Mulling over the readings for this week. The first one on ‘collectives, networks and groups in social software for eLearning’ is by Jon Dron & Terry Anderson makes a start at defining concepts of group, network and collective. Groups are formalised with lines of authority, prescribed roles and perhaps hierarchies. Networks connect ‘distributed individuals’ ie people may be connected to other people either directly or indirectly, but these people may not be aware that they are part of a wider network, non-formal / designed and share a marginal sense of commitment to each other. Collectives are aggregations which are formed of individuals who do not see themselves as part of a group or network. Therefore the connectivism course, although formally a group is at the moment more of a network.
They then apply these two concepts to teaching & learning implications in using social networking tools. There is a good Venn diagram to illustrate how networks, collectives & groups overlap and the types of social networks that lend themselves best to each. There are a couple of good tables too. One to illustrate the mode of communication (one to many, one to some, one to one, some to many, some to some, some to one, many to many, many to some and many to one) linked to them being groups and / or networks and /or collectives and examples of each of them. The other to link uses of social software to learning. An example would be activity appropriate for groups would be collaborative projects, networks would be discussion & queries & collective would be data mining, individual submissions & search & query.
The other resource from the above paper is a summary of the support factors that enable groups, networks & collectives to be used effectively. Work on groups included the work by Buckingham-Shum, Motta & Domingue, networks (virtual communities of practice) and collective strategies by Hargittai (dealing with digital use divide) and Dron, Mitchell, Boyne & Siviter.
Another interesting reading also by Terry Anderson is ‘Blogging and other social software developments and Distance Education’ . The site provides a powerpoint summary of the social networking phenomenon. Much of the information is not new to me but the powerpoint does make it easier to access a raft of information all collected in one bundle.