The Social Networks Adapting Pedagogical Practice (SNAPP) tool performs real-time social network analysis and visualization of discussion forum activity within popular commercial and open source Learning Management Systems (LMS). SNAPP essentially serves as a diagnostic instrument, allowing teaching staff to evaluate student behavioral patterns against learning activity design objectives and intervene as required a timely manner. ·
SNAPP is a software tool that allows users to visualize the network of interactions resulting from discussion forum posts and replies. The network visualisations of forum interactions provide an opportunity for teachers to rapidly identify patterns of user behaviour – at any stage of course progression. SNAPP has been developed to extract all user interactions from various commercial and open source learning management systems (LMS) such as BlackBoard (including the former WebCT), and Moodle. SNAPP is compatible for both Mac and PC users and operates in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.
Most of the student data generated from Learning Management Systems (LMS) include reports on the number of sessions (log-ins), dwell time (how long the log-in lasted) and number of downloads. This tells us a lot about content retrieval in a transmission model of learning and teaching, but not about how students are interacting with each other in more socio-constructivist practice. Discussion forum activity is a good indicator of student interactions and is systemically captured by most LMS. SNAPP uses information on who posted and replied to whom, and what major discussions were about, and how expansive they were, to analyse the interactions of a forum and display it in a Social Network Diagram. The following figures illustrate how SNAPP re-interprets discussion forum postings into a network diagram. ·
Before steps are taken to impose limits on the use of social media and mobile technologies in schools, policymakers and educators need to consider the consequences for learning that such restrictions would produce. In this document, we argue that such action should carefully consider the advantages of social media for learning and that these guidelines for responsible use bring media into mentored environments where they can be safely explored and shared.
Many of the problems raised by these new technologies – from bullying to engaging in risky behavior – are not new to the public discourse, but are merely being delivered in different media. The challenge to responsible educators remains the same: to provide stimulating and safe learning environments that support the acquisition of practical skills necessary for full participation as a 21st-century citizen. Achieving this without mentored use of new technologies seems both impractical and counterproductive. One of the most powerful reasons to permit the use of social media and mobile devices in the classroom is to provide an opportunity for students to learn about their use in a supervised environment that emphasizes the development of attitudes and skills that will help keep them safe outside of school. ·
ThinkUp is a free, open source web application that captures your posts, tweets, replies, retweets, friends, followers and links on social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
With ThinkUp, you can store your social activity in a database that you control, making it easy to search, sort, analyze, publish and display activity from your network. All you need is a web server that can run a PHP application. ·