Blending Technoself Enhanced Social Learning With Formal Learning

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Investigators:

Dr. Li Jin (Lead), Dept of Computer Science; Ali Press, Westminster Exchange; Alan Porter, Department of Psychology; Dr Ruth Sacks, Department of Leadership and Development; Professor Gunter Saunders, Internet and Educational Technology Services.

Summary:

Social networking as a novel social media for mass communication has evolved and transferred the Internet into a dynamic platform for developing novel psychological and pedagogical learning models which emerge out of an organic mix of “wisdom of the crowds” and “just in time” social learning.

Students can now access social networking using across a multitude of services and devices, such as mobile phones and tablets (e.g. iPad), personal computers and even game consoles. Social networking enables multimodal interaction among people to improve information enrichment and further facilitate self expression and self development through collaboration within an evolving technological society. The emerging technologies have expanded a new dimension of self – ‘technoself’ driven by socio-technical innovations and challenged ideas of the next generation of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL).

There is a significant inclination to integrate social networking services into the conventional Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). The new generation VLE encourages students as producers to enrich information by their own generated content, comments and revisions. It becomes a novel blended learning platform for students and staff active participation via social interaction.

This project intends to trace the new trends in TEL and evaluate a novel pedagogical and sociological model of learning – a blended learning approach which couples the technoself enhanced social learning with formal learning in education. We will investigate the impact of the emerging social networking technologies and the migration of social interaction into online domains which fosters technoself.

Furthermore, we will examine the way in which social networking services are transforming the nature of learning as a social practice and explore the role of technoself in social learning. The overall goal of this project is to work towards developing a framework that can help us understand what the characteristics of the new generation VLE enhanced by social networking, how the learners construct and motivate themselves, how the learners shift and adapt in Technology Enhanced learning (TEL) and how learning is changing as a result of these learners’ participating in these technoself-enhanced environments in comparison to the conventional e-learning.

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