Social Media in Education: November 12 - December 2, 2007

Welcome to Week 3

Re: Welcome to Week 3 - sustainable solutions

by Cristina Costa -
Number of replies: 0
Hi Steve,
what a coincidence! The world is getting smaller and smaller....or better, it is getting closer and closer! :)

Here in Salford it is my experience that the learning technology adopters are not so much related with the age factor, but with the wiling to innovate and the courage to leave the comfort zone. I have talked to many young academics who don't even want to hear about it. They are pleased with the fact that they are knowledgeable and think students should feel very lucky to have expertise knowledge being transmitted to them. And although expertise is needed, the way it is being transferred to the less experts (the students) is not the best way. Although many speak about the "digital natives", and that everyone want to learn in an active way, it is not so, simply because many students are not used to that kind of approach. What we are creating is a easy and fast society where everything is taken for granted, instead of a society of values where hard work and initiative are praised. Students are getting all the information for "free". They are pleased with the reading lists they are given by the lecturers, and many won't even bother to take it further and try to deep their own knowledge through different means and ways, simply because they are used to be fed and not to look for their own food (for thought).
On the other hand, I also have older academic staff to going the different direction and wanting to try this new approach, which is great. I have encountered a little bit of everything in this my new experience here in Salford.

Yesterday, I started a Blogs and wiki session with PGR students and also invited academic staff to join in. Not many showed up, but some did. As part of the sesson we had two PGR students from the Open University who have created research blogs to get in touch with a wider community and also to reflect about what they are doing. One of the things they remarked was that having blogs in blogger what a better solution than the one the institution offers, because they know that there is a good chance that once they finish their academic experience the blog will still be online for others to see and for them to go back to their knowledge base and learning progress record.
One of the speakers even remarked that the institution deletes one's blog after students leave the university and that is like throwing the students' notes in the bin, as they were worth nothing".
That tells a lot and that observation is a lesson we must learn, and fast: listen to the students. They are entitled to express their opinion and to make their needs and expectations known. After all, if there were no students, there wouldn't be universities and school, and that is something we tend to forget. We focus on what is best for the institution and the academic staff, and usually tend to forget the aspirations of our clients: the students. As we also forget to inspire them with new and innovative learning approaches and opportunities!
I totally agree that new legal, and more flexible guidelines must be decided very soon!