Assembling University learning technologies for an open world: connecting institutional and social networks

John Hannon, Matthew Riddle, Thomas Ryberg, OptimalScholarship, May 07, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Perhaps this is why I understand traditional academics less and less as time goes by: "many academics still prefer - knowingly or otherwise - to replicate the ‘real’ in the virtual world, rather than unfetter themselves from tradition and the familiar and create new selves, constructs, relationships and opportunities for engagement." By contrast, I feel myself and my work adapting and growing as technology grows. So do students, which creates a growing challenge to institutions. "The widespread adoption of social media among students brings shared interactional practices that does not match university arrangements for learning. This, we argue, invites reappraisal of the framing of established educational practices and the metaphorical work that precedes it." From the double symposium on Actor Network Theory.

I should add, quoting from the article: "There are three observations or upshots from these cases:

  • the shift to student self-organisation is consistent with the informal practices and rhetoric of social media, with its continual work of relating (liking, updating) and crafting an identity in a “personalised network”
  • the mobile practices of informal, self-organised learning challenge the metaphors of bounded (regional) learning spaces
  • student social media practices overflow the framing of institutional learning environments."

It makes me think of the comment in the introduction to the symposium about the templates that "tightly controlled how papers were formatted: the fonts used, margins and spacing and other things.. to stop you from doing some things, including exactly what we are doing here: using a different font, different margins with a different justification..."

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