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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2012-06-04

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-05-23

  • Just upgraded my HTC Hero to Cyanogen 6.1 (Android 2.1). Its faster, prettier, less buggy & altogether a better experience #
  • @PMintkenDPT: @mpascoe @timothywflynn what we say and what patients hear are not always the same (I think the same thing about students) #
  • @PhThCentral: @timothywflynn Physical Therapists, quit using words that scare your patients…or have no real meaning eg “pinched nerve” #
  • @RonaldArendse Depends on your needs. I’m waiting for the new galaxy tab #
  • 7 Simple Tips To Deal With Negative People | zen habits #
  • News Flash: Twitter Doesn’t Make You Smart or Stupid: Tech News and Analysis « #
  • APA Style Blog: Properly Using “While” #
  • Access Springpad When You’re Offline Android app always had it, but this is what I was missing from the web app #
  • @rachaellowe I tell all my students about @physiopedia. I really do think it’s a great resource for physiotherapists and students alike #
  • The Daily Papert “You learn in the deepest way when…you fall in love with a particular piece of knowledge” #
  • The Daily Papert “School has an inherent tendency to infantilize children [because they have] to do as they’re told” #
  • The Daily Papert “A lot of school math was useful once upon a time, but we now have calculators so we don’t need it” #
  • RT @helenzille: To find out whether and where you are registered sms your ID number to 32810. Useful for SA voters #
  • Challenges of Designing and Evaluating Usability and User Experience for PLEs Maybe interesting 4 those at #checit #
  • RT @grahamattwell: PLE User Experience Workshop at PLE2011 Conference – call for contributions – #PLE SOU #
  • YouTube – SAIE class of 2010 Sad story of SA education with a (kind of) happy ending. Great video #
  • @ronaldarendse Thanks man. Just tweeted JP’s slideshare, which I assume he’s presenting now? #
  • To ple or not to ple – that is not the question From @jpbosman #
  • @GigliolaRusso I’ll see what I can do. I aim to please 🙂 #
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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-27


Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-20

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-07-26

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-06-21


Google Translate: when small things make a big difference

I’ve never really had the need to use Google Translate. Most of the content I come across is in English, and if it isn’t I’ve never read it and so never realised what I was missing out on. Earlier today I came across Ilona Buchem via a post from Stephen Downes, pointing out a presentation on PLE’s that she’d shared on Slideshare. The presentation led me to her blog, which was in German.

Chromium helpfully popped up a tab asking if the text should be translated from German into English, which I agreed to. After reading the first few posts, I decided that this was someone to include in my network. After clicking the RSS icon in the browser, it automatically imported the feed to my GReader account, again asking if this feed should always be translated into English.

Every so often I’m blown away by an elegant and intuitive solution to what was previously (for me, in this instance), an almost insurmountable obstacle.

learning social media

Facilitating Communities of Practice in the Network Era

Two days ago I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to attend a workshop at UCT facilitated by Nancy White (1), who co-wrote Digital habitats: stewarding technology for communities (2) with Etienne Wenger and John David Smith. Presentation slides from the workshop can be downloaded / viewed here. Unfortunately, I could only stay for the morning session, so my notes are  incomplete and they may be incorrect. If you attended the workshop and would like to extend these notes, please add your comments below.

The workshop started with the Human Spectrogram, “a group face to face exercise to help surface similarities and differences in a group, help people to get to know each other and to do something together that is active. Other knowledge sharing toolkits can be found here.
Communities collectively accept responsibility for the behaviour of others in the community
Community is about purpose and specifically, shared purpose
Reciprocity is very important in communities, although not necessarily with the same person who shared with you
Leading / facilitating CoP will often require improvisation / innovation
“Community indicator = sign of life: asking questions / showing something that delves deeper into what the community is or wants to be. It can vary by community, and should be reflective of the community
Use of metaphor can be evocative. If you’re too explicit, you can turn people off because they may think they know what you’re talking about, and therefore miss what you actually want them to do / think about. Whereas, using something that’s open to interpretation, or more abstract will stimulate discussion or reflection in the community.
Invitation to participate is essential. Invites can be in different forms:
  • Discovery (can be serendipitous)
  • Explicit invitation (this can take multiple forms)
Game mechanics (Amy Jo Kim) → games stimulate interest and engagement with content (3) (4) (I explored this idea a little bit last year when I was thinking about the use of gaming in physiotherapy)

