E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Deploying Social Software in Learning and Teaching Environments

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I am sure that by now most of you are somewhat familiar with such a fine offering as Slideshare.net. An online place where different folks get to upload slide decks on whatever the topic and then be able to share them pretty much a la YouTube fashion. It pretty much works the same in the sense that you can tag your slides, add a brief description, leave comments, save as favourites and share them with others through URLs or embedding the slide deck. Pretty slick if you ask me and something that is perhaps helping PowerPoint slides and PDF files get some more renewed popularity.

Well, one of the things that I have been doing lately, at least, once a week is to actually check out some of the different slide decks available out there and which would be dealing with the same set of topics that I get to discuss over here, i.e. KM, Collaboration, Communities, Learning and Social Computing. And I must say that there are lots of good stuff out there available to everyone. Like the slide deck that I have found earlier on today around the subject of social software within the learning environment. Check out Deploying Social Software in Learning and Teaching Environments.

The deck was actually put together by Dr. Steven Warburton, whose weblog I can certainly recommend as well to others who may be interested in learning and emerging technologies related to social computing. In it you would be able to see how Steve actually gets to build up a strong case as to why social software tools like weblogs could actually be a worth while option to consider within the learning environment for a good number of different reasons, but mainly for their versatility (See slide 7):

"a. Providing a rich set of writing techniques: writing as a process of self discovery
b Supporting conversational learning
c. Creating or augmenting social presence
d. Encouraging reflective practice (Through an inherent reflective, informal tone)
e. Developing a "critical voice"
f. Providing a record or portfolio of learning
g. Developing a community of inquiry
h. Creating learning networks, social networks
i. Developing and understand one’s identity as a learner (autonomy and ownership)
j. Tension between self and reader necessitates learning to trust and understand one’s own perspectives.
"

From there onwards Steven gets to share some further insights through a case study as to why weblogs would be useful tools for learners as opposed to just think that the may pose different challenges that students may not be able to overcome. Yes, there may be some challenges out there while working with weblogs within the learning environment, but there is no denying that the pros would actually outweigh the cons and Steven actually does a great job putting a very good and comprehensive account as to where the challenges are and also what would be the potential solutions.

This is certainly one of those presentations that I can certainly recommend to anyone out there within the learning environment (Although it would also apply to the business world, no doubt!) who is not sure yet as to what role social computing is going to play in all this. So for those folks interested further on the slide deck here you have got the embedded slide deck so that you can flip through the charts yourself while reading through further:

Oh, and now that you are done with that slide deck I can certainly recommend you check out the other three presentations that Steven has shared as well over at Slideshare because I am sure you would find them equally interesting because they all touch on how the world of social computing is actually changing the world of Learning.

Thus I guess that Knowledge Management is not the only discipline that is being affected by social computing. So is Learning and I must say that having a strong education background myself I am really glad to see that little by little Learning 2.0 is becoming a reality that we get to see more and more all over the place. So I guess that from now on, I shall be sharing some further insights about that fascinating topic as well: Learning and its social computing adoption.

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