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Social Software

[publication] New Forms of and Tools for Cooperative Learning with Social Software in Higher Education

Sandra and I wrote a summary of different tools and forms of cooperative learning with Social Software in higher education. It was just published in the book „Encyclopedia of Computer Science“ (ed. Robert T. Abrams).

Our abstract:

Since the new generation of Internet technology, called Web 2.0, has been introduced, a change of how users are dealing with the World Wide Web has been get into going. If access to the Web is available, today nearly anyone can actively participate and communicate online. Of course this recent evolution of the Web influences also the field of education. Former e-learning was mainly characterized by the use of content offered within learning management systems. Nowadays so called “Social Software” enables new possibilities and didactical approaches. In this chapter we give a short overview of how Social Software can support cooperative learning and how new technologies can enhance higher education in a meaningful new way. After a short introduction to the basics of cooperative learning different Social Software applications are classified and described. Practical examples are presented to show the general usage. In the end we conclude that these technologies have great impact on teaching and learning, as it will help to enhance education at universities.

Within the paper, we distinguished different forms of Social Software:

Social Software can be distinguished concerning their main purposes

  • Social presence and communication including discussion forums, Web chats, (micro-) blogging, (micro-) podcasting, and live streaming;
  • Collaborative development including tools that allow a collaborative work and development as the Wiki technology; or
  • Collaborative enrichment of content such as social bookmarking, social tagging, and rating.

Then we went on with a short description of different teaching settings (formally organised learning), where cooperative learning can be used:

1. Distance learning setting

The learners are distributed and do not meet in reality before and while learning and working together. The online communication is not always, but often asynchronous;

2. Blended learning setting

The learners meet in reality and additionally online but normally not parallel. The online communication usually is asynchronous;

3. Classroom group work setting – with 10 to 25 learners

Every learner additionally and parallel to “real” communication participates through networked computers or mobile phones on the group interaction

4. Lecture hall learning setting

The learners use networked computers or mobile phones to facilitate interaction and feedback loops in big groups of more than 40 people parallel to a (interactive) lecture.

In the paper we list tools and their usage and how it already worked (or not) within cooperative learning settings. We came to the conclusion (amongst other aspects!!):

The use of technology in education strongly depends on the questions how we can improve the quality of education and how we can benefit from it. For example, digital collaboration with the help of Wiki systems leads to new possibilities that had not been imaginable within a paper-based learning scenario. Furthermore tagging enhances learner’s content in a new meaningful way and makes the content shareable und reusable. Micro-blogging as described in previous chapters must be seen as a complete new form of communication – talking to a cloud, without knowing if anyone will read or even react to it.

As cooperative learning is very often a part of open educational practices, where learners have the possibilities to organize their own learning within their groups as active partners, changes of learning and teaching behavior is not only a matter of such new tools. Also the existing learning culture within the institution or the teaching abilities and attitudes of lectures are (amongst others) crucial aspects of teaching in higher education that has to be taken into account for a successful implementation or usage of such new tools for cooperative learning (cf. Schaffert, 2009).

Additionally, we have to bear in mind that such tools are not built especially for learning settings. It is up to the researchers and every single user to find out whether learners can benefit from it or not. (…)

Reference: Schaffert, S., Ebner, M. (2012) New Forms of and Tools for Cooperative Learning with Social Software in Higher Educatio, In: Encyclopedia of Computer Science, R. T. Abrams (Ed.), Nova Publishers, Hauppauge NY, p. 537-552

[video] Soziale Netzwerke und ihre Auswirkungen

Im Rahmen der Vorlesung „Gesellschaftliche Aspekte der Informationstechnologie“ habe ich einen Vortrag zum Thema Soziale Netzwerke gehalten der nun als Aufzeichung verfügbar ist. Wie immer freue ich mich über Fragen, Anregungen und Diskussionspunkte:

[podcast] Social Network – Danger, Big Business or simply Big Chance?

Now also the recording of my talk about „Social Networks – Danger, Big Business or simply Big Chance?“ is online available [Link]. The slides were already published here.

[publication] New Forms of and Tools for Cooperative Learning with Social Software in Higher Education

Sandra and I wrote a summary of different tools and forms of cooperative learning with Social Software in higher education. It was just published in the book „Computer-Assisted Teaching: New Developments“ (ed. by Brayden A. Morris and George M. Ferguson).

Our abstract:

Since the new generation of Internet technology, called Web 2.0, has been introduced, a change of how users are dealing with the World Wide Web has been get into going. If access to the Web is available, today nearly anyone can actively participate and communicate online. Of course this recent evolution of the Web influences also the field of education. Former e-learning was mainly characterized by the use of content offered within learning management systems. Nowadays so called “Social Software” enables new possibilities and didactical approaches. In this chapter we give a short overview of how Social Software can support cooperative learning and how new technologies can enhance higher education in a meaningful new way. After a short introduction to the basics of cooperative learning different Social Software applications are classified and described. Practical examples are presented to show the general usage. In the end we conclude that these technologies have great impact on teaching and learning, as it will help to enhance education at universities.

Within the paper, we distinguished different forms of Social Software:

Social Software can be distinguished concerning their main purposes

  • Social presence and communication including discussion forums, Web chats, (micro-) blogging, (micro-) podcasting, and live streaming;
  • Collaborative development including tools that allow a collaborative work and development as the Wiki technology; or
  • Collaborative enrichment of content such as social bookmarking, social tagging, and rating.

Then we went on with a short description of different teaching settings (formally organised learning), where cooperative learning can be used:

1. Distance learning setting

The learners are distributed and do not meet in reality before and while learning and working together. The online communication is not always, but often asynchronous;

2. Blended learning setting

The learners meet in reality and additionally online but normally not parallel. The online communication usually is asynchronous;

3. Classroom group work setting – with 10 to 25 learners

Every learner additionally and parallel to “real” communication participates through networked computers or mobile phones on the group interaction

4. Lecture hall learning setting

The learners use networked computers or mobile phones to facilitate interaction and feedback loops in big groups of more than 40 people parallel to a (interactive) lecture.

In the paper we list tools and their usage and how it already worked (or not) within cooperative learning settings. We came to the conclusion (amongst other aspects!!):

The use of technology in education strongly depends on the questions how we can improve the quality of education and how we can benefit from it. For example, digital collaboration with the help of Wiki systems leads to new possibilities that had not been imaginable within a paper-based learning scenario. Furthermore tagging enhances learner’s content in a new meaningful way and makes the content shareable und reusable. Micro-blogging as described in previous chapters must be seen as a complete new form of communication – talking to a cloud, without knowing if anyone will read or even react to it.

As cooperative learning is very often a part of open educational practices, where learners have the possibilities to organize their own learning within their groups as active partners, changes of learning and teaching behavior is not only a matter of such new tools. Also the existing learning culture within the institution or the teaching abilities and attitudes of lectures are (amongst others) crucial aspects of teaching in higher education that has to be taken into account for a successful implementation or usage of such new tools for cooperative learning (cf. Schaffert, 2009).

Additionally, we have to bear in mind that such tools are not built especially for learning settings. It is up to the researchers and every single user to find out whether learners can benefit from it or not. (…)

Reference: Schaffert, Sandra & Ebner, Martin (2010). New Forms of and Tools for Cooperative Learning with Social Software in Higher Education. In: Brayden A. Morris & George M. Ferguson (Ed.), Computer-Assisted Teaching: New Developments. Nova Science Pub, p. 151-165.

Soziale Netzwerke – ein einziger Fake?

In einem Buch bin ich auf folgendes gestoßen. Es klingt schräg und ich gehe auch davon aus, dass das wohl eher ein Einzelfall ist, aber letztendlich zeigt es das Problem von digitalen Identitäten sehr wohl auf. Also hier zum Schmunzeln [online Quelle]:

