Educational Technology & Society
A Summary Report
Educational Technology & Society
This Research paper deals with the potential of social software. The concept of social software is quite naïve. According to most of the emerging writers of the concerned field, systems like wikis and blogs (or at least, collections of blogs) can be put in the social software category. YouTube, MySpace, Flickr etcetera can be added to the genre.In e-learning, the social software provides the learners with a choice as whether they wish to control or to be controlled in a learning transaction, and also, it establishes and strengthens the social connections, offering great potential and practical benefits to its learners.
Mejias (2005) defines social software as virtually any software that supports social interaction, including newsgroups, instant messaging and email. But Dron finds its application beyond the point of this limitedusefulness.
In online learning context, the roots of the software can be traced back to early nineties (Ackerman, 1994; Boder, 1992; Davis &Huttenlocher, 1995). It offers values to the learners, allowing the social construction of meaning and comparatively graceful cooperation in new and interesting ways.
There are four significantinteractions: student-group, teacher-group, content-groupand group-group. Dron forwarded the ‘group’ as a first class object that exists by itself and gets mediated through the environment according to the interactions. In the conceptions of Social software and transactional control, an autonomous learner can take more control whereas a dependent learner can get controlled. Depending on the structure that they follow, both may influence and be influenced.
Since the cost of traditional learning is high in terms of money and time, this system has a strong advantage as it enables its users to be in a state of continual learning and makes its existence sure.
Like other emerging and/or established fields, there are issues in social technology that need to be addressed. According to the author, the virtual environment can also get polluted and corrupted by unwanted activities may be in the form of content and nature of the participants. A malevolent individual or group can exploit the environment according to his/her purposes through intentional attack (intentional behaviour).
In order to make the social software more productive and successful for the learners, Dron put forward his ‘Ten Design principles’. These principles complement each other and are highly interconnected. The author put his two principles i.e., Principle of connectivity and principle of scale as meta-principles for the social software success.
Latest advancements in Information and communication Technology (ICT) and the conceptions like internet, digitization and media and technological convergence paved a better and instant way for exchanging information, ideas, knowledge etcetera. The publication, ‘Designing the Undesignable: Social Software and Control‘by Jon Dron, whichI choose for the review finds its application in today’s world where everything is technology and software inspired. The author is clear in his approach about the effective utilization of the social Softwares. Also, the author remains attached to the problem that he was supposed to address in his writing. It is a well written, well organised and an informative Piece.
Ackerman, M. S. (1994). Answer Garden: A Tool for Growing Organizational Memory. Unpublished PhD,Massachussetts Institute of Technology.
Davis, J. R., &Huttenlocher, D. P. (1995).Shared Annotation for Cooperative Learning.Paper presented at theInternational Conference on Computer Support for Collaborative Learning, October 17-20, 1995, Bloomington, IN,USA.
Dron, J. (2007). Control and Constraint in E-Learning: Choosing When to Choose, Hershey, PA: Idea Group.
Dron, J. (2007). Designing the Undesignable: Social Software and Control.Educational Technology & Society, 10 (3), 60-71.
Dron, J. (2007). Designing the Undesignable: Social Software and Control.Educational Technology & Society, 10 (3), Retrieved from http://www.ifets.info/journals/10_3/5.pdf