Friday, April 17, 2009

Considering Social Networks

Would adult educators and volunteers be interested in a social networking site created specifically for them? A kind of FaceBook for people interested in adult literacy?

As my experience with social networks grows it seems more and more likely that these online communities will expand and proliferate in the years to come. I'm intrigued by the idea of using a social network to create personal learning environments, where educators can connect with other educators, share resources, attend online workshops, and engage in truly constructivist learning. There's a great deal of potential here. Social networks go beyond mere "discussion boards". They allow for the establishment of personal connections and even mentoring relationships, where the "old hands" guide the newcomers (in a true "zone of proximal development" for those readers who're interested in learning theory). I've seen this kind of relationship develop among members of the Classroom 2.0 social network, of which I'm one member among 10,000. A newcomer poses a question or a "cry for help" and is quickly responded to by sometimes dozens of more experienced users.

The question I have is, if I build it, will they come? Or is this just one more thing that my colleagues don't have time to learn or participate in?

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