How to make social media work: McKinsey offers six methods. They aim at administrators and total organizational uses:
Session notes for a featured session at the ITC eLearning conference, a debate on: are "Virtual Worlds are the Second Life for Online Learning"? This post is a live blog of discussion.
Debaters are Chris Collins, University of Cincinnati and Barry Dahl, Lake Superior College.
A first poll of the audience found a majority considering Second Life to be "stupid."
Collins offered the opening argument, starting by distinguishing between Web 2.0 tools ("the flat Web") and virtual worlds. The latter increases interaction among students, allows interaction with three-dimensional learning objects, and supports constructivist pedagogy. Knowledge retention can increase, as students interact with content and each other. Role-playing pedagogies become more powerful. In addition, Second Life supports international experience, based on the large proportion of non-US participants.
Although Collins called Webs 1.0 and 2.0 "flat", she argued that virtual worlds should be combined with the Web.
Dahl offers a counterargument, starting with "Second Life is the Second Coming... the Second Coming of stupid." Dahl mocks several features of that virtual world, including projects showing limited imagination, problems with avatar-object interaction, embarrassing user behavior, and graphics quality inferior to leading games. Dahl goes on to focus on unimaginative learning space design, mocking the recreation of uninspiring campus spaces in Second Life.
Dahl went on to criticize the non-game features of Second Life, especially its lack of linear leveling. In fact, Dahl calls the service 3d chat, "with all the tomfoolery and asshat-ery that goes along with [chat]." He then shifted ground to complain that Second Life has policy problems with campuses, from accessibility to conduct codes, harassment to FERPA (especially identity). Moreover, since Dahl sees Linden Labs as not offering much tech support, he wondered how campuses will expand their local support abilities. He also saw technical challenges requiring non-help-desk treatment, such as laptop hardware and network strength. Dahl concluded by describing a Second Life campus, mocked it, and urged the designers to "stop it - stop it now."
Humorous note from Dahl: "My kid wanted to go to the park. I said 'but we have a perfectly good park right here in the computer!" (thanks to Aaron-b via Twitter)
- Collins: Second Life is still new, and we should be planning for how it will be, now how it might look now. Accessibility is hard, and being addressed by Linden Labs already. Lack of imagination? - the usual first step for newcomers to any medium. She also saw educational use of virtual worlds as a way to creatively, positively use technologies already in play. Collins also saw policy problems extending way beyond Second Life. She concluded by celebrating virtual worlds for economic reasons.
Dahl: evangelists are fun, but touts. He evoked the "creepy treehouse" metaphor, comparing educators using it to grownups pretending to be cool ("2nd life is the ultimate creepy tree-house" - thanks Michael Amick via Twitter). Dahl mentions that students tend not to use Second Life, citing several studies, and professor Michael Wesch. He mentions one virtual world use case, where a great deal of faculty preparation (hundreds of hours) did not match payoff (not useful behavior for class content). Dahl also mentions educational simulations which can't be done in Second Life. Sarcastic conclusion:
"Proponents say companies wouldn't spend millions in something if it weren't worth it. Have you ever heard of Bernie Madoff?"
- Collins: regrets being too nice. True, Second Life isn't where most people are going - but educators "are flocking to it" because "it allows you to create." She cites the vibrant Second Life educators' community, calling it around 5,000 strong. She also cites a good example, with the Canadian border guard training. It's a fine place to explore in order to see where the technology will go.
- Dahl: reads from a passage, not revealing the author until the end... his opponent, in her 2008 Educause Review article and from her blog.
The debate concluded with a return to the opening vote. The audience maintained its negative view of Second Life, 60% to 40%.
One Web 2.0 protocol saw a powerful use case this week, as the American economic stimulus package required spending agencies to publish RSS feeds.
For each of the near term reporting requirements (major communications, formula block grant allocations, weekly reports) agencies are required to provide a feed (preferred: Atom 1.0, acceptable: RSS) of the information so that content can be delivered via subscription.
of the users who download free applications from the App Store, only 20 percent use the app the next day, and far fewer do as the days pass. For paid applications, the return rate is only slightly better: 30 percent of people use the application the day after they buy it. The drop-off rate for paid applications is about as steep as for free applications after the first day.
Generally, 1 percent of users who download an application turn into long-term users of it, Pinch found.
Free applications also tend to get more use than paid ones.
Several augmented reality games have appeared for the Android mobile phone platform. JOYity combines Google Maps and GPS location to support multiplayer chase games, situated in several cities. Moreover, JOYity apparently lets users make their own games, using their toolset.
(thanks to Ed Webb)
There are three areas for proposals:
The Repositories User Community Meeting, the Sakai User Community Meeting, and the Moodle User Community Meeting are open and will close next Friday, February 27th.
Tomorrow is the deadline to register for next week's emerging technologies MIV session update.
