Wikinomics, Grouponomics, Social Media is changing the world

I was wowed this morning when I learned that Groupon is the fastest growing company ever. (I was also surprised to find that the second fastest growing company was As the Forbes article mentions, “Groupon” has taken a place in the lexicon of online shopping and is moving into our cultural consciousness. It was even mentioned in a comic in the latest New Yorker Magazine.

This is just the latest example of how social media is changing our economics and thereby our society. The terms for these new ways of doing business, such as “grouponomics” or “wikinomics” are as innovative as the methods themselves, and capture the spirit of the enterprise.

It’s exciting to watch the change all around and to take up our tablet iDevices and play, knowing that we’re a part of this transformation as well. Who knows, the next great idea for utilizing the read/write Web might come from a small liberal arts college student in central Ohio, encouraged by forward-thinking faculty…

Honoring the ‘Social’ in Social Media

Today, being the first of April is observed as ‘April Fool’s Day’ in the United States and elsewhere. After only a few keystrokes I’ve learned that the holiday was first mentioned by Chaucer in 1392. That’s a long history of pranks!

In the Internet Age we continue this tradition utilizing the social media of our time. For example, Google has ‘launched’ Gmail Motion, even inserting a link to it in the Gmail (and BishopMail) gear menu. YouTube features the ‘Top 5 Viral Pictures of 1911’ and lets you watch any video in 1911 style. I watched the beginning of a video on the current social media revolution–that I had shared in a workshop yesterday–in this redux rendition. Talk about anachronistic cognitive dissonance! I’m sure other sites are having similar fun today.

And we love to share such fun via social media. The top 5 viral pictures of 1911 video has already been viewed nearly 400,000 times and it’s not even 4:00 EST. That’s the power of social networks: connecting people, spreading the word or the meme. One consultant described it as word of mouth on steroids.

When I had a personal blog several years ago, I would change the theme and title and publish bogus posts on this day. Those posts were some of my most popular. This EdTech at OWU blog is relatively new and not well known, but I look forward to it becoming more conversational and less monological. In that spirit, the spirit of social media, I invite your comments. What are your favorite April Fools pranks of the Internet Age? What are your favorite stories of the human impact of Web 2.0? (Stories of Twitter Revolutions in Northern Africa most welcome!)

Responding to the changes of the Information Age

A recent New Yorker Magazine article entitled “The Information: How the Internet gets inside us” by Adam Gopnik reviews responses to the increasing influence of the internet and social media on society:

A series of books explaining why books no longer matter is a paradox that Chesterton would have found implausible, yet there they are, and they come in the typical flavors: the eulogistic, the alarmed, the sober, and the gleeful.

All this technology that surrounds us certainly has an impact, and we navigate those changes in our own ways. Gopnik lumps authors into three camps: the Never-Betters, the Better-Nevers, and the Ever-Wasers. He critiques all three camps and has some fun along the way:

There is, for instance, a simple, spooky sense in which the Internet is just a loud and unlimited library in which we now live–as if one went to sleep every night in the college stacks, surrounded by pamphlets and polemics and possibilities.

In the end he points not to the machine, but to us. “The real demon in the machine is the tirelessness of the user.” The crux of the matter is not in the technology or how it networks and pervades our living; it is in our relationship with it.

We manage this relationship through various means, some virtual, others actual. (He points out that a “social network is crucially different from a social circle.”) And, for those of us who are educators by trade, we get to meddle or muddle in on our students’ relationships to technology, especially where it is used in class. Articles such as this help us to step back and take a look at the larger picture, which Educational Technologists help us to find the best application of that technology in our teaching.

Technology and Travel Learning

Many of us traveled this past week, as this article illustrates. Destinations were scattered across the globe. I was in Jamaica on a Spring Break Mission trip.

Although I didn’t get to blog while I was there, another team, traveling in May as part of a travel learning course, has created a blog just for sharing their experience as they study obesity prevention in Italy and the U.S.

The team of 14 students is being led by a Phys Ed Professor and our Dean of Students. They and the students have started with introductions and will be blogging while they’re there, sharing what they’re learning and experiencing.

A blog is a good way to share information, allowing for comments and discussions. You can post short essays, hyperlinks to other sites, photos, even embed videos. OWU students, faculty and staff may now create Blogger blogs in their BishopApps account. For assistance, please contact the Help Desk.

We’ve also started compiling a list of OWU blogs at Follow OWU. If you have one you’d like to share, please let us know.


Bandwidth is a technical term indicating the maximum amount of information (bits/second) that can be transmitted along a channel or data connection. The term is also used loosely to indicate how much workload a person can handle in their day-to-day duties.

I could say I haven’t had the bandwidth to blog lately due to time-consuming projects, such as the Blackboard upgrade and updating our classroom inventory. Yet blogging is an important medium for communication with my constituents, peer colleagues at other institutions, and the world. It’s simply a matter of making it a priority and making time for it.

This semester I’ve made it a priority to attend the Psychological Foundations of Education class. This has been a good exposure to a typical course here at OWU, and one that integrates a a fair amount of technology: PowerPoint is almost always used for presenting material, and the presentations often include video. The Blackboard course is available and is where course documents can be found. (I’ve accessed it via the Blackboard Mobile app on my iPad.)  The document projector is sometimes used. The course is taught in Phillips 210, where there is a SMART Board, but the interactive features of that are not used in this course.

It will be interesting to discuss with the instructor ways that she might utilize technology more in this class. However, it’s been eye-opening to simply observe her teach and interact with the students. It’s given me a deeper appreciation for the time it takes to prepare and present a lesson. I typically teach stand-alone workshops that last up to an hour and a half. She’s teaching 50-minute sessions three times a week for 16 weeks, and that’s just one of her classes.

It’s understandable if faculty don’t want to start something new in the midst of a semester. They may not have the bandwidth to give it the attention required with everything else they’re already doing. I’m here to support what they’re already doing, and to be available when they’re ready to learn something new.

My first workshop this semester is Thursday at noon, and will cover the new apps in BishopApps, including Blogger.

Professional Development Opportunities in the Digital Humanities

NITLE shares a conversation with two staff at the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities about NEH-funded professional development opportunities.  It’s nice to know such an office exists, that there are paid opportunities available there, and why faculty at a Liberal Arts institute should be interested.

Techne >> Professional Development in Digital Humanities

New Blog

OWU BishopApps just got a lot more exciting.  Google has opened up the floodgates on almost all their online services to their Google Applications customers, including us.  So this blog that you’re reading is actually part of OWU BishopApps.  And so is Reader, Picasa, YouTube, and many, many more.  I’m sure to share more about this in the near future.  But, in the meantime, I’ve got a new blog to customize.

In this blog I will be sharing success stories and lessons learned at OWU using technology in education.  This is also a place to find out and comment on what’s going on at other institutions as to their use of instructional technology.  Please add your comments.  This works best as a conversation rather than a monologue.

And if we don’t talk again until after the new year, Happy Holidays!