Review in the journals
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Anthony Grafton on the history of ideas
Starting with the January 2006 issue, a new team of executive editors took over the Journal of the History of Ideas: Warren Breckman, Martin J. Burke, Anthony Grafton, and Ann E. Moyer. "The History of Ideas: Precept and Practice," Grafton's reflections of the journal and the field since 1950, provides a usable past for thinking historically about what educates. For those who have lived and studied through much of the time Grafton surveys, his essay reactivates rich currents of thought, and for those who are early in a life of reflective inquiry, it provides a well-guided entry into the community of concern animating reflection. The new editors convey a strong sense of purpose for the history of ideas.
Grafton exercises a wise selectivity in reflecting on the history of the history of ideas, with respect to both its forerunners and to its recent practitioners. Yet he discusses not a few of the former, and given his inclusions, it is a bit surprising that he had no space for either Giambattista Vico or Wilhelm Dilthey, both of seminal influence on the field. These omissions are significant in the context of StudyPlace, for both Vico and Dilthey studied how formative actions shaped a human life, and how cultural creations were the fruits of human self-creation and, in turn, were resources drawn on by a self-creating person, thereby instituting that boundary between what might be in her power, and what might not. The history of pedagogy needs to assume a significant place in the history of ideas, not merely as a topic occasionally discussed, but as an essential element of experience as a result of which ideas come to have a history.
McPherson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., & Brashears, M. (2006). Social Isolation
This past June an interesting article on the change of core discussion networks in America appeared in American Sociological Review and was covered in the New York Times. Access the article here. The authors used data from the General Social Survey to show that over the last two decades core personal discussion networks have been shrinking and that the number of social isolates in America (those who report that the size of their discussion network is 0; in other words, that there is no one with whom they "discuss important matters") has nearly tripled.
This study is worth reading, for it raises many interesting questions about contemporary American society. For instance: How is it possible that amid the rise of a ubiquitous social apparatus (the world wide web) — one which increasingly provides the engine upon which information is generated and communication is facilitated — Americans report having fewer and fewer confidants? The web connects people, it does not isolate them. Wouldn't intuition tell us that amid such change the number of close confidants would rise, or at least stay relatively the same, but certainly not fall? Or is it actually the case that upon being increasingly inundated with information persons turn to fewer and fewer trustworthy friends and relatives to make sense of an overwhelming amount of ideational material? What has a pedagogical influence? Friends? Or screens?
- ↑ Anthong Grafton, "The History of Ideas: Precept and Practice, 1950-2000 and Beyond," Journal of the History of Ideas 61:1 (January 2006), pp. 1-32.
- ↑ As he has written on Vico, Grafton's omission of him is especially surprising. See Anthon Grafton, "Introduction," Giambattista Vico, New Science: Principles of the New Science concerning the Common Nature of Nations, David March, trans. (New York: Penguin books, 1999), pp. xi-xxxiii.
- ↑ McPherson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., & Brashears, M. (2006). Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades American Sociological Review, 71, p. 353-375.
Reviews generated by students in MSTU 4020, Fall 2007
Article citation, in APA format
Body of abstract
Kreijns, K., Kirschner, P. A., & Jochems, W. (2003). Identifying the pitfalls for social interaction in computer-supported collaborative learning environments: A review of the research. Computers in Human Behavior, 19, 335-353.
Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) environments provide computer-mediated communication tools to enable people to collaborate and enhance their learning experience. However, studies have revealed that providing the tools did not necessarily imply that people would use them. This article focuses on two pitfalls which seem to impede the desired results. The first is taking social interaction for granted just because the environment makes it possible. The second is the tendency to restrict social interaction to the educational dimension and ignore the social dimension which is essential for group forming, group structure and group dynamics. It examines the factors influencing the development of communities in CSCL environment and how learning communities are established based on group cohesion, trust, respect and a sense of belonging. It concludes with methods and guidelines for avoiding the pitfalls and suggests future research in the design of social CSCL environments.
Read, S. (2006). Tapping into students' motivation: Lessons from young adolescents' blogs. Voices From the Middle, 14(2), 38-46.
This article sought to analyze the motivations of teenagers for writing blogs. Based on a qualitative analysis of six students, Read concludes that the majority of her student bloggers were motivated by “relatedness” and “growth needs” as proposed in Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” theory (1954).
