The New Web Literacy Notes from a presentation by Dave Millard at Southampton. I was invited to this (and to the others they’ve had this term, but I teach on Wednesdays & can’t get from Portsmouth to Southampton in 5 minutes!)
He raises some useful points about using Web based tools – both the traditional monolithic VLE and the more flexible PLE. I tend, whenever I can, to favour the more flexible (after all, as a student, no-one told me that I had to keep notes in a hardback A5 notebook or whatever. I chose to keep them in the way that suited me best). Obviously, a totally open type of PLE can lead to difficulties for some students. Not all are comfortable with all tools; not all like to use them all.
We have a VLE at Portsmouth – and part of my role as faculty eLearning co-ordinator is to get staff to use it. However, I don’t see it as a be all and end all. There are other, supporting tools available. It doesn’t mean going to Facebook – but it may well involve looking at the skills students develop through using Facebook etc. (often without realising they are IT skills), and how those skills can be used to support learning individually / as a group. It will, however, be interesting to see how tools like Newport’s Facebook application, and the one that Cambridge are developing are taken up by students. My feeling is that it won’t be a particularly large number, but it will be some, and those few may well use it enthusiastically. Thus, as long as it’s not taking too much developer time, probably worth maintaining. But not enforcing.
Something like Elgg – which I like a lot I’d see as a starting point – for many students it may well also be an end point. Others, however, will want to add to it, using a range of sites – possibly ending up with no elements of Elgg.