Emerging Instructional Technology/Web 2.0

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Introduction and Background[edit]

Social networking is just one of many facets of the Web 2.0 platform. As a working definition for this chapter, social networking is “when computer network link people as well as machines, they become social network members of a virtual community want to link globally with kindred souls for companionships, information and social support from their homes and workstations.” As part of an “Emerging Technology in Instruction” course assignment in December 2007, college students at the University of Northern Iowa collaboratively identified social networking as:

• “An area where many people can get together and share interests.” • “Opportunities to establish connections between people (known and unknown) that share similar interests through a web-based interface that provides a common location for communication exchange and other group activities.” • “The social fabric of the younger generation.”

On July 31, 2007, comScore, a leader in measuring the digital world, released results of a study on the expansion of social networking across the globe, revealing that several major social networking sites have experienced dramatic growth during the past year. (comScore, 2007)

ComScore's report included that “During the past year, social networking has really taken off globally,” said Bob Ivins, executive vice president of international markets. “Literally hundreds of millions of people around the world are visiting social networking sites each month and many are doing so on a daily basis. It would appear that social networking is not a fad but rather an activity that is being woven into the very fabric of the global Internet.”


Leelefever, a nickname for a person who made a series of short videos united under the title In "Plain English". His very simple explanation of Social Networking sheds light on what it is and how it works. Wikipedia defines Social Network as ”a social structure made of nodes (which are generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as values, visions, idea, financial exchange, friends, kinship, dislike, conflict, trade, web links, relations, disease transmission (epidemiology), or airline routes. Social network analysis views social relationships in terms of nodes and ties. Nodes are the individual actors within the networks, and ties are the relationships between the actors. There can be many kinds of ties between the nodes. Research in a number of academic fields has shown that social networks operate on many levels, from families up to the level of nations, and play a critical role in determining the way problems are solved, organizations are run, and the degree to which individuals succeed in achieving their goals. In its simplest form, a social network is a map of all of the relevant ties between the nodes being studied. The network can also be used to determine the social capital of individual actors. These concepts are often displayed in a social network diagram, where nodes are the points and ties are the lines."

With all emerging technologies come associated jargon and new vocabulary. Leading social networking providers include: MySpace, Facebook, Hi5, Friendster, Orkut, Bebo, and Tagged. (comScore 2007). Although many other providers are constantly entering the market, these have had proven success and growth.

“Profile” – in short, a users personal website that may include but not limited to personal information, photos, videos, content submitted by other users, blogs, and links.

“Friends” – other users that have accepted you as another user that they know and have a connection with.

“ Posts” – one user can submit text, pictures or other content into fields into another users’ profile.

" Messaging” – similar to email, private messages can be sent from user to user that are not visible on their profile or by a third party.

“Groups” – similar to a profile, users may create a separate web page representing specific information pertaining to a certain subject, group, networking, or any topic that may interest more than one user. Users join for additional information or commodore associated with the Group’s topic.

“Applications” – additional features may be added or uploaded to your account to enhance a profile. Examples may include quizzes, photo slide shows, etc.


Part of the success of a social network lies in the “openness” of the social network platform. Users can be connected to anyone at anytime by just a few links. With this opens the possibilities of negative implications such as spam, privacy issues and copyright.

In September 2007, e-consultancy posted a information about the social network service provider Quechup launching a worldwide spam campaign. Once users sign up for an account, the provider is accused of using your provided email password to invite your entire address book to join the site without the user’s permission or intention. (e-consultancy 2007)

Ultimately, the user controls the content that is input into their profile. With this is the argument that the user is in control of their privacy destiny and can determine what other users know about them. In addition, most social network services provide privacy controls in which the user can choose what details of their profile can be viewed by other users. To further support privacy, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), websites also post privacy policies, with acceptance from users, become simply waivers and would not necessarily hold up in a court of law.

Facebook for instance trusts in a third party to review it’s privacy policies. Facebook pays to be a licensee of the TRUSTe Privacy Program. However, TRUSTe’s program suffers several flaws. In the past, TRUSTe has not punished their licensees who have, in TRUSTe’s own opinion, compromised consumer trust and privacy. TRUSTe has even been described as untrustworthy by certain commentators. (EPIC 2007)

Additional concerns in regards to copyright may be an additional ethical issue for social networking. In the past couple of years, sites such as You Tube and MySpace have been sued for alleged copyright infringement. To promote ethical user behavior, sites have listed policies and copyright information in their website information.

Instructional Use[edit]

Much research has been done on the effectiveness of online learning. With online learning, social networking can be thought of as one vehicle for disseminating and organizing learning in an online environment.

In a January 2007 publication The International Society for Technology in Education asked two learning professionals “do social networking applications have a place in the classroom?” Representative of the divided consensus on the matter, Michael Baker contended that “social networking can help build a global learning community”, while Chuck Favata disagreed that “although social networking can be made to seem safe and anonymous, it is anything but that for unsuspecting young people.”

