Social Media for Academics

Social media is an increasingly important part of academic life that can be a fantastic medium for promoting your work, networking with colleagues and for demonstrating impact. However, alongside the opportunities it also poses challenging questions about how to engage online, and how to represent yourself professionally.

This practical book provides clear guidance on effectively and intelligently using social media for academic purposes across disciplines, from publicising your work and building networks to engaging the public with your research. It is supported by real life examples and underpinned by principles of good practice to ensure you have the skills to make the most of this exciting medium.

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Posted in Social media, Academic | Tagged ,

Top breakthrough technologies and the key players

Every fall, MIT Technology Review’s editors get together to begin the months-long process of reviewing their coverage. The goal? To create a list of the top ten technological advances from the last year that will have the greatest longterm global impact on consumers. While the editors do give key players a shout-out — Google, for example, dominates the list — the purpose of the annual compilation goes further than giving credit to innovating companies. “This is our attempt to alert our readers: These are the technologies that you really need to or should pay attention to next year, and also going into the next few years,” MIT Tech Review’s editor David Rotman told Business Insider.

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Trends shaping Talent development

Leaders in the learning and talent development space discuss trends affecting the future of corporate training. While it’s relatively easy for competitors to implement technology similar to yours, duplicate your strategy, and even mimic your culture, they can’t clone your people. That’s why most organizations agree talent is a top priority. At the end of the day, people are your truest form of sustainable competitive advantage.

To expand the capabilities of their best asset, most organizations invest in some form of continued development. Research from the Brandon Hall Group revealed the average training budget for large organizations hovers around $13 million. Also, out of all the delivery mediums available (i.e., mobile apps, simulations, and e-learning), classroom settings are still chosen 22 percent more often than any other modality.

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High-tech toys could stagnate babies’ communication skills

When babies and toddlers play with a tablet or other noisy device, they often play alone, which can be detrimental to their development, according to an assistant professor and extension early child development specialist. Research has shown that children need meaningful interaction with adults to reach their full social potential.

When buying toys for children, choosing the flashiest toy with all of the bells and whistles might seem like the best option. But in fact, these high-tech toys could actually slow a baby’s development of verbal skills.

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Computers Are Taking Design Cues From Human Brains

New technologies are testing the limits of computer semiconductors. To deal with that, researchers have gone looking for ideas from nature.

We expect a lot from our computers these days. They should talk to us, recognize everything from faces to flowers, and maybe soon do the driving. All this artificial intelligence requires an enormous amount of computing power, stretching the limits of even the most modern machines.

Now, some of the world’s largest tech companies are taking a cue from biology as they respond to these growing demands. They are rethinking the very nature of computers and are building machines that look more like the human brain, where a central brain stem oversees the nervous system and offloads particular tasks — like hearing and seeing — to the surrounding cortex.

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Posted in Brain, Computers | Tagged ,

Crowd synthesis: extracting categories and clusters from complex data

Analysts synthesize complex, qualitative data to uncover themes and concepts, but the process is time-consuming, cognitively taxing, and automated techniques show mixed success. Crowdsourcing could help this process through on-demand harnessing of flexible and powerful human cognition, but incurs other challenges including limited attention and expertise. Further, text data can be complex, high-dimensional, and ill-structured. We address two major challenges unsolved in prior crowd clustering work: scaffolding expertise for novice crowd workers, and creating consistent and accurate categories when each worker only sees a small portion of the data. To address these challenges we present an empirical study of a two-stage approach to enable crowds to create an accurate and useful overview of a dataset: A) we draw on cognitive theory to assess how re-representing data can shorten and focus the data on salient dimensions; and B) introduce an iterative clustering approach that provides workers a global overview of data. We demonstrate a classification-plus-context approach elicits the most accurate categories at the most useful level of abstraction.

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Posted in Complex data, crowd, Data | Tagged , ,

Knowledge sharing in virtual communities – a review of the empirical research

This study reviews the recent empirical studies on knowledge sharing in Virtual Communities (VCs). The paper begins with an analysis of the VC conceptualisation and the focal phenomenon of knowledge sharing. Secondly, the factors that seem to facilitate knowledge-sharing activities in VCs are identified and categorised as individual motivations, personal characteristics, technical attributes and community-level social capital. Overall, the results demonstrate a strong emphasis on why individuals engage in such activities, but less attention is given to what is being shared and how the processes of sharing are manifested in practice. The paper concludes with some suggestions for further research.

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Understanding knowledge sharing in virtual communities

The biggest challenge in fostering a virtual community is the supply of knowledge, namely the willingness to share knowledge with other members. This paper integrates the Social Cognitive Theory and the Social Capital Theory to construct a model for investigating the motivations behind people’s knowledge sharing in virtual communities. The study holds that the facets of social capital — social interaction ties, trust, norm of reciprocity, identification, shared vision and shared language — will influence individuals’ knowledge sharing in virtual communities. We also argue that outcome expectations — community-related outcome expectations and personal outcome expectations — can engender knowledge sharing in virtual communities. Data collected from 310 members of one professional virtual community provide support for the proposed model. The results help in identifying the motivation underlying individuals’ knowledge sharing behavior in professional virtual communities. The implications for theory and practice and future research directions are discussed.

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Intelligence in the Twitter Age

Intelligence may have a bright future. Advances in imagery and signals processing technology mean that intelligence agencies can deliver remarkably accurate and timely intelligence to civilian officials and military commanders. However much leaders gripe about intelligence, few are likely to disregard such fine-grained information about threats and opportunities, especially when national security is on the line. Others contend that intelligence is central to the kind of wars that the United States is likely to fight in the foreseeable future. Counterterrorism, for example, depends on intelligence agencies to provide detailed descriptions of terrorist organizations, warning of impending attacks, and precise targeting information for offensive actions.

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Posted in Intelligence, Twitter | Tagged ,

Students learn better from books than screens

Today’s students see themselves as digital natives, the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology like smartphones, tablets and e-readers.

Teachers, parents and policymakers certainly acknowledge the growing influence of technology and have responded in kind. We’ve seen more investment in classroom technologies, with students now equipped with school-issued iPads and access to e-textbooks. In 2009, California passed a law requiring that all college textbooks be available in electronic form by 2020; in 2011, Florida lawmakers passed legislation requiring public schools to convert their textbooks to digital versions.

Given this trend, teachers, students, parents and policymakers might assume that students’ familiarity and preference for technology translates into better learning outcomes. But we’ve found that’s not necessarily true.

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Posted in ICT, Learning, Students | Tagged , ,