The final breakout session for the conference that I am attending is Educational Social Networking for Professional Development presented by Steve Hargadon, a Social Learning Consultant for Elluminate.
Mr. Hargadon is saying we are telling new stories in new ways. He works largely in the k-12 grade level. He was told to start a blog, but he didn’t see a goal for it, but he did start and created a community called Classroom 2.0 and has a wiki called Educational Networking.
We have become much more visually literate as he shows an image of a girl with fairies dancing in front of her. But we don’t feel digitally literate. He asked about use of Twitter, he said he goes back and forth between it being a useful tool and a complete waste of time. He said that as he refined his use of Twitter he is coming to feel it is useful, but it required learning to use it.
He then noted that Facebook membership makes its population larger than the population of all countries except India and China.
The impact of the internet is going to be greater than the impact of the invention of the printing press. All institutions are losing power not that the individuals gain this kind of voice. For instance, United Airlines broke a passenger’s guitar and he made a You Tube video of it that garnered a greater audience then some major movies.
The internet is a conversation. We’re used to a world of printed material that was vetted, but the internet allows a more free flow of ideas.
Educational networking will become the framework structure of the educational experience, he says.
Educators are currently in a non-conversational culture. He asks them questions and asks them to rate from Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree and Strongly Disagree.
- We have a hard time balancing assessment testing and true learning
- Schools will change radically in the next 5 to 10 years.
- Health care is a civil right and should be guaranteed by the government.
He then moves them to the appropriate areas of the room based on their response and discuss the point. They are always nervous to discuss the last question.
We put ourselves in a box when it comes to discuss social media. He showed pictures of a casino and a school. He said the problem with social media is it always seen as a casino, but now we are rethinking what social networking is.
He defines social networking as the aggregation of a set of participative web tools that facilitate creation, conversation, and sharing. Wikis and blogs are difficult to see any conversation occurs, but on Facebook there is instant success as people see you and want to be “friends.”
What are the building blocks of social networks:
- The profile page in an educational perspective can find likeminded educational perspective. You can find resourses
- Friending can form colleague relationships
- Forums, you can find discussions on topics such as using the ipod touch in schools.
- Photo/Video/Audio uploading – they are content repositories
- Groups: allow individual members to become creator of a topic of interest. They represent Learning teams or self-created communities
So social networking + LMS + Live Collaboration will be the new learning platform. To implement student-related social networking systems you must approach in this order:
- Start with educators and administrators first. An audience member notes that many people think that students will drive this effort, but the educators and administrators must be the guiding light providing assistance to students in learning how to blog and they must learn how to do this first. Steve agrees and says you can’t make people blog, we have to culturally negotiate this.
- Fill the user’s needs not yours. Flickr did not start out as a photo sharing site it morphed to that – so its no longer a top down direction. In this new world you are not dictating you are generating and experimenting with all participants.
- Facilitate the process, not the outcome (build a park, not a cafeteria)
- Support and promote the early adopters (more important than you)
- Seek Change – you need to look for ways to change to help a learner
- Build a culture (tenor)
- Recognize the importance of interpersonal skills to facilitate and mediate
Sustained participation depends on the tenor of the network and listening, trust, helping, authenticity, transparency, change, genuineness, being “”human,” having fun, being involved apologies, explanations, patience, communication.