Will Richardson Talks With Howard Rheingold

Is social media a new thing? No, not really – just an evolving use of media, an ecosystem of tools and a rich variety of opportunities. Now we are seeing great ways for students to collaborate. Listen to these two important innovators, and enjoy the conversation.

more about “Will Richardson Talks With Howard Rhe…“, posted with vodpod

Hanging with a twitter friend

One of the joyous things about attending conferences these days is the opportunity to connect face-to-face with friends from your professional network.

Today I presented a session at Tech-Savvy Leadership and Learning, at the University of Wollongong. More on this later. But for now, here is Darcy Moore, tweeting on his iPhone  as @darcy1968.  Wonderful!

We’re listening to the Forum questions at the end of the day.

Darcy Moore

The Business Impacts of Social Networking

Corporations are changing the way they communicate: In fact, the suggestion is that changing the way you undertake external and internal communication, marketing and advertising will shortly become inevitable, simply because the Internet and Web 2.0 have delivered new instruments and the audience – especially millennials – is expecting corporations to use them.

AT&T has produced at Trends White Paper on The Business Impacts of Social Networking.

Social networking fosters collective intelligence, collaborative work and support communities. Tools and behaviors from the consumer world are now making the transition to the corporate world, with diverse implications for changing the way businesses operate. This paper explores 10 opportunities presented by social networking, along with 10 associated challenges.

Download White Paper [PDF, 612KB]

I think that educators need to know what the changes are that are taking place in the corporate world as we’re educating the future inhabitants of that world. Looks to me like we had better make immersion into Web 2.0 an organic process within our learning frameworks.

We’re living in a conversation

How do you feel about online conversations – in public, during conferences, in the classroom. The recent 2008 The Australian Computers in Education Conference generated quite a bit of discussion about the etiquette of blogging and microblogging (twittering) during conference sessions, which was further fueled by Grahams reflection on Redefining Conference Professional Respect. We talked about it on Twitter, and in other online and virtual spaces.

My fellow traveller on the ACEC study tour to NECC 2008 , Jason Zugami, has jumped in with a Google survey to get a better understanding of what it is that drives educators views on this matter – and interestingly, a comparison to what it is that they believe about the immersive use of online tools in classrooms.

By the way, there is a huge lesson in all of this for the way people run conferences these days. Wifi should be accessible and free. Collaboration and distribution of information and ideas should be considered the norm.

Conference Blogging and Microblogging Ettiquette

Please visit Jason’s online survey, and add your voice to the discussion.

I can’t wait to see the analysis on this! Thanks Jason.

I filled out the survey, and kept a copy of my responses for myself to push me to generate further ideas. Here are my quickly written responses – amazing how different my thinking is compared to a couple of years ago.

Buckle in and read the following if you dare!

How do you feel about the undirected use of laptops during conference presentations?

It is essential to have the freedom to search links, explore ideas and interact with concepts being presented at a conference. I choose my options as to when to listen and stare at a conference presenter, or when to listen and connect with my laptop to check out idea, share ideas with others, or discuss issues being raise. If I am bored I certainly don’t want to be captured with no escape as well..I would rather check my email than waste the time sitting in a presentation that doesn’t demand my attention.

How do you feel about the undirected use of mobile phones for texting/microblogging during conference presentations?

When it comes to professional learning this is absolutely essential for being engaged with the content, expressing opinions and reflections about the presentations, and just plain having fun through interaction. Remove the ‘industrial model’ from conference presentations, and allow them to be interactive and collaborative. Use the tool, don’t abuse the tool.

How do you feel about participants undirected sharing their thoughts on a presentation on a public blog?

If a presentation is worth listening too, it is worth sharing. End of story.

How do you feel about participants undirected sharing their thoughts on a presentation via micro blogging services such as Twitter during the presentation?

If a presentation is worth listening to, it is worth tweeting about. If a presentation is not worth listening to, it is worth tweeting about that too. Twitter is about conversation and reflection too. I particularly like it when questions come in via twitter that can be presented to the speaker for response. I like it even better if there is a twitter stream of the conference on display, so everyone attending the conference can see what is being said and what is being reflected upon.

How do you feel about participants undirected sharing the content of presentations with those not at the presentation?

Share with the world – the more we share the more we grow in our understanding of what is possible. Refusing to share is like writing a book, publishing it and refusing to allow anyone to borrow it from the local library. If you only want us to buy a book, or buy our attendance at a conference presentation then you are not a 21st century learner. Sure, getting the information via shared feed at a conference is not as good as being there – we know that, because we love the F2F interactions. But sharing content is the next best thing! Go for it.

How do you feel about participants taking undirected photographs during a presentation and publishing these?

Fantastic. Just keep the flash off please!

How do you feel about participants taking undirected audio recordings during a presentation and publishing these?

Fantastic! So long as it doesn’t disrupt the streaming bandwidth for the main presentations (assuming the conference organisers are savvy enough to realise the value of streaming!). Standalone audio recordings on the other hand are fine but not as good as a presentation that incorporates image or video. Either way, publish and share at all times.

