How Disruptive Technologies Enabled New Social Learning

Just another WordPress site

How Disruptive Technologies Enabled New Social Learning

{ music } This is a highly rehearsed talk that we’ve put together. Okay, so let’s get started. The thing that Scott and I wanted to talk you about is something we did last spring. It was a class that we co-taught here at Penn State University in the College of Education Do you want to introduce yourself? I know everybody knows who you are but. Oh, yeah, I’m Cole Camplese It’s nice to meet everybody I’m Scott McDonald. It’s nice to meet you. But that’s up there We didn’t have to say that. I’m the Director of Education Technology Services and part-time teacher in education And Scott, you are I’m a faculty member in science education. So I’m a full-time teacher in education and Cole and I co-taught a class last semester So where did this get started? This got started we sort of were hanging and we said, wouldn’t it be cool if. And that’s really the way it started. It was sort of interesting What we wanted to do was we wanted to sort of try to balance rigor with emerging technologies and see how students could sort of live up to those two sides of the house. And so the story that we’re gonna tell you about is about this little course that we came up with Curriculum Instruction 597C, Disruptive Technologies for Teaching and Learning. And it was kind of interesting, I think, the way we sort of set it up and we’d like to share that with you And when we walked into class we said this to our students, we said to them, this is gonna be a grand experiment. I mean I think it was the way we framed it on the first day. Some of our students are here and we’re gonna ask you join in on this party that we’re putting on right now. But it was a grand experiment, because we had no idea what to expect I used to teach in the College of Information Sciences and Technology And in IST you can have sort of expectations and assumptions about your students that you walk in and there sort of plugged in already That they’re sort of already dialed in and we didn’t really know how that was gonna play out in the College of the Education. I think, and to go back for second to the wouldn’t be cool if, the reason that Cole and I had that conversation is that we play a lot with tools, but Cole doesn’t play with them as much in class because he has fewer classes and I had not really committed a lot of time and energy to thinking about how I could play with them in my classes and really think about how these tools that we use, excuse me, very powerfully in our lives could be used by students in teaching and learning context. So that was the wouldn’t it be cool if And the grand experiment part was, will any of this work? Will any of it stick? And so the story we’d like to share with you today is sort of story of the things that really sort of shocked us. The things that came out that we didn’t expect at all. I mean there was quite a bit of that kind of stuff going on I think throughout the entire semester. Let’s give you a little bit of the structure though before we get rolling here We did several readings every week. And these were, I guess Scott, we’d called those they were based in theory. Yeah, we sort of had basically two sets of readings There were some core social theory and that was pretty rigorous And we can talk about how that played out in our constituency among our students. And then the others were sort of applications of that social theory to teaching and learning environments. So things like cluetrain manifesto. Pop culture social theory. Exactly! So that’s where the readings were focused for the course were around those two strands. And we’ll show you the list of technologies we’ve used and they were big. And we used ANGEL We did use ANGEL. And we’ll talk a little bit about how we used ANGEL. But for the most part most of the students did all of their reflection in the open in their blogs and personal PSU blogs and there were good reasons for that and we’ll get to those. But I think it’s important know that while they were reading they were also having to do quite a bit of writing I think is probably a fair assessment. Several of those a week. And also thinking critically about what their classmates and their peers were doing and we had them reflect upon what they were saying and link back and forth. Use track backs and other things to sort of site each others work through the blog platform. And we were really conscious of the fact that we wanted it to be out in the open. We wanted all the pieces to out there so people could not only see the work, but so that the students could understand the impact of their work being out in the public. Because that’s one of the Web 2.0 sort of issues that we wanted to deal with directly. So we can talk about how some of the specific things we did around that. But it was just that we wanted them to publish to a larger community. We also wanted them to see the impact of that publishing to a larger community on who they identified themselves as. As scholars and students We did weekly discussions. This was a face to face course. This was not an online course. This was every Thursday from 2:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon. So it was really driven heavily by these blog posts and the conversations and the social ratings like we’ll show you in a second as well

The students were in teams, I think, literally right away. Wasn’t it the first or second week? You had a really cool method of putting students in teams where you passed out playing cards And they randomly assigned themselves to teams. And that was so that they could sort of work together, get to know each other, and do presentations together And they each chose a technology to think about and present on And some of the outcomes from that were really surprising as well I think The design of the course, there were three blogs, and when I say us together, and them, really the way it played out was Scott and I handled the first third of the class We really assigned all the readings. We did all the stuff that we felt was important to get things moving. The middle section was really mashup of the things that they were reading about and would share back with us. And so the readings became very organic in that way. And the last third, the third half of the course, was all about them. They drove the entire experience And again, this was a graduate level course. So I think that that works I traditionally have taught undergraduates and I ought to say that, this has not worked as well with seventy-five undergraduates for a hundred in the Cybertorium Did you just say how many we had in the class? We had twenty, eighteen. Yeah, we had eighteen in the class. So that does make a big difference And we organized the course around these three major themes. So community, identity, and design They come at least in part from Etienne Wenger’s work on communities of practice, but we had our own spin on those things. But the students were asked to really comment on those three themes in all the work that they were doing. Whether they were looking at a technology or whether they were reading social theory. It was all bound together around those three things And those things became very important as we explored the depths of the Web 2.0 space. Because while publishing in the open they got to see firsthand what their impact on their work did from a community perspective. What it meant for them as individuals and as a group, and really the piece that we hated to miss so much was the real design piece. And I think if we had another semester we would’ve probably run a course just specifically around design. That kind of got left out of it One of our students called design the Jan Brady of our course. So it sort of got left out a little bit. