Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Friendfolio Several observations emerged from the first run through of our undergraduate PLE module last year, and I can already see signs of then re-emerging this year. The first is weariness with having to sign up for yet another service. There are also problems in terms of tracking usage across various services (in particular Google Reader). While building a PLE based on a distributed toolset is optimum in terms of the tools available, we always knew we would be sacrificing the convenience of doing everything inside a big-box VLE. However, a bigger concern is for those services where I was able to track usage was that after the course ended, so did student use.

Last week I argued that FriendFeed would be much more palatable to students than services we are currently using, based on the Facebook paradigm and continuous partial attention. I had planned to use WordPress for student's reflective ePortfolios next term, but that's another service to sign up to, and I can't see it being any more palatable than most of the others. If we believe our tag line that:

why not use it? I want some of that FB marketing! If we get students to create "a network" (let's come back to that one in a minute) on FriendFeed, we may be able to plug into the familiarity of this type of site rather than the strangeness of Wordpress to this cohort.

Students will be able to chose where to make their "FriendFolio" public or private, sharing only with staff and chosen associates. Status updates as reflection? This is close to the reflective Twitterfolios I considered last year. I previously determined that chronological scaffolding of reflection is important in achieving success. FriendFeed is ideally suited to this.

Recently, John Postill argued that "social network sites" are inherently antisocial and should instead be called "personal network sites". Choice of names is important in achieving acceptability, and I certainly don't intend to call the FriendFolios e-portfolios within earshot of the students. I'm thinking in terms of encouraging ownership of reflection by calling them "your FriendFeed" in the same way that they refer to "my Facebook".