Response to Chapter 9…Social Networks
Among the phrases and words that really resounded in my mind through the reading of this chapter are “Connections and Communities”, “Networked, interest-based Learning”, “Social engagement.” Without a question, the direction we are heading with technology demands a cooperation and interactivity. Students are in a new era. Learning is not about a teacher and a textbook any more. Social skills are not about face-to-face interactions anymore. Collaborating is not about meeting in a room and planning together anymore. Technology has made a great impact that is hard to understand and describe for many of us. As future educators we have a big challenge ahead of us. We need to step up and be able to relate and teach according to the current needs and practices of our students. Facebook is a clear example of this. The use of this tool is not even. I will take a risk and say that most of the students (upper grades) have a Facebook account, but not all the teachers in those classrooms have one. This tool is being used as a private and personal way to communicate with people but not much in education. I have to say I do not feel very comfortable using Facebook in the classroom. Perhaps I would need to explore it more and create an account for specific school purposes, as the book states “…no teacher should be denied exploration of a technology that with good pedagogy could be a valuable learning tool for students, or, more importantly, could provide important context for learning in general.” (p. 134). Teachers need to be creative and smart to take advantage of this great tool and bring it into our personal practice, perhaps the sharing and posting could happen under one roof and private to those whom we want to participate. The alternative presented by Ning seems to be a good option for those teachers looking for an environment for developing writing skills for a dedicated audience with opportunities to have discussions through the participation and interaction of more people.