Websites are not communities, people are communities
Howard Rheingold’s book “The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier” is a good exploration of online communities
How do you stop communities from fragmenting?
Facilitating online and offline communities is always evolving because the environment is always changing
A “CoP” perspective is not the same as defining if something is a CoP. CPD is an appropriate framework to explore communities:
  • Community (a group of people who can be named)
  • Practice (intent, talking about something in order to do it better
  • Domain (what we care about, shared interest, purpose)
Don’t change all 3 of the above at once, for fear of destabilising the CoP
CoP is not a binary thing. It can exist on continuum between is and isn’t
Small groups are adaptable, don’t have to negotiate (as much) in order to change, can be flexible
Institutional(?) / online interfaces are not usually designed for small groups, multiple small groups can scale out to large groups.
  • Me (individual): individual, identity, interest, trajectory, consciousness, confidence level, risk tolerance, styles, emotion
  • We (community): bounded, members who you know, group identity, shared interest, human centred, distinct power/trust dynamics, forward movement, strong blocking, statis, attention to maintenance, language
  • Many (networks): boundaryless, fuzzy, intersecting interests, “object centred sociality” (Jyri Engstrom), flows around blocks, less cohesion, distributed power/trust, change
People trust people around the content they produce. Blogs and referral systems can establish relationships around “objects” / content. This can be scary for people who are used to creating relationships around personal interactions. This has implications for how we use content to attract and engage with people. Communities are not about curating or archiving content, but for providing channels for sharing content and facilitating relationships.
There is a difference between a network and a community, and depending on your objectives, you may have to make a conscious decision about which one you want to develop towards. Networks of Practice is a concept used to explore the areas where network theory and CoP intersect (5).
  • Network – a lot of people know a lot of people, but they don’t all know each other. There are loose ties (link downloads article PDF) (Granovetter), it can scale beyond your ability to facilitate the group
  • Community – you know people more intimately, there is meaningful connection (but can also be present in networks)
Blogging and communities – Lilia Efimova
Dunbar’s number = 150 (how many stable social relationships we can manage)
People have to actively engage of their own accord without the community being “done to them”
Are we inward-facing or outward-facing in our department? Who are we looking to connect with / influence?
Legitimate peripheral participation i.e. lurking in online groups. Are they part of a network or a community? It can be argued either way. This is a big part of online social networks → community or network?
  1. Interview with Nancy White by George Siemens for the World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications
  2. Online companion to Digital Habitats:  Stewarding technology for communities
  3. Stuart, B. (2006). How game mechanics can make your app more fun – a blog post looking at some of Amy Jo Kim’s work
  4. Putting the fun in functional – presentation by Amy Jo Kim on Slideshare
  5. Knowledge Networks: Innovation through Communities of Practice
  6. Granovetter, M. (1983). The strength of weak ties: A network theory revisited. Sociological Theory, 1, 201-233 (link downloads PDF)
research social media

Can established research methodologies cope with social media?

Yesterday I was talking to my supervisor about how I’m having difficulty designing a protocol for my systematic review.  The guidelines I’m looking at are very good for designing a structured process for searching through the literature, but they’re not very good at helping me to define a search that includes social media.  The JBI Manual doesn’t mention Twitter or Facebook at all, and Cochrane is equally useless to me in this regard.

As if in response to that conversation, I had the following experience earlier today.  I got an email from Twitter informing me that I had a new follower.  I clicked the link and was taken to the profile of someone interested in similar things to me.  I followed him, went through a few of his tweets and ended up following a few of his followers.  One of those followers had tweeted about a page on danah boyd‘s site that was a collection of Research on Twitter and Microblogging.  I found 18 useful papers on that page that I probably would never have found if I’d had to stick to a review protocol that was designed to search commonly recognised sources (e.g. PubMed, CINAHL, library databases, etc).

How can I define the process that I went through today in generic terms (because the same thing can happen when I’m going through news feeds, Delicious, Slideshare, etc.) when it’s so serendipitous?  There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to describe that process in terms that my Dean of Research would understand (I’m uncertain, but I suspect that he’s not on Twitter).

There are other issues.  For example, I can use the blog of an expert in the field to extract an opinion about an intervention, which is great (let’s exclude the problem of defining an expert).  So I can make a list of the blogs of all the experts that I’ll consult, which will never be even close to comprehensive anyway.  How do I then get around the problem of the blog that I add tomorrow, which I might find because of a Google Group that I subscribe to?  Or the “non-expert” blogger I come across who links to a recently published report that I must include?  How about using Mendeley as an article database?  Will my examiners accept it as an appropriate source of literature?  And I can’t even imagine the chaos that’s going to erupt when Wave really gets going in education.

It seems that I can define my protocol loosely, which means that no-one else will be able to reproduce the study and will therefore negate the whole point of a systematic review.  Or, I can define my protocol strictly and potentially miss a hundred important articles, which will make my review equally poor.  Do we need to re-evaluate established research methodologies to take into account the disruptive nature of social media, or am I missing something?