E-learning concepts - Table of Content

Web 2.0

Social softwares

Aims of Learning Learning Objectives

  • Discovering how easy is to create a community web page,
  • Understand the concepts of “social software” and “social network”,
  • Considering how this tool should be used in teaching.

Readings Reading

Social softwares

Social softwares

Let’s get acquainted with the concept of social software with the help of Wikipedia:

The definition of “Social software” from Wikipedia

Social software encompasses a range of software systems that allow users to interact and share data. This computer-mediated communication has become very popular with social sites like MySpace and Facebook, media sites like Flickr and YouTube as well as commercial sites like Amazon.com and eBay. Many of these applications share characteristics like open APIs, service-oriented design and the ability to upload data and media. The terms Web 2.0 and (for large-business applications) Enterprise 2.0 are also used to describe this style of software.

The more specific terms collaborative software and groupware are usually applied narrowly to software that enables collaborative work. Distinctions among usage of the terms "social", "trusted" and "collaborative" are in the applications or uses, not the tools themselves, although some tools are used only rarely for collaborative work.

Social software applications include communication tools and interactive tools. Communication tools typically handle the capturing, storing and presentation of communication, usually written but increasingly including audio and video as well. Interactive tools handle mediated interactions between a pair or group of users. They focus on establishing and maintaining a connection among users, facilitating the mechanics of conversation and talk.

Social Networks

"The widespread application of Internet redesigned the sort of communication era where communities are develop, survive and come to end. Online communication channels are not only able to bring several hundreds of remote acquaintances to a short distance but they can do this with unknown strangers. Contacts can be created more cheaply with more people than before. This fact enriches our concepts about communities with new meanings. (Balázs Bodo, 2007)
Social Networks

Communities organized on the Internet are called "social networks". Social networks can be very different according to their size and/ or goals. The most popular ones are those which are based on and organized for getting to meeting and know people (e.g. iwiw, Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace, MyVip, etc.). Another large group consists those sites which are organized according to some particular interests. These usually have less members. In several cases there isn’t a clear difference between the two since special groups of interest can be organized within meeting networks too.
This subject has a large literature background. Thousand of experts are interested in investigating the pattern and the future of virtual communities.

What is in the background of this success?
According to Barry Wellman (http://groups.chass.utoronto.ca/netlab/barry-wellman/) one of the most well known experts of internet communities (from Canada) "People  connected to the Internet, are social beings, they are looking for not only information, but friendship,  social supports and the feeling of belonging to soa community".
All of our students are members of one or more social networks. What makes them interested?
According to the newest surveys belonging to groups is simply the basic need of people which can be achieved more cheaply and easily via Internet so obviously those who can will use this possibility. (An old single acquaintance of mine – 76 years – a lady visits several times a day a social website http://www.donna.hu where ladies with different age give advices to each other about life stile, change recipes, look at and evaluate photo albums loaded up. She told me how happy she was when received 10-15 lovely e-mail messages from this community on her name day because usually she only receives two or three phone call on this special occasion. (One day the old lady’s computer broke down and she was despaired as she was telling me how lonely she felt herself.)

Some interesting conclusions of the subject analyses

  • Many people assume that belonging to virtual communities alienates people and endangers real human relationships. People spend more time on the web than with their own family. However researches didn’t prove this.
  • Members of Internet community are more willing to help each other - without expecting any return – than they are in the real life community. This incident can be explained in a way that less help can be expected from the circle of direct acquaintances. In the contrary people often get help from complete strangers from some social network. Not necessary from those who they helped before. According to statistics people have about a hundred saved phone numbers the most but they can have 200-300 acquaintances on a social network. Does it mean that people have a wider circle in a virtual environment?
  • Net communities are usually more opened than real communities. This does not mean that there are no exceptions. There are some professional communities where new members can only join with the recommendations of two existing members. (According to researchers real small communities are more closed and new members are accepted harder.)
  • In communities organized for sharing contents there is a strong control against “free riders”. Some people are only “consumers” without supporting the collection. They will be banned after a certain time.

Private Social Portal - Ning

Suli Ning

In the age of web 1.0 creating a social portal needed hard development and programming. Today IT experts are only needed when completely customized social site is needed with special services and functions. Creating an average social portal is as easy as pie with web 2.0 software. It does not requires more work (maybe even less) than creating our own blogs. What are the basic services provided by a social portal?

  • Member files (registration, log in, creating customized profile, list of members, recruiting members),
  • Content sharing options (up loading and presenting pictures, videos, documents)
  • Chat room , sending e-mails,
  • Blogs, handling blogs.

Video Storage

One of the most well known social portal editor is Ning.
We can present in a short movie (in the video library) how a social webpage can be created in just a few minutes with Ning.

Let's try it!Exercises

1. Watch the movie below about social networks in the simple “Plain English” style of Commoncraft

2. Watch the education videos for Ning in the video library and create your own social portal. Copy the link of your portal in your progress diary.

3. Many dubious writings appear about the positive effects of social networks. Many people thinks they are even harmful and result shallow relationships tempting young people for spending their time in idleness. What do you think of it? What do you think about the pedagogical potentials of social networks? Is there such in your opinion? Enter in your progress diary.