What are Social Networks?

Today’s web users are prolific creators of content, and they upload photographs, audio, and video to cloud-based social networks, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and many others by the billions. While the initial emphasis of social networks was placed on producing and uploading media to these popular sharing sites, as the notion of social media has evolved it has ultimately become more about the conversations started and relationships formed via this media. For educational institutions, social media enables two-way dialogues between students, prospective students, educators, and the institution that are less formal than with other media. LinkedIn, for example, is a professional networking platform that is particularly useful for the education sector because it facilitates communities of practice and special interest groups. TThe rise of Snapchat may also cause learning organizations to consider how they will incorporate a fast-paced network where the media shared by users are temporary. As social networks evolve and add new features, the hope is that education leaders will continue to harness them for teaching, learning, and collaborative activities.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Social network media platforms are the most efficient tool for collaborative practices and for knowledge distribution. It´s market driven development, increase functionality features that far exceeds what educational platforms can achieve, and people very generally speaking uses platforms like i.e FB for intranet like constellations. It´s news and information flows have crushed the communications industry and redefined the way we learn for a decade. Constant feedback patterns shape our expectations towards technology and I believe there is no "educational platform" quite like the internet - and the interface for discovering it in all it´s vigor, are social network media platforms. (- Magdi Magdi Oct 17, 2016) - stefan stefan Nov 20, 2016
  • I think the main reason for using social media for teaching/learning is to take it where students spend their time anyway. When they check interesting updates in Facebook they can check their learning network notifications at the same time. It's also thought that discussions are more relaxed , spontaneous and creative in social media than in VLEs. If our goal is to encourage students' 24/7 learning, we as teachers should be prepared for 24/7 teaching... Anyway, many borders are blurred, formal getting blended with informal, the networked teachers and students are flexibly moving from one network to another, from professional to social to learning etc. - tiinsari tiinsari Oct 25, 2016
  • I use Facebook to post video made by my students to answer topics we are covering in class. The videos are substituting the traditional presentation forum from school. It ensures an easy way to transfer videos and at the same time the transparency gives the other students a chance to see what the other students are doing. It is a way to learn from your peers. - Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Nov 7, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I'm not sure if blogging belongs in this section but this a good way to use social networks in class. Writing blogs gives the teachers a chance to share the writings of their students with a wide global audience. - Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Nov 7, 2016
  • Not only the teacher can use the social medias as classrooms or as classroom-support - the students themselves can - and do - create spaces where they can help each other in their learning processes, where they can thin and create in learning communities. We - teachers and leaders - could do much more to ensure that social medias become learning medias - Dorte Dorte Nov 20, 2016
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • I think that "traditional publishing" have undergone a tremendous democratization and we are going to witness a breakdown of knowledge silos as we will begin to question traditional knowledge authorities and publicists in education, and turn towards the internet and institutionalize peer to peer learning. Most likely teachers and students- learners alike will become the "content developers" and "didactic designers" in these arising social media educational platforms, where learning excellence will openly published and celebrated, highlighted and shared. One of the big questions is, if such networks will be open source or be supported by new crowd sourced commercial business models. (- Magdi Magdi Oct 17, 2016)
  • In a global world, it is important to open up the classroom and allow a transparent environment. Opening up your classrooms allows discussions between students in a safe environment. The teacher needs to cultivate a wide personal learning network to connect their students with other students and experts outside the classroom. It is inspirational for all involved. https://annmichaelsen.com/2016/01/11/the-global-classroom-engaging-the-students-exploring-the-possibilities-bett2016/ - Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Nov 7, 2016
  • Social medias are very efficient when you collaborate with students/teachers in other parts of the country or in other countries. In that way we could create virtual, global classrooms - students from all over the world working together to enhance learning and at the same time to enhance cultural understanding and foreign language acquisition - Dorte Dorte Nov 20, 2016

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • There are several NGO´s working to build peer-to-peer educational social networks in this field. The most comprehensive that I know of is https://www.etwinning.net/en/pub/about.htm (- Magdi Magdi Oct 17, 2016)
  • I don't think you can call eTwinning social network in the same way as Facebook or Twitter. It's more like professional learning network or even professional learning communities (eTwinning groups). Students can't register and it's for teachers finding project partners and teachers' professional development (learning events, moocs, webinars, workshops etc). Teachers also use Facebook for creating professional learning networks, but not so much for teaching/learning. - tiinsari tiinsari Oct 25, 2016 The eTwinning-group define their work as a professional network. - jakob.harder jakob.harder Nov 16, 2016
  • An example of research on Social Networks in education: http://pure.au.dk/portal/files/43983449/Attention_to_attention.pdf - jakob.harder jakob.harder Nov 16, 2016

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