Social Annotation

An example of Viddler’s time-line commenting capabilities in Mark Pesce‘s 2008 talk, Hyperpolitics (American Style). Please watch this 25 minute video.

YouTube has recently made available auto-captioning for your videos you’ve uploaded to YouTube and we’ll see in today’s readings two different perspectives on this latest Google innovation. Educause’s 7 Things You Should About Social Bookmarking offers a basic overview for educators and its article on calibrated peer review might be of particular interest to those of you teaching W courses or working in large lecture courses. I’d like you to read the comments posted by members of last semester’s course. What connections do you make as a result of their comments? What does this progress mean to you in light of our previous readings, discussions and your own evolving pedagogical philosophy and practice?

On Thursday we’ll be meeting in Elluminate, courtesy of LearnCentral, where we will continue our discussion on how to find, filter and evaluate online resources.


12 Responses to “Social Annotation”

  1. Karen Zook Says:

    I’m excited about the YouTube annotations… it seems like that can have some great applications in setting up an online classroom, especially the feature where clicking on different options within the video link to different supplementary videos. You can set up different outcomes for different students (or, at least, different students’ selections)!

    Looking at articles like Educause’s 7 Things You Should Know About Social Bookmarking and even Mark Pesce’s The Human Network, I keep coming back to the ways in which technology changes, simultaneously, nothing and everything. As the Educause writer points out, the downside of social bookmarking is that it’s done by amateurs; so, while we have all the information on the web available to us all the time now, we still need to think critically and be evaluative when we process our information. As students, it’s really the same skills that were required when we were doing our research out of libraries, it’s just that now we can access the unfiltered information BEFORE evaluating it, instead of the antiquated workflow of needing to guess what would be useful, then seeking out that information in the hopes that you’d guessed correctly. It’s one thing to realize you used less-than-helpful search terms in Google, quite another to order a book from a distant library and lose two weeks’ worth of research time before receiving it, only to find out that it wasn’t as helpful as you’d hoped.

    Pesce’s mention of using the iPad as a surveillance tool for individuals with elderly parents struck me as a little funny. Sure, that’s one potential use of new technology; it’s an application that’s already been covered by existing technology (webcam + laptop, for instance), however, so it’s a little strange that the iPad in particular is being highlighted as a good news/bad news harbringer of decreased digital privacy. I don’t see his anecdote about Sydney bus drivers’ objection to GPS tracking as being particularly different than my own experience of cab drivers in Philly who often get touchy about attempts to pay with credit cards, because it means there’s more potential for tracking “real” income (including tips, etc). Everyone deserves privacy, it’s true, but we haven’t had it for a long, long time.

    And, really, privacy was a short-lived phenomenon; Bill Bryson writes about this at some length in his newest book. It’s an expectation that’s only been recently developed, and only in some geographical regions of the world. It’s just that now, the people to whom we are ceding our privacy aren’t necessarily those living in proximity to us.*

    *I like my privacy as much as the next person. I just get very, very frustrated with the fear surrounding The Internet as new technology, which fear often seems to overlook the many other ways in which strangers can view or impact our “private” lives.

    • melinaanne Says:

      And again I think we find ourselves at a point in which we need to reevaluate, and redefine. What is privacy in the digital age? Can we really fight for the “privacy of old”? Does it exist anymore? At a faculty meeting last year, my principal was addressing an incident in which (what were they thinking????) a teacher had posted a negative comment about a student (calling him/her by name) on his/her wall. Naturally, through one channel or another, this got back to the student. Talk about filter failure, though in this case the failure was human. The principal said he wasn’t trying to discourage us from having facebook profiles or taking part in other types of social networking. He was simply pointing out to us that we, as educators, do not have a private life. Just like Karen says, everyone deserves privacy, but how that privacy is defined now–and how one can obtain it–is certainly different from what our concept of it was fifty years ago. Privacy no longer means building a fence so your neighbors can’t see into your house. If only it were so simple…

  2. Karen Zook Says:

    Oh, and Barbara, I think there might be a link missing for the video. I noticed earlier this week and figured I’d sort it out this morning, but I still can’t seem to figure out what the intended 25 minute video is. Is this it? It’s the only thing tagged “hyperpolitics” on Pesce’s site.

    (Of course, the odds are about 98% that the link is there and I’m just being a total dope.)

  3. Eleonora Boscolo Camiletto Says:

    I think the discussion over the new Youtube feature is a good example of what we have talked about and learned in this class so far.
    The tools that are available to us are many and we can interpret them and use them to our benefit. I am sure Diigo was not intended to be a search engine, and in fact it is not, but I use it to look for article that other people might have bookmarked, for example. Facebook was not meant to be used in a class, in fact is has been often criticized to distract students from the purpose of learning but we demonstrated that it can be included in class projects and it can be exploited by teachers to encourage students to participate in class communities of practice (I am referring to Melina’s project).
    We all know that Google owns pretty much everything, I had a breakdown about a month ago when I couldn’t access my Google account: no email, no Google reader, no access to my Blogspot. I was desperate (but everything turned out fine in the end ;)).
    Yes, Google might not have intended this auto-captioning feature as a tool for deaf people but as it turn out, it is! It is a great tool for deaf people because they use it as as such. Isn’t that, in the end, another form of filtering?

