Cole Camplese has a great post about FaceBook:
FaceBook is a social networking service that about 85% of the college student population uses. A quick survey of my class this semester showed me that 44 out of 45 students were in the FB. It is amazing how much time and energy students give to their entries and it shows me that with the right mix there are things we can do to design killer experiences:
- One thing is to make it easy to connect to others. LMS tools do not do this. They are positioned as a teaching tool first and only -- that is shame as I would love if it my students spent some real time inside our learning spaces.
- Make features they want -- right now our CMS/LMS has dropboxes, messageboards, quizzes and all the things I want as a teacher but nothing for them. There isn't a place to connect with others outside of email, you can't leave quick messages for anyone, and the chat stuff is just so old school.
And yet, we can't seem to get ePortfolios off the ground. Clearly, we're starting from the wrong end of things. Let the students show us how they use online spaces to present themselves, and let us go to them and teach them how to harness what they are already doing for purposes like reflection and job hunting. Applications like FaceBook and MySpace are pretty easy to build these days; we shouldn't have to invest big bucks into designing ePortfolio apps. They already exist. From the software perspective, what we mainly need is a tool that makes it harder for students to carelessly or accidentally throw out the stuff they did for class that may be important in ways they're not thinking about yet. We need that Box-'O-Stuff, where they save their first assignment drafts and where it becomes natural and automagic to keep all subsequent drafts. Then we need easy hooks so they can suck that content out of their boxes and post it on whatever MySpace-like application (whether integral to the LMS or a third-party service) suits their specific portfolio purposes. The main focus then becomes on teaching them what to put in the portfolio and why, rather than on how to build the widgets.
But are we humble enough to approach it this way?