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Social networking in school November 28, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Online communities, School, Social Networking.

Last week I attended a seminar in e-Learning Lab within the Network on ICT and Learning. The topic of the seminar was “Communities of Learning” and international guest Caroline Haythornthwaite presented her interesting thoughts on how to develop and maintain online learning communities. After that some of the members of the network presented their experiences with creating online (e-learning) communities.

One of the practians presenting a case was Tommy Møllegaard Siim from EUC Nordvest (a Danish vocational education centre) who had been engaged in creating a community (or, as I would call it, a social networking site) for the HG students called HG Space. Here, the students can create profiles, chat, blog and upload videos – and the school can post information about school activities, changes in timetables and so on. Also, there is a “wall” displaying cool profiles – very similar to other popular social networking sites.

It is really interesting to see how this school has embraced the concept of social networking – an idea I have been urging many schools to take up during my lectures the last couple of years. And so far, it seems that it has been a real success for ECU Nordvest – at least according to Tommy Møllegaaard Siim and the activity on the site.

Instead of being afraid of online social networking I think that schools should do something similar to this – and turn social networking into something positive which is connected to the school and school activities.

At the moment there is a debate going on in Denmark about the fact that Arto has created a domain called ingencensur.dk which allows students to access Arto even though the site is blocked at their school. This has caused many schools to criticise and rage against Arto.

However, in stead of worrying about their students using social networking sites I think that the schools should embrace social networking or even create their own site, like EUC Nordvest has done. Young people (and the rest of us, hence the popularity of Facebook) have an urge to connect with one another online – so why not within a school setting?

New PhD colleague :-) November 26, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Aalborg University, Academic, PhD.
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My good friend and colleague Anne-Mette Albrechtslund just got a PhD scholarship from the Danish Research Council. Anne-Mette is interested in user-creativity in computer games and she will start her project in February. Congrats to Anne-Mette (who will then continue to be part of our research centre at e-Learning Lab).

A good day November 20, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Aalborg University, Academic, PhD.

Thomas’ PhD defence on Friday was a nice experience and I think it went really well. It started out with a short introduction by supervisor Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld whereupon Thomas gave his 45 minute presentation explaining the patchworking metaphor as a way of understanding learning. After that the members of the assessment committee each had some time to ask critical questions such as “What is learning?”, “What is the difference between ‘learning’ and ‘doing’?”, “How close is patchworking to technology?”, “Is patchworking general to all group work processes?” and “Can individual learning also be viewed as patchworking?”.

I know that some people in the audience thought that the questions were rather hard and critical, but Thomas managed to keep a cool head during the whole defence and he answered all the questions in a reflective and intelligent manner.

Therefore – not surprisingly – the assessment committee gave him a really nice evaluation afterwards urging him to develop his concepts into a theory and a book. All in all, it was a really good day which ended with a nice dinner and a party at out home for supervisors, assessment committee, family and friends.

PhD defence November 14, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Aalborg University, Academic, PhD.

My “colleague”, both at work and at home, Thomas Ryberg from e-Learning Lab is defending his PhD thesis this Friday. This will take place at 1.00 pm in room 1.104 (the auditorium) at Kroghstraede 3, Department of Communication, Aalborg University.

Supervisors are Professor Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld and independent researcher Etienne Wenger. The assessment committee consists of:

Here is the abstract for the thesis:

“Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue”

The old saying and wedding tradition cited above captures well the essence of metaphorically understanding learning as a process of patchworking. The metaphor of patchworking highlights how learning processes can be seen as processes of stitching and weaving together different ‘patches and pieces’ into something new. The patches and pieces may not all be new, but can be old borrowed and of a widely different fabric; yet in their combination they form a new patchwork.

During 8-10th of August 2005 six teams of young ‘power users’ worked intensively on addressing different open-ended learning challenges. This took place within a larger event and symposium arranged as part of the ‘Power Users of Technology Project’ – a research project formed around the hypothesis that young power users of technology might be learning, working and solving problems in new and innovative ways due to their intensified use of technology; and that we can gain valuable insights about the future design of education by studying young people and their use of technology in relation to learning and problem solving processes.

On basis of a close empirical examination of the Danish team of Power Users and their work on a self-chosen learning challenge this thesis argues how we can theoretically understand, analyse and methodologically approach learning processes through the metaphorical lens of ‘patchworking’. Furthermore, the thesis critically discusses the relations between youth, learning and technology and what valuable insight, for the future design of education, we might gain from studying young ‘power users of technology’.

See more here.

Girls spend more time online than boys November 9, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Children, Internet, Online.

Danish girls between the age of 10 and 14 years old are considered to be “heavy users” when it comes to time consumption on the internet. New figures from The Association of Danish Internet Media (FDIM) show that girls within this age group spend in average 11 hours a month on Danish sites (which are part of the official measurement of internet traffic) whereas boys between 10 and 14 years old “only” spend in average seven hours.

Among the most popular sites for both sexes are Arto, MSN and DR (meaning that those are the sites with the biggest “reach” within the target group of 10-14-year-old’s).

The 10-14 year old girls are most heavily represented on:

  1. Vi Unge
  2. GoSupermodel
  3. Arto

whereas the 10-14 year old boys are most heavily represented on:

  1. Vix
  2. Arto
  3. The Voice

compared to their representation on the internet in general.

The figures also show that the average female Arto user between 10-14 spend slightly more that 13 hours a month on the site, whereas the average male user between 10-14 spend a little under 10 hours a month on Arto.

Read the article from FDIM here and see the figures and measurements here.

(NOTE: These figures are solely based on internet traffic in July 2007, they only measure traffic on Danish sites (and not the international ones that Danish children are using) and only traffic on the sites which are members of FDIM).