Developing a Pedagogical Framework for Web 2.0 and social software

Earlier this week, I wrote a post on issues in transitions between school and work, school and university and university and work. This is part of Pontydysgu’s ongoing work on the recently launched (no web site yet) G8WAY project. the project seeks to use social software to help learners in transitions. We are working at the moment on developing a Pedagogical Framework.

This is not so easy. I used to rail against the idea that educational technology is pedagogically neutral as so many vendors used to say. All technology has affordances which can facilitate or impair different pedagogical approaches. And whilst the educational technology community has tended to espouse constructivist approaches to learning, the reality is that most Virtual Learning Environments have tended to be a barrier to such an approach to learning.

However Web 2.0 and social software opens up many new possible approaches to learning, largely due to the ability for learners to actively create and through collaboration and social networking. But teachers constantly ask what software they should use and how they can use it in the classroom. What software is good for what pedagogic approach, they ask?

The idea of the G8WAY framework is enables us to map onto digital media and e-tools with regard to their learning characteristics, such as thinking and reflection, conversation and interaction, experience and activity or evidence and demonstration. This can then be used as the basis against which to benchmark pedagogical principles for any particular learning scenario developed within G8WAY.

So, for example, a learning activity that enables learners to reflect on their experience, say for example, in a work-based learning context – would map to ‘thinking and reflection’ and ‘evidence and demonstration’. In contrast, a learning activity that supported collaboration would map to the first three characteristics. Of course any one individual using this schema would map particular instances differently, depending on their interpretation of the framework and the context of use of the tools; the point is this framework provides a useful schema to think about tools in use and how they map to different characteristics of learning.

This seems a useful approach – the question is how to do it? Does anyone have any references to previous approaches like this?

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