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. No it was definitely Jan. Because Marsha got the broke nose. Right, Marsha, Marsha, Marsha So this is, Cole and I yesterday were talking about how to capture one of the main themes that we had to deal with in terms of real data So this is data that we collected yesterday in Cole’s office That reflects one of the core themes from the students in the first half the course was, “What made my head hurt?” And that’s a direct quote from one of our students. And what this is is a graph of what made our students head hurt. But there are two lines So we had sort of two pretty clear constituencies. We had the technology people who spent a lot of time designing, playing with technology, thinking about how technology works in learning spaces. And then we had, for lack of better word, the social theorist. So the people who were education doctoral students and master students who had some background in social theory So are you gonna be Vanna White here? Is that what you’re doing? Well if you notice the technologists are in orange And the theorists are in green. And the important thing is that the axis here is technology So you can see our goal over time was to get around technology to get the theorists heads to hurt a little less. And I think the technologists heads hurt a little less too. But the change There’s like a statistic for that right? Yeah, it’s real. Just go with it So then of course the graph for the technologists looked like this Theory! The technologists attitudes about theory this is the graph. We’re still analyzing our data It’s very complex. It’s in progress This is more of a poster than it is a final set of So what you’re seeing is an early slice of the data, I guess is what you call it But the point here is what really sort of shocked us was that there was equal pain It was evenly distributed. The pain scale was evenly distributed if you will. Where the ones who were really adept at doing the high end reading and the discourse, seemed to breeze right through the readings While the technologists really struggled with that and the other held true. And that was really interesting But what was really, I think, so stunning was how towards the I would say the middle of the second third. I guess the middle of the course They really did come together on both sides. And we started to see a real increase in participation across the board from both camps with both areas. And I think one of things we’re trying to stress here is that if you go into this and you want to focus on technology and one of the questions we’re gonna ask at the end is, does this work outside of a class thinking about technology?

That the patience is sort of core to being able to pull this off. Because the technology does cause pains, just as rigor causes pain. And we had to spend a lot of the first third of the half course discussing those issues with both groups. So we had to convince the technology people to sort of hang in there with the social theory. Because they would really come in and say, you know I read that last night and I could not understand it It was like reading a foreign language. And the people with less technology experience were struggling just as hard. Because we were pushing them from the beginning They were having to post on the blogs. They were having to go to these different aggregation sites. They were having to a lot hard work with the technology And it was not simple for them. So if you think about the technology that we introduced and some of these are formal. Some of these are the kinds of things that we use every single day in our classes. ANGEL being one of the big ones We through in the Penn State blog platform because we really wanted to see what that meant to students And we have a whole bunch of other things here. We’re gonna talk first about these two pieces I think and then we’ll come back to some of these other ones The first two pieces that we’re gonna talk about were the more formal pieces that we had predetermined pretty well how we thought they were gonna play out in terms of the course structure. So we’re highlighting some of our students blogs right here at the front of the site. So student blogs and why did we do this? I think that the big reason was, was that we wanted to give people their own space Remember we have community, identity, and design in here. And we wanted people to be able to establish their own identity by having a blog at their own url. It felt more personal It was theirs. It belonged to them. They could make decisions on what did go there What didn’t go there. They didn’t have to be bound by the rules or the procedures or the policies of the class. It was really their space. And I think that over time there was a sense of ownership that was established because it wasn’t necessarily locked away inside of a top down driven environment like ANGEL. I’m not saying ANGELS not a good environment, but for something like this, this really seemed to play out very well Wouldn’t you say? And I think the other important thing as we’ve said before is it was in the open These were blogs. So anybody could read them. And we did start to look at the traffic that the students were getting to their blogs as part of the course. Yeah, and so let’s say this, about these blogs, many of the students installed Google Analytics on their personal blogs and this was relevant because we did it at the class site as well. And students were getting five to seven unique hits a week. So to them that may seem like something and it may not seem like much to you, but once you get a comment from somebody out there on your blog, it really feels like people are actually paying attention. Now when you sort of think about what we did there, they were all out at the edge of our network Right at the edge of our class. And we struggled with how we were gonna bring this together Even with eighteen students, the idea of going around and visiting eighteen different blogs, even if you have RSS, is really brutal. So we used a piece of software, open source software called Pligg, social aggregation software, that basically takes every single post that happens at each students blog and brings it into a community. Automatically brings it in and does some interesting things with it. So here’s a students post that happened in their blog, but it ends up showing up in this social rating site. The students were asked to read the post here primarily and comment here. And we wanted the commenting to go on here because at this point we felt as though that the community belonged to the class That the community knowledge existed within the class structure Students were rewarded how many, three votes a week, is that right? That was supposed to be the maximum. And then some students voted less than that. But that was the maximum. Three votes a week. So basically what would happen is, as students would see these posts, they could voted on these posts. The top posts for the week. They could click this link A lot like Dig, if you’re familiar with Dig, and it would add a vote to it. If they voted, they had to say why And have a discussion or engage the author in a conversation related to what was going on in that post. It’s actually quite similar to the live question tool that we’re using right now. So you guys see what’s going on here. Basically they’re all publishing out here. They own it. And all this content is coming together at the middle where the commenting is going and everything else. During the first, I would say, about six or seven weeks into the course we hooked up Google Analytics and we started to see. We were getting about a thousand unique visits a week in our course community site. Now that is a huge jump from the five or seven students were getting. And the really interesting thing is what sort of happened is people from outside the class sort of commenting and pushing students around in different directions as well And actually we had a really interesting conversation about a couple of, Scott and I’s colleagues, who had come in and added post. And we started to ask are they lurkers? Are they part of the class? And just the community now extend beyond the walls of the classroom. Really created a whole new social dynamic. And it got to a lot of the core issues about identity. When does somebody become an identified member of our community And we can talk about some other really specific interesting cases with that Where people participated in class discussion without being in class And the last thing I’ll mention here is we used the vote count to determine the overarching questions that we would ask the students for the week. So the vote count, the highest voting discussion, Scott and I would tear those apart a couple of nights before class

and then we would write four or five guiding questions that would drive literally John what do you think, two hours of discussion about And then people would raise their hands and say, my head hurts. I think that was pretty much what happened most of the time So that’s really interesting. We sort of figured that something like that would happen. We were really surprised at the number of people that showed up in the community. But what changed the game I think is the story of this and for camp. Let’s go back to our technologies here And what we need to say is that, just briefly, what we’ve just described are the top three bullets. And the remaining things were used in class to varying degrees. But some of them were assigned to the student groups. And they had to go out and use these tools and then come back and talk about them to the class and lead part of a class discussion So ANGEL we used mostly as a repository for readings And Delicious was something that Cole and I introduced as a tool that they might be interested in using. But Twitter, Facebook, wiki’s, podcasts, and YouTube were all core technologies that one of the student groups in the class had to take. They had to describe to other people in the class They had to develop an assignment for people to use it. And they had to do some sort of synthesis at the end using these technologies as well. So those were much more integral to the course The interesting thing is that the Twitter group originally didn’t want Twitter. Everybody got to pick a list of things that they would have Their choices. And the Twitter group really wanted Facebook and somebody else got Facebook and they were really angry. That first weekend I got an email from one of the students and she said, Twitter is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in my life And we said, yeah! So use it anyway Some interesting things happen So we’re gonna concentrate on Twitter, both because of that initial reaction from the student group and what actually happened as it play out over the course. Because that was, as Cole said, and as we said, in that last slide, that’s the technology that really changed the game in our class, surprisingly So some things started to happen. We ended up with these, I would say, extended conversations that would go on. If I would jump on Twitter that evening, literally what ended up happening was that students started they’d write in class the first couple of days, they got Twitter accounts. They started following us. And it’s funny because the Twitter team did an evaluation or analysis of what their first tweets were across the class and all of them said the same thing. This is the stupidest thing in the world. By about five or six tweets in they were starting to say, I see potential for value here And as it started to go on, there were conversations, and we’ll share some of the quotes with you, that were going on during off hours. I mean class was literally a sixty hour a week endeavor because it was just ongoing The extended community was really interesting, because during the presentation Robin, Shannon, Daniel, I don’t know if Daniel’s here, but other people, they were joining our class. So while the class was going on, students were Twittering out things that were going on Overarching questions, ideas, things that were happening, and people from outside of the class were chiming in with responses and links through Twitter We knew it, but we weren’t promoting it. It didn’t bother us Actually it was kind of very, very cool. But one of the things related to that that became really interesting is it began to become clear to Cole and I who the people in the class were that that were regular Twitters and who were not. Because the people who were regular Twitterers were connected to each other. They talked to each other. They seemed like they were old friends And you could literally see this in the face to face interactions. And the ones that weren’t Twittering were I hate to say marginalized, but essentially they were less a core part of the in class discussion. They weren’t as connected to the community. I would say they were certainly less engaged in what was going on in class And there was a rich set of back channel conversations going on that I think was probably even more surprising to me early on than anything else Because of how they were helping each other, prompting each other, pushing each other to ask questions. To say certain things. And they were doing it sort of invisibly behind the scenes. But it was alive and it was happening. And Scott and I kept our laptops open and kept the Twitter. And we join in and push people to say stuff as well. And I think a couple times we asked them to step it up a little bit via Twitter The external participation I talked about. But it was just pretty incredible. And really what happened is this The learning community came together around this one silly little Web 2.0 technology. More so than any other technology I’ve seen in the classroom. It was this one little thing. A hundred and forty characters What are you doing right now that changed everything and really bound the community? And like I said before, I mean, I think, you could see tangible effects in the class. You could literally see the kids

