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The SocialLearn Project (KMi seminar)

Simon Buckingham Shum, Thursday 18 March 2010, 11.30am

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16 March 2010

Presenter: Dr Simon Buckingham Shum
Title: The SocialLearn Project
Date: Thursday 18 March 2010
Time: 11:30am
Location: KMi Podium

SocialLearn is exploring the potential of the social web for learning and sensemaking (both academic, and in the workplace) with specific interest in how different OU communities might benefit (e.g. students, staff, researchers, alumni). In this session, we'll give an update on some of the project's thinking and prototyping.
This will be a work-in-progress update, in which Simon will be inviting input on what KMi research/technologies could plug into SocialLearn, eg
  • Natural language parsing to improve user profiling
  • Analytics and recommendation engines
  • Merging social graphs from the cloud
  • Ontologies relevant to learning/academic research
  • Relevant widgets/gadgets for learners/researchers

Extra content

Some live blog notes:

Open 1969 meant open to people, places, methods and ideas - our founding principles. What do they mean in 2010? Some aspects of openness at the moment are: open IP (eg open educational resources), open economics (eg Freemium models), open communities, and open data standards (eg OpenID).

Social learning comes out a bunch of rich intellectual traditions. See, for example, 'Social learning systems and communities of practice' by Chris Blackmore (reference below. Also, see related cloud ).

We're looking at social learning as involving clarifying your problem, grounding your learning and engaging in focused conversations, increasing understanding of resources. Another take on this is that social learning involves trust, affirmation and challenge.

Shifting educational landscape. Moving from an industrial-era university with a canon of knowledge, disciplines and subjects, pass and fail exams, students as second class. The emerging model is that learning involves facilitating and guiding the development of the whole person including modules and competencies, a knowledge-saturated environment, flexible delivery and assessment.

How do we make the future learner centric without making it an echo chamber where we are never challenged? A learner-centred universe with my learning space in the middle. Including: my identity, my devices and platforms, my learning needs, my learning projects and my learning buddies.

Moving from friends to learning peers and mentors, from rapid information exchange to learning conversations, from tag clouds to meaningful connections, from myriad activity traces to a secure e-portfolio evidencing learning, from informal personal endorsements to verifiable accreditation.

Social, improvable, conceptual artefacts. Engeström has written about wildfire learning (reference below): we need inquiry, trails, history, consolidation, argument, landmarks, places and exploration.

Working on providing the glue that can connect diverse wevsites, providing friends, analytics and recommendations.

Cohere brings together web annotation and semantic connections.

ELIment is an application that uses a framwrok developed in Bristol that looks like what it means to be a good learner. The pre-existing ELLI web questionnaire generates a learning map with seven dimensions describing capacities to learn. This forms a basis for a mentored conversation. The ELLIment aplication can support online mentoring around the ELLI framework. Among other things, it provides a shared record of notes, activities and objects, and provides a space for the generation of private or shared reflections.

Possible links with KMi.

  • Semantic web services
  • Relevant widgets and apps for learners/researchers
  • Ontologies relevant to learning / academic research
  • Multimedia / semantic search engines looking for a testves
  • Text processing to improved automated user profiling based on online traces
  • Merging social graphs from the cloud.
  • SIOC (semantically interlinked online communities) for modelling and merging identity

Rebecca Ferguson
11:04 on 18 March 2010 (Edited 11:30 on 18 March 2010)

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