Archive for the ‘Web2.0’ Tag

I love Google Books!

I’ve been pretty tied up with my two Masters subjects this semester and on reflection one would have been more than enough! However, the end is in sight and I’ve learned a greaat deal along the way – mostly about myself (as seems to be the case) as well as having lots of support in many forms, online and physically speaking.

Google Books

One such help has been access to Google Books. What a fabulous service! I’ve always dipped into Google Books on occassions and then have used either my institute’s library or online databases to grab the actual book or journal article if available. However, as I’ve been studying my Masters by distance (supplemented with online resources and interactions), I’ve had less than ideal access to key texts in many cases. Google books has come to my rescue! I have built up a library of books I’ve been reading over the last few months and have added labels/tags for quick searching when I’ve needed to return to a book or theme, such as ‘critical pedagogy’. The extension tools also look worthwhile; adding your booklist or library to your blog or sharing via an RSS feed, or even posting a review if you feel the urge.

In addition to Google Books, I’ve also been keeping a collection of sites, videos and articles via my delicious account. Here’s an example for my subject, Education for Social Change. Both services have been invaluable not only in collecting information, but in organising and collating information in meaningful ways, through tagging, adding notes (often I include an abstract from the site or article) and combining tags to drill down into the information I’ve collected over time. I use keyword tags together with time/date type of tags to help narrow down information (very helpful as I’ve managed to stretch my Masters out over 3 years!).

Erich Fromm (Wikipedia)
My next and final essay is for the subject, Education for Social Change. I’d like to explore the idea that the rise of social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and other sites has inadvertantly served to further embed us as ‘automaton conformists’ (Erich Fromm). I could look at Chomsky and the role of mass media, as sites like these are often owned by large corporations in many cases, but I’m more curious to explore Fromm’s notion of ‘fear of freedom’ and a phrase my lecturer, Rick, mentioned on a recent discussion thread, that is, ‘group think’. It also calls for a rethink in education about digital literacy and developing the digital citizen for a connected future.

This is close to my heart, with regards to my work, where we often promote social networking tools like blogs and wikis to ‘open up’ a teacher’s approach to teaching, but often we see there is limited uptake, especially by students, and various colleagues around the country seem to be seeing similar results – there are not many exceptions to the rule, highlighting the challenges in seeing Web2.0 as a ‘freeing’ view of the Web, for the people and by the people, and as a legitimate learning medium.

More soon…

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Grasping the participatory web (or, throwing a net over jelly)

I think we are missing the real (and potentially revolutionary) story of the participatory web (Web 2.0 if we must call it that) if we focus on seeking and ensuring “expertise” before we proceed.

Rant Warning: My take on the participatory web | Designed to Inspire

Jennifer Maddrell makes a good point here, something that I struggle with when posting to my blog. I have so many posts in draft form, I wonder whether I’m actually keen to post or whether it’s the actual writing process itself that is helpful. This is a valid point, more generally, I think. I for one write to not only express my point of view, but to articulate it in the first instance — from the mind to the world via the fingertips.

In my work, Jennifer’s point rings all the more true when you consider the so-called ‘walled garden‘ approach that is still alive and kicking around most education institutions. Changing mindsets when it comes to the participatory web is not all roses and frilly bits! Is it to do with change, enacting a change process, or, is it more than that? Organisational culture? Individual values, beliefs, preferences?

I, along with others, have been developing the web presence for the Action Learning, Action Research Association and this is certainly one of the key factors that has not only impacted our progress, but has also brought our traditional association structures into question – a good thing, yes, I think so, but at that same time, the transition is untidy, frustrating, and for the most part NONparticipatory! Kind of ironic when you think about what the association stands for. Then again, we’re all subject to the same human flaws I suppose. It’s also a bit of an intergenerational thing. Engaging new members means offering new ways of doing and of being, and there lies a tension between answering to that call and maintaining a place in which more traditional members feel acknowledged for the valuable work they do.

Transformer

How does participation itself occur? How does one encourage participation? Engage people of their own free will, with little coercion? When is it OK to force the horse’s nose into the trough?

And who can say; perhaps Gill Scott Heron was right, the revolution will not be televised! Still, I’m with Maddrell, just get in there and DO it.

Note: sincere thanks to a work colleague for the subtitle to this post (arising from a discussion about implementing a change process)! :o)

Social media in plain english

Commoncraft come through with the goods again! Ever been stuck for ways to describe the Social Web or Web 2.0? Here’s a way that does it so you don’t have to.

Social media in plain english

On another note, I’ve been working on bringing together action research and networked learning in developing a research proposal. This video also demonstrates the affordances of media rich approaches to research don’t you think? Like this project really…

Digital Ethnography