I came across this slideshow from Judy O’Connell speaking with the staff of the State Library of NSW about the issues and drivers that are considered as they work with students in a tertiary learning environments. Learning in Networks of Knowledge was just the beginning of a bigger conversation. It is also very applicable to our work here in the Secondary School environment as we prepare our students, not just for tertiary education, but for life long learning.
I am a member of a Teacher Librarian network group here in Brisbane and how I look forward to our meetings once a term. The opportunities these offer to bounce ideas off fellow TLs, share anecdotes, keep abreast of new technologies and educational ideas and to just spend some quality time with like-minded people is a wonderful antidote for an extremely busy “on-demand” professional life of a Teacher Librarian. Online networks will never replace such meetings, but how often at the end of the meeting do you feel that there is still a lot to discuss and share. An online community gives you the opportunity to continue these discussions long after the physical meeting has finished. However it provides much more too. It extends the scope of the physical meeting from a handful of professionals based locally to a group of professionals from all over the world. An online network can also give you access to professionals with more specific skillsets than your physical network – I continue to seek help from copyright specialists I met through an earlier online course.
As a school we have embraced Facebook and Twitter as a marketing tool and are encouraged to use them for networking. However both are blocked for the students. As it is often hard keeping students on track, I do wonder whether students would value a unit of work delivered via Facebook enough to avoid the temptation to check into things they would find more interesting, such as who was going out with whom etc.
I have enjoyed the blogging component of the course – though am still at the stage of doing lots of reading and sharing but not much “replying” – something I intend to do more of as the course progresses. I have never been a fan of Twitter as previous experiences have usually been of the shallow, “who really cares” variety, but have linked to a few more educational “twitterers” and will see how it goes. The short, sharp nature of Twitter would be advantageous in my very busy working day.