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Plymouth eLearning Conference – Post 1

Plymouth Elearning Conference  – Post 1

The conference started on a very positive note with three main messages:

  • E-learning has now moved from margins to mainstream
  • Students leading very digital lifestyles, so let us harness this
  • Technology enhanced learning now has a very high priority in the University Sector.

 

Josie Fraser was the first keynote speaker talking about social media:

Josie talked firstly about the ungoogleable man, raising a few questions, firstly does he exist – as even though he may not have an online presence many of his friends and family may have and they maybe tagging photos of him on Facebook or flikr or mentioning his name in their blogs. If he is not online he may not be aware of the digital identity that others are creating from him. The second question is – is this a good thing he can’t be found on Google? It may protect his privacy a bit not able to being found or followed, and make him less vulnerable. However do the advantages of being online outweigh the disadvantages?

Why is digital participation important? Well the functions and processes of an institution are often organised round networks rather than physical spaces, it is not what you know it is who you are connected to that is important so you can ask experts in your network. Participation in online activity provides both escape from social isolation and other people and somewhere to escape to.

Josie provides a few interesting statistics:

  • In December 2009 there were 3500 million users on Facebook  
  • Within Facebook there are 69M active Farmville users,  compared to 18M users of Twitter
  • In October 2009 1 in 7 page views on internet were to Facebook.
  • In 2010 half people on their mobiles were using Facebook.
  • People are being creative online 40% people upload things online

Online identities are an interesting concept: it is a process of creation – not just reflection of what we are like. The act of representation is a powerful tool – not fixed but not as fluid as some may think. We tend to re-inscribe social norms into cyber space, for example we do not abandon our physical bodies in social space, people talk about food, coffee and use things like four-square to let people know where they are. Digital Literacy is very important keeping safe and protecting your privacy online. Online identity (described by Danah Boyd) is:

  • persistent
  • replicable (can be taken out of context)
  • searchable
  • scaleable (not confined to people f2f)
  • delocateable (lack of relevance as to where you are)

Communities are very positive and powerful things. Many of us benefit from being in education technology communities, reading and commenting on blogs, contributing to wikis and engaging with twitter. However they are not all positive – e.g. those around anorexia, people post photos of themselves, and there are discussions based around how not to be discovered losing weight, how to lose weight, etc.  Would closing the community sort out the problem? Probably not as it is a very complex situation.

Post 2 on the rest of the conference to follow

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