Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Social Networking, Web 2.0, and Learning: What the Research Says

These are my notes from Cheryl Lemke’s COSN09 session “Social Networking, Web 2.0, and Learning: What the Research Says.” MY THOUGHTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Cheryl will be putting up a wiki soon with references and citations

What is different about web 2.0? (discussion)

Stanford and the Univ of Washington have a multi-million dollar grant studying this (LIGHT ?)
– Bridget Barron paper from 2006 on “adolesent learning 2.0”
— student at the center, others outside as nodes (school, peers, home, distributed resources, work, communities)
— extending learning beyond the school day

The 1001 Flat World Tales: Selected stories from the never-ending, worldwide 1001 Flat World Tales wiki writing workshop
– students need to be scaffolded into this
– drawn in and engaged

Conflict Resolution
– lots of students are doing face to face collaboration and then publishing
example from Thinkquest: “You Make the Call”
– uses collaboration to engage students in a situation they might run into, develop character in conflict resolution
– help them realize they have choice
– designed for students with behavior problems

Framework I’d like you to consider
– author of Flow: Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
– that is where we are trying to get our kids: they are motivated, excited, engaged
– he talks about task complexity and skill level, managing those
– when you balance those, you get kids into flow

Bored kids: that is where a lot of our kids are
– they have the skill level
– we’re not pushing the envelope

With web 2.0 we should be trying to engage students and get them to deep learning
– unless we address motivation, curiosity and interest, we’ll never get kids there
– brain research, working memory: motivation is VERY important
– nothing will get into my working memory without motivation

Last piece: learning environments that engage, specifically web 2.0

so question is for you as administrators, what can you do to create these learning environments for students?

other synergy: listen to the student voice
– you’ll find it mirrors what research says is good and effective learning
– web 2.0 can certainly facilitate that
– the triangulation of that is very important

1st point: Collaboration

definition from Johnson & Johnson: “Teaming and collaboration refer to the abilities to cooperate as a member of a highly successful group…”

For moderate to complex learning (are some exceptions with some skill building): cooperation trumps competition, and cooperation trumps individual learning

the research is clear that kids are NOT talking in our classrooms
– high performing students in our classrooms had hundreds of times to interact in substantive ways with peers and their teachers
– low performing kids: interaction is minimal
– we know one of the best ways to learn is to talk about what you’re studying, doing, thinking, etc

We need to look at the attributes of cooperative learning success
1- balance of formal and informal
2- positive interdependence which promotes personal responsibility
3- considerable promotive interaction
4- shared workspace
5- iterative group reflection and processing to improve effectiveness

Tapscott said kids are not differentiating between fun, work, and learning

peer monitoring for the norms of the group are key
– really listen to each other
– elicit ideas from each other

shared workspace
– can be a yellow pad or a screen
– has to be shared where everyone’s efforts come together
– similar to the Inspiration we used at the start of this session

Iterative group reflection means someone must have the role (which changes) looking at the function of the group
– how did we do today?
– need to have rubrics to measure things and assess

Can we have this in online projects?
– yes
– in Flat Classroom project, we see rules teachers and students are agreeing to
– things teachers are doing to scaffold this for students

study comparing Cooperative vs Small Group learning
– found in interaction, there was a lot more mediated, questioning, and a lot LESS discipline problems with cooperative learning

Sustained discussion?
– we are not looking for a model where the teacher is in the center of all discussion
– what we want is sustained discussion where the teacher is involved but not in the center

Center for Institutional Science (?) has practice guide for adolescent literacy, how kids best learn in these environments
– out of every 60 minutes in the classroom. there is only 1.67 minutes of sustained discussion

As I look at blogs and wikis out there, many are very disturbing because you know the teacher is working for sustained discussion but you can see the “assigned” responses
– these are not real conversations

Here’s an anomaly

If you have a question that is compelling, you can draw people in

Example of a group working to build a learning community
– only one that worked was in Memphis where there was a lot of racial tension
– they had a real issue that they felt their colleagues could help with

Creative Controversy research findings from Johnson and Johnson

Diana Kuhn also

many of us do debate and research papers, their recommendations
1- research a position
2- present best case
3- engage in open discussion arguing forcefully for position, refute, rebut
4- reverse perspective and repeat
5- drop all advocacy, synthesize and integrate

last step is most important, everyone comes together to find the best solution to the problem which has been stated

Book on Critical Thinking book on inner city schools: Deanna Kuhn

Kuhn, Deanna (2005). Education for Thinking. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Practice guide from the Institute of Educational Sciences (IES)
– strategies to advance collaboration and teammwork
What Works Clearinghouse

