Wow! So many Social Networks!
Wow! This really made me think.
My life has changed in the past 10 years. Ever since Facebook arrived on the scene in 2004, there have been a bunch of Social Networking sites that I have experimented with and discarded and yet there are some which have survived the test of time.
Personally, having Skype and Facebook to maintain friendships and family connections - especially over long distances - has been invaluable. The birth of both our kids (and the immediate birth of their digital footprint!) was shared with our friends across the globe. The alternative of a letter or a phone call would have been lacking! My parents and extended family and friends have a real feel of belonging, as do our children who see their extended family on Skype, Facebook and email.
Professionally, my online life started small, but as my interest with all things tech grew, so did my Google Reader (soon to be replaced with Feeddler) and with that my PLN grew to follow many like minded professionals. Through my Google Reader subscriptions to sites by Richard Byrne, Larry Ferlazzo, Jeffrey Thomas, Jacqui Murray, Maggie Hos McGrane (none of whom, by the way, have I met in person!) as well as sites like the Commited Sardine Blog and the Elementary Tech Teachers Ning the world of Web2.0 Tools and technology in education has opened up massive possibilities - and even led me on the path from a regular classroom teacher to being the Director of Digital Learning...
I can honestly say that - except for a few distracting games (Dots being my current addiction and Words With Friends being my long standing relationship!) AND the fact that one can get lost in the pure volume, the internet has only been positive both personally and professionally.
The answer would differ slightly for students. We have experienced 'LBI' (Life Before Internet) while the younger generations have never known anything different. We can appreciate the ease of research from the comfort of our own couch and remember, with fondness - and disbelief! - the days before mobile technology took over the world. Students know no different. Yes, students need to taught how to manage the balance between online and real life but at the end of the day, to them, this is all real. The question - and answer - is balance.
Balance is a key skill we need to be teaching students. In this constantly connected world, learning to disconnect is extremely difficult and even I, with the distant memory of 'LBI', struggle to put my device down. We need to encourage students to value and participate in the real world while at the same time embracing the new era, where knowledge is no longer power but knowing what to do with it is key...
Having said that, I believe we take it for granted that our students - digital natives - also have the skills to excel in a digital world. Just because they can connect using Social Network sites, does not mean that they know how to use them outside of socialising. We need to ensure that these students can apply these skills to the classroom and to their learning rather than just assuming that because they do, they can.
2. Online vs. face to face Venn Diagram
3. Collaborative Presentation of Web2.0 Tools
4. Designing an online discussion
5. Establishing an Accessible Social Presence
6. Designing a comprehensive Assessment Plan
7. Online Course Syllabus
8. Reflection: iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Teaching
Hello, I am Tony Potts, the Director of Digital Learning, PK-12 ICT Coordinator, ICT teacher and technology integration specialist at GEMS World Academy, Dubai. Please feel free to ask me ANY questions...