Social Software for Learning Environments At Northern Voice

Social Software for Learning Environments

D’Arcy Norman

  • Creation of groups and blogs for learning
  • Not a top-down learning environment, created by students
  • Self aggregating community

Chris Lott

Chris works as resident “disruptive technologist” at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Center for Distance Education, with a special emphasis on using social software for online learning, specifically to create a rational constructivist learning environment and functional classroom community of learners embedded in the real world community of practice.

  • The third space — being an active learner for life
  • Students will retain the records and archive for
  • We need to disrupt the academy
  • Computers are stupid, students are smart
  • If the instution sponsors it, it’s a long time committment
  • Information fluency is the next step from literacy

Jon Beasley-Murray Posthegemony

  • Good to maintain tension between Higher Ed and Blogs
  • Students can maintain blogs and disagree
  • Critical thinking against the university as much as for it
  • Risks of blogs from a tenure perspective “my university would never hire a blogger” attitude
  • One of the great promises of blogging is that universities will be faced with student disagreement

Sylvia Currie

  • SCoPE Induviduals who share an interst in education, research and practice
  • Blogging to enhance the learning experience
  • How do you design the experience for education and collaboration?
  • Grade 1 and 2 blog from teacher in MooseJaw

Anil Dash at Northern Voice in Vancouver

Listening to Anil Dash at Northern Voice in Vancouver:

  • The tools of control go to those who keep the lines of communication open
  • Letting go of the ego of “everybody has to come to us
  • Using VOX for “your world online”
  • Has anyone every read an entire “New Yorker”?
  • Twitter – kind of provides a buddy list for text messaging
  • David Snowden in Knowledge Management
  • I like the idea that it’s around forever — for my mind, it makes me do better
  • People post more publicly when they can post privately as well

Northern Voice Blogging Unconference

Today I’m at the Northern Voice Blogger’s conference in Vancouver, B.C.  It must be worth it — I just saw Robert Scoble in the hallway.  As a former Microsoftie, I shook his hand and shared that I had recently left the Borg as well.

 He had no idea who I was.  He’s only met three thousand people since I last saw him, so I don’t know why.

Today is the “unconference” where topics are voted on in the morning, and we all run around during the sessions.  Tomorrow is a little more organized.

 I just met Luke from, who builds and manages enterprise wikis.  He sounds like someone I’ll be able to do some business with.  We agreed that while Sharepoint 2007 does have wiki capability, it was disappointing.  No big surprise.

 Off to a session on community.


Is Web 3.0 the equivalent of Web 2.0 for the enterprise?

Harvard professor Andrew McAfee has a great collection of blog posts, resources, examples and other stuff on his  Web 2.0 in the Enterprise wiki. 

“What started out as an exercise to list and categorize Web 2.0 in the enterprise topics expanded into all things Web 2.0 for the simple reason that crossover is inevitable. I also hold a strong belief that the boundary between consumer and enterprise technology is blurring, therefore it would be illogical to exclude purely consumer oriented services and products.”

There are sections on Blogs and Content Management, Collaboration, Voting/Bookmarking/Tagging, Feeds, Media, Statistics, Online Storage and Social Networking.

96 Million “Best Practices” Can’t Be Wrong

I was in an office building yesterday, and saw a big poster for a new initiative that was to provide “best practice” information. 

The funny part was that this was to be provided by “your senior leaders” and the actual worker bees didn’t seem to be involved at all.  Now if you google “best practices” you get more than 96 million hits, so it’s safe to say that nobody even understands what this is, any more.  But I’d like to offer my definition.

1.  Best practices come from the people actually doing the work.

2.  Best practices are not “best” in all situations — context is all.

3.  Best practices are a moving target.

4.  Best practices are only the best you’ve found so far.

5.  Anyone using the phrase “best practices” should be feared.

And in passing, you should know that “blog” currently has 2.5 BILLION hits on Google.  The rest is left as an exercise for the student.

The Adsense Game: Business Learning Using Games

Game-based learning has been the holy grail for trainers ever since they sang their “abc’s” in first grade. The idea is that if you can get people interested in actually playing the game, the repetition and interaction will create a higher level of involvement — and, in turn, increase the learning.

I just saw a site called The Adsense Game that takes you through the process of creating and configuring an imaginary web site to learn how to use Google’s Adsense tool. You pick the type of site, add elements, and watch the hits happen and your bank account get fat.

Built by Joel Comm to promote (of course) his book, it’s a really slick and engaging example of adult learning. The simulation is attractive, tips pop up to help you, and the clean design makes it pretty easy to understand what you’re doing.

Google really needs to write this guy a check.

Just Like Teaching Pre-School — Adult Learners Are Impatient, Easily Distracted, and Learn By Doing

It never hurts to remind people developing any kind of learning content that there are key principles that have been proven over time. In fact, those of us who have been teaching adults know that there are many parallels between teaching grownups and teaching pre-schoolers.


They don’t like to share, they are easily distracted by shiny objects, and they learn much more easily with their hands on the controls — for example, toilet training. You can lecture a 2-year-old all day, but put him on the potty seat and you’re headed for success. Poop happens.

CLO magazine has a great article that expands on this called “Simulations Build on Adult Learning to Accelerate Skill Building and Application” and I’ve posted an excerpt below to make you want to climb up on the rest of the article and do your business.

Simulations Build on Adult Learning to Accelerate Skill Building and Application

October 4, 2006 – Kelley Whitney, Associate Editor

Simulations aren’t a new tool in enterprise learning. As with many of the technologies that have graced the learning stage in the past few years, simulations enjoyed a burst of popularity and attention that subsequently died down. But unlike many of the fly-by-night tech solutions that burst into a short-lived flame, the buzz around simulations still burns and with good reason — simulations are one of the top tools that engage learners and accelerate skill building, as well as the application of new skills and knowledge once employees are back on the job.

“We are seeing an increase in demand for simulations across the board, whether it’s an e-learning simulation, a classroom-based computer simulation or a board simulation,” said Rommin Adl, president and CEO of Strategic Management Group Inc., one of the largest simulation and multimedia training companies in the world. “We’re seeing growth in every single segment that we serve across different practice areas such as business acumen, leadership, project management and sales.”

Adl said part of the reason simulations are still hot is because they align closely with adult learning principles and offer the opportunity to learn by doing in a risk-free environment. Cost, once a huge deterrent to simulation implementation, remains a factor, but it is not as big a worry at the top of the organizational pyramid.

“It links to the strategic nature of learning,” Adl said. “If the learning is linked to some major strategic change initiative, then cost tends to be important, but it’s almost secondary to really creating alignment around the strategic change, whereas, if it’s a curriculum-based or open-enrollment type program, cost is going to be much more of a factor.” more…

The New Wisdom of the Web — Social Networking of User Generated Content

Wisdom of the Web

Allowing your customers to create content is really changing the nature of how information is shared about your products and services. Take a look at “The Wisdom of the Web“.

April 3, 2006 issue – A little over two years ago, even the most sensitive entrepreneurial radar could not pick out two pairs of people on opposite ends of the West Coast starting companies that would make plenty out of nothing. In Santa Monica, Calif., dot-com survivors Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson were hatching the idea of taking on biggies like AOL and Yahoo with a Web site consisting only of stuff that people would bring to it. And up in Vancouver, B.C., married collaborators Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake were just figuring out that the online game they were developing might work better as a way for people to share their digital photos with each other.