Week 3: Social Networking

  1. I learned that there are many, many more social networks out there than I could imagine. The list on Google had social networks that fit many niches. There are social networks for those interested in photos, film, parenting, books, music, academic research, and on and on.

One of the articles I read was called “Does Social Networking Impair Learning” by Brian Solis (http://www.briansolis.com/2009/08/does-social-networking-impair-learning/). The article discusses multitasking and asks if people choose to be distracted as they become immersed in all that a social network has to offer. The author also wonders if some users just have a sense of community and feel invested and if this is a new way of learning.

2. I joined Goodreads. This social network caters to book lovers who want to share reviews and thoughts on their favorite books. After signing up, you rate books you have read in several categories (classic books, fiction, etc.) so the site has a baseline of the kind of books you have read and how much you like them. You rate each book (one to five stars). Then you can add titles to your own personal catalog and leave comments and reviews about each. The site is linked with Facebook and Twitter so you can interact with your friends from these networks as well.

I joined this network because I love to read and share my thoughts on books, and I thought this would help me professionally because I am a librarian.

3. I do have a Facebook account. I don’t get on it a whole lot because I know it can be a time drain (reading everyone’s comments about this and that, playing the games, etc.). It is a great way to keep up with what your friends are up to and see photos. I have found some friends from high school and college that I had lost touch with. I really like that aspect. I am also going to a 30th (Uggh!!) eighth grade reunion this weekend that was totally organized on Facebook. I have also joined Twitter recently (after I read the syllabus for this class a few weeks ago). I think it is very interesting to see what famous actors, athletes, or politicians have to say. I have been following John Cleese (Monty Python fame) and several athletes (GO DIRK!!). Some people tweet very frequently but others only once a week or even less often. I haven’t tweeted anything because no one follows me. How does someone develop a following? Haven’t figured that one out yet.

I joined Facebook out of curiosity. My wife and son had accounts and seemed to be having fun with it, so that’s why I joined.

4. I used del.icio.us (now Delicious) for the social bookmarking tool. I really see this as a useful tool!! I always thought of bookmarks as being a personal, private set of information, but it really presents a wonderful opportunity to share with others. Bookmarks are resources and these resources can now be shared by colleagues and friends. If I have found a great site for lesson plans, I can now share that resource easily with others who can benefit from it. I definitely plan to use this to pool and share resources.

5. I see many advantages to using these tools. The Goodreads site can direct me to new and exciting books that my students would enjoy reading. This would influence what books I recommend and order for the library. Delicious can be used to share resources with teachers and fellow librarians. I could find a great website that has activities on tall tales and legends, bookmark it with Delicious, and be able to share it with teachers who also use Delicious. This is an easy and efficient way to get resources to teachers.

I really don’t see any disadvantages for these tools. With Facebook I have read about the bullying that can happen and the mean things people can post to each other. This aspect of Facebook would be a detriment to learning, but Facebook isn’t allowed through our internet filter at school. Also, it is for those 14 and older.

6. The bookmarking would be a great tool in the classroom. I can envision an activity on finding resources. This activity would give students practice finding good sources and then sharing what they have found with fellow students. There could also be discussions on what makes one source of information better that another. Students would be able to see what sources other students have collected and easily compare sources.

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6 Responses to Week 3: Social Networking

  1. Dr. W says:

    I’m going to check out Googlereads. It sounds like a very good network! Twitter is interesting. I have an account, but don’t use it. In fact, I forget I have it! My husband uses his twitter account to make announcements to his students. I may try that for the fall.

  2. Staci Taylor says:

    Hi Mike,
    I like your idea about holding discussions on what makes a source of information better than another. In my opinion, many students do not take the time to determine if the information they are using is from a credible source. I think all students need to be taught how to search and locate information on the Internet. Then they need to be taught how to determine if it is a valid source or something someone made up. Some adults may need to learn this also. It’s really disturbing when a hoax or rumor is spread around from chain emails because no one bothered to actually check if the information was true or not.

  3. Hey Mike,
    Thank you for the tip on GoodReads. I just accepted my first librarian job and will put that one to good use quickly. I enjoyed your post and was intrigued by the comments on Delicious. I would like to figure out a way to use/share that with some of my older library patrons. You have sparked some ideas. As far as Facebook, I see the need but like you would not particularly like the “time drain” involved. I am much more into physical activity during the day than in being online. However, I watch my younger friends and they seem to just love the connection it gives them! As an educator, there are possibilities when the districts figure out how best to address that frustrating filter.
    Good job posting,
    Cindy

  4. Mike Douthit says:

    You are exactly right about students and using credible resources. Each year I show students fraudulent websites. One of my favorites is about the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. Students spend time reading the articles about it and see all the photos. They really think it’s an actual creature. The website is http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/. Check it out. It’s quite clever. Someone really spent a lot of time creating it.

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