Social Networks are everywhere and about people, not the technology we use. When they are used to further our learning they move beyond just a social network and into a Community of Practice. In a Community of Practice the participants are interested in a topic and sharing knowledge through a variety of methods. This type of Social Learning allows for relevant connection and collaboration. “Educational Twitterships” provide this type of community, one example being #edchat that occurs each Tuesday on Twitter. You gain social capital by giving back in the exchange of information, with leads to an expanded network or community.
Communication and Collaboration Tools – Scott McLeod
When addressing online safety the most important question to ask: Is the tool the problem or is it the supervision? When students are educated about how to appropriately interact on the internet the opportunities for them are limitless. Districts must begin to trust teachers to make appropriate choices with the web in their classrooms. The “prohibition approach” to dealing with the internet does nothing to show teachers trust or educate students. Most will behave appropriately and those that don’t should be dealt with as opposed to participating in “format bigotry” and blocking You Tube, blogs, Wikipedia, etc…
Communication and Collaboration Pieces – Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
For educational leaders to leverage the connections available today we must begin to “unlearn” what we believe about our classrooms. Learning doesn’t just occur at school anymore, it occurs anywhere and anytime. Teaching is no longer private but a public, collaborative event. Learning isn’t passive but is participatory and often done as a community. Communities are groups of people joined by a common need or belief. Networks occur when these connected people publish and share ideas around their commonality. The PLCs that result are the way of the future for personal and professional development.