Chapter 6: The Social Web: Learning Together

Please view the below video, Social Networking in Plain English from Common Craft . (Direct link to YouTube)
If the below embedded video does not open at school, please click on the above link.
In Will Richardson, 2nd edition, he surmises the social web may create a network of resources allowing us to work with others to help support our own learning. Additionally, he mentions that this is just "another example of how the collective contributions created by the Read/Write Web are changing the way we work."

In3rd_book.png his 3rd edition, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasting and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classroom, an entire chapter is devoted to social networking ("Social Networks: Facebook, Ning, Connections and Communities"). Below is summarization of the chapter (as it is not included in the 2nd edition that we are using for this workshop).

Will Richardson opens the chapter stating the following (3 year) study report, “Living and Learning With New Media”. The key findings of this study, reports that our students are using social networking technologies in two important ways:
  • Engaging in networks as in “friendship-based ways” such as Facebook and My Space.
  • Exploring “interest–based” and finding information that goes beyond what they have access to at school or in their local community” (page 131).

In both of these interactions (friendship and interest based) the study found that students are engaged in “self directed, peer-based learning”. "Friendship-based" help students stay connected to people whom they know in thier physical spaces. “Interest-based” connections are connections to peers and adults whom they do not know but share the same passion of interest. According to Will Richardson, "students are becoming at once both teacher and learners in these spaces and in the process, they learn about the things that schools cannot or will not teach them." (page 131)

Along the line of the central message of this book, Will Richardson mentions that as educators, At some point, we are going to have to get our brains around what it means to participate in an online community, or “social network” the way our kids are beginning to do if we really want to help them do it well.” (page 132).

In this chapter, two sites are discussed, Facebook and Ning. As many of us know, is one of the most popular “friendship-based” sites and as of March 2013, has more than 1.11 BILLION active users. Ning allows you to create your own personal “Facebook-like” network around a specific topic of interest. Will Richardson mentions, the key to both of these sites for educators is to move beyond the friendship connection and really explore the potentials of the networked, interest-based learning that is possible within these frames.

He continues to discuss Facebook for personal connections as well as uses in the classroom. As far as personal connections, if we want to prepare our students for what is without question a future filled with networked learning spaces, we must first experience those environments for ourselves. With this in mind, Facebook is a great place to start. For the next few pages, he explaining how to sign up and use Facebook.

Then…..Will Richardson tackles, “Facebook In The Classroom” a very hot topic for many districts. He is a proponent for using Facebook in the classroom citing the following reasons:
  • It has become an important online space in our students’ lives where he believes a great deal of learning occurs.
  • Whether we like it or not, since we work with kids in school, we have a responsibility to understand what Facebook is all about.
  • No teacher should be denied exploration of a technology that with good pedagogy could be a valuable learning tool for student, or more importantly, could provide important context for learning in general.

Furthermore, he adds the following general advice:
  • Make it clear to your class that your use of Facebook is “interest-based not “friendship-based” and make sure you articulate your reasons for choosing Facebook as a network space.
  • Articulate those same reasons to your principal to make sure your efforts are supported.
  • Make sure parents of your students are on beard as well.

Lastly, he shares a couple ways teachers and schools are beginning to “dabble” in the Facebook universe. Please know, that within this topic, Will Richardson does stress that his "goal is not to encourage you to bring social networking (i.e. Facebook) into your classroom as much as it is to bring it into your own personal practice." (page 134)

The next topic covered in this chapter is “A Ning For All Passions”. Ning is an educational alternative to Facebook. It allows you to create your own social network site around whatever topic you want, complete with personal profiles, photos, video links, group, discussions, blogs and much more. The problem is (since the distribution of Will Richardson’s third edition) Ning now charges you. What use to be free, now has a monthly fee of $2.95 a month or $19.95 a year if you use the Mini Plan. I created a Ning for this book study prior to Ning charging and did succumb to paying the yearly fee - primarily for this book study.

If you are interested in using something like Ning, you can sign up for Edmondo (which is free) or FISD's Moodle (please contact your campus facilitator). Both "basically" do the same thing.

There are many great Social Network site out there dedicated to education. You may locate a comprehensive list on this Social Network in Education wiki and as well as here. This would be a great place to start if you are looking for Education Social Network sites. Here a few you may want to check out!

Social Networks:

After reading these chapters, setting up accounts and utilizing various social networks (Linked In, Classroom 2.0,(Ning), and Twitter) I am hooked! I do have to admit, when I initially set up twitter a while back, I tried it and then put it on the back burner. However, two summers ago, I decided to give it a whirl. The verdict…so far, so good. As mentioned, the following social networking sites are fantastic and applicable to education. The ones I liked the most are:

  • Linked In - A Professional network - Please view the following video: What is LinkedIn?
  • Classroom 2.0 (A Ning social group)
  • Google+ is relatively new social networking platform that is set to rival Facebook. Please view the below Common Craft video as well as this link or this to learn more about Google+. If you decide to join Google+, you may want to use another email address other than the as this application is managed through our FISD Google domain.
  • Web20BookStudy Social Network - I set this up specifically for our book study - I will be sending you an invite for this one - please accept it and join. It is my hope that, we as a group, will use this on a regular basis even after this book study is completed.
  • Twitter - Fast becoming a favorite - Click here to view "New to Twitter?"
  • I use TweetDeck to keep up on my Twitter and LinkedIn updates. TweetDeck is a personal browser for staying in touch with what’s happening now, connecting you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.

If you are interested about Twitter, please read, A Teacher's Guide to Twitter. If you want to get a better understanding on what Twitter is all about, please visit the following Twitter Bookmarks as well as Twitter in the Classroom. Here ae some great Educational Hash tags to follow. Still not sure who to follow on Twitter? Please visit the followingpost. Make sure to check out the Complete Guide to Twitter too.Also, please check out the video from YouTube, Twitter in Plain English.
If the below embedded video does not open at school, please click on the above link.

OPTIONAL: If you get a chance, please read over the following educational social networking sites. Very Informative.

Social Bookmarking:
Please view the below video, Social Bookmarking in Plain English (Direct link to YouTube)
If the below embedded video does not open at school, please click on the above link.

There are two main social bookmarks that are mentioned in this chapter; Delicious and diggo. Both are very good and I believe, it will come down to personal preference.
Delicious has updated their site and have made it more user-friendly. Please view the video below (direct link). As well as click here to view their help section.

Diigo has an Educator's Account which you may want to consider applying to. These are special premium (FREE) accounts provided specifically to K-12 & higher-ed educators. Once your Diigo Educator application is approved, your account will be upgraded to have these additional features:
  • You can create student accounts for an entire class with just a few clicks (and student email addresses are optional for account creation)
  • Students of the same class are automatically set up as a Diigo group so they can start using all the benefits that a Diigo group provides, such as group bookmarks and annotations, and group forums.
  • Privacy settings of student accounts are pre-set so that only teachers and classmates can communicate with them.
  • Ads presented to student account users are limited to education-related sponsors.

I suggest you visit each bookmark cloud tags (which maybe found here on the wiki) and see for yourself. Check out these sites on each social bookmark:

Additionally, if you perform a search on YouTube you will find many, many more resources on Diigo.

Although, