are writing about (social networking
sites, blogs, wikis, microblogging services, videocasting, and audiocasting)
is only now emerging.
So, without a tremendous research
base from which to draw, permit me to
describe two of the trends in using these
tools to develop professionally and socially that I and my colleagues see happening, based on our own research.
First, social bookmarking sites, such
as Delicious, Diigo, and CiteULike,
can provide the resources to facilitate a scholarly approach to teaching
where teachers concerned with developing research-based best practices
can collectively assemble, annotate,
recommend, and share scholarly
resources, such as books, journal articles, websites, and contacts. Social
scholarly practices leverage and archive our collective intelligence.
According to library media scholar
Laura Cohen, social scholarship operates on principles such as “openness,
conversation, collaboration, access,
sharing, and transparent revision.”
As educators reflect on what it means
to take a scholarly approach to their
teaching, their use of these social bibliography tools may, in turn, provide
greater insight into their own attitudes
and teaching practices (e.g., what it
means to teach “the research paper”
in the presence of social scholarship
tools). For more on this topic, please
see “Social scholarship: Applying social
networking technologies to research
practices” (Greenhow, 2009) and “Web
2.0 and Educational Research: What
Path Do We Take Now?” (Greenhow,
Robelia, and Hughes, in press).
Second, social networking tools,
such as Facebook, Classroom 2.0,
Ning, and Twitter, can be used to garner collective emotional support and
recognition for one’s creative practices.
We all know that teaching is hard
work, and it typically happens behind
closed doors. Such social networking
services allow many-to-many broadcasting, previously only afforded to
the privileged few, so that classroom
ideas, questions, or puzzles, such as
Pogue’s, can be quickly circulated
through a vast network, putting others’ problem-solving skills and political acumen to work for you.
Broadcasting the anecdotal evidence
you are gathering from classroom
teaching to a private or semi-private
network can not only help teachers
reflect on their practice to trouble
shoot and improve it, but also can
help teachers garner recognition for
their good work. And, of course, with
recognition may come more opportunities for professional development
(such as grants, time off for projects,
and leadership positions).
In our work studying the potential
educational benefits and challenges of
social network site use among urban
teenagers, we found that such technologies could function as social learning
resources and spaces for new literacy
practices. For instance, some young
people put up their creative work (a
video they made, creative writing
in their blog, photography, etc.) on
MySpace and in turn receive recognition and feedback in the form of
kudos, comments, tags, or friends being invited to view their work. Many
students felt this peer validation and
appreciation encouraged them to be
even more creative, clever, and articulate in their online self-presentation,
and we saw actual examples of this in
their online work.
In addition, they turned to their
social network site to get emotional
support and school-related task support from online friends and peers
during tough times, such as transitioning to college or working on a
stressful assignment. See Greenhow
and Robelia (in press) for more specific illustrations that may spark ideas
for teachers, as well.
For more on how these networks are
creating social learning opportunities
for young people in high school, please
a news-sharing community within
Facebook focused on environmental
science, literacy, and social activism.
Although these are just some of the
ways we might get a little help from
our friends along our own professional development journeys, they are
meant as a starting point for further
discussion. To that end, I invite you
to “friend” me on Facebook, tweet
to me on Twitter ( www.twitter.com/
chrisgreenhow), message me on the
ISTE Community Ning ( www.iste-
community.org), or find me in the
halls of NECC 2009.
Social networking tools can be used to garner collective emotional support
and recognition for one’s creative practices.
CiteULike example: www.citeulike.org/user/
Diigo article: http://schoolcomputing.wikia.
“Informal Learning and Identity Formation in
Online Social Networks” by C. Greenhow
and E. Robelia (in press). Learning, Media
Pogue’s Posts, “Twittering Tips for Beginners”:
“Professional Development in Integrating
Technology into Teaching and Learning:
Knowns, Unknowns, and Ways to Pursue
Better Questions and Answers” by K. A.
Lawless and J. W. Pellegrino (2007). Review
of Educational Research, 77( 4).
“Research on Learning and Teaching with Web
2.0: Bridging Conversations” by C. Greenhow, E. Robelia, & J. Hughes (in press).
“Social Scholarship: Applying Social Networking Technologies to Research Practices” by
C. Greenhow (2009). Knowledge Quest 37( 4).
“Social scholarship on the rise” by L. Cohen
(2007, April 5): http://liblogs.albany.edu/
“Web 2.0 and Educational Research: What Path
Do We Take Now?” by C. Greenhow, E. Robelia, and J. Hughes (in press). Educational