Read’s methodology included the reading of student blogs, exchanging blog comments, and conducting email conversations. Her conclusions are mapped out in a chart including content summary of each blog, format, frequency of comments, and motives. While content, format, and commenting frequency varied, motives closely reflected a wish to communicate with friends (“relatedness”). In terms of “growth needs”, Read notes teenagers often use their blogs as archives that allow them to reflect on their younger selves.
Domingos, P., (n.d). Mining social networks for viral marketing. Retrieved October 22, 2007 from http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/pedrod/papers/iis04.pdf
The increased popularity of the Internet and the onset of Web 2.0’s involvement with blogs, knowledge-sharing sites, online gaming, and social networking groups have led to a rise in the concept of viral marketing. While traditional direct marketing focuses on the potential of one customer to buy a certain product, viral marketing takes advantage of the ability for one customer to influence others to buy that product.
The success of a viral marketing campaign is contingent upon many factors, including the network value of the customer, the likeability of the product, the ability of a customer to influence his or her acquaintances, and the ability of the acquaintances to influence his or her acquaintances.
Certain companies, such as Amazon, Google, and Hotmail, are able to flourish without hardly any advertising – their success is based purely on word of mouth. The advantage of this type of advertising, which is also a key component of viral marketing, is based on the concept that a recommendation from a trusted source has the credibility that a direct advertisement lacks.
Baird, D. E. & Fisher, M. (2005). Neomillenial user experience design strategies: Utilizing social networking media to support “always on” learning styles. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 34(1), 5-32.
The article seeks to highlight the new and innovative ways in which neomillennial students (those born after 1982) are using the Internet and related technologies like instant messaging, blogging, etc. as a means of creating new learning methods by way of socially-oriented learning communities. It highlights that these new learning methods have come about because of the students’ expectations as compared to previous generations, as well as their ability to adapt to new technologies quickly. Initially, the article explores the reasons behind introduction digital technologies into the “always on” (Baird & Fisher, 2005, p. 10) learning environment that encourages individual and group participation, by rethinking the learning theories of adult education. Further, it proposes methods to reevaluate course design, by incorporating the Internet and the ever-evolving possibilities for social interaction that it offers, since “the current generation of learners is “hardwired” to simultaneously utilize multiple types of Web-based participatory media.” (Baird & Fisher, 2005, p. 10). The article explores both the possibilities that technology offers, as well as the learning styles of the neomillennial student, given the positive effect it will have on the learning process. Finally, in alluding to the future of education that instructors should adapt, the article outlines how socially accepted technologies can be effectively brought into an educational context to share knowledge, reflect on information and improve learning collectively.
Ellison, N. B., Gibbs, J. L., & Heino, R. D. (2006). Managing impressions online: Self-presentation processes in the online dating environment. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(2), article 2. Retrieved October 15, 2007, from http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol11/issue2/ellison.html
Developing new relationships in a computer-mediated environment raises interesting issues of honesty, self-presentation, and impression management. This is especially true for the online dating arena, where there is tension between the need to present oneself attractively and the need to be authentic so that potential relationships can be more meaningful. This study explores strategies by which participants of a popular online dating forum actively manage their identity presentations and evaluate those of potential partners. In-depth qualitative data gathered as part of the study indicated that participants found a middle ground between the pressures to attract a mate and to be accurate by creating profiles that reflected their “Ideal Selves”. Evaluation strategies tended to be used recursively and included paying attention to small cues and making attempts to confirm the veracity of identity claims. Since the anticipation of face-to-face interaction is inherent in this context (Ellison, Gibbs, & Heino, 2006), the study suggests this anticipation had significant effects on the extent of misrepresentation. Finally, the study indicated that technological constraints imposed by the websites sometimes enabled misrepresentation. Overall, the study findings reveal that the process of online identity representation is dynamic and multi-layered. This research sets the stage for further examinations of definitions of online honesty and the effects of communication goals on self disclosure.
