What I’m doing on the Social Media Classroom project this summer
May 30th, 2008

I’m working concurrently on four related activities as part of my HASTAC/MacArthur Social Media Classroom project:

1. The software development of the Social Media Classroom. Once a week, I Skype with Sam Rose, the Drupal developer I’m paying to develop new modules and configure Drupal/CSS to my spec. We usually have two other people in on the conversation, both volunteers — Brian Christiansen, a user interface specialist, and Max Senges a post-doc at Stanford who specializes in education, technology, knowledge-sharing, and curriculum development. Both Brian and Max contacted me when they heard about the project. So the four of us chat, talk, and screen-share while Sam walks us through the development. It’s definitely complicated fun. Each time we talk, we see more clearly — and we see more to do. We’re finishing the forum first, so we can use it for our development discussion. By the second week of June, Sam plans to have an alpha platform ready — forum, chat, wiki, blog, social bookmarking, microblogging. We’re going to use video, but until we develop an independent video module, users can convert their videos to flash at Youtube or Blip.tv or Vimeo and embed them in the forum, wiki, or blog.

2. Max and I are working on curriculum development. The students in my Spring 08 UC Berkeley course in Virtual Community and Social Media were enthusiastic participants in experiments in classroom and online collaboration, and engaged in ongoing and deep dialogue about how we ought to go about teaching this subject matter with the tools at hand. I’m convinced that for studying the issues that arise around social media, the syllabus and combination of lecture, discussion, and online discourse that I used during the first iteration of this course should morph into collaborative inquiry into attention, identity, community, collective action, social capital, public sphere that are raised by the students’ own social media practices. I’ll get more concrete about what I mean in a future report — a detailed description of how I plan to use the social media classroom to teach Virtual Community/Social Media in 08-09 will be added to the wiki in June-July.

3. I started collecting resources about participatory media and pedagogy a couple years ago — before the DML competition. I need to work with others to reorganize, expand, and install it on the wiki

4. I’m moving up from iMovie to Final Cut Pro and combining live video, voice-over, motion screen captures, animations and info-graphics to detail the why-to and how-to of using the social media classroom to teach theory and practice of social media. You can see some of my early efforts (particularly the “(re)Slice of Life Online,” “Attention 101″ and “Attention 102″ episodes) on my vlog.

After these four steps are accomplished — I’m aiming for mid-Fall — the next step is to grow a community of practice. If you are interested in participating in online discussions and/or contributing syllabi and/or resources regarding the use of participatory media to teach and learn, email me and I’ll put you on the list for contact when we launch. howard at rheingold dot com

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Hi Howard – would love to sit down with you at some point over tea or something and brainstorm more on possible materials, teaching methods and uses. I have always wanted to create an after school component to Social Media Club – perhaps there is a way to get this going together to encourage more students as teachers…


I teach a course – with a name that is a holdover from the nineties, but is essentially about social media – that I would like to update and integrate some of your practices into. I would very much like to be involved in your Social Media Classroom project.

I also am inspired by Chris’s comment, above, suggesting that we can integrate the students as teachers. Certainly that is my experience that – once set free, and their efforts validated, the students are excellent teachers: of each other and me.


Student generated learning {seesmic_video:{“url_thumbnail”:{“value”:”http://t.seesmic.com/thumbnail/7zjO4IrQIh_th1.jpg”}”title”:{“value”:”Student generated learning ”}”videoUri”:{“value”:”http://www.seesmic.com/video/z2jMVJzWIy”}}}

4 - Glen

I like the use of the term “complicated fun”. I can relate. I’ve delivered a couple of sections of MEd class that I developed called ICT for Teachers.

It is a pretty free range deal, no LMS, only free apps, explore the tools (blogs, wikis, podcasts etc) , reflect, add value to your own PLE, take it with you when you go, Dominis vobiscum. Keep in touch.

It is complicated fun and after a while most of the students (after they get past a certain amount of technophobia and leather-headedness that is the necessary adaptive response to working with ICT in schools) they get into the flow in the finest Csiksentmihaly fashion.

I love what you are proposing and would very much like to hear more.

5 - Rhonda

This is very interesting work and I look forward to following your journey.

I enjoyed reading your post; I am running a small website on video conferencing I am a beginner in this business. I don’t know much about it but I am searching around for material that can increase my knowledge

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