I used that term. I used it all semester And they hated it. The kids that were Twitterers were definitely a tighter knit group than the kids that weren’t. There were three that didn’t What was very interesting about this, and this is a sidebar, but they actually started sitting in the same part of the class at the start of the semester and their physical location was a representation of their engagement in the class. It was very interesting to see So just a couple of quotes This was stuff that came across during class. And this was to a question I think I asked about has Twitter made an impact in the classroom? And to see this Twittered out, I don’t know who did this, but I feel I know you, Scott, and the others more intimately than I do other professors and classmates with whom I’ve spent more time And you notice they already got the a hundred and forty character saving sea mates up there They got it going on. And then this one was one that I found particularly interesting. So one of the things that the Twitter group did when they presented, is they explicitly used Twitter as a parallel channel of conversation. So they asked people to Twitter things. So this quote, “Your identity is defined by communities you participate in, so your choices to participate are how you control who you are.” This is substantive learning theory talk that’s going on amongst these students while the whole class discussion is going on in parallel. So I think that’s the thing that really blew me away about this. Is that you expect that Twitter would have a social impact. Have kids talk to each other more. Yeah, passing notes That’s what we thought. Right, and we thought that that passing notes would continue What we didn’t expect is that the passing notes would become substantive That would be learning focused passing of notes during class And public notes. So everybody could read them. It wasn’t me passing to Cole with a little check yes if you’ll be my find or no if you won’t Though I did pass him some of those notes in class Yeah, BFF! But the notes were like this And especially when they’re constrained to a hundred and forty characters It’s fascinating to see the sort of stuff that they were posting during that. Particularly during that class I mean it happened in every class, but in that class in was a designed piece. And it was amazing. Scott, I mean, I’m sure when you were teaching high school you would confiscate notes and a lot of them said stuff like this, right? Yeah, the bottom quote were almost always. I was thinking about trajectory of the locket. I’m going to the high school and your identity is defined by it But this one sort of really blew our minds. This happened right at the end of the semester. Uh-huh, yeah, see, we’re getting this reaction The aha moment. So this was a Friday I think and this student Twittered out and said, “I just found out that my thesis is due Sunday, or I can’t graduate.” And instantly you should’ve seen the Twitter community come to this students rescue. This class community where they said, we’ll read it, we’ll proof it, we’ll help you think about it. We’ll get together. Let’s talk. Let’s go and get together at the library and do what we need to do. But it was just phenomenal to see how over the course of just twelve weeks this group had come together and only a couple had known them. This was interdisciplinary. This was cross listed. These were not students going through the same program. How everything sort of emerged and came together towards the end Where it was, I would say, a real community. Wouldn’t you? And as a side note, he did graduate and completed his thesis. And now just two days ago there were a bunch of Twitters about getting together to give him a sending off party because he’s moving Philadelphia. So that group has continued and they’re still getting together in meet space based on conversations that are happening in Twitter So we didn’t know that there would be so many questions, but we’ve sort of staged a few of them just to jump start some thinking and talking, but this was the number one thing we struggled with. And I think it’s probably not a mystery when you start to see such a distributed production of thinking going on. Where you had students writing just amazing things in their blogs You had students doing really thoughtful reactions to these comments And then you had all these social tools out there at the edge where, especially Twitter, where almost seventy-five, eighty percent of the class were spending a great deal of time having really in depth conversations about what was going on in class And so the artifacts the students were producing were across a whole range of these tools. Some of which we formally captured and some of which we didn’t So there were probably twenty or thirty different podcasts that were produced over the course of the semester. There were Twitters. There were blog posts. There were Flickr streams. There were Facebook groups. And all this stuff either to lesser and greater degrees represented these students contribution to the class and the community and the thinking that they were doing around these issues. So Cole and I sat down and try to evaluate this. It was not easy And I should add that we didn’t ask them to do all this stuff. It just sort of happened