In an October 2007 article by Kevin Oliver, an assistant professor of Instructional Technology at North Carolina State University argued several reasons for implementing web 2.0 tools, including social networking in instruction. His recommendations include “a multitude of free web 2.0 tools may be applied to a course in technology integration, with added social benefits for courses taught from a distance. Before redesigning courses to include web 2.0 assignments, instructors should take into consideration a few factors tied to privacy, ethics, longevity, and start-up procedures.” (Oliver 2007)

Conclusions and Recommendations[edit]

Because emerging technologies are just that, emerging, research and conclusion are new and not necessarily reliable or valid because time has not told the full story of social networking.

Going forward, it seems clear that social networking is not simply a trend, but a real way that humans are connecting and communicating with one another. When trends become a norm, it’s up to education, business, and other stakeholders to decide whether the emerging technology is going to align with their strategies or business model. Social networking, especially in a public domain may never be a solution for some. Some modifications and careful consideration and revision of current social networking services may provide essential, inexpensive social and collaboration tools for students and employees.

Examples/Case Studies[edit]

NK-12 Education

1. Orono High School determined that a social networking web site dedicated to their alumni would help to keep then connected. Gorges Web Sites stepped up and utilized their flexible framework to quickly deploy a high school social networking site. Members can upload photos to the photo gallery, pay their dues online, search for classmates, participate in a forum, see their classmates’ location on a map, and much more. http://www.gorgeswebsites.com/orono.php

2. An emerging trend in Web 2.0 (2006) is the generation of contextual meaning through social communities. “Social tagging” empowers members of social communities to name and describe objects using colloquial terms. While prevalent in online book marking communities, few organizations have applied social tagging to K-12 education. This paper describes the phenomenon of social tagging in education, the barriers and merits to implementing social tagging networks in schools, and the author’s vision of the future of social tagging in K-12 education. http://mrseldow.gradeweb.com/custom/Social_tagging_in_K12_Education_Seldow_4_3_06.pdf

3. This has already been widely blogged, but the fact that the National School Boards Association is encouraging schools to take another look at the use of social networks in classrooms is big, big news. And I have to tell you, after reading through the results of a study NSBA undertook, it all of a sudden feels like their be a moment close at hand where “innovation” (as Chris puts it) might be possible. http://weblogg-ed.com/2007/social-networking-in-schools-gets-a-boost-from-nsba/

4. Ask ePals is a service that brings together educators and experts from around the world and connects them with people looking http://www.epals.com/askepals/index.tpl

5. Changing methods, tools and resources have long been part of the educational scene. Classroom writing, for example, has progressed from slates to paper to computer monitors, and from quill pens to chalk, ballpoint pens, keyboards, mice and interactive whiteboards. Now, another new resource, virtual communities of practice (VCP), promises to help educators in different locations work together and overcome the limitations of being confined to 30-by-40-foot boxes called classrooms. http://www.edtechmag.com/k12/issues/september-october-2006/administrative-assistance-best-prac.html

Higher Education/Corporate

1. The use of Wikipedia as a source of information for classwork has been widely reported on and has even happened in classes taught by our own Ken Fisher. But this may not mean that Wikipedia has no place in the classroom, if Martha Groom at the University of Washington-Bothell has her way. Instead of letting her students rely on Wikipedia as a source, however, Groom has turned it into a destination for their classwork: in place of a term paper, her students were required to create Wikipedia entries. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071030-prof-replaces-term-papers-with-wikipedia-contributions.html

2. The researchers' findings suggest that positive personal connections are crucial to the success of a partnership. Initial negotiations and senior management advocacy set the tone for the alliance, galvanizing support and promoting effective interpersonal ties. A well-integrated communication and work-flow network is required within and across the firms, so firms must carefully select team members who will match in rank and specialization those from the partnering organization. Regularly auditing the evolving ties between the organizations is valuable in gauging alliance health. http://sloanreview.mit.edu/smr/issue/2000/winter/4/

3. Facebook itself is not marketing its service to companies as a tool for knowledge management or other business functions or offering customized versions to corporations. Fields says he finds that lack of enterprise initiative puzzling for a company that commands such mindshare in a hot new field, but he's satisfied that the Microsoft alternative is right for the big bank. http://www.cioinsight.com/article2/0,1397,2182392,00.asp

4. Going up against such powerhouses as Schwab and Fidelity in the online brokerage sector is not an easy task. However, given all of the mega mergers in the banking sector over the past two years, Boca-Raton, FL-based TradeKing has positioned itself as a “fresh face” alternative to the rank and file. “After all of the mergers, consumers were really only left with what we call the Big Six,” says Mike Massey, Director of Community Development at TradeKing. “Therefore, we have been very aggressive about reaching out to people who might have been disenfranchised by their broker being acquired.” Since they can’t match the marketing budgets of the larger banks, Massey says TradeKing has had to be out in front on online marketing tactics. “We were one of the first firms to offer RSS news readers and also to have a significant presence in the blogosphere,” he says. http://www.demandgenreport.com/articles.php?codearti=1046

5. In this must read guide you will learn our views on: • The serious errors people make in retirement planning. • The important factors you may overlook when you diversify your portfolio...and how it can cost you. • Why foreign securities can improve the performance of your portfolio and help you decrease your level of risk. • A fundamental basis of economics - one you know well - that you nevertheless overlook when buying stocks. • And much more! http://www.forbes.com/digitalentertainment/2006/10/02/myspace-walmart-youtube-tech-media-cx_rr_1003walmart.html


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