How do you feel about participants taking undirected video recordings during a presentation and publishing these?

Great! so long as it is not being streamed and using up the bandwidth of the main streaming organised by the conference team. Imagine 20 people streaming!! It’s great to have access to go back to sessions in this format, as good presentations lend themselves to review for further reflection. It’s about deepening our learning and understanding – not limiting it!

How do you feel about participants making undirected live broadcasts (audio or video) of a presentation?

This is a great idea, but the reality is that most venues don’t have the bandwidth to have more than one stream working effectively. Hence it is really smart of conference organisers to incorporate streaming into their program, instead of impacting the audiences opportunity to focus on blogging, microblogging, or using online tools to collect conference notes etc. If we believe in cloud computing and Web 2.0 then we don’t build in restrictions into our conference structures – we capitalize on Web 2.0 to promote and disseminate the ideas and information being generated by the collaborative crowd.

How do you feel about participants making undirected ratings on the quality of presentations via blogs and microblogs?

Frankly, it adds a bit of spice, and keeps presenters and conference organisers honest! The time is over for tolerating boring presentations. However, this should not be seen as a way of attacking the presenter, nor undertaken in such a manner that is offensive. I see this as a golden opportunity if undertaken with a positive aim in mind. After all, we expect students to stand up in class and be assessed as part of their learning!! It’s time for educators to be accountable for their work too!

How do you feel about the undirected use of laptops during your lessons?

Awesome! Now here is a true challenge to teachers. The truth is that unless pedagogy has shifted in the classroom to create authentic and project-based learning, the undirected use of laptops doesn’t work. Teachers who are in control mode can’t cope with this. Teachers who are mentors know that it is essential.

How do you feel about the undirected use of mobile phones for texting / microblogging during your lessons?

Mobiles are just communication tools, organisational tools, and collaboration tools. What are we afraid of? Oh I know! We have to change our classrooms into 21st century learning places :-)

How do you feel about students undirected sharing their thoughts on your lessons on a public Blog?

A real-life skill to be learned, and one that is essential to 21st century learning. Sure students will waiver at times, but isn’t the idea that we should be supporting students to think and learn in multimodal ways? That is their natural domain – let’s work with it.

How do you feel about students undirected sharing their thoughts on your lessons via micro blogging services such as Twitter during the lesson?

Use the tools to shape thinking – twitter is just one of many ways for teachers to create effective blended learning environments. Microblogging is an ideal way for communicating and reflecting in that immediate MSN style of thinking that comes naturally to kids. Capture the world of opportunities and be amazed at the outcomes.

How do you feel about your students undirected sharing the content of your lessons with those not in your class?

Anyone students can share with works for me. That makes it a 21st century global class, and those that share back become members of my class.

How do you feel about your students taking undirected photographs during your lessons and publishing these?

Of course students should share. The bottom line is the nature of the digital citizenship and digital literacy skills of the students that we need to nurture. The truth is that unless we nurture them, then students will undertake activities that are counter-productive to quality learning. But simply saying ‘don’t do it’ is an abrogation of our role as guides and mentors in this 21st century world that we have stumbled upon. Let’s sort out our thinking and get one with learning.

How do you feel about your students taking undirected audio, video recordings or live broadcasts during your lessons and publishing these?

Please do! As long as it is focused on improving knowledge and understanding and incorporates safe digital citizenship in the production.

How do you feel about your students making undirected ratings on the quality of your lessons via blogs and microblogs?

Students need to learn how to be be authentic in their collaboration and engagement in the learning process. Whether it is reflecting on other students or commenting on the nature of the teacher’s engagement with the multimodal learning of their students, it is an area that is evolving. It is also an area that is highly sensitive for most teachers, but needs to be unpacked and incorporated into the formative processes of learning.

Overall comments.

The world has changed! I am thrilled to be part of the 21st century learning that is now possible at a conference, in my classroom, at home, in fact absolutely anywhere. I want my students to have the best opportunities. I want them to be thrilled too!

UPDATE: These same topics are currently being discussed at ISTE in relation to NECC conferences and more. Read about it or join in the conversation at Fair Use & Digital Citizenship 2009

Photo: Speedmonster 5

Infobabble and my head

Reading this article about Twitter made my head hurt just a little less.

The story of how Twitter took off reflects how web 2.0 tools are taking off!

Twitter has become so popular, so fast, that keeping up with its fast-growing user base is a real issue. So many people now use Twitter to update friends that the system often crashes. Twitterers, as they call themselves, post their updates at Twitter.com or by using text- or instant-message tools. The service is even credited with breaking news about fires and other natural disasters.The service is even credited with breaking news about fires and other natural disasters.

So for some, Twitter has been a lifesaver in the whole sea of virtual information. I’m finding that there is just so much information available, at such pace, from so many people…well to be honest, my head hurts a lot! When I started out blogging, social networking was easygoing, a friendly bit of patter with superb points of connection.

Now there is almost to much, and I sense a competitive edge that is not in keeping with that easygoing social networking kind of way of learning. It’s no longer about what the latest tool is, but how many of the seemingly vital tools YOU are using otherwise otherwise you are not really funky Web 2.0!

