Social software and education

While the world and her husband argue about what Web 2.0 means, whether they can use the term, what Enterprise 2.0 means, whether they can use the term, and what’s hot and what’s not, and the price of fish, there are some people quietly going about their business using the concepts without worrying about any of this.

Read what Clarence Fisher is up to. See what he is doing in his classroom, as described in this post.

The Personal Learning Network that Clarence speaks of is not just about schools, it has meaning and value in every context where learning is of value. PLNs exist everywhere anyway (except perhaps in real and virtual cemeteries); but the value of having them embedded in social software is something that many haven’t grasped. Which is why, as Clarence points out, there are still drop-out rates for these things.

Clarence is not alone. Take a look at what Kate Simpson and her friends are doing at elgg. Go see what Barbara Ganley is doing. Read everything that Judy Breck writes, either in book form or at Golden Swamp. See what Vicki Davis is up to. Track what Stephen Downes has to say about the subject of learning and social software.

Blogs and wikis aren’t about dollars or rankings or A-lists. They are about people working together on learning and on discovery; about people learning and discovering about working together.

Clarence, or for that matter anyone else I’ve mentioned above, let me know how I can help. I can be contacted at jobsworth@mac.com, I have only today realised that my Contact Me bit went missing after my blog disappeared in May. If anyone out there knows of other sites I should be tracking regularly, I’m all eyes.

10 thoughts on “Social software and education”

  1. “Blogs and wikis aren’t about dollars or rankings or A-lists.” That may be true in a number of environments but that’s a hard sell in the business environment. Execs are more concerned about the likely impact on workforce effectiveness/efficiency. Now – if learning (which is a low priority in many UK businesses) has implied value then that’s a message which could be more acceptable. We’ve yet to see whether that’s true.

  2. I think it’s simpler than that. I hope it’s simpler than that.

    We talk about Human Capital. We talk about the importance of our human resources, and of developing and enriching those resources.

    Most of the time, it’s talk.

    Social software allows us to walk the talk. If we want to.

    It is easy to make the conversation all about plumbing and infrastructure, and attach big bills to that, as we seek to recreate Content Management Systems of the 18th century. But we’re lying to ourselves if we do that.

    Nobody fills in timesheets detailing just how much time is spent futilely playing with mail and spreadsheets and personal databases and presentations and documents. Things that were ostensibly meant to improve our productivity. If we did fill in the timesheets, we would be aghast.

    Now there are better answers, and there is the expected inertia and immune system pushback.

    But it doesn’t change the issue. Unless you value human capital (and consequently the risks and benefits of either developing it or allowing it to decay) you will never get anywhere with social software.

    I thought that the growth of intangibles on balance sheets will help us in this respect, but so far I have been disappointed.

  3. “Blogs and wikis aren’t about dollars or rankings or A-lists. They are about people working together on learning and on discovery; about people learning and discovering about working together.” AMEN! And bless your untainted soul! Best, chutki

  4. Hi Mark, sorry about this, I thought I’d already replied to you. I’d forgotten about Siemens actually, a lost bookmark, so thanks for bringing him up.

    Declan, thanks as well. Both Steve as well as Johnnie kept me in the loop, so I will be there. Rgds

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