What do you think of this statement on Social Networks?

Below is a comment I left on a blog this morning. It includes a quote from the blog itself which I found intriguing but the meaning is not clear. Hopefully the author will respond with some insight. In the meantime what do you think the point is...?

I am interested in the discussion about the students but at the moment another part of the entry caught my attention.
Will you say....
"One of the moments in my presentations that always amazes me is when I point out that upwards of 55% of kids are using social networking sites, and then I ask how many teachers in the room have one. It’s rare to get over 5%. That’s just one sign of the disconnect, one that I think having students in the room could really help to assuage"

So I am wondering what role you see for social networking for educators.

Various blogs have been talking recently about the Ning site Classroom 2.0 which Steve started and some are seeing no point in it...why not just stick with blogs they ask.... Maybe we still just don't get what the students get...which is all the more reason to spend time over there. (here)

Tags: socialnetworking

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What a fantastic discussion - and one reason why SN are so valuable. I believe that as technology evolves and becomes "mainstream", educators must also evolve. Last year it was blogs, last month it was wikis, now it is SN and 3D worlds. Soon we will be discussing Web 3.0 (Semantic Web). (read my Blog post if interested)
It's not that one is more valuable than another. It is the evolution of the tools that must drive our paradigms.
While I see great pedigogical potential in social networking, I am in the outright minority in my building. The educators I know are hung up on the notion that kids are not only wasting their time of MySpace, etc., but the general concensus is that kids are irresponsible about how they use it. I teach in a middle school, and to some extent I understand the concerns. Kids need to be taught what's appropriate and what's inappropriate use of the internet. I wish I knew how to convince my colleagues that all social networks are not bad.

A couple of years ago, I tried to sell other teachers on the idea of using blogs in language arts. It didn't go over so well . . .
I want to say that I subscribed to the CR2.0 blog postings and forums of Ning when I realized there were feeds. I wouldn't have to keep coming back. (A time saver, or so I thought.) Now when I see posts in my reader, I skim for repetitive responses (skimming for popular topics). Once I decide there is a popular topic, I link out to the Ning so I can follow the thread. That is what I like about this SN. But I have to attribute my "liking" this feature (threaded conversations) to noticing popular topics in my reader. Otherwise I just skim. But when something catches my interest, I do link back to respond if I feel so inclined. I want to share CR2.0 with my new school in the fall. MySpace and even Facebook have given educators who are not "in the know" a bad impression of social networking. Hopefully by seeing this, they may change their mind, and maybe even join in. In education, I don't think you can beat collegial conversations.
I'm with you, Cathy: I don't think you can beat collegial conversations. CR2.0 has been a transformational, uplifting experience for me. Actually, it's one of the things I longed for during most of my three-decade long education career: some way to talk about what I'm thinking, wondering about, reading, learning, questioning. It's so great to get on and see what others are thinking, wondering about, reading, learning, and questioning. We can get out of our buildings, out into the wider world to gain a broader view. We can learn how to get our kids involved with innovative, connecting projects with classmates with or for children all around the world. We can keep ourselves up to date with all sorts of new technology right as it "comes in," and learn practical applications for the new technology in our teaching and in our lives. What more could an educator want?!
Wow, what an interesting discussion. So many willing to share their own experiences, learning, thoughts and ideas - all valued and appreciated. Great to see those not in the educational/learning arena (as in teaching/facilitating or whatever we wish to badge it today, providing us with their take on issues. I feel it is important to learn, share, collaborate with anyone who is interested in the nnature of the topics. If only we could get parents (who are no educators) to join in and learn, instead of being scared of all SNT and trying to block their children from using them and what about the learners themselves, I am sure they would provide us with much to think about and great ideas on how they would like to learn - learner not teacher centered learning - not a new concept but one that is struggling in the TAFE - Vocational Education Sector in Australia.

Blogs vs SNT

Blogging can be a lonely existence. Often people will read and maybe even like, reflect and adapt and adopt ideas however there is little interaction with others through blogs, apart from the odd comment or two that you will find.
Despite this, I intend at this point anyway to keep my blog, only because it is a world I created for myself in many ways, a place where I can write what I think and feel, not always limited to one area, such as web 2.0, but one where I can write about anything that I feel is important to me and maybe to others. I guess in some ways a journal of my own learning, thoughts, ideas and practice that I can look back on and reflect upon. As I often state on my blog - Thoughts from my head alone at this time:)

SNT, whilst many provide a blog feature, allow for greater interaction and connection/networking with others who are interested, through, discussions, email, comments, video and much much more. The connections are made quickly, if you spend the time to build up your network (and it does take time), their is a wealth of information and contacts in a central place, one is surrounded with a supportive environment and as I have noticed recently a warm and friendly environment - a pleasant change from being on campus during the day, where you feel you should have a crash helmet on, should you utter anything to the majority of staff about anything 'e' related.

In my opinion, there is a place for many different tools and technologies. The variety provides choice and flexibility. We do not all learn in the same ways and we all have our reasons for the choices we make.

For me personally, I had been a part of the Networks/Forum on the Australian Flexible Learning Framework since 2002 - a consequence of working on projects for the Framework and being awarded a Flexible Learning Leader Scholarship in 2003 - a year of pd, a great opportunity.

I had never had any issues within the network until April of this year, when I discovered that some of my ideas were a little challenging for a few. The result, cyberbullying by others in the forum, who went to great lengths to push me out and then started messing with my life. If you google Kathy Sierra:Jacinta Gascoigne, you will be able to see what went on.

As I was given no support by those who managed the forum, which is part of the Edna groups - a moodle, I elected to leave a network that I was a part of and was a part of my life for sometime. I quite simply did not feel safe anymore.

I continued with the myspace's I have created and still manage, however I shyed away from any other form of networking. For a time I would email those who I knew were standing by me and they emailed back. I then chose to take blogging seriously and created a new blog.

The new blog mixed with my curiosity saw me having a play in many environments, mostly the SNT, checking out how they worked, who was using them, why they were using them and the outcomes. My playing and sharing what I was playing with via email and blog, lead me to ning and at this time ning is the vehicle I have chosen for my continued learning and I hope sharing and collaborating with others globally. I have a Xanga, Facebook and others, but for the purposes of exploring web 2.0 and beyond, myself and with others, the Ning world is an excellent fit.

Thank you for your post and to all those who have replied, most insightful and encouraging to see the honesty and differences in thinking and experience, accepted, supported and appreciated.

Compelling thread here. One quick observation - blogs are almost Socratic in their nature, in that people read a blog because the blogger, or teacher, says some things that are of interest and then people start regularly reading those blogs because of the "teachers"/blogger. Social networks like others said are more like cafes or maybe like "Cheers" the old TV show.



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