Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reflecting on Social Networking

Excellent professional reading and learning from the blog links this week. Today Justine and I collaborated and discussed social networking. Me - someone who has been an avid dabbler of facebook for sometime and also worked a bit with interact, twitter etc - Justine, who is still exploring the opportunities/possibilities of social networking, both personally and professionally. Made for great conversation and lots of bouncing ideas off each other:-)

Great reflective discussion as we read the blog posts together and discussed our thoughts. The differences in our "skills and knowledge" meant that I was keen to explore other links but weary of time whilst Justine was still unsure of opening links and where it would lead her. I talked to Justine about hesitation (due to time) as I often find myself going off tangent as I move from blog to blog and discover other information/readings/ideas/wonderings of interest! For me, alot of it is about time management and the worry of "accidentally" heading off in a different direction! Justine came up with a great quote as we discusssed the time issue... "Knowledge and experience contribute to time"!

I especially enjoyed reading Beth Kanter blog post discussing the term "network weaver"and would like to go back and explore the many links in this blog post further.

"Network weavers are people who intentionally and informally - and often serendipitously - weave new and richer connections between and among people, groups, and entities in networks. They also weave new and richer connections between among networks."
"Network weaving" is becoming a real part of our jobs as Early Years Facilitators. By providing online networking sites we are giving educators the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals both nationally and globally. Personally I have had great satisfaction from professional relationships I have built up with other educators through social networking. The fact that I work "virtually" is another factor in me building up relationships with my work colleagues through social networking, especially facebook. Facebook gives us the opportunity to get to know each other on a more personal level too as we miss out on those in office conversations over morning tea etc.

A few reflections from our discussion this morning on the questions for this week... These are very brief notes which were extended on in our conversation. Anyone who knows Justine and I will realise there was a lot of conversation and I was unable to keep up with the note taking!

How can social networking platforms be used for online facilitation?
  • Building up professional learning networks.
  • Potential to utilising social networking sites to draw people in. An example being "younger teachers" who are avid users of facebook - bringing in the professional element alongside the personal.
  • Utilising social networking sites to strengthen people's engagement and participation in online communities.
  • Facilitators role to inspire participants to contribute to the online community via social networking sites.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of social networking?
  • Disadvantages....
  • Participants - skills and knowledge - where they are at
  • Without guided facilitation it can go off on "wrong" tangents - need to retain professionalism
  • Advantages
  • Ability to have a group social networking site alongside personal social networking - professional vs personal
  • Real time learning
  • Comfort of your own home
  • Resources/readings on tap in your own time
  • Building up a wider learning community - can be global - not just within your city
  • International perspectives can be woven into our learning
How would you use the social networking platform you have joined for online facilitation in the future?
  • Used facebook to promote professional learning opportunties eg EducampTaiTokerau/Ulearn
  • CORE Education utilsing facebook to advertise professional learning opportunities and "news and updates"
As I continue reading I find many different blog posts/peoples views that ring true with me. I particularly like this quote which I found on Sheryl's Blog.
"Gathering data is the first step to knowledge and wisdom but sharing data is the first step to community." Henry Gates

As I struggle time wise to get myself more involved with the wider community on the Wiki Educator online workshop, I am managing, although brief, time to catch up with Justine and Tara who are undertaking this journey alongside me... we are gathering and sharing data so are taking our first baby steps towards the community:-)


Sarah Stewart said...

Lovely to hear about your small study group :) I understand about your concerns about I'd recommend you have a look at the Clay Shirky video...puts a different perspective on time:

Tarnz said...

Funny you say that Sarah - that is part of my time problem LOL - spent forever on Friday trying to watch Clay Skirky video but will not start playing - Justine had same problem too - I have just tried again and still no luck so not sure what the problem is.... I will keep persevering.

Malcolm Lewis said...

Thanks Tarnz for your thoughts.

Certainly one of the advantages that is exciting me is the prospect of using new tools to link up with experts far a field. Skype is a great tool in the mix.

Sarah Stewart said...

Have a look at the google group...Mielle has sent an alternative'll find it somewhere in the archive.