Scott dropped me a line the other day saying that, in relation to YOFL, one of the skills he was interested in was 'creating virality'. I think this is exactly the sort of modern digital skill that we should be considering as educators. I'm not sure if this is what Scott meant by it, but I can see at least three reasons why it's interesting as an educator:
- You want to create the same engagement with learning material for your students, as you see in popular memes or viral ideas.
- A viral spread of an idea, concept, approach or technology is an excellent way of engaging other academics. Indeed it may be the only way to really address many of the issues of training and staff development, as Jennifer Jones has tried to do with her concept of Viral Professional Development.
- As a means of engaging your wider network in distributed research, then what you are suggesting needs to have a 'viral' quality.
Of course, all this begets the question 'what do you mean by viral?' I don't want to get bogged down in definitions, but I think in essence it is an idea that people consciously or not, want to spread because it creates some level of engagement.
So, as my first YOFL experiment, here is what I am proposing – on Friday 30th Jan we have a 'flash debate' (you know, like Flash mobs where we all get together at a specified time, but in this case do something interesting and not just have a pillow fight) in Twitter around 'creating virality'. Tag it #YOFL and I should find it. I'll try and summarise it then next week.
(I realise this is all getting a bit recursive – I'm creating a viral activity about creating viral activities – if it doesn't work then that probably answers my question!)