Social technologies and learning in your classroom: blogs, wikis, podcasts and more.

Miles Berry & Terry Freedman The British Computer Society BETT, Thursday 11th January 2007

Outline of this presentation
Who are we? What is “social technology” broadly speaking, and why is it important? Some “cool tools” and how they are valuable in an educational context Addressing the wider issues Further information

Who are we? Miles Berry
Formerly deputy head and information systems manager at St Ives School, Haslemere Now head of Alton Convent Prep Becta ICT in Practice Award for Primary Teaching, 2006 Primary VLEs and blogging Moodle and Elgg BCS, EdTrEP, Mirandanet, NAACE etc Blog at

Who are we? Terry Freedman
Chair of Naace, the subject association for ICT Independent ICT consultant Originated and edited “Coming of Age: An Introduction to the NEW Worldwide Web” Contributor to the recent K12 Online Conference Member of the BCS e-learning Working Party Computers in Classrooms newsletter

Social learning and social technology
How do we learn? Social Constructivism
knowledge constructed by being part of a learning community, and through conversation and the interchange of ideas

Zone of proximal development
learning happens by working alongside someone who’s just that bit further on the road than you are

Community of Practice
Legitimate peripheral participation Joint enterprise Mutual engagement Shared repertoire

Social Technology

Web 2.0
Web 0.1 Media Authors Content Aims Business Model Text Academics Self publishing Linking, peer review Subsidy Web 1.0 Media rich The Industry Professional Readers, customers Web 2.0 Text + User community Collaborative peer production Community, esteem

Premium content, Advertising, advertising premium features, open source

Social Technology – common features
User created content Comments Tagging Social networks User interface Customisation RSS

What is a Wiki?
PBwiki, Wikipedia, Mediawiki The read/write web Collaboration Version control Discussion Media filters

How can wikis help learning?
Writing for an audience Proofreading, fact checking Awareness of different perspectives Evaluation and Discernment – issues of trust, ownership and authority Social construction Policy documents

Case Study 1: The Flat Classrooms Project

Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6 develop ideas and solve problems combine and refine information from various sources combine the use of ICT tools within the overall structure of an ICT solution increased integration and efficiency in the use of ICT tools. A greater range and complexity of information is considered Pupils define, implement and refine ICT systems

Level 7

If you think about it, these can be addressed through the use of any of the applications discussed today.

What is a blog?
Blogger, edublogs, wordpress, elgg, … A place of one’s own Chronology RSS Subscription The blogroll Comments, trackbacks, pings

How can blogs help learning?
Creating not just consuming Writing for pleasure Informal learning Personalisation – choice and voice Self esteem Shared blogs Reflection and review

Case study 1: Blogging in Maths (Canada) Case study 2: Blogging in a junior school (UK) (Full video:



Audience challenge: are there areas where you could introduce blogging not as an add-on, but as an integral part of what goes on in your classroom?

What is a podcast?
Skype, Audacity, itunes, ipod Recording, editing, publishing, listening RSS (again!) Embedding Other media – screencasts and video

How can podcasts help learning?
Multimodal literacy Speaking and listening! Engagement Accessibility Lesson recording E-Portfolios

Case study 1: Hanson Radio Podcast Case study 2: Shawn Wheeler’s Adventures in Podcasting

What is photosharing?
Flickr, Photobucket, Gallery, Coppermine High resolution images Creative Commons Access control Streams, sets, pools Favourites Comments Geotagging

How can photo-sharing help learning?
As a resource Visual literacy Research Recording The world through others’ eyes Common interests

Photo-sharing case studies
Art Appreciation

Photo-sharing case studies Maths

Photo-sharing case studies


Photo-sharing case studies
Local Environment

What is bookmark sharing?, scuttle Tagging Folksonomy Browsing and searching Notes The wisdom of crowds

How can bookmark sharing help learning?
Sharing resources
Pupil – pupil Teacher - pupil Teacher - teacher

Learner responsibility Independent learning Peer support Course tags

Coming of Age 2 Extra Resources

Issues to consider
Child protection
Walled gardens Polluted streams

Data protection Integration Portability Advertising Hosting

Harnessing Technology
“A personal online space … will be more than simply a storage place - a digital space that is personalised, that remembers what the learner is interested in and suggests relevant web sites, or alerts them to courses and learning opportunities that fit their needs. ” “Develop a collaborative approach to personalised learning activities” “We want to shift the focus from presenting content to engaging learners in productive learning activities.”

Scott Wilson, 2005

Every Child Matters
The 5 outcomes: SHAPE Stay safe Be healthy Enjoy and achieve Make a positive contribution Achieve economic well-being
Fiction Press Kathy Cassidy

Personalised Learning: The Gilbert Report
Commitment to personalising learning in learning and teaching Practices of schools that ‘buck the trend’ in boys’ achievement Strategies for embedding assessment for learning Integrate ‘learning how to learn’ into the curriculum Focus attention on hard-to-reach families What kind of ICT investment and infrastructure will support desired new ways of working Schools should consider how best resources within the school, such as the new technologies and the physical environment, could contribute to fulfilling their commitment to personalising learning.

About the BCS
Stand B59 The leading professional body for the IT industry Skills for life (eg ECDL) Schools may offer accreditation themselves Visit the stand for more information

Further reading…