Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Social networking - hype or hidden opportunity?

Below are notes from a critical conversations session at the Penn State One-to-One Conference I attended. These are notes I types through the session with a few of my thoughts interjected in.

Dr. Cole Camplese from PSU asks us during the One to One conference: So what are we afraid of?
He says: This changes everything:

How they access information

How they connect with each other

How they control media - they TiVo therefore they want it on their schedule - how feedback from educators and learning opportunities then must be on their schedule.

How they create media (and the millions who watch comment and remix)

Alan Kay quote:
Technology is only technology to those born before technology.
(Note: why then do we keep saying that word which conjures up either some shining entity or fear and trepidation?)

1/3 of psu teachers use you tube (mostly to show video). I will be accessing the data (I just don't type fast enough) and will post those later.

At Penn State, there are some things we feel we know (note: I am glad to hear this from a major university as it is the focus of my teaching but not embraced by the rest of my school)...
  • creating is critical
  • learning is critical
  • collaboration is critical
  • sharing is critical
Students are engaged in new communities that share the same values. Web 2.0 is the platform for the community.

He discusses:
Wouldn't we want to be active participants? There is a change and discussions about entrance into college - e-portfolios, digital media as evidence of learning - this will become a much more valued part of University education and can drive the change in the High Schools.

Students are blogging more at Penn State and not just in class (it takes 4 months to develop that habit) - and writing is improving. PEW report shows the change in the writing. Note to myself: I have already stated in the wiki session that I presented that I believed this to be true and that I should create action research next year to measure this).

The focus is on appropriate educational practices that allow technology to be injected and infused.

Backchannels are the best use of laptops sitting there by allowing conversations to continue throughout - (my thought: students writing the notes in class and questions being asked using the backchannel. Perhaps that would open up conversation at a different level).

Very few podcasts are being used for lecture - audio commentary about what they are learning - (note to self - assess these? Now that I had made a goal to create review podcasts, perhaps it would be better to have student podcasts using the content?)

Not many professors are using the CMS. (Note: Interesting. I find my wiki to be a wonderful way to manage everything). Grades are going up, Studying is going down (?). (Note: would like to explore that more).

Blogs for deeper thinking, improving critical thought. Are there positives for a blog as a portfolio? They want a place that is easy to create in - to keep it simple and easy to show to others for grades, showing what they learned. Change in attitude that they will continue after the class - can get them hooked on the value of blogging in about 4 months.

Peer groups are what cause acceptance.

What things should we be thinking about tomorrow? (this question was asked of Dr. Camplese that high schools can do now): 1. start small - take on a piece like a difficult concept and wrap some new thinking about it, 2. ask your students and 3. become comfortable with change. It breathes new life into it (My note: doesn't it ever!). Find something you can change and go for it.

Final note: I loved this session. It is the same conversations I have had in the edublogger world but great to see a university addressing these same concepts and the dialogue between different levels. Dr. Camplese is a wonderful speaker, down to earth, and extremely knowledgeable. It would be great to have more of his voice in places like Educon where many of the forward thinkers come together.

Tags: Dr. Cole Camplese, technology, educational reform, education


  1. I'm thrilled you liked the session. I had a blast talking with everyone ... it is encouraging to know people are really thinking hard about all of this. I am always a little nervous working with educators outside my primary area of focus, but am finding out how much we really do have in common. I'd love to find a way for us all to engage in a larger set of opportunities to get together and share ideas more often.

    Always open to new ideas. Thanks again for the very kind words! I'll check into Educon as well.

  2. Continuing conversations among those of us from different backgrounds is exactly what is needed to create change for the future of education. I am open to new ideas as well - perhaps we should get a few minds together to pursue future opportunities and set the standard for what could be!