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    The Real Generation Gap

    August 27th, 2013

    So how do people across different age groups use social media? An infographic that explores the differences in how various age groups use social media. As you might expect the teens do dominate social media, but it’s interesting to note that it is in the main adults who are using Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest.  This is certainly something to consider when using social media to support learning in a college environment.

    The Real Generation Gap


    A Closed Group

    May 19th, 2013

    Discussion

    Back in 2009 at ALT-C we had the VLE is Dead debate. My view back then hasn’t changed much in the last four years. To save you watching the video, the heart of my viewpoint was that the VLE was the core of a student’s online presence and that other tools and services would plug into that.

    I was recently discussing with a group of Psychology students how they used and felt about the VLE. Their response was quite positive, they found the VLE useful and it helped them with their learning. What they also said was that they were pleased it was available. When I asked them about discussions and chat functionality, they were quick to respond that no they didn’t do this on the VLE, but were much more likely to use their “homemade” group on Facebook for those kinds of discussions. When I reminded them that learners had asked for Facebook to be blocked in the library, they replied that this didn’t matter as they preferred to use Facebook on their smartphones.

    You get a picture of how they were using different online environments and tools to support their learning. They were making choices about which tools they preferred and those that they didn’t. The students could have created a group on our Mahara site, but they preferred to use a familiar tool such as Facebook.

    The question we might want to ask is how do we “assess” these discussions or even access them? Another question might be, do we need to?

    If students are using a Facebook group for discussions, should we be trying to impose restrictions on their choices and make them discuss course related stuff on the VLE rather than in a closed group on a different service? Or should we focus on the importance of discussing over the importance of the platform?

    In face to face discussions, these do take place in a classroom or seminar, however the vast majority happen elsewhere, whether that be in the refectory, the coffee shop, the library, at home, in the workplace or while travelling. Can we be surprised that online discussions also take place outside the “official” discussion forums?


    Fickle

    October 21st, 2012

    graveyard

    Three years ago I wrote this blog post on the “end” of Twitter. Three years later Twitter is bigger than ever…

    Was I wrong?

    No in that article I wrote

    One day we will no longer be using Twitter and when that is, no one really knows…

    To be honest I did think it would happen in the next few years, but it didn’t, the Twitter just moved forward and got bigger. Will it get bigger and bigger?

    I doubt it, but though I was wrong before, well we need to remember that the online audience is fickle and sometimes we do move on. The relaunch of MySpace recently reminds us that once it was the “big” thing that everyone did. Have you gone and created an account on MySpace, revived your old account, or have just gone “meh”. Never thought I would ever use the phrase “meh” in a blog post, I must be getting old as I even have no idea how to pronounce it. I try and avoid using the online stuff such as LOL, OMG, Fail, Epic Fail and “meh”. Why don’t I use that kind of thing, well I always think that when someone of my age uses that stuff, it’s though as I am trying to be hip and in with the young people.

    Well talking of young people, at my college we have noticed a distinct shift by the young people from Facebook to the Twitter. Despite Facebook announcing a billion accounts, a lot of people I speak to, are still on Facebook, but are using it less, or using it as a way of organising stuff rather than engaging on the site itself. Is the drop in Facebook’s revenue is indicative of a fall in engagement by users, even though the number of users has gone up?

    So with some Facebook users moving to Twitter, why on earth am I writing about the decline and eventual fall of Twitter?

    Well there are some things that Twitter are doing to the Twitter that are annoying and frustrating long term users and developers. The shift to move users from third party applications to the web site and the increase in promoted tweets is also quite annoying.

    We have also seen changes to how the Twitter API can be used, an example of this was the abrupt end to how IFTTT could be used with the Twitter.

    If this focus on mainstream users continue (because that is where the money is) I can expect to see long term and dedicated users leave when something new and better comes along, though at this time there doesn’t appear to be an alternative. Part of the reason that I don’t think there is an alternative, is that people are expecting the alternative to be a clone of Twitter. That isn’t how it has worked in the past. If you remember Facebook wasn’t MySpace or Bebo, and Twitter isn’t a Facebook clone either. Where we go after the Twitter, may be around already, but it won’t be a Twitter clone.

    Once the long term and dedicated users have moved to a new and different service, Twitter will be reliant on the mainstream users who are a lot more fickle. They’ve moved before, they will move again.

    We don’t know what the next big thing will be after Twitter, but if there is a pattern to this kind of thing it won’t look like or be like Twitter.

    You could be using it already…


    A few of my favourite things…

    July 8th, 2012

    Over the last two years of owning the iPad, I have downloaded lots of different apps, some of which were free and a fair few that cost hard cash!

    At the recent JISC RSC SW TurboTEL event in Taunton I delivered a ten minute presentation on my favourite iPad apps.

    Here are the links to all the apps in the iTunes App Store as well as a brief description of what the app is about and why I like it. Read the rest of this entry »


    e-Learning Stuff Podcast #078: My Digital Footprint

    July 10th, 2011

    So what is your digital footprint? Where can others find you online? What can you do about other people who post stuff about you on services such as Facebook, Google+ and the Twitter. Are you CMALTed? How many apps do you have on your iPhone?

    With Zak Mensah and James Clay.

    This is the seventy eighth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, My Digital Footprint.

    Audio MP3

    Download the podcast in mp3 format: My Digital Footprint

    Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

    Shownotes