Week 6 Reading Response

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Lankshear and Knobel (2011) Ch7: Social Learning, “Push” and “Pull,” and Building Platforms for Collaborative Learning

We first read about the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ paradigms for mobilizing resources back in week 3 and I even wrote about it on my blog. It was a bit much for me to grasp the first time I saw it; but as I understood it, “push” refers to an older approach where budgets are made up ahead of time and resources are already in place. “Pull,” refers to an on-demand approach for mobilizing resources, where they can be brought in as needed. Reading about both approaches again helped reinforce these concepts as I began to understand them more. I often feel a little disconnected with how some of the examples relate to me, but one passage that stood out when talking about building platforms for social learning was the following:

Within corporate/company contexts such platforms may include ‘expertise locators’ that map likely go-to people and rich information portals within and beyond the organization; they may build on workplace design decisions to create spaces that encourage ‘productive conversation’ and establish guidelines for ‘conversing productively’

I’m constantly trying to relate the concepts from our readings to my workplace and this provided me with a solid real world example. We do have “product experts” at my workplace that specialize in each of our solutions. On the other hand, one aspect that could probably be improved are specific guidelines for productive conversation.

Another concept that I am really starting to understand because I’ve encountered it a few times at this point is the idea of “learning to be.” I find that the most important concept in the social learning perspective (and in this class) is to focus on how we learn, rather than what we learn. This idea shifts our learning to our activities and human interactions rather than just the content of a subject. I also kept thinking about John Seely Brown’s Storytelling: Scientist’s Perspective, which I read last semester.

Interest-driven Reading

Driving engagement within social learning communities

I found this reading interesting because it has taken everything we’ve been reading and talking about and brought it into my world. I never heard of the term ESN before, but apparently it stands for enterprise social network. This is something that we actually do have in my workplace through our internal Yammer site which has it’s positives and negatives. One negative, in my opinion, is that I have to join yet another social network; however, on the other hand it is a great way to get in touch with our product champions. This article mentioned a few other value propositions of using an ESN, which are all fair points. I’ll admit that I do not take full advantage of our own. One of the big things we’ve been working on is employee engagement and I found this snippet from the article to be very true:

So if a post does not get a response for over 24 hours and a question does not get answered for days, you probably have the answer for ‘why engagement levels are low.’

I don’t think we have dedicated community managers for our ESN, or at least I don’t know who they are, but this is something I want to look into further to see if I can find new ways of using this space. Perhaps I can even become our champion.

Optional Reading

The importance of being alone in the digital era

I found this to be an eye opening piece and something that I could easily relate to. I realize that I am constantly connected and pretty dependent on technology. I experienced this a few days ago when my power went out and I was just staring at the wall for five hours. I live by myself, yet I don’t often find myself in solitude like that. It did give me a lot of time to think, mainly about when is the power going to return? The statistic that 80% of teens reported checking their phone hourly might be alarming to some people, but I am honestly not surprised. I didn’t get my first cell phone until college, but I feel that now days I am expected to check it regularly. For my professional life alone, I am constantly checking and responding to emails on my phone. This isn’t something I can just easily give up, as it’s pretty much required. I do get away from work email when I’m on vacation, but at that point I’m pretty much the paparazzi. I enjoy photography so I take pictures of new places every chance I get. Sometimes I feel that I just can’t win!

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