Tinker, Amanda, Cattermole, Christine and Byrne, Gillian (2009) Creating Learning Communities: Three Open Source Tools. In: 6th LDHEN Symposium: the challenge of learning development, 6-7 April 2009, Bournemouth University. (Unpublished)

‘I have always imagined the information space as something to which everyone has immediate and intuitive access, and not just to browse, but to create ’ (Berners-Lee, 1999, p. 169)

Use of the web today, particularly amongst young people, is now more social and participative. Facebook, YouTube and even ebay are witness to the ‘power of the crowd’ (Anderson, 2007, p.15). Such tools become better as more people contribute. In a bid to harness that creativity, energy and sociability the Academic Skills Tutors at the University of Huddersfield have been exploring open source technologies and how they might enhance teaching and learning.

The workshop aims to introduce practical examples of social software tools; how these are currently used to foster learning communities and promote academic development. Three distinct social software tools are demonstrated, illustrating our current use of these with students, how these can be integrated into a Virtual Learning Environment and their initial evaluation. It then will provide a ‘how to’ element, allowing participants to actively engage with the technology. Finally, participants will be invited to share their own experiences and consider how these tools might be used in their own teaching and research contexts via a social network discussion forum.
Following the workshop the participants will be able to:

• Create a delicious account, a wiki and a social network for use in teaching or research

• Identify ways in which social networking tools could be used in their own teaching and research context

Participate in an online social network discussion

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