Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media
Jon Dron, Athabasca University
Terry Anderson, Athabasca University
Pub Date: 2014
ISBN 13: 978-1-9273568-1-4
Publisher: Athabasca University Press
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Conditions of Use
The book addresses online learning from a social perspective - learning together, learning from each other, social software for learning, social read more
The book addresses online learning from a social perspective - learning together, learning from each other, social software for learning, social learning theories, modes of social engagement, pedagogical challenges for teaching online, potential dangers to security and privacy, and what the future may hold. This is a comprehensive treatment of theory, practice and pedagogy. I particularly like the perspective of learning not only from individuals but also from their collective behavior and interactions. This provides an interesting premise for future research on social networks and learning. Another highlight is the Three-Generational Model that divides the three pedagogical eras of developments in distance learning.The authors provide an excellent index and list of references. While a glossary is not provided, an explanation and definition of terms is included within the text.
The content is accurate and any bias is clearly stated and supported. There are many examples of theories and explanations of applicability to a social learning context.
The text is current and includes a valuable case study that allows the reader to apply the models and methods presented. The book also considers the future, based on the observed state of transition within the social technology arena in relation to educational systems. Updating this text will be relatively easy as future events unfold.
The text is written clearly, useful subheadings are included, and figures, models and tables help illustrate and clarify concepts and theories.
The authors have achieved excellent consistency in terms of terminology and their approach to presenting an understanding of social software use and equipping educators with the knowledge and skill to use educational software.
The text is very well organized and can easily be used to support various sections within a course. The chapter on social learning theories can be used in a theory building course, a social network course, or a course on educational software. Similarly chapters 4 to 7 can be bundled for use with instructional design. Chapter 8 is useful as a case study for systems design.
The arrangement of the chapters facilitates a deep understanding of the use, theoretical background and approaches to social online learning. While the chapters can be read singly or as groups, a linear progression does enhance a deeper appreciation of the connected approach by the authors.
The interface is very clear and all models and tables are easy to read.
The text contains no grammatical errors.
The objective approach of the book ensures that it is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. The focus is on social learning through common learning goals. Chapter 6 on Learning in Sets has an excellent discussion of tribal underpinnings that extends beyond race and ethnicity to backgrounds and interests. And Cultural Considerations in Chapter 9 highlights potential challenges across cultural norms. All are dealt with objectively and with examples that enhance understanding.
The text provides a wealth of background information, research and a strong scope of social software coverage so a reader will feel very well informed about networked learning environments and inspired to reconsider how that are used in distance education.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: On the Nature and Value of Social Software for Learning
- Chapter 2: Social Learning Theories
- Chapter 3: A Typology of Social Forms for Learning
- Chapter 4: Learning in Groups
- Chapter 5: Learning in Networks
- Chapter 6: Learning in Sets
- Chapter 7: Learning with Collectives
- Chapter 8: Stories From the Field
- Chapter 9: Issues and Challenges in Educational Uses of Social Software
- Chapter 10: The Shape of Things and of Things to Come
About the Book
Within the rapidly expanding field of educational technology, learners and educators must confront a seemingly overwhelming selection of tools designed to deliver and facilitate both online and blended learning. Many of these tools assume that learning is configured and delivered in closed contexts, through learning management systems (LMS). However, while traditional "classroom" learning is by no means obsolete, networked learning is in the ascendant. A foundational method in online and blended education, as well as the most common means of informal and self-directed learning, networked learning is rapidly becoming the dominant mode of teaching as well as learning.
In Teaching Crowds, Dron and Anderson introduce a new model for understanding and exploiting the pedagogical potential of Web-based technologies, one that rests on connections — on networks and collectives — rather than on separations. Recognizing that online learning both demands and affords new models of teaching and learning, the authors show how learners can engage with social media platforms to create an unbounded field of emergent connections. These connections empower learners, allowing them to draw from one another’s expertise to formulate and fulfill their own educational goals. In an increasingly networked world, developing such skills will, they argue, better prepare students to become self-directed, lifelong learners.
About the Contributors
Jon Dron is associate professor in the School of Computing and Information Systems and a member of the Technology-Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute at Athabasca University. His current research concerns the social aspects of learning technologies, with an emphasis on methods and technologies that enable learners to help each other.
Terry Anderson is professor and researcher in the Technology-Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute at Athabasca University. His interests focus on interaction and on the use of social media in educational contexts.