I am having to prune down rather than add to my toolkit. Too many Ning groups, too many flash meetings, too many points of connection. I am certainly over that initial flush of tool grabbing. I use what I need. I read about the rest, and when I need a way of thinking or connecting for my students, I’ll integrate that. After all, we should be focusing on shifts in thinking, not shifts in technology tools. Too often the shift is about a toy tool, not about substantially different pedagogy. Unfortunately, the reality is that we can’t substantially shift pedagogy on our own, or easily, unless we have a whole-school approach to change. That’s where a school approach wins hands down – the most creative, immersive and best example I have seen of this has been the work the Lenva Shearing is doing at Bucklands Beach. Lenva, you are a dynamo, and an awesome example to us all.

So you know what? I’m over the initial flush of social networking.


Because more and more networks and social connections are being created and maybe, for me at least, there are too many. So I have to be very particular about what I choose and what I follow – and more importantly – WHY! I have a very busy day job that takes me into the night with all my networking and creative planning for change.

Interestingly these concepts were raised in the backchannel of the excellent Knowledge Conference Key Note presentation by Steve Hargadon on “Web 2.0 is the future of education”. (Congratulations to the organisers for a great conference!)

While we are busy social networking, collaborating, and creating a shared language, I believe we are also beginning to fragment the conversation. The culture of participation is pervasive, and even invasive. I love it and I hate it. I enjoy it and am frustrated by it. The teacher librarians in the back channel reflected on the explosion of information that Steve talked about. No solutions, just ideas. An excellent session for my staff to attend.

My personal focus is staying apace with 3D and the metaverse – simply because this is the new frontier and I want to understand it’s potential for learning and teaching – and life! I can’t ‘talk’ or network with everybody. For now, the group of educators involved with Second Life and the like is sufficiently small for me not to have infobabble in my head!

Photo: Headache

reThink, reCreate, reEmpower

For all those people attending the Syba Signs presentations in Brisbane and Sydney – the links to sites mentioned are available in the slideshare presentation below!

[A note to the conference attendees: I have been alerted that the slides have not uploaded well to slideshare this time. Some scrambled, some hyperlinks not showing etc. I am going to reformat and load up to slideshare before Friday's session. In the meantime, some of the links are readable for your investigation. ][update- still having problems with slideshare. New version now, but some slides are still scrambled though the links do work. Will try again tomorrow]

Yahoo for Teachers

Something new to try out! Will this be one to watch? Like a Web 2.0 content management system – for your school, between schools, between you colleagues, and just sharing. Will this solve some problems for schools, or just create new ones? Check the Yahoo Teachers info page and register for your own beta invitation.

  • The Future of Reputation

    Thanks to Grainne Connole who posted the following link to Del.icio.us – yes, Grainne is in my network!


    by Daniel J. Solove
    Yale University Press (2007)


    The full text of The Future of Reputation is now available online for free. Click on the links below to download PDFs of each chapter. The front matter to the book is at the beginning of each chapter.

    If you’re using this book for a book discussion group or for an academic class, click here for discussion questions.


    Sense and order in Web 2.0 – and some!

    For many joining the world of Web 2.0 is still a new adventure, and for those of us working with these new adventurers it is important to be able to step back and start at the beginning. But it is also a wee bit magical to push forward, and look back on your own adventure – and be amazed at the change.

    It was Del.ici.ous that did it for me!! To be so liberated by a single tool never ceases to amaze me – perhaps the most powerful personal web tool of all! For my money it remains the most important one to introduce to all teachers as a way of transforming or shifting their technology use from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0.

    fans.jpgAlso, the power of the network cannot be underestimated!

    I currently have 145 people in my network, and 291 fans – some of them very new as indicated by the star. Sometimes I know who they are (hi Chris!) and other times I don’t.

    However, there comes a time when you KNOW that you’re no longer a newbie!! You know the way it is ….. you check your Network, and see great bookmarks that others have added. And then you smile, because you added those a LONG time ago. So information comes around, goes around, and gets shared at all different points of the sequence of people’s personal learning journey in Web 2.0.

    Del.icio.us still powers the web for me, though how I use it hasn’t much changed since I started social bookmarking 18 months ago. In fact, I hadn’t come across much else new in the world of Del.icio.us until today.

    Research Buzz reported Del.icio.us Spy, and I took a look.


    That blew my socks off!! Del.icio.us Spy, at http://www.ajaxonomy.com/deliciousspy/ , shows you bookmarks as they’re being added to del.icio.us, along with a screen shot and occasionally a little context.

    If you don’t want to see every last bookmark being added, you can also filter by tag. If you happen to choose a tag that doesn’t get updated very often, you can have the site play a sound for you every time it updates. And finally, there’s a pause button if you see some links that you want to investigate before they scroll off the screen.

    Oh, and as the links fly onto the screen, you can simply hit the Save for Later button, and then chill out and browse through the links you’ve saved – though you need to do this before the end of your session.

    I found some cool stuff that I added to my Del.icio.us account – thus adding to the world pool of ever growing links. What a very different Web 2.0 world it is :-)