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New Media Technologies (KCB202)

Two Reports on Learning and Teaching with Social Media

It must be reporting season - in addition to the major "Social Media: State of the Art" report which we'll soon publish through the Smart Services CRC, two final reports from (what used to be called) Carrick Institute teaching and learning projects which I was involved in during 2007 and 2008 have been released recently. (The Carrick Institute has since been renamed the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.) I really can't take much credit here, though - my gradual and continuing transition to a very research-heavy workload has meant that my teaching activities have increasingly had to take a back seat. So, congratulations should go to:

Using Wikis in Education

We're now starting the post-lunch session on the first day here at WikiSym 2007, and the first paper is by Andrea Forte and Amy Bruckman, who examine the use of wikis as a toolkit for collaborative learning. Andrea begins by noting tha there is a significant deficit in media literacy amongst high school students - they don't necessarily have sufficient skills to evaluate the information they're confronted with. She suggests constructionism as a pedagogic framework for building such literacies.

Constructionism has been articulated by Seymour Papert - he suggests that people learn particularly well when engaged in the construction of public artefacts: when others see what you know and have done, when you can take pride in the work, and when the work is persistent into the future. This connects very well with working with wikis, of course, but also goes beyond them - it builds on students working on personally meaningful goals, and harnesses learners as capable, curious, and tenacious active practitioners. Online, especially, there are constantly new opportunities to employ constructionist learning.

Building Collaborative Capacities in Learners: The M/Cyclopedia Project, Revisited (WikiSym 2007)

WikiSym 2007

Building Collaborative Capacities in Learners:
The M/Cyclopedia Project, Revisited

Axel Bruns and Sal Humphreys

  • 22 October 2007 - WikiSym 2007 conference, Montréal, Canada

This paper by Axel Bruns and Sal Humphreys for the International Symposium on Wikis in Montréal, 21-23 Oct. 2007, traces the evolution of a project using a wiki-based learning environment in a tertiary education setting. The project has the pedagogical goal of building learners' capacities to work effectively in the networked, collaborative, creative environments of the knowledge economy. The paper explores the four key characteristics of a 'produsage' environment and identifies four strategic capacities that need to be developed in learners to be effective 'produsers' (user-producers). A case study is presented of our experiences with the subject New Media Technologies, run at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. This progress report updates our observations made at the 2005 WikiSym conference.

Encouraging Stories from Teaching Wikis

As I've mentioned here before, over the last couple of years I've been one of the directors of a large teaching and learning grant project at QUT, aimed at introducing blogs, wikis, and other more advanced online tools into the teaching environment. Our fundamental assumption in this project is that in a social software, Web 2.0 world, students crucially need to build the critical, creative, collaborative, and communicative capacities (or C4C, for short) to operate effectively, whether in their working or private lives, or in their wider role as citizens. Advanced social software tools in learning environments can help build such capacities, or (where they exist already, as is increasingly the case) further enhance them by providing a more systematic approach to their development.

Blogs and Wikis in Teaching at QUT - Update

A little while ago Trebor Scholz suggested that I should respond to a post of his on the Institute for Distributed Creativity mailing-list, about using wikis and blogs in teaching. I finally got around to this yesterday, and thought I might post it up here as well. This also refers back to the interview Trebor did with me last year, and to the Large Teaching & Learning Grant project which I co-direct at QUT (see Blogs and Wikis in Teaching at QUT for some more information). Any comments welcome!

Online Teaching with Blogs and Wikis

Yesterday my colleagues Peter Duffy, Sal Humphreys and I put in a paper proposal for the Online Teaching conference here at QUT in September. This builds on the work Sal and I have been doing for the International Wiki Symposium in San Diego, but with a focus more on teaching and pedagogy aspects rather than the underlying teaching technologies. Here's the abstract:

Delivery in the Beyond - Possibilities for the Use of Blogs and Wikis in Education

In a knowledge economy it is no longer sufficient to use online learning and teaching technologies simply for the delivery of content to students. In the new environment, graduate capabilities increasingly and crucially identify the ability to effectively use new media technologies for collaborative and (co)creative purposes as well as for the critical assessment and evaluation of existing information. Higher education therefore must refocus its efforts, from a mere interest in developing information literacies to an emphasis on developing advanced creative, collaborative, and critical ICT literacies in students.

Homework, Hitchhikers, Homework

Spending yesterday and today at home, working. This week and the next are strangely teaching-free weeks for me as the two Monday public holidays mean that my Creative Industries unit doesn't run again until Monday week. So, instead I'm getting some other important work done. Yesterday I made further inroads into two papers - the one co-authored with Sal Humphreys about our wiki efforts in KCB336 New Media Technologies (which will go out to the International Wiki Symposium organisers later today), and one with Danny Butt on digital rights management in the music industry, for a special issue of Media and Arts Law Review (which Sal also has a hand in).

Media, Traditional and Alternative

Spent most of the ANZAC day public holiday on Monday working on a paper for the 2005 Wiki Symposium in San Diego. My colleague, the soon-to-be Dr Sal Humphreys has done much of the legwork for this paper which we'll be submitting before Friday; it details the use of wikis in my New Media Technologies unit at QUT and discusses the overall frameworks for using wikis in teaching. I'll post it here once it's done.

Wikinews Gives You Wiiings!

I've just had word that my paper for the Association of Internet Researchers Conference this year has been accepted - so I guess I'll be going to Chicago in October... The paper is titled "Wikinews: The Next Generation of Alternative Online News?" and deals with a form of open news which arrived too late to be fully considered in my book, so it's a kind of addendum to the book itself. As this is the peak association in my line of research, I'm also hoping to have a bit of a launch for the book at the conference.

Signed, Sealed ... and to Be Delivered in November

A good meeting with Jo Jacobs and our research assistant Ian Rogers today, to move forward on the Uses of Blogs book. We've signed the book contract now and it's on its way back to Peter Lang in New York. We'll be sending out an update to our contributors shortly, to work out the deadlines leading up to delivery of the manuscript in early November. The more we work on this, the more this is shaping up to be a great collection. The enthusiasm displayed by our contributors (as well as by Jo and Ian) is great, and we do seem to have managed to collect a stellar cast of bloggers and blog researchers. It's a pleasure to work with such a supportive publisher as well!


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