Riegelsberger, J & Sasse, M. A. (2001). Trustbuilders and Trustbusters: The Role of Trust Cues in Interfaces to e-Commerce Applications
E-Commerce has impacted and significantly changed the variables involved in commerce in such way that the distinction of buyer and seller became ambiguous and the concept of space and time in shopping has taken a new meaning which consequently shifted the expectations and constituents involved in them. However, even with the possibilities of benefiting from the circumstances, inexperienced e-Commerce users see on-line shopping as a high risk environment (Riegelsbeger & Sasse, 2001). The risk interpreted as lack of trust stems from various factors. The article of Riegelsberger, J and Sasse, M. A., “Trustbuilders and Trustbusters: The Role of Trust Cues in Interfaces to e-Commerce Applications” focuses on the attributes of the elements to be trusted and the use of social presence in increasing trust. Certain cues pertaining to the interface of the website and the technology that enhance trust are identified as trustbuilders while other cues destroying trust are defined trustbusters (Riegelsbeger & Sasse, 2001). The following critique acknowledges the findings in the article and further deals with the social presence and social e-commerce applications that will link to 2007 trend of e-commerce.
Chapelle, C. A., & Hegelheimer, V. (2004). The language teacher in the 21st century. In S. Fotos & C. M. Browne (Eds.), New perspectives on CALL for second language classrooms (pp. 299-316). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Given the fact that the teaching profession belongs in a world that is increasingly interconnected by technology, the article suggests that second language (L2) and foreign language teachers need to become active participants in the discourse of technology-related teaching topics. For that to happen, the authors propose that language teachers of the 21st century need to have knowledge of applied linguistics, perform vital evaluations and be proficient in technological applications. First, teachers need to have concrete understanding of the areas of applied linguistics that relate to L2 teaching. As a result, they will be able to produce language-learning tasks that will be helpful to language learners and understand the links between the contexts of language use and the linguistic choices learners make in the computer-mediated communication environments of the 21st century. Second, teachers need to be able to evaluate both the software they use and the learning tasks they ask their students to complete. This evaluation should go beyond a prescribed checklist by including criteria based on research and theory that evaluate textbooks, software, distance/Internet based learning, and websites. This all-around evaluation will promote the creation of better learning tasks and give teachers an insight on current research. Finally, teachers need to acquire strong technological skills to take full advantage of the infinite possibilities of the World Wide Web, technology based communication tools, and resource rich language labs. In addition to basic troubleshooting skills, basic knowledge of website design and creation is essential. Furthermore, knowing how to search, evaluate, and re-purpose materials will enable teachers to use technology effectively and increase learner competencies.
Beldarrain, Y. (2006). Distance Education Trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, 27, 139-153.
This article outlines different ways social technologies and theories to enhance the interaction between instructors and students in distance learning. The article gave a great insight of social software trends that are being used within education today. We realize that the use of technology is ever so changing day by day within our homes and schools. Within this reading the author identified the different types of social networking tools when dealing with electronic/distance learning. The pedagogy of using social software tools to interact with students and to pull students into this social community which is learning over the internet is coming into main focus. Beldarrain (2006), states “emerging technologies provide opportunities for instructor-student as well as student-student real-time and/or time-delayed collaboration. Software companies are creating user-friendly applications that are an asset to business and educational settings alike” (p. 140). The main focal point was the discussion on synchronous and asynchronous environments when operating these social tools such as the wiki, blog, and podcast which incorporated other social software which were Imeem, Writeboard and InstaColl. In order for instructors to promote collaborations and get the full benefit of using distance learning as an option, they will need student direct participation and cooperation in all of these networking tools. It is a known fact, that more and more students are engaging in and taking distance learning courses due to the advancement of technology. Beldarrain (2006), points out that communication “has evolved from correspondence schools to delivery mechanisms such independent study, computer-based instruction, computer-assisted instruction, video courses, videoconferencing, web-base instruction, and online learning” (p. 139).
Hall, S. (2000).Who needs ‘Identity’? in P. Du Gay, J. Evans & P. Redman (Eds) Identity: a reader, (pp.15-30). London: Sage
This paper provides an overview of how psychoanalytically influenced feminism and cultural criticism re-conceptualize the idea of identity. It summarizes the deconstructive perspectives and theorizing processes that are critical of an integral identity and that suggests identity can not be thought in the old way. Hall (1999) drew from several heads of criticism: Althusser, Butler, Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, etc., hoping to discuss identities in consistent discourses, articulations, and interpellations. He chose the obscure approach, which in the approach itself hinted that there is no complete delineation to identities. Identity should be thought in a more thorough way— in relationships to others and in a continuing process—to find a meeting ground where meanings make sense.
Barnett, Vicki. (2003). The use of information technology in a strike. Journal of Labor Research, XXIV(1), 55-71.
This paper describes a particular instance of how information and communication technologies helped form a new labor union in a newspaper office and then catalyzed a strike. The Calgary Herald, one of two major papers based in Calgary Canada was purchased by a company that cut costs and adopted a conservative editorial policy. A third of the staff would be permanent, another third would be freelancers and the rest would be contract employees. An email system set-up to allow quiet communication among initially a trusted few disgruntled editorial staff led to the formation of a fledgling union. This union then launched a strike, the last great labor confrontation in the 20th century in anti-union Alberta. The strike lasted 8 months during which the company held fast and then finally both parties settled. The company used microphones and other electronic eavesdropping devices during the strike. So conversation was not possible among the picketers and email communiques became the major source of dialogue between them. An extensive webpage developed by one of the strikers helped sustain the strike and garner extensive public support for the strike. The webpage played such a critical role in the strike that other unions decided to model their websites and their usage in future strikes on the Calgary Herald Union.
Bers, M. U., and Chau, C. (2006). Fostering civic engagement by building a virtual city. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(3), article 4. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol11/issue3/bers.html
The growing amount of time young people spend online has been viewed as both a threat and a tool to their community and political involvement. “Fostering Civic Engagement by Building a Virtual City,” an article describing a pilot study of the use of Zora, a virtual world designed to foster the civic engagement of youth, reveals how thoughtfully designed affordances of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) can indeed provide a safe and effective environment in which to practice the skills and habits of mind necessary for civic participation. The article describes the structure of the virtual city environment, including the activities intended to cultivate different aspects of civic engagement. These are broadly divided into “civic actions,” and “civic discourse.” Civic actions consist of participants creating objects, including “heroes” and “villains, and creating a community-wide “values dictionary.” Civic discourse is practiced through “civic dialogues” and “civic deliberations.” The authors then describe and analyze the results of a pilot study conducted as part of a summer program during which 12 young people aged 11 to 17 volunteered to participate in a 9 session workshop using Zora. Finally, the authors highlight how through participation in the Zora online community, young people developed a civic identity, as well as the skills of discourse and deliberation necessary for true civic engagement.
Ryan,Yoni.( 2001). Higher Education as a Business: Lessons from the Corporate World. Minerva:A Review of Science, Learning & Policy, 39 (1), 115-135. Retrieved August 20,2007 from http://library.tc.columbia.edu/
The Business of Borderless Education (BBE) speaks directly to distance learning and its advantages globally. The first study done on BBE examined the systematic procedures and objectives of commercial, virtual and Not-for-proﬁt universities. This article takes a closer look at the results of that study and the relatively new problem of Universities becoming vulnerable to globalization, new technology and international higher education providers. It highlights the sudden eagerness of enthused corporations involved in communications and Information Technology. The development of formal educational content is not the primary objective for these corporations. Instead it is the channel or passage of providing higher education. As with any globalization endeavor, there is that semblance of a ‘market intelligence’. It is pointed out however, that the new shared infrastructure has been in fact, after careful analysis, put in place to exploit market. Consequently, the purposes and practices of virtual Universities are analyzed. There is an in-depth look at how all the activities of an educational institution including social exchange are replicated and presented digitally in cyberspace. The study also looks at the distinctions between ‘For-profit’ educational institutions and private ‘not-for-profit’. There is a shared understanding of corporate universities that serve as an innermost unit and synchronizes the education and training process within corporations that are business oriented. It points out that the language and cultural differences and the increasing digital divide that inhibit global education are not being addressed. Ryan also points out that there is still some focus on staffing and curriculum and that progressively, Universities are now viewing it as the norm, to provide online education.
Smith, R. (2003). Place and Chips: Virtual Communities, Governance and the Environment. Global Environmental Politics, Vol. 3, No. 2, Pages 88-102 Article found: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/152638003322068236
Smith’s paper primarily deals with political aspects of governance and sovereignty on the internet as well as environmental governance. The major question being investigated by Roy Smith in his paper, is that of what role civil society might play in sustaining its resources on a global scale. In the article several “cyber-states” are investigated on the basis of how the virtual communities illustrate a common goal towards good using criteria from a political and social aspect. Smith’s paper covers a variety of challenges, concerns and current views on the topic, but primarily focuses on the idea of virtual place and the conceptual idea of virtual communities with a purpose of contributing beyond the restrictions of their physical communities and governments.
