Social media and young people

Here is an interesting research paper on social media and young people by Liz Dean.  Liz has provided a comprehensive analysis of the findings.

She concludes that “young adult primary motivation for using social media is communication, business and information. This data is valuable to plan for the future use of social media, especially the education of those still learning to use social media.”

The sample size might be too small,  with 20 people studied in this project.  However, her project reveals some of the primary motivation for using social media and how they are used by young people.

It could be interesting to see how people of different ages (young people, adults and old aged people) are using social media in their formal and informal learning, with large sample size of different populations, and those from different cultures.   This could provide a deeper insight into how social media could be used for education and learning.

I would suggest my students to explore how they could make better use of social media and Web 2.0 tools in their formal studies and informal learning.

See also my blog post on Is blogging on the decline in 2013?


The truths about MOOCs

Audrey in her post says:

I wanted to give a talk that expressed my deep gratitude to Canadian educators and researchers — particularly those that created MOOCs — alongside my concerns about the rewriting of education technology history that diminishes, if not erases altogether, their contributions. It’s a larger problem too, I’d argue, with many tech entrepreneurs laying claim to education innovation with nary a reference or a nod to those who’ve shaped the field. It’s disingenous and dishonest and deeply, deeply troubling as how we frame the past helps us think about the direction of the future.

History is, of course, always partial, always situated, always contested. There is no “official story” about the Iran hostage crisis or about MOOCs or about education technology more generally.

And just as with politics, when it comes to education and technology, our notion of history is heavily influenced by the media.

Let’s face it.

Couldn’t agree more.  That’s why we need to explore and research through networks, with networked learning.  May I share my understanding and interpretation on how this could be achieved through “Connectivism”?  I have used the learning metaphor of understanding of an elephant to interpret the application of learning theories –

What we should avoid is believing in single source “expert views” or media without examining the assumptions and background “historical perspectives”.  It is right that professors and experts, and even textbooks may help us in understanding and applying prescriptive knowledge, based on scaffolding and the various learning theories – behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism.

The challenge is: we are living in a rapidly changing world that often, our knowledge are based on the “facts” and information provided by the media, various “information sources” that are often cited by the “experts”, or authorities, or the education providers, who might have disclosed those parts which are useful for promotion, marketing (the positive part of education and learning).  How about the reality?

The whole MOOC story unfolded reveals exactly how all “history” could be written, to certain parties’ merits.  As I have shared, I am more than convinced on the fuzzy and complexity nature of MOOCs, that many of the “articles” are mainly opinion papers, where some of the sources of the information need to be re-examined and inquired.

I have been working on such researches on MOOCs since 2008, with 2 intensive research surveys completed, together with other interview surveys.  I worked with other researchers in disclosing those findings, based on research, not just personal opinions.  I don’t claim I have got all of the relevant evidences in support of a new learning theory.

However, I do see such learning has been emerging from the participants of MOOCs (both x and c MOOCs) in various ways, based on various social media/PLE/N tools. There are many others who might not have used the tools extensively.

So, truth be told, on the historical background of MOOCs, and that we should all continue to critically examine and inquire about what has occurred in the MOOCs movement, through our lens and research, and not on the “text book” approach, where people told us the opinions, instead of facts.

May be, we could re-examine some of the sources of MOOCs through social media or educational media and check our evidences collected against other resources such as this What leader should know about MOOCs and MOOC guide by Stephen Downes, and the research publications list on MOOC by Rita Kop .


Will your connectivity and influence be determined by a Score?

I am interested in knowing how social tools like Klout would determine our connectivity and interactivity.

See this experiment in the use of Klout in determining student grades and you may be amazed.

I have used Klout a few times, but I was bothered with the hidden virus and Melware associated with the downloading of the softwares and the associated links to Twitter.  I wasn’t sure if an increase in number of followers or following would really make a difference in my learning.   I also think it is the value and quality of interaction that makes a difference, not the number of followers/following.

May be it is too early to draw into conclusion on the use of those social open software, as I do think they could be useful as an indicator on the connectivity, but then I would refrain from using it in determining the student grades, due to its “instrumentation” nature of “knowing” and “learning” in social media such as Twitter.  In other words, I would prefer to measure the influential nature of followship and creative nature of learning in the social media based on critical thinking and reflection, rather than the mere increase in the number of followers or following, or Tweets and Re-Tweets etc.

Also, if the class students are really making a “group effort” in attracting each others to tweet and re-tweet in their study just to achieve a higher score, wouldn’t that be no different from the mere rote learning, by repeating actions of what the “instructors” and other networkers are doing.

Tweeting for the sake of getting a good grade is not learning, it could even be a waste of time, if such acts are merely mechanistic way of sharing links and information, without a goal.

Don’t take it the wrong way, as I think Klout could be a good tool to measure how one influences each others, only that I am still not that sure if it could be used in an academic manner, and how it fits into the pedagogy.

Does it make sense?