The social piece took over and learning became interesting it seemed like And now, did it take us more time to evaluate it? Maybe, but it seemed a heck of a lot less rigorous than grading the dozen or so papers that you typically do. But evaluation was very, very difficult and we’d be happy to talk more about that if you have questions about we went about doing that And some of our data suggestions. Well, yeah, I mean if you think about a traditional course, one of the core things that all students look for in the syllabus is, how am I gonna get my grade? So if you looked at what we said at the beginning of the semester about how they were gonna get their grade and how we actually determined their grade, there was a relationship, but it wasn’t one to one Because there were students that did tremendous amount of work, that if we had stuck to our original criteria for evaluating them, they would have suffered. Because we can show you some of the pieces that they made. One student made this incredible mashup of did a Google Map with connections to all the different blog posts from various people in the class. Heather’s here. Hey, Heather! Heather’s here too. And that wasn’t part of the original plan. We didn’t have that in our framework for evaluation. So we really had to think hard about this. Because when somebody’s posting one blog post a week, but they did fifty Twitters, twenty-five of which might have been on task sort of focused on our learning community. Do we just say, well that doesn’t count. Nice work. So it was a struggle that we had. And I can’t say enough about the fact that our students were flexible enough to let this go on. I mean, I guess we had the big caveat of it’s a grand experiment so you can do anything want to Is that how it works. Because I’m just gonna say that at the beginning of everything I do then. That’s what we do at work too Wendy knows. This talk was a grand experiment Predicting the unpredictable. Why Twitter and not something else? And this is something that really confounded us. Because we didn’t think Twitter would be the thing We all hear all this buzz about Facebook and other social networks that have presumably more depth associated with them. And we had this expectation that they would sort of gravitate to something like that, but in reality maybe it was the simplicity of Twitter. But the next time, and we’ve talked about this, if we teach this course again, what’s gonna happen there? We just don’t have any idea And by the time we teach this course again, who knows what tool sets are gonna be Twitter seems to have some staying power, which I think is another surprise about it. But it is a question of if we were to run this course next spring, which would be a year later, what are the tools we’d be using? Would they be the same tools? Would they be different? And how would we rethink it? But I think we would likely not be able to predict what the powerful tools would be. I think the point is that we couldn’t design that. As designers we couldn’t walk in and sit down and say, okay, faculty member X this is what you’re gonna do with your students and it’s gonna take off and it’s gonna be revolutionary And I think that the point here is that there has to some agility in our approach to learning design as we go forward. We have to be thinking critically about what is this tool kit that we have at our disposal and what are the affordances, but at the same time Twitter may take off and you have to figure out how you’d do your assessment and what’s going on there with it And that I think leads directly to the last question, which is what lessons can we take from this course that apply to courses that aren’t about how technology plays in learning and teaching environments? I mean that was the focus of the course. So it’s easy to make the argument, well we’re gonna try lots of tools. And you’re gonna think about how they work in learning spaces. And you’re gonna talk to each other about that. And you’re gonna push each other But if the course is physics or communication or history or some other course, it’s much more difficult to have that fluidity of tool set and to let people say, oh yeah, we’re gonna try all these different things and you’re just gonna use the ones that stick So it’s a question that Cole and I have had conversations about and we certainly don’t have answers, but I think we’re thinking about that Because otherwise, it’s just a little isolated garden that plays well by itself, but doesn’t tell us anything about the larger community of how these tools work in other teaching and learning environments. But I think the good news here is that we built the course around the theoretical components that we wanted students to walk away with. Just as most learning environments have. And I think what we were flexible enough about is, letting the tools take the students where they wanted to get to. I mean the rigor would’ve existed regardless They would’ve walked away. They could have written their paper at the end of the semester and had a very insightful set of evidence to share But at the end of the day, it seemed to happen in the social environments as well Those are our questions and answers. What I think we’re interested in, is looking at some of these and getting your reactions to what went on. Well I think one of the questions and I think Gary asked it, but is directly relevant to

the way this question tool works. So he asked about social ratings and concerns about how that played out in the class Specifically asking about writing and having the writing evaluated publicly. One of the struggles that we had with our students and it became a part of the conversation was are we writing a blog post that’s suppose to be a reflection for class, which seems like a very formal piece of writing that others are not gonna find interesting and are not likely vote for or am I writing a blog post that people will find funny and interesting and therefore will vote for But may or may not have the same sort of intellectual rigor that a reflection on writing would have. Because if you didn’t write something that people voted for, then it didn’t get included in the larger discussion So it led to some interesting problems Interesting titles and lead in sentences to get people to vote. There were sound bytes. Even the responses turned into like a hundred and forty character catchphrases like you’d see on the National Inquirer and then the rigor was underneath that. It was interesting So thus the Jan Brady of themes. So that came directly out of that problem of how do I get people to read my post and vote for it even though it has some intellectual rigor to it But the direct…I’ll turn the mic over. So were you nervous about having people like vote your stuff up and down during the class? Initially yes, but it was more of an encouraging tool, because one people do get intimidated by writing, but what was nice is that your classmates came in and said, oh, that was a really great idea or that was one of your best blog posts. And you’re sitting there going, yeah right, but it was good to have their encouragement and have their help and thoughts { inaudible question } tell me what your Twitter name is? Because there were four groups of us that keep following you and I’m so excited to find out that you were gonna be here My name Twitter name is jeanmarie d. That’s me Cleverly disguised as Jean Marie I’m jjd24, over here You can look him up on Ldap I don’t have a graphic to go with my yet, but I’m notorious red I think that’s all the students that are here The rest of them got D’s so we didn’t include them We’re still working through the data there’s some incompletes and things like that. So I think now…Do you still have a mic up there? What reaction to the whole writing and being evaluated per se in the open. Well I think you hit the nail on the