GoogleTranslate Service


Why Buddypress is important

October 2nd, 2009 by Graham Attwell

I don’t often write about software releases. But whilst the latest beta release of Google Wave has dominated the technical press and blogs, for social networks and learning the BuddyPress 1.1 release may prove just as significant.

BuddyPress is a long running project to turn the WordPress blogging software into a social networking application. And very good and powerful it is too. But the earlier releases were quite hard to install and style. The 1.1 release makes setting up and styling BuddyPress almost as easy as WordPress.

Why is Buddypress important for education? Social software is of increasing importance for learning. Unlike the more traditional educational technology approaches through Management Information Systems and Virtual Learning Environments, social software offers far more potential for informal and collaborative learning. And as Jo Turner Attwell wrote in a guest contribution to the Wales Wide Web yesterday students are able to create a virtual space to manage their own learning, whilst using social networking as a support system to scaffold their learning. And this is indeed what many students have done, with or without the support of teachers or educational institutions. Increasingly, educational institutions have begun to establish their own social networking spaces on Facebook, Ning, Google, Twitter or one or more of the myriad of social software services offered by commercial providers.

However, there remains several problems. Firstly such services allow only limited customisation in terms of functionality. Although open APIs may allow mash ups and some extendibility, the core software remains under the control of the provider. Secondly many of these services rely on advertising as their business model, although some will provide advert free sites for educational providers. But more importantly it raises questions of who owns the data. Of course terms of service differ between social software services. But in the most extreme cases *e.g. Facebook) the terms of service basically specify that they own the data. Furthermore it can be very difficult to extract your own personal data from such platforms, making it hard, for example, to develop an personal learning record or e-Portfolio, when access to personal work is restricted.

BuddyPress is open source software, with a growing and vibrant development community. Of course we already have Joomla, Drupal and Elgg. But BuddyPress goes further than these systems in providing support for to easily setting up and support groups and communities. It promises to allow the development of rich social networking services based on locally installed and controlled web sites. It can be freely customised to suit different learning needs. And the data belongs to the user! Pontydysgu are developing two sites for continuing professional development using BuddyPress. We will keep you informed of how this work progresses.

3 Responses to “Why Buddypress is important”

  1. Devin Coyle says:

    I agree that BuddyPress is going to change how education works. As a teacher in a world where technology is constantly progressing, I think hard copies are becoming outdated. Some of colleges require students to email the assignments, but with BuddyPress that won’t even be necessary. Personally, I would love to have a network with my students where they can send me documents virtually and ask questions about assignments. For obvious reasons I do not believe Facebook will ever be the type of environment where that will be possible.
    Another problem I have with social networking is the lack of support for a teacher network. I am currently on Applebatch.com and I think it’s great for me to chat with colleagues about issues I have. Many teachers also share lesson plans and its great because it gives me new ideas to keep my students engaged. The only problem I have is that teachers aren’t embracing it as much as they should. We finally have a place where we can discuss classroom issues outside the faculty lounge but its not getting the notice it deserves.

Tweetbacks/Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Graham Attwell and Jacques Cool. Jacques Cool said: Pour toi, Mario. RT @GrahamAttwell: Why Buddypress is important for education – new blog post – http://is.gd/3SpHc […]

  2. […] Excerpt from: Pontydysgu – Bridge to Learning » Blog Archive » Why Buddypress is … […]

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    News Bites

    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.


    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time


    Postgrad pressure

    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”


    Teenagers online in the USA

    According to Pew Internet 95% of teenagers in the USA now report they have a smartphone or access to one. These mobile connections are in turn fueling more-persistent online activities: 45% of teens now say they are online on a near-constant basis.

    Roughly half (51%) of 13 to 17 year olds say they use Facebook, notably lower than the shares who use YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat.

    The survey also finds there is no clear consensus among teens about the effect that social media has on the lives of young people today. Minorities of teens describe that effect as mostly positive (31%) or mostly negative (24%), but the largest share (45%) says that effect has been neither positive nor negative.


    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      pbwiki
      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

  • Twitter

  • @mark_carrigan @CamEdFac Is this for people outside Cambridge? If so count me in

    About 3 hours ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via Twitter for Android

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories