Reading Maren Deepwell’s recent post about her #altc journey, it reminded me of the many conferences I have attended and like her the impact that they had on my life and professional practice. Going back to my experiences of my first ALT-C I was surprised I even went again!
What’s the first thing you do in the morning? What’s the first thing you do when you sit down at your desk at work? I suspect you are probably checking your e-mail? It wouldn’t surprise me that you leave your e-mail client (like Outlook) open all the time and respond as those little pop-ups appear on your screen. So how often do you check your e-mail?
Actually I would think that if you are reading this blog, having seen the link on social media, that your answers to those questions would differ from the norms of the behaviour of most people in the workplace.
For many people e-mail is their work. Usually the first activity when arriving at work (after making a coffee of course) is checking the e-mail. Then throughout the working day the e-mail is checked and checked again. Productive activity is interrupted by those lovely notifications popping up. Mobile devices like the iPhone suddenly make e-mail even more accessibly, those red numbers going up and up and make it essential the e-mail is checked again, even when travelling, at home and at weekends. Work is e-mail and e-mail is work.
I find it interesting how often we default to e-mail as the main communication tool, to the point where it replaces other forms of communication or discussion. People also often use e-mail for various activities that really e-mail wasn’t designed for.
There wasn’t a FOTE conference in 2015, which was a pity as it was one of my favourite annual events. I spoke at many of the conferences, most recently in 2014 when I spoke about the conflict between the light and the dark and used a Star Wars theme.
I remember reflecting on the conference on the way home that it would be a lot of fun to do a Back the Future themed talk for 2015.
Alas it was never to be…
However I thought it might be a little fun to explore what might have been…
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.
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?
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.
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?
The most expensive iOS App James has bought is TomTom for the iPhone.
Audioboo lets you record and publish audio files along with an image the the geodata.
It was a normal busy Friday morning in the small West Yorkshire market town of Wetherby when someone working in a café spotted a man acting a bit suspiciously on the street. He appeared to have a small plastic box in his hand and after fiddling with the container he bent down and hid it under a flower box standing on the pavement. He then walked off, talking to somebody on his phone. Geocaching: the unintended results.