head with my take on it was that you did have to be a little bit clever at least to get people with the your lead in. Because there were posts that were very dry, very academic, that were very relevant and on point, but you were like, hmm, okay, moving on, not gonna get my vote And it was a little bit of a ego boost for me and probably a lot of the other people in the class to say, like, wow, I got five votes. Because you went from when you posted something on your blog it initially went sort of into this purgatory, until it got at least three votes and then it moved over to published news. Which was a little bit more of a distinction And so I was always thrilled when my blog posts, like wow, it moved off of, you know, the bill became a law kind of thing So I always try to think about, well okay, yeah I’m addressing kind of what the subject is, but I need to come up with here’s my hook. Here’s my Jan Brady comment to make it a little more And before Heather talks, I mean, I think, the interesting thing too is as you see here posting early, pays dividends. So if you post early then more people see your post because they’re posting later. If you post right at the last minute, right at the deadline, then you’re not gonna get the votes. So there was this sort of social pressure to post early if you wanted to get out of the purgatory I think the one thing I should mention is we didn’t do real assessment in this environment. I mean we didn’t then come back and assign grades or anything like that So there wasn’t any of that kind of stuff going on. That all happened either face to face or behind the scenes. We didn’t use the public forum to say, you’re not writing well. You’re not doing this. Your stuffs ill-structured. I mean that didn’t go on here This was really peer level kind of reflection on what was happening So I don’t think we broke any rules. What I really enjoyed about this format was the possibility for ongoing dialogue So everybody was tasked with reading everybody else’s post every week. You didn’t just go through and pick one or two

and then vote on that. I don’t think that I was too influenced to use the catchy phrases for whatever. And that was perfectly fine with me. What I liked doing was reading other peoples work and when I found something to hit on with that, if I could challenge them, then they could come back with something and let’s see, what else, yeah that’s. My head hurts. Say that again Our head hurts. Reading all those posts. I did want to point out that the system is doing very well. Getting seven votes for walking to the live question tool That’s great. So those of you who voted for that, good work So Bart has eleven votes, so he’s really popular here and he’s asking, do you know if your students are still utilizing the tools you explored in the class? Our estimate, there’s still a really rich Twitter thing going on. I can tell you I’m subscribe to all their blogs, and no, they’re not posting. John you posted like two times after class. That was about it There were a couple of other lingering posts here and there. Now we have had students move their blog and have continued blogging. So they’re writing, but they’re not writing in the blog that they set up for the class. So that is going on, which, in my opinion, is a good thing. Students writing is always good thing. So getting them introduced to this idea of instant publishing and things is very good. Twitter seems to be the place where things have continued on. Wouldn’t you say? The Facebook group has trickled There’s still a couple little things. Invitations to go out and do stuff still happens there, but that’s about it. Yeah, but almost all of it now is through Twitter. So that’s where the community carries on. So do you want to? Any age or gender differences? No! I mean we had one student who had been a teacher for twenty-some years and she was very, the first couple of weeks, very against this idea. But then something happened I don’t know what happened. Twitter! Yeah, an aha moment happened and now she runs a very popular Ning site for horseback riding that’s very popular. Lot’s of people coming to it. She’s talked about reinvestigating her career as K12 teacher to go back and introduce these technologies. So I think at the beginning across the board there was a resistance. I don’t think it had anything to do with age or gender. Even the three who didn’t participate in Twitter were heavily engaged in Facebook and we thought it was because, they would say, oh, social networkings stupid, then I’d walk back to the back of the room, because everybody had laptops, and I’d sneak a peek and they’d be updating their status on Facebook There was something going on there that they just didn’t get that one piece But they’re still participating, I think, in general. And I think sort of to build on that and one of the questions is still on the screen from Robin and Stevie is this who is uncomfortable with the technologies? And they’re definitely were and the people that tended to be the more uncomfortable with it, as you saw from our data earlier, it is a great graph, thanks! Is that the social theorists, the education people, were the ones that struggled with it. But one of the interesting things that came up in the class that academic struggle with, is sort of ownership of ideas. Because this is one of the things they were sort of worried. Okay, if I put this out there, my ideas are now out there and available to everybody They’re no longer my little private ideas that some day I’ll become famous for. So I think that was a conscious conversation in the class. What do you do with these things that used to be private ideas that went to peer review journals to be published, as opposed to just putting stuff out there So people posted sections of papers they were writing and parts of their thesis as we saw before, with the master student And some of those were posted in the open in either in a wiki or in a blog for people to give feedback on And that became part of the conversation. But there were absolutely people in the beginning who said, you know, is there a way that I can put this you know protect this so that nobody else can see it We got a lot of that at the beginning. Can my blog be private? Is there a way that all this can be private? And we sort of asked them to trust us for a couple of weeks. We said, no And that became an absolute, literally became a nonissue as a matter of fact The openness seemed to increase motivation to participate early and often I would say. As far as course evals, Stevie, we don’t know They’re not back yet, are they? They’re not back yet We don’t know how to shake out. They’re great. Yeah, they’re gonna rock We have access to the system I know a guy. Heffner knows how to get in there. So that’s good I can hear my faculty asking, students are already hooked up to text messaging, iPod, and all kinds of digital gadgets. Would introducing more technology then push them farther away from concentrating in class? Yes and no!

