Sho What Ish Soshiku?


Image by bierzak via Flickr

Students never want to keep a record of their due work. The complexities of a paper diary seem beyond them. They lose it in their home or, more likely, they don’t fill it in in the first place.

How about a super snazzy Web 2.0 version of an assignment diary instead? Perhaps the nice interface will prompt them to actually use the thing.

Got to be worth a go.

Soshiku › The Smart Way to Keep Track of Your Schoolwork


Adopting Web 2.0 in Organisations


Image via Wikipedia

Awareness, who specialise in creating Web 2.0 communities for companies, have released a new report on trends and best practices for adopting Web 2.0.

Given the problems that many of us have in getting education institutions to recognise the inherent worth in web 2.0 technologies and loosening up the network security polices to allow access to them, this report might help in presentations to senior management.

I’ve copied the announcement below:

Awareness Unveils 2008 Report on Trends and Best Practices in Adopting Web 2.0

Awareness has announced the release of the second in a series of reports on
enterprise social media, “Trends and Best Practices in Adopting Web 2.0
in 2008.” To download the free report, click here.

The report indicates that community initiatives and requirements continue
to evolve, highlighted by an increased focus on the deeper and broader
integration of Web 2.0 technologies with other complementary enterprise
systems and enabling broader community participation from both internal
and external audiences.

The report details many interesting developments in the corporate adoption of social media over the last year, including:

  • Employers are starting to allow social media participation more freely in their
    organizations: The number of organizations that allow social networking for business purposes has increased dramatically to 69 percent in 2008—up from 37 percent last year;
  • Employers are finding the benefits of using social media: 63 percent are using social media to build and promote their brand, 61 percent are using it to improve communication and collaboration, and 58 percent are using it to increase consumer engagement;
  • Seventy-five percent of employees are already using social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn for business purposes, up 15 percent from 2007;
  • Use of internal-facing communities is on the rise with six percent of organizations already reporting they deployed internal-facing communities, while 33 percent indicate their organization plans to implement internal-facing social media initiatives;
  • Similarly, external-facing communities are increasing: 27 percent of respondents
    said their companies were planning to deploy external-facing communities while only 13 percent indicated their organizations already have external-facing communities;
  • Online communities directed at specific interests and groups of people allow for more targeted marketing techniques and better results so for this reason 37 percent of organizations have specific areas of focus for their communities.

To learn more about the trends and best practices of social media marketing and Web 2.0 adoption, the Awareness report is available for free download here.

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When DID the IT Staff Become Our Bosses?


Image via Wikipedia

The tales of colleges being unable to implement any good practice involving IT (as defined by, amongst others, our HMIe overlords friends) are legion. Most of it is related to the baffling willingness of educators to allow support staff to dictate how we should teach.

While I can see the reasons for blocking certain sites containing, for example, porn, and the rules for access to JANET are clear, the stories of colleges blocking perfectly usable sites are mounting and becoming more ridiculous by the day.

Why, in the name of all that’s Web 2.0, does a college of my acquaintance block Google Mail? Or Google Docs come to that? Descriptors abound requiring students to access newsgroups. Only problem is many colleges block NNTP traffic. Why? Even worse why, when asked to unblock this traffic, do system administrators refuse on spurious “security” reasons? And why do we let them! The same applies to e-mail or chats.

If any administrator can come up with a sensible reason for this, and that excludes any explanation that includes the phrase “in case”, then I’d love to hear it.

It’s the 21st century. I spend half my time listening to tales of there not being enough IT equipment and the other half hearing that students are unable to bring their own laptops into colleges. Is there a relationship here?

The bottom line is this. Support services are there to support and if education is being compromised then we have to address this; and sooner rather than later.

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