A room full of talented, passionate, knowledgeable, and open to sharing and questioning their practices to learn from each other. I am sitting in my first EduCon session, Social Networking for Professionals - a roundtable discussion about the use of socialnetworking for professional development with a room full of talented, passionate, knowledgeable, and open to sharing and questioning their practices to learn from each other.
This is a group of people who are honestly asking questions about their practice and collectively trying to learn from each other.
So what are some of the questions?
What is it about social networking that makes it compelling and valuable for professional development?
How do we assess the impact of professional development?
How do you develop continuity?
A basic purpose and synchronous communication capability?
Social network faders - what keeps you coming back and how can we further develop your ideas and learning experiences?
How do we create a sense that professionals NEED to be part of just in time learning?
Through discussion there were some common threads that seem to foster professional development through social networking.
- It is really important to have some immediate purpose and will generate some feedback which will help foster people coming back.
- You need a reason for people to keep coming back. There are always new ideas
- Feeling like you are a member of the community
- Needs to solve something
- Needs to have something specific it is solving if it is for a local group
- It has to work and be reliable
- It has to be easy to learn
- Beginning with a group that is organized and has a purpose yet have the ability to morph and open the doors for personal exploration.
There are also clearly obstables that interfere with the use of social networks for professional development:
- fear of failure
- parent questions
- administrative concernsprescribed professional development done to you not for or with you
This is only a brief review of the discussion since I often caught myself listening and thinking rather than taking notes. Please comment and add to the ideas so that we can continue to learn from each other and learn how to foster the learning of other teachers.