2nd topic: Multi-tasking
– are kids really wired and better than us at multi-tasking
– they ARE better at us because they are younger
– in 20s or 30s you hit your multi-tasking peak

just read a book that if we practice as older adults, we can match multi-tasking abilities of young people

there are reasons for this physiological
– we do things fast in serial, not parallel
– we have executive control in our brain which does this

people who flip from thing to thing to thing, actually waste a lot of time
– they waste time in moving to something else
– also waste time realizing different rules apply in a new context

info workers don’t spend more than 10 minutes in any one sphere (from research)
– takes about 25 minutes to get BACK into that thing


Linda Stone from Microsoft: “Continuous partial attention”

Teens, Multitasking and Background Tasking
– distracted vs focused
– research shows if lyrics are not present, we can all function with music in the background
– lyrics become a distraction
– young people are better at distractors

what do you do when you want a 2 year old to do something else? you distract them?

what is the takeaway: we have to help kids understand and make choices about when to multi-task and when they should not

there are studies that may show kids are being literally “rewired”

3rd topic: Multimodal Learning

this is at the heart of web 2.0

Richard Mayer’s work from UC Santa Barbara
– his student Roxanne (?)
– work is great in this area

Visualization happening today

Look at NY Times “Naming Names” interactive website
– analyze the data by clicking on a candidate’s name

Look at the website visual complexity
– how people visualize complex data
– learn about what is connected to what
– very interesting ways to represent information, data
– we are going to be expecting kids to use data like this

We are going to be expecting kids

Video example: Adobe Youth Voices 07-08 iEarn
AYV Youth Work Gallery
Hidden Cost of Cashmere (very clever)

The Hidden Cost of Cashmere cleverly links America’s appetite for cheap consumer goods with desertification and the growing environmental crisis. This film was selected as part of Youth Producing Change, the first exclusively youth-produced program of short films at the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in collaboration with founding presenter Adobe Youth Voices.

every child has a story to tell, and can tell it in different ways

last example for multi-modal learning: Visual Investigations from the TED conference
– man from Finland, an economist
– trying to use data to show the world has changed
– it’s not “us and them” first and third world
Hans Rosling: Debunking third-world myths with the best stats you’ve ever seen – Hans is making all his data available to us
– you can play with all data on the x and y axis

can you imagine plotting something and asking kids to identify

Richard Mayer and Roxane Moreno have about 20 principles if you want to put good visual design together
– one example: if you are doing a chart with text, you should always insert it into the chart
– don’t use a legend, because people have to leave the chart, a legend actually causes less memory
– also: don’t give visuals and text at the same time: you have different channels for text and sound
– so don’t put all your text on the screen

High Tech High is my favorite school of all in the world
– have done a blood bank study
– teachers have come together from different content areas

Next topic: Engagement
– have been doing positive, social and emotional engagement
– most studies you see are on “behavioral engagement”
– we need to look at cognitive engagement, as well as social and emotional

levels of engagement
– stems from Frederick and Schelechty’s work
– intrinsic: student sets learning goals for themselves


– intrinsic
– tactical
– compliant
– withdrawn
– defiant

One thing that contributes to engagement is attribution
– research is very clear
– Dr. Carol Dweck
– kids either have a fixed or a growth model for intelligence

I used to think my IQ was set for life, but we now know that is not true
– Dr Dweck took 8th grade remedial students for math last year, did a random sample, kids learned about brains, how the synapse fires, taught themselves
– even though the group that studied the brain got less math instruction, they outscored the traditionally taught kids
– in many cases kids are not taking ownership for their learning, don’t have a growth model for learning
– when a kid gets a D on a test, growth model kids don’t say “I am so dumb,” they say something like “I shouldn’t have gone to that basketball game last night, I should have studied something

question: what movie is playing in your kids’ heads?

Dr Dweck is putting up a website on brain research and inviting kids into it

Another: Motivation to Achieve
– do students believe they can succeed?
– is that success important?

goal setting key also

Self-direction is so important
– can kids manage their own time, put a plan in place, be reflective about their own learning
– if they are self-directed, they are probably good for life
– good news: you can can help students build skills for self-direction
– we are finding you can’t do it teacher by teacher, you have to take a systemic approach

Idea of Relatedness
– teh affective domain is SO important
– we need to create communities where kids want to go to school, others care about them
– student to student
– teacher to student
– sense of community
– vallued as an individual and a member of the community

if kids are isolated they WILL drop out
– the research is very clear on this
– helping kids feel connected is absolutely the key

personal story of Cheryl moving as a junior in high school, not being connected

Last item: Learning envioronments that engage: web 2.0
– collaboration
– multimodal learning
– multitasking
– engagement

organize the content so kids like it and are interested in it

– content/substance
– organization
– novelty and variety
– choice

-intellectual safety
– affirmation
– affiliation

…more, links will be on the wiki which is coming


Her answer: create a caring community that values each student as an individual, and provide each student with meaningful tasks to do each day


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3 responses to “Social Networking, Web 2.0, and Learning: What the Research Says”

  1. John Weidner Avatar


    Sounds like she’s read Bill Milliken’s The Last Dropout

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