As I explore the topic of using social networking for adult educators, I see many advantages to both the educator and the student.
For the adult educator, this is a wonderful opportunity to find others in your field who are also passionate about this topic (adult education) and maybe even the subject you are teaching. It is a professional development opportunity every time you connect with your social network. Colleagues are sharing resources, participating in discussions and debates, and sharing details as they struggle and succeed in their everyday journey. It’s a place to ask questions and make connections on a global scale. You have access to people and resources that are global, instant and diverse. It can become a rich community of sharing and support.
Additionally, an adult educator who provides social networking opportunities for their students opens the door for an endless learning experiences limited only by the student’s own sense of adventure and creativity. No matter the topic, the abundance of social resources will become an ever flowing river of resources to your students. They will have access to people following the same interests, experts in the field, and social filters only those working with the topic on a daily basis will have. I believe you will also find this is an environment some students will thrive in as they have an opportunity to express themselves in a different, typically non-threatening, medium.
Some important resources to investigate and try with your colleagues and/or students.
- Social Bookmarking – Delicious, Diigo
- Social Editing – Wikis, Blogs, Shared docs, VoiceThread
- Social Media – YouTube, Flickr
- Specialized Social Networks – Ning (Classroom 2.0), Dogster, GoodReads
- General Social Networks – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
As we work more and more in this online collaborative space, what tools do you find most useful and what do you feel are the key advantages of social networking to adult educators? Please comment!
October 2009 – Adult Education Conference Presentation – Social_Networking PDF – 6.6 Meg