Beyond Social Networking: Building a Learning Community

"Much has been written recently about the impact of social networking
tools in teaching and learning and how educators can build on the
skills of their students in using these tools. My discussion here does
not negate that good work but introduces the idea that social
networking is only the beginning of a longer and more complex process
of socially constructed learning and ultimately collaboration and
knowledge building. That is, if educators only integrate the ability of
students to connect and socialize, deeper points of learning will be
missed. While good teaching and learning rests on effective
relationships (Cummins, 2000), in an active learning community, those
relationships should evolve into actual idea exchange and knowledge

This is a paragraph from the article written by Ruth Reynard in THE Journal:

Beyond Social Networking: Building a Learning Community

Relevant to SMIL resources:

3 thoughts on “Beyond Social Networking: Building a Learning Community

  1. Gail P

    This post is directly connected to the questions I’ve had running around in my head. Since my K class can’t socially connect online yet, I need to model how we construct together and collect information for all to share. Page three of your source says, “It is important to recognize, however, that with Web 2.0 tools a host of skills can be developed, sometimes sequentially and sometimes simultaneously. Blogger, Marcia Connor, posted the following Sunday Oct. 19, 2008: “These new literacies almost all involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking. These skills build on the foundation of traditional literacy, research and technical skills, and critical analysis hopefully addressed in each classroom and every home. Our goals should be to encourage children and youth to develop the skills, knowledge, ethical frameworks, and self-confidence needed to be full participants in contemporary society.”
    Among those listed by Connor (quoting from MIT and other sources) are skills in:
    * Simulation: the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes;
    * Collective intelligence: the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal; and
    * Negotiation: the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives and grasping and following alternative norms.”
    I feel pretty comfortable with the social interaction piece and how the students explore together. It is putting the creation of the digital piece into their hands that baffles me. I guess the teacher as the film director, recording their thoughts and ideas for sharing with the whole class and the world is where I need to stay.
    Thanks for the thought provoking post. It is just the kind of social contructivism we are aiming for as you bring my thoughts and ideas together with the thinking of others.
    Here’s an example of my current use of social contructivism in kindergarten science.
    Simple Machines
    Vernal Pool

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