If You’re not Sick of Social Networks Yet!

..Then you haven’t been to the exhibit hall.  I took time to walk down about three quarters of a single row yesterday in the NECC Exhibit hall, and saw no fewer than five new social network or community products — “This social network is going to revolutionize physical education!”  I actually found myself standing and listening to the eloquently delivered pitch for the latest in routers, just for the rest. 

CHildren laughing between stone adultsNow don’t get me wrong.  Social networks are great.  I think we need them as much as our kids do, and for a lot of the same reasons.  But I still don’t think we get it.  I don’t think we need new rooms to close ourselves into.  We’re trying to get ourselves and the others teachers we work with out of our rooms — out so that we can see at a distance.  I can’t help but believe that if students saw this, they’d be laughing so hard, well you get the picture. [Image from Stephen Clark ((Clark, Stephen. “Kids Laughing At Bread Line Sculpture.” Sgclark’s Photostream. 22 Dec 2007. 2 Jul 2008 <http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgclark/2129494643/>. ))]

I mentioned something at the EduBloggerCon that I really want to put more thought into and maybe even writing some a little more substancial than a blog.  I can’t help but believe that the real power of the social network is not the container.  The real power is in the individual, through his or her profile.

“Using their Teachers”

I had a conversation yesterday with a fellow (? Hoffman) in the Open Source Playground, a representative of the Indiana Department of Education.  Indiana is well into a 1:1 program (Indiana’s Open Source Experiment), where they are using Open Source solutions to more affordably (and perhaps more authentically) put digital networked content in the hands of their students.

We were talking about some of the affects of ubiquitous access to computers and the Internet, and he mentioned in one of his anecdotes, that students were “using their teachers.”  It wasn’t intended as one of those “bang” statements.  It was just a turn of phrase that came out.  But it stuck me pretty dramatically as a contradiction of our usual sense of teaching being something that teachers do to their students.  Here, the implication is that students, rather than being taught to, were using teachers, presumably as a resource to accomplish something.

Not sure if that was actually the case, but the turn of phrase came from somewhere.

Video from Spotlight on YouTube Now

Picture of Video Frame
Click the photo to link to the YouTube Video
Yesterday morning, I collected a bunch of photos tagged with NECC08, mostly pictures from the Blogger’s Cafe, and then pumped them into Animoto for a video to start my Spotlight session with yesterday.  This morning, I uploaded the video to YouTube.  If you want to watch, click the picture to the right.

Photos were taken by Verne Becker, AC Thompson, Scott McLeod, LJ Moore, Scott S. Floyd, Ddraig-Goch, applem123, Dean Shareski, Fan of Biber, Joyce Valenza, Nedra,  Lucy Gray, Mark Pennington, Derrall Garrison, Ewan McIntosh, David Warlick.