I mean I’m looking around here and some of you are not concentrating in class. And I’m guessing that part of what you’re doing is on task behavior and part of it isn’t So the question, I think, from a learning perspective is to what degree do you care and to what degree are you obliged to make your environment engaging enough that they stay engaged with you both inside and outside And I think if we went back and looked at how many hours our students spent thinking about the issues that were involved with our course, I think they spent more, even if some of those hours were not necessarily in class, if they were checking their email or updating their Facebook in class there was clear engagement outside of class that went above and beyond what students are doing. You have numbers on how much time they spend doing homework Our students were doing a lot of homework. And that homework came in the form of talking with their peers in Twitter and in blog posts, but it was still a lot of engagement So it was definitely a trade off. I’m not jokingly saying about this room, there are people in here who are checking their email and maybe updating their Facebook account and those things right now. And we’re taking note of who you are. We are, we have a camera at the back of the room at in each section And that goes back to the evaluation. But I think this idea of using distributed technologies creates distributed engagement. And what I mean by that is that it maybe something that’s not happening while you’re in face to face. Where you’re giving up some control. And let’s get real. When we go and listen to people talk about what’s going on in their classrooms, the fear is control. You have to be paying attention to me. All eyes on me Ears up here. And when you walk away from that, and you give up some of that control, it’s very complicated and it’s very intimidating. So the idea of allowing them to participate, hopefully in a meaningful sense, behind those screens because they’re all there. I guest lectured in Bart Purcell’s freshman IST 110 class the other day and their eyes are glued to the screen, but you ask them questions and they’re able to respond. Now are they engaged in what’s going on? Only evaluations and assessment can really tell us that. But you have to be willing to allow some time to be swapped. Because you don’t save time this way. You just shift time. Because there’s more engagement going on Tuesday at 3:00 pm than there happens to be during class time. It is just the way it is. I think of it more and more. Maybe we should have Heather, John, and you three talk Yeah, and you know, for World Campus students I could where this would really be a really interesting thing to further shift the participation in class. Because in many cases it’s an asynchronous environment to begin with. So to have this ability to shift participation works if you can figure out how to assess it Well I think the question is for you three is to what degree did you feel these technologies distracted or kept you off task in some way during class and so does it disrupt your conversation to have these as part of the class? That you could engage with during class. Because we didn’t police. We may have walked around and made notes, but that’s not really policing is it. No, no! Just because you’re not sitting up straight and looking to the front of the class does not mean that you’re not learning. And so I think for me it really questions what class is and what we were doing made life more fluid inside and outside of this physical classroom. And so it was inside the classroom everything felt a lot more natural and a lot more comfortable. The way that I think people are able to learn. It just enhanced a comfortability and it took that outside of the class. Because the physical boundaries were really lessened and there was a lot of bridging and merging going on. What was also nice is that we were able to pose questions to Cole and Scott as they were, if they would say something and we had an idea, we could ask a question and still be respectful, yet we get our ideas across Or the same thing would happen with a classmate, a classmate would make a very good point and we say, well what did you think about that? What did you mean? And we’d be able to get an instant response Yeah, it did allow for maybe fewer interruptions that you might have in more traditional classroom environment where, as Jane Marie said, if you miss heard or if you missed a point that somebody was making, there might be a tweet that went out saying, wait, what. And somebody would say repeat whatever that was. So that allowed for whatever was going on in front of the class to keep going My personal experience was it was a little disconcerting initially to see so many people staring at their

laptops, including Cole and Scott, and that as, cause I teach undergrads as well. We didn’t do that at all { laughter } And a, you know, you wonder like you sort of revert back to the mentality of alright the teachers aren’t paying attention to what I’m doing so therefore I’m going to do something else. And I remember one class in particular that somebody put a tweet out there that said, Cole and Scott aren’t paying attention { laughter } And people outside the classroom said, that’s typical We did respond to that tweet quite quickly Yes, they put the hammer. With yes we are Five new readings tonight. So it take some getting used to, but I do think it added a lot of value to the class to have that going on. You know the question I would have is how do you socialize these tools in a typical classroom or a distance classroom. I mean, there was a natural community that emerged within our room, but there’s that transfer question. What happens when you step outside of a room where you’re willing to do that kind of work. Who wants a new iPhone? You can have it. We’re confiscating that one Did somebody have a question? { inaudible question } in the effective domain. Like building confidence and getting a sense of appreciation of something that might be a little bit more difficult to… It has to happen in a social context And so for a World Campus environment that’s a tough learning objective to try to accomplish, but this might be a tool that would get to there Yeah, and as a matter of fact, I’d be interested in supporting work in that space. I mean if it’s something that anybody across the university, World Campus or otherwise, wants to think about we can put a group together to do just that. And I think that a lot of things that we’re thinking about in resident instruction are moving into the space, and Larry you and I have had this conversation before about, that it seems to really work in an online world maybe even better than it does in a resident world. It’s just it takes a little bit of time to rethink some of the design that we do around these kinds of things. So I agree with that This is my Phil Donahue Thank you Phil! I guess I’m thinking about it as from a faculty perspective and I like the idea that it’s really about time shift. Are we requiring, however, in the use of these technologies, an increased amount of time for faculty to be paying attention. I mean in my resident based course I go in, I do my thing. Maybe I have office hours. Maybe I run into someone in the hallway But it’s confined to sort of more or less defined time frame Now I’ve got this space, and I’m doing a faculty development program right now online, and I can tell you the biggest fear from individuals getting started into this is this gonna consume me and do I have to invest twenty-four seven to do this? Well I think part of that relates to the control issue. Which is that if you feel that you are the uber-teacher. You’re the person who has to be in control of all the communities interactions regardless of what interface they’re happening in. Then, yeah, I can see it absolutely consuming your life I was much less active in Twitter than say Cole was So I would post and would read, but I wasn’t