Thursday, December 20, 2007

Teens Top Online Creators

Just another set of facts to indicate higher education better get it's shared space, social networking act together -

A new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that the next generation is switched on and producing content.
59% of all (U.S.) teenagers engage in at least one form of online content creation. Of those 35% of all teen girls blog, compared with 20% of online boys, and 54% of girls post photos online compared with 40% of online boys. Boys however like their video, with 19% of boys posting video online vs. 10% of girls.
39% of online teens share their own artistic creations online, such as artwork, photos, stories, or videos
33% create or work on webpages or blogs for others, including those for groups they belong to, friends, or school assignments
28% have created their own online journal or blog, up from 19% in 2004.
27% maintain their own personal webpage
26% remix content they find online into their own creations

Students will want to be active learners, dealing with authentic, relevant content, and dynamically collaborating in the development of new content. And they will want personalizable learning spaces where they have access control.

Old world copyright does not compute

Fair Use Vs. Free Speech in the Internet Age: The Lane Hartwell Problem

Item: non-profit music group Richter Scales create mash up video to present with their new song "The Bubble" - a parody on making it in the next big net bubble

Problem: after a million views on YouTube, video taken down because photographer Lane Hartwell objected to the unauthorized use of one of her photos in the video, then put up again with the offending photo replaced and a list of credits at the end for all the images used.

Real problem: the norms of the offline world and the emerging norms of the Internet are in conflict. People communicate on the web by sharing - reshaping images, audio - if you make it available expect it to be used. If you want to be part of a community - expect to share.

Solution - Payback: think of other forms than buying rights - maybe licensing - maybe trackbacks, leading to paid work

P.S. I just mashed techcrunch text - even stole straight lines. Copyright issue?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hosting communities and trust

Further to Stephen Downe's discussion on trust and communities. Eduspaces, a free elgg powered community space managed and hosted by two entrepreneurs (Ben and Dave), fostered an active environment of educators discussing the use of and demonstrating the use of educational technologies. Eduspaces is being used by faculty, individuals and institutions for a variety of purposes - learning delivery, research space and respository, personal blogging, community creation, resource sharing, touchstone for learning, community of practice.

Now, seemingly out of the blue, the site is going down in mid January and folks are being advised to port their data elsewhere. Understandably, criticism has followed the surprise of this announcemnt. It is untimely. It is abrupt. It is unexpected. But is it a callous disregard for those who have invested data and time into developing their own spaces in Eduspaces? Have Ben and Dave, as Graham Attwell suggests, broken a bond of trust - a necessary component for community building - and impacted on the future acceptance and adoption of social software environments?

But it is always risky to have your activities housed on an external host. Eduspaces was a free service, hosted and moderated (without compensation) by two individuals interested in the advancement of free, open source software for use by the educational community, we should be a little thankful.

Many schools and faculty are making use of proprietary web services - like Facebook. If it should shut down I doubt there would be much chance of retrieving data. Were Dave and Ben great communicators? That's debatable. Were they funded and supported by those who benefitied from the use of Elgg and eduspaces? Hmm? No. And Elgg isn't suffering as an environment simply because Eduspaces is shutting down. Heck, even if Elgg shuts down we will continue to use the elgg installations we have on our server, and we will continue to add functions as required. Dave and Ben have established a platform, and made it available for personal customization. They have also left a legacy by contributing to the demise of proprietary learning and content mgmt systems and adding social components to authentic, reflective learning, and the creation and development of learning communities that thrive within and without and beyond the confines of program length and institutional membership. Lifelong, lifewide learning and the integration of formal and informal learning is now a true possibility thanks to advances like Elgg.

I agree that their actions are rushed, and they didn't 'discuss" with the community. And the optics aren't good - especially since eduspaces was a demonstration site of Elgg - Elgg may suffer as a result.

But the real question, as Graham rightly points out is that there was no organization to the comunity. We talk about organic development of free and open learning space like elgg, (eg. eduspaces) yet we often don't put an organizational framework around it (not management framework). What are the roles and responsibilities of site managment, moderation and of community members?

What the actions of Dave and Ben have demonstrated is that organic growth should not mean a hands off laissez-faire approach to community development. Organic Communities need cultivation. Trust must be earned , but it cannot be assumed. We trusted that Eduspaces would always be there for us, even if we as part of that community never contributed to its management. perhaps dave and Ben never saw eduspaces as their community - it was ours. maybe we are the ones who never established trust. Inevitably, all things come to an end. Even free, open, organic spaces.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When I Die who mourns my cyberlife?

NITROREV: Virtual Wake As I see Eduspaces - a social network I am part of - about to die and untimely death - I was wondering how to mourn the loss of those connections I made through this network. Then I encountered Stephen Taylor's blog entry where he muses about an actual incident of cyber friendship loss. It caused me a moment of thought. When I physically die, my cyber identityt continues on. The data remnants of my cyber activity exists - how will those I never met physically, yet socialized with electronically express condolences and grief? What happens to me cyber properties - do they revert to my heirs who have no interest in maintaining my blog entries and other data? Are they parsed out to my cyber friends? Further to this discussion I have a number of social software sites I maintain for educational institutions. Students post comments, reflections, artefacts and compile eportfolios. If a student does die, what is to be done with their entries? Do we just arbitrarily delete their account or maintain it in a condolences area? The expressions of grief, condolences and maintenance of cyber properties upon one's earthly death - these are issues we are yet to grapple with.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cormier's Top ten Ed Stories 2007

Dave’s Educational Blog Dave Cormier lists his top ten tech ed stories of 2007 - number 10 is connectivism, number 1 is the action of one hacker to remove filtering software - what permeates all selections is openness and freedom and the need for effective education on the safe and efficient use of that openneness and freedom - kudos to Dave - always insightful