Social Software in the Classroom: Happy Marriage or Clash of Cultures?

Notes from this session:

What does social software mean to our students?

Eric Gordon mentions a sense of possession, that they are creating a space that is inherently their own, and that often they enter physical classrooms with that same expectation. He also states that their expectations of our curriculum entail a a desire for personal relevance, “What does this mean to me?”

He cites the allure of access (to content) without liability, referencing the example of Napster’s quote: “Own Nothing; Have Everything.” Is this the equivalent of leasing content?
Gordon also mentions the common desire for instant access which I equate to the stereotypical males desire for immediate gratification. If it’s out there, why should I need to wait to access it in a physical realm?

Lastly, a snippet from a Roger Waters Radio K.A.O.S. tune, Home, “Everybody wants somehwer they call home” – virtual personal spaces such as mySpace, Facebook, blogs, even Second Life (which is the focus of the next session) are important because they allow us to extend our xxx to the physical.

How do students perceive and use social software environments?

Often used as a Personal Management system via the implementation of RSS, blogs, mySpace, etc. the value to the learner is in the aggregation, xxx convenience in accessing…content.

Desire for personal relevance

There is also an interesting dichotomy between perceptions of privacy and publicity. Some of the perceptions held and distinctions made are that open areas such as Facebook, mySpace,Orkut, Friendster, etc. are assumed private, while academic areas such as learning management systems, prescribed blogs and other directed learning tools are assumed public (due to the sense of evaluation by profs and peers).

Digital Social Networks typically converse in chat speak versus the
more academic dialogue and discourse which demonstrates the following

  • self-reflexive – comments scutinized and reflected upon, peers/profs as audience
  • delimited – scale is localized and definable
  • contributive – content added to pre-defined framework of analysis
  • self-policing – established hierarchies maintain standards of conversation

Caveat: These are my interpretations and are subject to the vagaries of my muddled mind.

[tags]sstl2006, social, software, Gordon, digital, networks, myspace, facebook, blog, second_life, learning, environment, personal[/tags]

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