Daily Archives: September 25, 2008

Social Objects

Belgium Tapestry

Belgium Tapestry

The metaphor for social objects that I came up with was that of weaving tapestry. The actual social object is the loom. It is the framework on which to weave insights, observations, or questions.

The interaction among the weavers (users) are the threads. Each warp or weft thread provides color, sheen, texture, depth. Some threads glisten like gold. Others are grey as an alley cat. As users become master weavers, their threads enrich the pattern of the tapestry.

Question: Can educational content be a social object? Why or why not?
It depends. In thinking about Bloom’s Taxonomy, if educational content is based on the knowledge level, many time social interaction isn’t included in instructional strategies. Only when the content rises to the application, analysis, or synthesis level do instructional strategies more often include social interaction.

Question: Can assessments or assignments be social objects? Why or why not?
It depends. (Boy, aren’t I decisive. . .?) When the teacher gives a test or assignment, corrects it, hands it back with a grade sans feedback, there aren’t any qualities that would make it a social object. A teacher would need to have an iterative discussion with the student about the assignment/assessment. Or the teacher would need to provide students with opportunities to have discussions and interactions with other students before it could take on the life of a social object.

Question: How compatible does the idea of social objects appear to be with the notion of a learning management system?
Not much. IMHO, Blackboard is clunky at best for social interactions. It doesn’t have the ease nor the elegance that Facebook has. As a student in an online class, I’ve also used Lotus Notes which (eight years ago) seemed not too bad.

I’m wondering if LMS systems will ever become as “social” as things like Facebook, Delicious, or Diigo because they are connected to school and education rather than personal interests. Which leads me to a thought I had about LMS used at universities.

Most faculty are at the mercy of the powers that be at the university concerning the use of a LMS system. If the faculty are not very technologically astute, by default they have to use what is provide for them. Only when faculty are more technologically savvy and have time will they use something different. Because of this, social objects and social interactions might not be used to the level that they could be (or ought to be) used.