Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Social Networking in Education - A Whitepaper

Educational Networking: The Important Role Web 2.0 Will Play in Education
Hopefully, you'll find something of interest in this whitepaper.  :)


  1. Why did you put this in Scribd? It's basically unreadable in the Flash window, and it demands that you register with am email to read the PDF. Why not just post the PDF? Or better, post it as an HTML document?

  2. @Downes: Your wish (at least one part) is my command. Here's the direct PDF link.

    I'll work on the other. :)

  3. Also looking forward to html version. Makes it easier to highlight in Diigo, among other things.

  4. Thanks - pdf is much easier to read and use. -- Terry

  5. Thanks, PDf is so much better...and I am looking forward to read this paper:-)

  6. A thought is to publish the link as a GoogleDoc webpage .. these come with a printable PDF version. I have been doing a lot of this with documents we build and collaborate on then publish. Thanks for sharing this body of work Steve :-)

  7. Very interesting - thanks for sharing. Ironically, my school has been dealing with no computers - at all - for nearly a week now, thanks to a major server problem. We all get to realize how much technology is embedded in our daily lives - email among colleagues, email to and from parents, access to electronic gradebooks (our only gradebooks for most of us), access to our own computers so that we can show the youtube videos that enhance our classes, have students do internet research, and a thousand other things. Unfortunately, I'm afraid this will sink efforts to increase technology use, since we will all wonder, can I rely on this technology?

  8. Great resource Steve, thank you.

    Here is a funky little Christmas gift from me, teachers & kids at our school, in many ways inspired by your visit to Perth this year (you may recognise a pic in there...). It will go nicely with your paper too.

    Best wishes, merry Christmas and a great, 'resolution free' New Year to you and family


  9. Thanks for sharing this document. It provides lots of food for thought!

    By the way, I like the Scribd version and found it easy to read and navigate!

  10. @F: That would be a fascinating and counter-intuitive response in my mind...?

    @Tomaz: Super fun! Yes, I recognized the slide. :) Way to go!

    @SH: I haven't figure out yet why, when I look at the blog post, the Scribd page gives me a prominent "download" link that does download the PDF version. Do others not see that? Maybe it's a cookie or something in my browser that has me logged in with them.

  11. Thanks, Steve. Will enjoy reading this...

  12. I don't understand all the whining about your posting the document via Scribd. Users can view full screen, zoom, scroll, download and print just like any PDF reader--without downloading or a plug-in. In addition, I can follow the link to check out related work. I can imagine no reason other than plain old curmudgeonliness for preferring an HTML document. I certainly wouldn't go to the work of marking up the text in HTML when a beautiful, accessible document like this is embedded right at the end of our noses.

  13. @claryb: Thanks for the defense! I will tell you, though, that I like Howard's reasoning for an HTML version because of the ability that others would have to highlight or leave comments via Diigo. So I'm going to work on it.

    Those of us who have gotten used to the politeness of educational networking often forget the "curmudgeonly" tone that blogged conversations had/can have. :)

  14. Jennifer Potier11:02 PM

    Steve, 5 months ago I did not know that Web 2.0 existed. I attended the elh2009 conference in Australia, and was inspired to find out more -this conference directed me to Classroom 2.0. Since then, my educational and professional universe has expanded exponentially! I am excited, motivated, re-energized and now ready, thanks to the fantastic webinars and twitterers I follow to take the LEAP!
    Your "Social Networking in Education - A Whitepaper" has all of the clear, specific, and relevant reasoning that I need to take to my colleagues and school council to justify and move our teaching and learning truly into the 21st century! Thanks for your words, your blogs, your Classroom 2.0 emails, and your elluminate webinars - I am ready, now, to continue to grow with my students, via web 2.0 for the next 20 years!

    Jennifer Potier
    Fremantle, Australia

    p.s. I am not a new teacher! I am 48 years old - so it is never to late to try something new!

  15. Thanks Steve for your paper! Happy new year!It's an innovation in the field of research.

  16. Yes, Thank you, Steve, for the work (not just here, but in all you do on behalf of the education endeavor).

    The sidebars of the article is good summary info.

    Re: Publishing format. What you did here worked fine for me. I would take advantage of an HTML version, though, to annotate and then share via Diigo.

    As I was reading, I wondered about Curriki. How/where do Curriki and LearnCentral complement each other? Both facilitate personal profile (and concomitant opportunities) and content management (#2 and 3). Am I correct in my assessment that LearnCentral shines in its robust capabilities for synchronous collaboration while Curriki's strength is as a platform for open source curriculum?

    I'm not thinking about "better than," but "complementary to."

  17. Hey, Steve, would you consider re-naming the title on your blog to "Educational Networking..."--the title of the paper?

  18. @Jennifer: so glad this is helpful to you.

    @Mary: good thoughts about Curriki. RE: the title--I figured that "social networking" is the more recognizable phrase. But glad you like the other!

  19. Thank you for the resource!

    My only problem with "Web 2.0" as a "revolutionary tool" within education is that collaboration is, in my opinion, slightly overrated. I think collaboration is great, but there is still a need for a definitive source of Truth. To become educated in any subject matter, you need both the drive of questioning AND the reception of answers. And not just "good ideas" or "well thought out justifications", but actual answers. Collaboration can drive the questioning, but I don't see it providing a significant number of answers. My 15 year-old Biology students aren't going to discover the steps of Mitosis by simply "collaborating".

    The power of Web 2.0, in my opinion, isn't the fact that people can collaborate, but it is with whom you can now collaborate. My brother's physics class just had a Skyped video conference with a renowned physicist from Hungary, and this is utilizing the true "collaborative" power of the internet. Yes, students should always be encouraged to dialogue with one another, but I want to continue pointing them to definitive sources of Truth (or at least respected professionals) to drive the thought in our classroom. And this ability to point to respected sources existed prior to Web 2.0

  20. @Tony: appreciate the comment, and the concerns. I think you'd really like the interview series at, as I think we try to balance both sides of this question (especially I'd recommend the one with Dan Willingham).

    I don't think we have to negate the value of "Truth" to see the impact of collaboration in science. I think both coexist in the professional world, as demonstrated with the news this week about the research on cancers being done collaborative all over the world. To bring the same level of engagement, discussion, and participation into traditional education doesn't mean that we necessarily devalue rigor or expertise. Among other things, potentially, we can provide a more apprenticeship-like experience.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  21. This debate over scribd has me in knots. When I came to the page, I thought, cool - scribd embedded in a blog, that's a GREAT idea! Then I read the comments...

    I think the debate about whether or not to use scribd, which led to a laundry list of the different tools that people like to use and why is an illustration of exactly why the concept of 2.0 teaching scares some people.

    You come up with an idea, sift through the 5 or 10 new ways you've seen recently that you could share, annotate, collaborate, or advertise your idea, and then, after posting, you agonize over the 10 or 15 more ways you could have done it.

    Heck, I'm getting scared myself.

  22. Thank you very much for sharing the great work!


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