Ich bin seit 3 Monaten Mitglied bei StudiVZ. Da ich nicht so viele Freunde habe und mir das äußerst peinlich ist, habe ich einfach ein paar Leute erfunden. Ich musste daher für Jeden einen E-Mailaccount anlegen, mich mit diesem anmelden, ja ich hab sogar extra irgendwelche Fotos im Netz gesucht, um meinen „Freunden“ ein Gesicht zu verpassen. Doch vor etwa 2 Monaten stellte ein echter Bekannter von mir fest, dass einige meiner „Freunde“ selber keine Freunde haben. Ich glaube er hat mich durchschaut! In meiner Angst ertappt zu werden, habe ich dann auch für meine erfundenen Freunde Freunde erfunden. D.h. wieder falsche E-Mailaccounts einrichten, neue Fotos suchen, Lebensläufe erfinden usw. Ich hab schon fast alle online-Filmlexika, Zitatseiten usw. durch. Im Telefonbuch bin ich bei den Nachnamen auch schon bei „R“ angekommen. Doch für die neuen „Freunde“ muss ich ja auch immer wieder neue Freunde erfinden. Auch neue Pinnwandsprüche fallen mir nicht mehr ein, obwohl ich viele von anderen Mitgliedern geklaut habe. Neulich habe ich sogar aus Versehen meinen eigenen Pinnwandspruch, von einem meiner erfundenen Freunde, übernommen. Ich habs einfach nicht mitbekommen, weil ich schon lange den Überblick verloren habe. Ein Teufelskreis! Und ich glaube ich kann es nicht mehr stoppen.

[review] Get out of MySpace!

Habe mir einen Artikel durchgelesen der dieser Tage online in der Zeitrschrift Computer & Education erschienen ist: „Get out of MySpace!„.
Die Autoren haben eine Umfrage an 4 Universitäten gestartet um herauszufinden wie sehr Social Software für Lernzwecke bei Studierenden eingesetzt wird. Das Ergebnis bei 76 abgegebenen Fragebögen ist zwar nicht erstaunlich, aber ernüchternd. Während die meisten über Accounts bei Facebook, blog oder MySpace verfügen, setzen es 70% kaum oder gar nicht für Lernzwecke ein. Nachwievor sind Powerpoint und Virtual Learning Environenments die einsamen Spitzenreiter wenn es um Technologie für Lernen geht.
Die Autoren versuchen auch den Gründen nachzugehen und machen deren 5 aus, warum Social Software kaum verwendet wird:

  1. the seperation of life and studying
  2. originality and copyright issues
  3. sense of information flooded
  4. time constraint based on their disconfirming experiences
  5. lecturers are not up-to-date and may not know how to integrate and make use of social software

Nun ich kann mich mit diesen Aussagen sehr gut identifizieren und es zeigt die eigentliche Problematik auf. Zwar werden auch positive Effekte, wie die Steigerung von Motivation und Individualität genannt, letztendlich ist aber man noch weit von einer guten Verbreitung entfernt.

Reference: Jones, N., Blackey, H., Fitzgibbon, K., Chew, E. (2009) Get out of MySpace!, Computers & Education, article in press, online available

[publication] How Web 2.0 Enhance Knowledge Construction in Civil Engineering

Our research article about the use of Web 2.0 technologies in Civil Engineering Education „How Web 2.0 Enhance Knowledge Construction in Civil Engineering“ has been published.
Abstract:

At Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) lots of experience using multimedia or internet based applications in higher education has been gathered. Especially in the field of civil engineering we can refer to a seven year long practical employment. During the very first e-Learning boom at universities in Austria in 2001 some projects in the field of civil engineering have been started in order to investigate the possibilities of web-based education. Nowadays a radical change of the Web, often called Web 2.0, offers possibilities, which can change the e-Education dramatically. The use of Wikis and Weblogs lead to a more collaborative teaching and learning process. Podcasts, in the same way as web based software helps to support the learner of today in a much more efficient way as in the years before.
This paper will discuss how modern technologies can be used in the field of Civil Engineering Education and will show a lot of practical examples of today’s effort in this field at TU Graz. The authors conclude that e-Education will play a very important role in the future of higher education. Bearing in mind that learners of today are the working society of tomorrow this change leads to arbitrarily new situations. Has industry to prepare for a new kind of generation?

Reference: Ebner, M. (2009) How Web 2.0 Enhance Knowledge Construction in Civil Engineering, A. Starcic and M. Kovac (ed.), University & Industry – Knowledge Transfer and Innovation, WSEAS Press, Athen, 2009, p. 77-101

Here you will get the Draftversion.