Thursday, January 31, 2008

The FB/SNS discussion continues...

Michael Coghlan, our Manager and I had already made a time to meet this morning to fine tune the details on the e-Learning Professional Development we would be offering to staff this semester - however it seems appropriate to continue f2f the email and podomatic discussions about whether Facebook should be unblock for TAFE staff we had been having recently.

This discussion evolved around:
- what's so great about Social Networking (SN) anyway?
Well, it allows people to 'tap' into a wealth of knowledge - quickly and freely.

It's an emerging knowledge sharing process whereby people can link up with others beyond their physical surrounding and time zones.

People's Social Networking Sites (SNS) are always switched on - and it's probably quicker to get a response to an ICT issue from your SN then it is from contacting ICT Support.

Michael pointed out how organisation such as IBM are using SN to enhance their business practices.

- how would we ensure staff weren't doing more 'social' then 'networking'?
Michael highlighted the fact that the boundary between 'work' and 'play' in Social Networking sites (SNS) has blurred - and as Sue Waters and Vicki Davis quite rightly point out - it's about more about 'educational networking' than 'social networking' which educators are engaging in.

- how would we ensure staff and students used the space 'appropriately'?
If staff and students are encouraged to use SNS in an 'educational setting' then there will be opportunities to discuss what the 'social norms' are.

Anyway, aren't our staff 'professionals'? So shouldn't we treat them that way?

Surely they are 'accountable' for what they do - and if they choose to dabble in some SN at work - they'll only have to find another time to complete their many tasks - probably 'after hours' like the rest of us already do.

And why can't staff use 15 mins of their lunch break (if they get take on that is) to 'experiment' with SN?

- is it really the role of TAFE to 'educate' students about SNetiquettte (Social Networking Etiquette)?
As Michael once again pointed out - there's a mass of our adult student population who did not grow up in Generation MySpace, and therefore don't know how to operate on the Internet - so surely we have a 'responsibility' to train our students to be more 'employable' in the Knowledge Era!!

What did come out of today's discussions were that if staff are to help guide their students through the 'educational use' of SNS, then we as a team need to provide more professional development in this area. Surely, this is a step in the right SN direction?


Vicki A. Davis said...

I think your discussion hits on all of the major aspects of professional development and educational networking. If you're concerned about too much "social" time, why not create a Ning for everyone to participate in from your district or area? Then, you can just unblock the URL. If there are students on site, you're asking for trouble by unblocking facebook -- it is just too much of a distraction (as they will tell you.)

theother66 (formally MadMiller) said...

Thanks Vicki - but I'm thinking that just like a new toy on Christmas Day, the attraction of Social Networking will soon fade into the background, and will morph into something which becomes a very useful part of our working and social lives.

And if I may use your term: I think we just have to work together to help this transformation from 'social networking' into more 'educational networking' for our staff and students.

theother66 (formally MadMiller) said...

As going through my Google Reader I came across a blog post by Vicki a Davis (aka Cool Cat Teacher) regarding this debate, and wanted to link it back here for future reference:

thanks Vicki a Davis for highlighting the issue of SN in educational settings.

theother66 (formally MadMiller) said...

Kate Olson ( shared this great link today on Twitter:

A Parent's Perspective to Social Networking: