I missed the opening session because I drove down from Austin this morning, but I’m sitting here now in an interesting edubloggercon meeting on social networking.
Steve(not sure who it was since I can’t see his badge) shared some great points about introducing teachers to social networking. He talked about the importance of whoever sets up the network functioning as a “Walmart greeter”–and the importance of teaching teachers about how to be in a social space, showing them what its like if they don’t set up a photo or icon online and then they look like a “stranger”–and how to create a friendly inviting presence online so they can build a network.
David Warlick is pointing out that a social network needs to be solving a problem or serving a purpose for a local group for it to continue. Julie Lindsay shared how initially in her work with Kim Cofino at her own school, they set up a private Ning, but they’ve worked hard with teachers to train them to post things on the Ning rather than emailing, and that now they’re opening it up outside the campus.
Someone else is sharing that the social network needs to be reliable and easy to learn–the “public transportation” model, so to speak.
We’re also talking about how teachers can be a little risk averse in terms of using social networking tools, because they are somewhat accustomed to being “isolated” in their rooms, schools sometimes discourage sharing or using networks, etc.
Wes Fryer is talking about digital bridges and if they are different for your local campus audience and a global audience. I think they are–I think teachers within the same building have more trouble seeing the purpose of a tool when perhaps they can just come talk to you. It takes a learning curve to think of it as a repository of information and as an extension.
A principal who is in this session just pointed out that she needs to create an atmosphere that supports teachers using social networking because she thinks it is important for just in time learning.