Blogging was where we began, and how we built our company so we have preserved this archive to show how our thinking developed over a decade of developing the use of social technology inside organisations

Social Skills through Social Software Conference

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Last week I had the pleasure of delivering one of the keynote talks at the Social Skills through Social Software conference in Salzburg, Austria, organised by Salzburg Research. The principal focus of the conference was e-learning and the impact of social software on both the development of key skills and also on the evolution of tools such as the e-learning online portfolio
Of course I am very interested in both the use of social software to support learning and also the use of social software as learning. My talk was specifically about the need for a better understanding of how the interaction modes of different social tools map to individual leaning styles and contexts (Wilfred Rubens made some notes). This fine-grained matching to tools to needs is, I think, important if we are to get the most out of them. It is also an argument for diversity and range in the toolset, rather than seeking a single one-size-fits-all e-learning environment (and I say this as someone who led a project to build the perfect e-learning system during the heady days of the 1990′s – mea culpa).
The Salzburg conference was a great chance to catch up with Sebastian Fiedler, Martin Röll and Thomas Burg as well as to meet some very interesting ‘new’ people such as Graham Attwell and John Erpenbeck from Humboldt University
Presentations are here – I would particularly recommend John Erpenbeck’s keynote, especially his remarks on the importance of values in social software; Thomas Burg on tags and tagging (German); and also Cecile Bothorel from France Telecom’s Research Group on social knowledge sharing in an enterprise environment (English) that demonstrates a clever use of the open source ELGG platform. I am sure there were many other good talks, but my limited German-langauge-processing could only keep up for so long before I literally had to go for a lie down
Highlights were Martin shaking his head so much during the Semantic Web fantasy talk (we can build a global brain if only people would generate highly structured metadata every time they edit a wiki page!) that he looked like the drummer from the muppets, and also a very educational tour of Salzburg led by Wolf and co. – Flickr set here
Many thanks to Veronika, Diana and the lovely people at Salzburg research for inviting me, and also to Sigrun for ensuring I got there in the end ;-)

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