A law in Missouri was recently passed that makes it illegal for teachers to be “friends” with students on any social networking site that allows private communication. Here’s the complete story from NPR news. The larger bill was passed with great support because it was designed to protect children from predatory teachers.
But as one teacher points out, a teacher’s job is to reach out to students and that means going where they are. Today, students do not use email as much and have instead turned to social networking sites to communicate. Instead of protecting children, the new law may be hurting them by limiting a students ability to contact teachers if they need help.
Expanding your networks
It’s easy to create and build our networks of people around just whom we know quite well. What about the blogs you read, are those authors part of your network? Who do you follow and who do you friend? Would you friend a prof? Follow a boss? Expanding your network, changes it. Here are some considerations:
including people in your network who are different than you expands your world view and offers the opportunity to see another perspective.
trust is an important consideration – who do you trust to recommend new contacts? How do you decide who is trust worthy?
would you create new or different networks for learning? Why or why not?
Approaches for collaboration:
forming online groups (using services like Ning or others)
collaborating on a writing project, using a wiki or collaboration tool such as Google Docs.
sharing your comments on blogs about subjects that you are interested in.
starting your own blog and sharing it with your existing network.
sharing your work through social media channels (like the video above)
learn more about collaborative study tools like Quizlet
include a wide variety of people in your social media networks, like Twitter. Learn more about how to use Twitter effectively at Tweetsmarter.
Making your learning visible:
This isn’t for everyone, but it can have great rewards if you value your mistakes and consider all of your attempts as valid contributions to your eventual success (and the success of those in your networks). Creating your work online (using wiki spaces, blogs, shared writing projects) makes your learning visible to others who you give permission to see it.
Make it easy to keep in touch:
desktop organizers/feed readers like Netvibes or iGoogle make it easy for you to add feeds from your favorite sites or use widgets to manage your own sites (like Facebook and Twitter) – so that you can contribute your ideas from a single starting place.
What have you learned in this section? Take the quiz: