Social Software – so what?


    ??In the participatory era, media will no longer be delivered one way from a media company to an audience…but by audience members to other audience members. The distinction between content creators and consuming audiences first gets blurry and then disappears completely…Instead of media being delivered as a sermon or lecture, it becomes a conversation among the people in the audience?? (quote from Andreas Kluth, Technology Correspondent of The Economist)

I’ve just read my way through two outstanding articles/papers that provide much clarity to the whole debate around social software and the way in which this is changing our approach to learning, communicating and living!.

The first is from the April 26 edition of “The Economist” magazine, in a feature section titled Among the Audience – a survey of new media The feature is actually a series of articles covering topics such as blogs wikis and podcasting, as well as those that explore the phenomena associated with the use of these tools, such as the dawn of interactive journalism, defining a media company in this new world, and an attempt to summarise the promise and pitfalls of these new environments and tools. (All of these artlcles area available online, along with a selection of audio interviews with some of the authors.)

This has to be one of the ‘must reads’ for anyone who is wanting to quickly come up to speed with what these new technologies are about and how they are or may impact on many of the ways we currently do business – including education!

The second paper is from George Seimens, and is titled Learning in Synch with Life – New Models, New Processes (downloadable PDF), which was prepared by George after he was asked by Google to submit a whitepaper at their recent training summit

In this paper George evaluates the diverse needs of learners today, and details the shortcomings of courses/content and LMSs in meeting those needs. He goes on to recast learning as a network formation process, occurring within the structure of organisational ecologies (which he refers to as connectivism) and then details some of his implementation concerns and challenges.

The paper is a work in progress – but appeals very much to my beliefs and understandings of what is emerging. The paper is illustrated with several useful diagrams that help explain some of the complex ideas being presented, inlcuding such things a a ‘Learning ecology’ and the relationship between an “adpative learning cycle” and a “Learning Development Cycle”

I’d recommend both of these!

One thought on “Social Software – so what?

  1. Excellent Derek. I have spent the last little while reading through this post. I love the diagram at the end in George Siemens ‘Learning in Synch with Life”. This to me will help when I am talking to schools etc about changing the environment in their institutions. I homed in on the statemnet “How to achieve intentional aims through decentralized means?” A lot of things here I identified with in the work I have been involved with over the last few years. I see some of this complimenting what I have been doing and for me pushing me to the next level. How do we create an environment using all the tools we have to help facilitate change in schools and teriary orginisations? At the moment I feel this is the best area to attack to maximise the change need for our learners. I need more time to process these readings but again thanks I thouroughly enjoyed reading this.

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