Monday, October 8, 2007

Social Networks and Education

Edtech maven Andy Carvin has gone to work at NPR. On October 4 he joined Talk of the Nation to discuss The Sociology of Social Networks. Not surprisingly, many educators joined the discussion and offered advice. See what you think.
Using social networks in the classroom is a bit complicated but one thing is clear, social networks give educators a unique opportunity for just-in-time, peer-to-peer professional learning. No longer do we wait for course offerings or workshops delivered by "experts". We ARE the experts and social networks allow us to teach and learn from each other. And given the "long tail" access social networks allow, we can dig into discrete and sometimes arcane topics and find others who are interested, too.
In Ning group Classroom 2.0 educators explore everything from pedagogy (how learning can change in the Web 2.0 era) to specific practices (enhancing spatial awareness with Google Earth). In another Ning group, Global Education, we form classroom collaborations across many time zones and discuss global citizenship and the digital divide.
It's wonderful to find optimistic and adventurous colleagues through social networks. The profession is better for this development in collaborative engagement, and we encourage teachers to join in.


Steve Hargadon said...

Love your second paragraph. Classic insight!

Jane Krauss said...

Thanks, Steve! Coming from you that means a lot! It feels great stepping out of the harness of typical professional learning experiences and wandering the education landscape with others.