doing it constantly So there are two sort of intermingled questions. One of them is control and one of them is evaluation If we’re gonna evaluate that Twitter stream, then I have an obligation to pay some attention to it. If I’m saying these are tools that we are gonna use in class, and I recognize that there’s gonna be substantive conversation that happens there, but I’m not gonna worry about evaluating it, then that’s a different thing. I think it’s the same question in almost all parts of teaching, which is this balance between what I want to control and what I want to develop on its own. And then what I want to assess and evaluate versus what I want to just be In a regular class you’re not gonna follow your kids around and listen to every conversation they have hoping that, well if they have a conversation about my class outside of class, I can give them points for that. I think the same thing is true with these tools is that the idea is you participate to the degree that you want to Now I think there was, well as one of our quotes said, I mean I think there is clear value for teachers to engage with their students in this mixed social academic way. So in that sense too I think there are powerful incentives for teachers to do it, which when they’re powerful incentives, that can lead to it sucking up time. Yeah, I can say I spent a lot of time on this course. And I don’t have a lot of time. It’s the one thing that I don’t have. I’m like Jason Heffner whose name tag says, I need more time to make more time. And that’s really where, I think,

Scott and I both are. This is not all we did. We have real jobs He’s teaching several other courses. So time was an issue. And I found myself shifting that time again, Larry. The one thing we didn’t do, we didn’t have any office hours There were no office hours whatsoever. There was nothing posted related to office hours We had the three hours we showed up to class and it was everything I could do to carve out the three and a half hours. The half hour before and three hours during class to be there. So I don’t think it was any less time. But it was just time in a different sense. And you know I’m engaged in a lot of tools now. I mean for an organizational purpose in many ways. Because we’re trying to build community across campus and things like that. I was already there, but I’m with Scott in saying, that if we were really truly assessing it, we would’ve had to pay attention to it in a very different way And Twitter does not provide the right kinds of tracking in long term historical reference tools that we need. We tried to go back and find stuff that happened in our class that we saw live, but Twitter has closed down archives more than two pages deep. I mean when we first started with Twitter, I could go back to my first tweet two and a half years ago and see that. In the recent months, it’s gotten too big, so they’ve closed down There’s a history that’s just gone. And we’re fools for not capturing it as it was happening. But we didn’t know So Matthew has a question about the quality of writing and did using blogs and Twitter cause students to write in a less correct manner? Lol, that never happens I mean, wtf, what kind of question is that? Wow! It didn’t. Did it? I mean I didn’t see that all No, I mean, in the context of Twitter, it does. There’s no way that you can be posting in Twitter and not, basically posting in phrases and chunked. You know dropping lots of vowels You’re sort of trying to get the twoosh. The hundred forty, exactly hundred and forty characters So there’s a lot of that playing with language, but I think actually in many cases there was a lot of craftsmanship that went into those small posts. Because you had to be succinct and I know that’s a cliche, but I think it actually happened. I think you saw people really worrying themselves a little bit about trying to make a pithy, funny but on point sort of post. And the blogs I don’t think were an issue at all. Most of the students were good writers. The only thing that you saw was less academic writing and more sort of general interest. But we put an end to that I mean about four weeks in we called them out. And we said that you’re gonna have to crank up the level of your writing. Because it wasn’t that it was drifting to more informal it started that way and we had expectations that it move to a formal style And as you would with any of your students, we push them to be more rigorous with what they were doing. Because we were reading all this stuff We wanted more explicit connections to this serious social theory. We wanted the class to be a rigorous class about how you apply social theory to these new tools. We didn’t want it to be a class about aren’t these tools cool and look at all the fun things you can do with it. Yeah, absolutely. That was not the goal. So I think we have time for one more Which one do you want to do here? Let’s do an easy one Let’s see. We got that one Jamie Oberdick? Who wants it more? You just got a vote. You just got a vote right there. Jamie, okay! Well you know this a question that has a lot do with design. Believe it or not Because of the availability of technologies and tools And so Jamie wants to know, you know, given the current budget realities of the university how difficult is it to get funding for these initiatives? I mean we didn’t get any funding for this initiative. We used a little bit of Jason Heffner’s time to set up the Pligg environment. I managed the aggregation. It wasn’t that difficult. It took me an hour to do. The blogs at Penn State are there. It’s available. There is a concern about the commercial world the dot com universe versus the dot edu and we pushed our students to investigate the open social tools. So that’s a concern to think about But most of this stuff is open, available and it’s out there. And it’s just a matter of taking a little bit of time. And you’re gonna hear about a lot of these tools today during the Lightning Talk round. But I think one of the questions that maybe is implicit in there and came up as part of the class was the ownership issue And particularly ownership of identity. So students, we started to talk about well you put this data out there, you put this stuff out there and people can take it and do what they wish with it. We got another free phone. Two in our talk so far today. And so there was a lot of

discussion about how much you want to reveal about yourself with the understanding that people can go into Facebook and scrape that data and use it for things other than what it was originally intended to be used for So I think that’s one of the big questions. And again related to that is this question that Cole and I now have, we have a group that wants to do research on this class and go back and try to capture some of these student artifacts and many of them are in these environments like Twitter that we can’t get that stuff anymore, it’s gone So I think that was one of the issues too So there were issues about if you rely on a tool and it goes belly up half way through the course. If you’re using Delicious and and suddenly Delicious goes away then that’s a nontrivial problem. The last point there about admin buy in to develop these ideas. I mean I think one of the things that we want to do as a central learning technologies group, is support this kind of innovation of teaching and learning. So that means if you’re out there and you’re trying these kinds of things, you have to tell us these stories so they can go from being one office in the back room to becoming services that everybody can take advantage of. If you find this stuff interesting, if you want to hang out and talk to Scott and I about it, please do so. If you want our assistance in designing something like this, we’ll tell you more about what we did and didn’t take from this grand experiment. Any departing shots? No, I think that’s good. Thank you for your questions. Thanks for your time. I hope it met your expectations { applause }