Reflecting on learning and seeing the world in exciting new ways.

Archive for November, 2011

A changing alphabet

A colleague sent me these graphics this morning; I see they have been doing the rounds via Twitpic this week. They cleverly highlight the key differences between the traditional education most of us would have experienced and the kind of education children growing up in our digital world are experiencing now.

It got me wondering … what will these graphics look like in ten years’ time? Five? Or even next year?Alphabet most of us got to learn ...

Alphabet taught to kids today

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Ask Twitter

Yesterday, I was marking a student’s assessment about the use of online tools to support e-learning. She was discussing the merits of social bookmarking and in particular delicious. Now, this is a topic dear to my heart. I have had a delicious account since 2004 and used it extensively over the years to access my favourite websites anywhere I had internet access. In recent times, I switched to Diigo and love the additional functionality it offers.

I followed the link to this particular student’s delicious account and noticed a few changes in the interface. Tags have now morphed into stacks, something which I’m not entirely convinced about and think bears more than a passing resemblance to Pinterest. However, logging in to my own delicious account, I was shocked to discover that my user name no longer existed, nor any of its variations!

Social media to the rescue

I decided to get to the heart of the matter and turned to Twitter. I found a Twitter account for delicious and within minutes of posting my query, I received the following reply from @Delicious_help:

Delicious help responseGosh! While I didn’t particularly like the response to my question, I was super impressed with the speed it arrived in my timeline. I relayed the news to my colleagues, both of whom were almost dumbfounded about how I had turned to social media rather than Google in the first instance and how quickly I’d used one social software tool to investigate another. One informed me that her 15 year old son would be impressed!

speeding bullet imageTo be honest, I didn’t give the process much thought at all. Yes, I could have searched for static information on the topic via a search engine, but what I really wanted was a quick response without all the guff. To me, that’s the beauty of Twitter; my professional learning network (PLN) is often my first port of call for issues relating to education and e-learning and today it proved faster and more effective than Superman himself!

Takeaway points

A couple of takeaway points from yesterday’s experience:

  • Google is not the first answer to every question. In fact, YouTube is continuously moving up the scale of search engine domination particularly in younger demographics and is even surpassing Yahoo.
  • Twitter in itself is not a learning tool but the professional learning network I have developed over the years via Twitter and other social media is one of the most valuable educational resources I have – and it’s all at my fingertips.
  • Don’t get left behind! Apparently the whole world knew about delicious’s plans to migrate to its new form. (Yes, I probably had several messages about it somewhere.) Some tools and services disappear altogether. Luckily, my eggs were also kept safely in another basket as a backup (Diigo).