intrusion into Seclusion

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Why Use Social Software?

  • Aid to collaboration

  • Foster team-building

  • Facilitate knowledge management

  • Address various learning styles

  • Enhance knowledge transfer

  • Time-shift content

  • Encourage participation from those with language limitations or other issues

  • Cultivate use of new technologies used in modern personal and business communication

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Social Software: Quick Comparison