Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology and other Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague

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Participating in an online community~Week 6 Post 2

Disclaimer: This post is part of course requirements following this assignment: Extend your identity in the direction of your career path and participate in a new online community. Interact online using your projected identity for at least six weeks. Think deeply about identity and learning and blog twice a week about your experience. Take time to analyze the meaning, power, and constraints of the community on your learning. ~~~~

Week 6, Post 2

My online group chose The Long Earth as its December book choice. Its authors are Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter and it received the Goodreads’ Choice Award in the category Science Fiction in 2012. I found out about the book choice from the weekly emails and discussion forums composed by our Science Fiction and Fantasy Book group’s moderator. Included in the picture below is a sample of our discussion forum, the moderator’s post to seed the discussion, and my response. Within a few minutes of my post, other posts also appeared.

science fiction groups' post

Science fiction book group’s posting with personalized data redacted.

I began this assignment on September 2, 2013. Although uncertain as to the actual path my future work life will take, I knew that it would involve new ideas and that I would somehow help people integrate the change which accompanies new things. On Sunday, August 25, 2013, I made a big change and joined the Science Fiction Writer’s Group. I was warmly received, invited to participate, encouraged in my posts, given book recommendations and even a few plot spoilers. Along the path of this assignments, applications from authors McLuhan, Adams, Carr, Jenkins, Shirkey, and Dijick stood out like freshly dressed soldiers ready for inspection. (a complete list of authors is included below.)

Change is scary. Just watch how the performer Bjork describes her encounter with television:

Bjork explaining TV

 

Change is scary for me too. I discovered that since change is scary for many of us, these gently encouragements served as a cushion to my new experience. Also, the quick replies to my questions and posts from the moderators and group members helped me to move from outsider to peripheral to occasional and almost to active status, as Etienne Wenger predicted in Communities of Practice.

CofPLevelsofParticipation

And it all began with Etienne Wenger. Hearing him speak along with his wife was a highlight of this semester. Communities can be achieved in face-to-face settings and online protocols as long as the people within each of them continue to participate.

Thank you for reading these posts! And thank you, Dr. Paul Sparks for these invitations to explore and change!

~~~

Comprehensive Source List:

Adams, D. (1995). The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Del Rey. Link

Carr, N. (2008). Is google making us stupid? The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/

Couros, George. The Principal of Change Blog. Retrieved September 15, 2013 Link

Dijck, José van (2013). The culture of connectivity: a critical history of social media. Oxford University Press. Link

Gerstandt, Joe. (2012). Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com. Link

Gray, D. E. (2009). Doing research in the real world (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Link keywords=Doing+research+in+the+real+world

Jenkins, Henry (2008-09-01). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (Kindle Locations 3040-3041). NYU Press. Kindle Edition. Link

McLuhan, Marshall (1967). The Medium is the Message. Gingko Press Inc. Link

Pratchett, T and Baxter, S. (2012). The Long Earth. Harper Collins. Link

Shirkey, Clay. (2010). Cognitive Surplus How Technology Makes Consumers Into Collaborators. Penguin Books. Link

Shirkey, Clay (2010). How cognitive surplus will change the world | Video on TED.com. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_how_cognitive_surplus_will_change_the_world.html

Simmons, A. (2013). Facebook has transformed my students’ writing—for the better. The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/11/facebook-has-transformed-my-students-writing-for-the-better/281563/

Sullivan, D. (2013, September 26). [Lurkers And Superfans: Why You Need Both In Your Facebook Communities]. Retrieved from http://allfacebook.com/crowdly-dan-sullivan-superfans-lurkers_b125468

Turkle, Sherry (2012). Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition. Link

Wasko, Molly McLure and Faraj, Samur (2000).  It is what one does: why people participate and help others in electronic communities of practice. The Journal of Strategic Information SystemsVolume 9, Issues 2–3, September 2000, Pages 155–173.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice, learning, meaning, and identity. (1st ed. ed.). Cambridge University Press. Link

 

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Participatory Media

participatory media

I saw a commercial recently that symbolizes the participatory nature of social media communities. I sourced the commercial and created this video using the Metta.io interface:

 

“We shouldn’t be afraid of technology, if what technology is doing is building a human relationship” ~Martha Buell, human development and family studies professor

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Participating in an Online Community~Week 4 Post 1

Disclaimer: This post is part of course requirements following this assignment: Extend your identity in the direction of your career path and participate in a new online community. Interact online using your projected identity for at least six weeks. Think deeply about identity and learning and blog twice a week about your experience. Take time to analyze the meaning, power, and constraints of the community on your learning.

Week 4, Post 1

e-Learning in Developing Countries is an open group on Facebook. It has over 8,700 members, from the US and international. After a quick scan of the first page of the membership list, I am pleasantly surprised to see the faces of  3 members of my EDLT cadre and 3 of my friends on Facebook. In addition, 3 of my LinkedIn connections are also members of the group. One author, Marc Pretsky,  whom I quoted in a recent paper and an upcoming post on this blog is also a member of this group.  One of my Professors is also a member of this group. I did not know any of this before I joined the group.

Here is the posted description of the group:

The challenges facing e-learning in developing countries are ongoing and require everyone’s attention. Global learning and cultural exchange via e-learning can unite and contribute to co-existence and world peace. Therefore, we have created a group on Facebook to collaborate and hopefully bridge the digital gap so that all learners can benefit from e-learning. Please join the group so we can collectively search for ways to promote, develop, and encourage others to see the value of connecting the world via e-learning.
What are some of the challenges developing countries face in implementing e-learning programs? How can we work together to overcome barriers? What are some of the success stories? Join us to better understand the realities and to propose solutions.

I joined this group because I wanted to take literally the portion of the assignment that advised, “Extend your identity in the direction of your career path.” I reasoned that my career path will eventually embrace e-learning in developing countries. Because this group is located on Facebook, I must join as my authentic identity. (I supposed I could go to the elaborate measures of setting up a new identity/page on Facebook, but this seems a bit disingenuous.  As I settle in to this community, I’m reminded of Wenger’s overview of the groups to which we belong:

“Yet, if we care to consider our own life…we can all construct a fairly good picture of communities of practice we belong to now, those we belonged to in the past, and those we would like to belong to in the future.” Etienne Wenger (1998)Communities of practice, learning, meaning, and identity (page 6).

There are contrasts between the participatory culture of the Sci-Fi group and the e-Learning in Developing Countries group. In the e-Learning in Developing Countries group posting is more spartan as are frequency of response and conversation. As I scan the posts,  it appears that four or five members are consistently engaged and posting.  Jenkins (2008) explains, “On all sides and at every level, the term participation has emerged as a governing concept, albeit one surrounded by conflicting expectations” (p.175). The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Club is a perfect “first-boyfriend” in my social foray into online groups: it is inviting, attentive, participatory, and fun. I am not sure about the transferability of experience to other groups. I have the “conflicting expectations” which Jenkins’ describes. Is it possible that different online groups can serve different needs?

Without the directive of this assignment, I do not think I would have sought to find this group on increasing learning opportunities in developing countries. I would have been content to wait for the latest dateline from Seymour Papert’s work or an Edutopia post. But, because of the impetus of this assignment, I am beginning to explore new ideas from innovators in eLearning. While I am remaining in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Club, I have also expanded my participation to the e-Learning in Developing Countries group.

~~~

Book Sources:

Jenkins, Henry (2008). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. NYU Press.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice, learning, meaning, and identity. (1st ed. ed.). Cambridge Univ Press.

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