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Social Computing for Learning Communities

Special issue call for papers from Interactive Technology and Smart Education

Social Computing has become a ubiquitous platform for the young generation to share experiences in multiple media formats (text, picture, and video). The very nature of “user generated content” in social computing has empowered users of the web to share knowledge in a way that suits them; hence its success. Education professionals have been quick to exploit the potential of social computing for learning and many lessons have been learned along the way (Vassileva, 2008). As the technology has become more powerful (moving from so called web 2.0 to web 3.0) and implications more profound, it is time for a well-informed debate on its merits and shortcomings, together with an examination of the critical success factors for social computing to meet the pedagogical requirements of both users and the formal and informal institutions which construct and accredit their learning.


Technology very often has been a driving force for innovation in education. For Social Computing, experimentation has been small scale and bottom-up with little formalisation of approach (Anderson, 2007; Redecker et al, 2009). These started off with web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, podcasts, wikis, social networking sites, multimedia sharing of videos and photos, social tagging / folksonomies and 3D social gaming.  The movement in Semantic Web and the applications of semantics and mining techniques which underpins web 3.0 (Lassila & Hendler, 2007) enable intelligence to be added to the technology. This has led to further opportunities for the learning communities (e.g. for recommendation, personalisation and social network analysis).

However, it is also true that many of these technologies are being adopted into learning environments without a great deal of evidence about their pedagogical strengths and weaknesses. It is possible that ‘learner-centerdness’ reflects more an abdication of the teacher’s responsibility to scaffold and guide learning than a real awareness of the possibilities of constructivism. What evidence is there that learning is enhanced by social computing technologies? What role should the teacher play in this new environment? What specific applications of social computing have been shown to be useful, and what were the critical factors behind the success of these applications? Does social computing help create learning communities, or are its applications more transient and unstructured? Does the latter, indeed, indicate that a more informal learning is taking place - if so, how can we recognise it, and draw out its benefits where appropriate? 

Themes for papers

This special issue aims to bring together technological and pedagogical perspectives in the area of social computing for learning. The themes include but are not limited to:
1. Empirical studies on educational applications using social computing
2. Pedagogical approaches and evaluations
3. Novel extension of web 2.0 technologies to enhance the power of social computing
4. Collective intelligence for e-learning
5. Emerging trends

In this edition of Interactive Technology and SMART Education, the guest editors are seeking good quality submissions detailing empirical research pertaining to Social Computing. 

In particular, in this special issue we seek a number of full papers and colloquium pieces in order to draw together empirical work that explore problems in applying Social Computing in Education and  develop suggestions as to the nature of appropriate and effective methodologies for broadening our understanding of associated technical and pedagogical challenges.

Refereeing Process

ITSE is a fully refereed journal and all papers will be rigorously refereed according to standard Emerald procedures.  Please note that publication of articles for this special issue may depend on the authors' readiness to respond swiftly to the referees' comments.

Guide for Authors

Full articles should not normally exceed 5000 words including references to any sources that readers might wish to trace.  However, there is no merit in lengthy reference lists per se.  Wherever possible, the reasons for citing a reference should be clear from the context. 

Shorter colloquium contributions (500-1000 words) may also be of interest.  These will adopt a style akin to a conversation in print.  Possible areas include:
• summary of work in progress raising queries or problems
• short thought piece, perhaps questioning received wisdom
• early warning of the potential and problems of new media
• reaction to a previous ITSE contribution.

Before submission, please check very carefully for both accuracy and presentation.  In addition, please follow 'author guidelines' on-line at:

Important Dates:
Notification for intent to submit 31 May 2010
Deadline for submissions 30 June 2010.
Notification of review process 31 August 2010.
Final version to be received  30 September 2010.
Publication  December 2010.


Please submit to ITSE Special Issue Guest Editors:

Dr Lydia Lau [email protected]
Dr Andrew Whitworth [email protected]


Anderson, P., What is Web 2.0? Ideas, technologies and implications for education, JISC Technology and Standards Watch, 2007.
Lassila, O. and Hendler, J., Embracing “Web3.0”, Internet Computing, Vol. 11, No. 3, May/June 2007.
Redecker, C., Ala-Mutka, K, Bacigalupo, M., Ferrari, A. and Punie, Y., Learning 2.0: The Impact of Web 2.0 Innovations on Education and Training in Europe, Final Report, JRC Scientific and Technical Reports, European Commission, 2009. []
Vassileva, J., Toward Social Learning Environments, IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, Vol. 1, No. 4, October-December 2008, pp.199-214.