    • carsten01 Says:

      I agree. I think we use many tools that initially served a different purpose. We use them either for our private purposes or implement them in our classrooms. We can use google earth to bring the world into our classrooms, we can use google voice so that our students can leave a message and we can assess their pronunciation. But do we not adapt to these tools instead of having tools adapt to our purpose of teaching?
      Over the time of the course we came across many tools that looked great but were not really. We implemented tools but they did not function properly. We introduced tools but our students did not like them. Does, by using tools in our classroom that are not specifically designed for teaching, our level of proficiency decline? If the tool fits 87% of our needs, do we tolerate the 13% that do not fit, just because it is a nice tool? And taken that path, do we use tools for the tools’ sake or for the sake of teaching? Do we use tools primarily to motivate our students or maybe even because we are expected to do so?

      • claudiopi Says:

        Good point, Carsten. I agree that sometimes we may decide to use a tool from the Internet only because we find ourselves excited about the novelty more than everything else. This causes us to adapt our needs to the tools’ possibilities. I guess that this happens in a Web 2.0 era where I feel like there is still a lot of experimentation. I would say that, as educators, we have to proceed cautiously, and see if we at least have that 87% succeeding. Then, we’ll see if we can implement the 13% somehow with some different means. I guess that if we want to “embed” technology as an alternative aimed at bringing students to work differently and/or in a different environment, we have to be willing to sacrifice this little ‘13%’, as you call it. However, aren’t we as teachers free to experiment? I have also the feeling that this is somehow linked to the concept of (re)using old traditional tools and having them not succeeding for all types of students. Isn’t teaching an imperfect ‘art’ from this point of view?

        • jarcastillo Says:

          I think the danger in using tools simply because “we are excited about the novelty” might be in not thinking about the reasons why we are searching and trying new tools. I think anyone that engages in conversations like these and/or takes courses entitled “Integrating Social Networking Tools Into Language & Culture” might be on the right direction. After seeing everyone’s classroom project presentations, I know that all the tools we are “trying out” in our classes served a purpose (even if it did not fit 100% of our students). When I took the Second Language Acquisition course and learned about all of the different methods and approaches to teaching language, it was clear that not a single method or approach would work for 100% of the students. It was up to us as instructors to reflect on our teaching personality and adapt to the different groups. Even if we are told time and time again that the “communicative approach” is the holy grail of our instruction here at UConn, we often times have to incorporate other methods such as Total Physical Response or even Whole Language Approach (sometimes even tweaking our approaches in two different sections of the same class because the students’ needs require it). Web 2.0 tools and technologies are just like the many different methods and approaches. We have to mix and match and take the best we can and be ready to adapt for the next class. Hopefully we will have time to explore the 100 new tools that will come out by then.

  4. claudiopi Says:

    Watching Mark Pesce’s presentation, I heard many interesting points and concepts. As people from last semester’s class said, I didn’t know about the gap (6 years!) between the invention of wiki and the appearance of Wikipedia on the Web either! For some reason, I just assumed that Wikipedia had the primacy. However, referring to Pesce’s accusation about Wikipedia being not democratic, I’m not sure if I want to agree with him. It is true that it’s regulated by sort of “dictators” (the wikipedians) who filter the information that amateurs add, share and modify but, after all, I think there has to be some regulation in such a hyperconnected (using Pesce’s vocabulary) environment. Imagine what it would be without people caring about the reliability of what people writes. What if I want to have fun and create a nonexistent definition on Wikipedia and nobody is there to check that out? I saw a TV show where they would try to make up the name and definition for an imaginary animal. It took no more than 2 minutes to have the new (and fake) information deleted. So, for such big projects, I guess it doesn’t hurt to have things put this way.

    Talking about the new auto-captioning tool introduced by YouTube, I can understand both sides of the comments. I can see functionality in it, since it helps the deaf out with knowing what in a video is being said. And whatever the purpose is: it is true and it is provable that it works. It also makes sense to say that Google may have thought about getting higher ranks in users’ searches on the Web… and this can also be proved! But, why do we always have to find a scapegoat? Is it so necessary? During my Internet searches, nobody prevents me from selecting a different source from YouTube, if that’s not what I want. For some reason, web spiders are already responsible for weird or nonsense search results. In this case, there’s already some filtering in the Web that makes us use certain resources instead of others. However, at least we’re less lost than we would else be.

    The virtual is becoming too real. Web-based companies don’t filter for fun, but also thinking about their profits. And if their purposes meet people’s needs (and the auto-captioning tool is the case)… then why not?

  5. aljarrash Says:

    The discussion on filtering will not come into an end since we have different sources and many are added on the way with a lot of information included.I agree with Barbara on what she said on Thursday session that’ we should be our filters’ as I agree with Karen who said ‘we still need to think critically and be evaluative when we process our information.At the same time,I think there is a reliability andI am sure that People who run those sources are more serious to benefit others of they give and what Claudiopi mentioned about’ the imaginary animal’s definition added to the wikipedia which was deleted in not more than 2 minutes, is an example .
    About the youtube annotations, I think it is not only good for deaf people ,but for everyone needs that.We can use that as teachers instead of explaining and pausing many times when watching a video in class to explain ,we can add the needed annotations .
    Pesce’s did mention the difference between the hyper-connection ways in the past hundred years and now.What I’m interested in is on what is going to come after .We learned so many good things in this class and every time I discover that all what I study is changing and so many things are added and will be added to it which leads to a question:do we have the patience and enough ability to keep what we have and learn more about it and more others.

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