What is it?
Described by its founders as a ‘learning landscape’, Elgg provides each user with their own weblog, file repository (with podcasting capabilities), an online profile and an RSS reader. Additionally, all of a user’s content can be tagged with keywords – so they can connect with other users with similar interests and create their own personal learning network. However, where Elgg differs from a regular weblog or a commercial social network (such as MySpace) is the degree of control each user is given over who can access their content. Each profile item, blog post, or uploaded file can be assigned its own access restrictions – from fully public, to only readable by a particular group or individual.
- Absolute control over your social network and its content.
- Ability to customize your network to fit your needs and personality.
- Ability to upload and store multimedia.
Who uses it?
Elgg is aimed primarily at education, although we are starting to see other sectors look at its potential. As for organizations, users range from France Telecom R&D to the University of Brighton to MIT. However, it is available to everyone and is even used for corporate projects.
How does it work?
Because Elgg is open source, anyone is free to install it on their own servers. However, you have to have a certain amount of technical knowledge to maintain your own web server. If you’re just after a personal space for yourself, you can log onto their free service at Elgg.net, which is turning into quite a vibrant community of educators and students alike. This should probably be your first port of call if you want to learn more about what the system can do.
Things to consider before using Elgg
- While Elgg has the potential to be much more powerful than similar services like Ning, it also requires a much higher level of technical knowledge.
- Although not as customizable, woodle actually offers many of the features found in Elgg – such as allowing students to share ideas, raise questions, and hold discussions.
Uses as an Instructional Technology
- The idea is simple but powerful: give students a personal space online to pose questions, publish work in progress and link to and comment on relevant resources. It also gives them a way to find and link up with other learners with similar interests to create an ad-hoc learning community.
Resources at Wooster
- An Elgg account may be created at www.elgg.org