The use of social media tools to support learning is now widespread, with even Clay Shirky now noting and commenting on the trend at UCISA2014. But less has been said about the ways that social media itself is shifting towards maximising commercial returns and vetting or filtering individual posts. From lightning-fast youtube takedowns, to the ways changes to twitter and facebook, social media networks are making it harder to use these tools for learning at precisely the moment that the idea is becoming mainstream.
The social media revolution has, over the past ten years, been the last great wave driving advances in learning technology. From the wilder fringes of experimental MOOCs, to the standard feature-set of the far from dead VLE, and all the way to the way we share and discuss our work on a daily basis: services like twitter, youtube, facebook, wordpress and google documents have been the glue that holds everything together.
We have already seen the first rumblings of the oncoming problem. The death of Google Reader, and the downplaying of cheap, simple RSS aggregation is a symptom of a wider retrenchment into silos, itself driven by a need to gather user data to better serve the needs of advertisers.
On Youtube it is increasingly difficult to reliably host work (covered under fair use/fair dealing) for academic purposes.
Facebook has become the email of social networks, used by older people to contact younger ones.
Tagging is broken, everywhere. (Someone should do something)
And newer services are increasingly bought up and closed by larger companies in “acquihires” aimed at recruiting staff rather than maintaining services.
I’ll steal 10 minutes of delegates’ time to describe these changes and the way the are affecting learning and experimentation. This will be coupled with examples of how these issues are being dealt with.
This will be an engaging and challenging multimedia presentation, drawing on current and informal activity including the work of Jim Groom, Jonathan Worth, Helen Beetham, Martin Hawksey and others.