From the Web description:
Participants in this MIV program will gain an opportunity to survey the very latest emerging technologies with an eye to their impact on and implications for liberal education. Bryan Alexander will provide an environmental scan of the past month, sketching out developments from across the digital world: platforms and hardware, standards and big players, policies and controversies. He will also present cases of technologies used on campus and applicable examples from outside higher education. Each instance of this series will follow a similar format (survey/environmental scan, showcase of examples, resource-sharing, discussion).
Topics for the March 4 session will include these:
* mobile devices
* semantic web, going forward in 2009
* browser tidbits
* glimpse of NITLE's social media study
* Horizon Report
* some Web 2.0 tidbits: Facebook vs. Twitter, podcasting growth, new Blackboard
* latest from the NITLE prediction markets
* some campus-based projects from participating institutions
On the series:
If you have questions regarding this series, or if you would like to contribute your observations about developments in the environment for inclusion in the program, please contact Nancy Millichap.
An American couple lost a lawsuit against Google about Google Maps' Streetview service. The Borings had alleged that their privacy had been compromised by Streetview's photography, and that their home value had suffered from those depictions. The court found no proveable harm or cause.
Google will remove images upon request, sometimes. The company also argued that privacy itself has changed:
However, Google claims to be legally allowed to photograph on private roads, arguing that privacy no longer exists in this age of satellite and aerial imagery.
"Today's satellite-image technology means that...complete privacy does not exist," Google said in its response to the Borings' complaint.
Some have noted similarities to the 2007 Beacon controversy, where Facebook announced a new service, then retreated under a storm of social media criticism.
How can academic libraries improve their portals? Perhaps the solution is to give them up, argues a Temple librarian, and build something different. If users are already bypassing library portals and getting content from other sources, Stephen Bell thinks that libraries "must promote their human side" instead:
devot[ing] the most eye-catching space to information that promotes the people who work at the library, the services they provide and the community activities that anchor the library’s place as the social, cultural and intellectual center of campus. That shifts the focus from content to service and from information to people.
Bell also recommends inserting library content within course management systems (CMSes).
Bell maintains a blog, The Kept-Up Academic Librarian.
A controversy has broken out this week over a legal change in Facebook. The popular social networking site altered its terms of service (TOS) to extend ownership over user-contributed content after users withdraw from Facebook. Facebook claims the right to alter its TOS at any time.
Facebook's founder issued a statement defending the changes. Mark Zuckerberg argued that Facebook has no interest in abusing user content, but needs to maintain ex-users' content and licenses in order to maintain current users' copies of those materials.
Overall, Zuckerberg opined:
Our philosophy is that people own their information and control who they share it with... we wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want.
Naturally enough, several Facebook groups have formed to protest the Facebook change. Consumerist lists three so far:
"People Against the new Terms of Service (TOS)"
"FACEBOOK OWNS YOU: Protest the New Changes to the TOS!"
"Those against Facebook's new TOS!"
A New York Times article reflects:
The online exchanges reflected the uneasy and evolving balance between sharing information and retaining control over that information on the Internet.
Facebook hit another milestone, by reaching 175 active users, according to a microblogging Facebook engineer:
“Today we gave our 175,000,000th user the power to share and be more open and connected through Facebook. Awesome.”
Facebook reached 150 million just more than two months after reaching 120 million and about four months after reaching 100 million.
While Facebook got its start at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., in 2004, most of this recent growth is coming from outside the U.S.
Travelers' standby Mapquest is nearly tied with Google Maps for popularity, according to Hitwise. The Web-based travel map contest is getting intense:
MapQuest receives most of its search traffic from searches for its brand name - in other words from people actively searching for MapQuest.
A recent New York Times article explores how Google decides to end projects, and offers some interesting details about that company's project management system.
For example, this set of criteria might seem familiar to project managers outside of Google:
They were not especially popular with customers; they had difficulty attracting Google employees to develop them; they didn’t solve a big enough problem; or they failed to achieve internal performance targets known as “objectives and key results.”
is essentially a cellphone-friendly interface to several existing Web-based campus services. With a few taps, users can read their campus e-mail, see which laundry machines are available, or check when the next shuttle bus will arrive using their iPhone or iPod Touch. The application is free, but it requires a Georgia Tech account to access the services.
A Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts recently launched. This project, based in the University of California, Los Angeles' Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, offers nearly one thousand objects, and is adding more.
(example: Origen, "Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans", Switzerland, St Gallen, Abbey of St Gallen, MS 88)
Faculty members Matthew Fisher and Christopher Baswell used CMRS and a California state humanities grant to support the site.
(via The Cranky Professor)
One liberal arts campus library has put itself on Facebook, for very classical reasons. The Burke Library (Hamilton College) has established a profile in order to let patrons:
find out more about library hours, events, and services. Now you can ask a librarian a question from Facebook. Just click on the "Ask a Librarian" box during the hours listed and you can chat online with a librarian.
One Twitter-based assignment comes from a University of San Francisco class. The tasks are broken down into detail, and involve both studying and using social media.