Hampton, K. and Wellman B. (2003). Neighboring in Netville: How the internet supports community and social capital in a wired suburb, City and Community, 2 (4): 277-311
The two major views about effect of internet on communities are that internet is weakening the community (through isolation) and internet is transforming community into virtual communities (due to its global and distant focus). In contrast to these two views, the authors believe that internet will enhance community in the neighborhood. To prove this hypothesis they put forth a conceptual argument as well as findings from a research in a wired suburb of Toronto.
According to the authors, little neighboring happens in neighborhoods because of temporal complexities, psychological barriers and lack of institutional opportunities for social contact. The internet solves these problems by providing tools for asynchronous communication and mimics the interactions in public spaces by providing one-to-one and one-to-many communication possibilities at the same time.
They back their hypothesis with survey and ethnographic data gathered from a Toronto suburb. The authors compared the neighboring pattern of wired residents with the non-wired residents. They found that wired residents had larger neighborhood networks. They had increased communication with neighbors living far away. They talked to more neighbors on phone than their non-wired counterparts. Overall, internet intensified the volume and range of neighborly relations and did not take away from other modes of communication. The authors conclude that online social ties are not a distinct social system, cut of from the existing range of activities. Online and offline are intertwined and feed into each other.
Samuel E. Ebersole. (2003). Online Learning Communities: Connecting with Success. The Journal for Education, Community, and Values, 7(5), 1-14. Retrieved October 21, 2007, from Interface: The Journal for Education, Community, and Values Web site: http://bcis.pacificu.edu/journal/2003/09/ebersole.php
Educators have an obligation to create environments where students feel that they play a part of the learning process beyond the physical classroom. One type of pedagogical approach is the development of an online learning community where students participate in classroom content from a remote distance geographically and away from the instructor and colleagues . Educators who foster and nurture “community building activities result in cognitive and affective interactions that enhance the learning experience and contribute to lower attrition rates” (Samuel E. Ebersole, 2003). Samuel Ebersole declares that learning that is “facilitated through multiple modes of online and offline communication tools will result in significant gains in student motivation, performance, personal growth, inclusiveness, and satisfaction with the overall online learning experience: (2003). Ebersole examines the origins and interaction of CMC using the ideals of media determinism and media ecology perspective. Ebersole also reviews literature that suggests how educators “might create a climate in the online classroom in which community is valued, nourished and sustained” (2003).
Ikpeze, C. (2007). Small group collaboration in peer-led electronic discourse: An analysis of group dynamics and interactions involving pre-service and inservice teachers. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 15, Retrieved October 19, 2007.
Student-led small group discussions are important in teacher education because they build social relationships and sense of community among teachers. They challenge the isolation that traditionally characterizes the profession (Wang, Sierra, & Folger, 2003, as cited in Ikpeze, 2007). In the article “Small Group Collaboration in Peer-led Electronic Discourse: An Analysis of Group Dynamics and Interactions Involving Preservice and Inservice Teachers,” Ikpeze explores how group characteristics, interactions, and processes impact peer-led online discussions in a teacher education course. A qualitative content analysis and case study techniques were used to study the online discourse of pre-service and inservice teachers in a graduate level course. Student participation in the course was primarily online, with occasional offline meetings. Each week the students were responsible for posting a personal response to the readings to the online system, and then the group leaders developed discussion topics based on the issues that emerged within individual reflections. Four groups were selected for cross-case analysis by the researcher because of their rich group dynamics (p. 388-389). Ikpeze (2007) found that the effectiveness of peer-led small group discussions online depended on three factors: participation and group interaction, group processing behavior, and students’ characteristics (p. 392). A cross-case analysis revealed four main patterns related to online small-group interactions within this study. First, group processing behavior, meaning how a group reflects on internal dynamics and performance, was a strong indicator for group learning. Second, the higher the participation rates in online discussions, the more likely the group members were to reflect on their processing. Third, effective peer leadership was important in achieving learning goals. Finally, Ikpeze concluded that characteristics, such as motivation, commitment, and attitude toward online learning, “greatly affected the success or failure of the discussions, the group facilitator’s effectiveness notwithstanding” (p. 400). These patterns have implications for the structure of online discussion groups in teacher professional development.