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Background and Links

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Background and Links

Participatory media or social media are about active group or community participation in conversation, creation, and sharing of digital media. Examples include blogs, Facebook and Wikipedia.

There are several reasons educators should be involved in participatory media including
  • it's now deeply integrated into local and global media and culture - for all ages
  • it facilitates engaged conversation, collaboration, learning communities, professional networking and more - meeting many of the educational values and objective
  • it enables active citzenship and advocacy
  • it's increasingly used by business and industry - and impacts on most workplaces

The use of participatory media in communication, learning and teaching in general is still controversial because
  • not everyone values it
  • it is often 'always on' giving the impression that users are always distracted
  • it is perceived to take up valuable bandwidth
  • it can create behaviour management issues in workplaces, classroms and other learning environments

As public service employees educators have professional obligations when it comes to using ICT for work.
Recent Australian Public Service Commission guidelines acknowledge that participatory media (web 2.0) presents employees with new opportunities and new expectations about professional practice in this area.

Participating Online http://www.apsc.gov.au/values/conductguidelines17.htm

"Web 2.0 provides public servants with unprecedented opportunities to open up government decision making and implementation to contributions from the community. In a professional and respectful manner, APS employees should engage in robust policy conversations.
Equally, as citizens, APS employees should also embrace the opportunity to add to the mix of opinions contributing to sound, sustainable policies and service delivery approaches. Employees should also consider carefully whether they should identify themselves as either an APS employee or an employee of their agency."

The national Government 2.0 agenda also addresses the issue of participatory media and the following Victorian Government video looks at some of the issues.



More short videos related to participatory media can be found on this Youtube Playlist.


Some Views on the Use of Participatory Media for Work and Learning

1. In 2009 the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) revised online guidelines for public servants to include the statement that
“Web 2.0 provides public servants with unprecedented opportunities to open up government decision making and implementation to contributions from the community.”

2. The 2009 Government 2.0 Taskforce Report Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0 Recommendation 4 is to “Encourage public servants to engage online.”
“The default position in agencies should be that employees are encouraged and enabled to engage online. Agencies should support employee enablement by providing access to tools and addressing internal technical and policy barriers.”

3. The 2009 Horizon Report examining trends in learning-focussed organisations states that:
“Increasing globalization continues to affect the way we work, collaborate, and communicate. Information technologies are having a significant impact on how people work, play, gain information, and collaborate. Increasingly, those who use technology in ways that expand their global connections are more likely to advance, while those who do not will find themselves on the sidelines. With the growing availability of tools to connect learners and scholars all over the world — online collaborative workspaces, social networking tools, mobiles, voice-over-IP, and more — teaching and scholarship are transcending traditional borders more and more all the time.”

4. A 2009 Education.au (now Education Services Australia) strategic ICT advisory service report into current site blocking practices in the schools sector with a particular focus on Web 2.0 services such as social networking, video sharing, blogs and wikis and popular sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Wikipedia states that:

“Web 2.0 provides rich opportunities to improve student learning. Web 2.0 technologies significantly contribute to furthering personalised, collaborative learning and support the development of Internet literacy.”

5. The 2008 CISCO white paper Equipping Every Learner for the 21st Century presents some private sector views on using social media in education:

“In both developed and developing nations, young people have become increasingly reliant on social networking technologies to connect, collaborate, learn, and create, and employers have begun to seek out new skills to increase their competitiveness in a global marketplace. Education, meanwhile, has changed much less. With few exceptions, schools have yet to revise their pedagogy to reflect current trends and technologies.”

6. Key findings of a 2007 Australian Flexible Learning Network report found that the use of social media in VET learning promoted:
  • Empowerment
  • Lifelong learning competence
  • Community building
  • Improved workflow and productivity




Current Use of Participatory Media in Education

A 2009 survey showed that about 40% of Polytechnic staff were exploring the use of participatory (web 2.0) media for learning. These uses included
  • reflective practice
  • online folios
  • communication, collaboration and discussion
  • learning communities
  • professional networking
  • sharing videos and other digital media
  • engaging disengaged learners


Web 2.0 services currently in use include
  • Wikis (Wikispaces)
  • Blogs (Blogger, WordPress)
  • ePortfolio (Mahara)
  • Photo sharing (Flickr, Deviant Art) and video sharing (Youtube and BlipTV)
  • Social Media (Facebook - open and closed groups and pages)
  • Professional networking (Twitter, LinkedIn)
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Participatory Media Literacy.
Participatory Media Literacy, H Rheingold 2008
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Yellow Social Media Report - SENSIS - June 2012
What Australian people and businesses are doing with social media.



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Examples of Social Media Guides for organisations and learning

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13 Warning Signs Your Organization Isn’t Ready for Social Media. Blogging Innovation, 2011

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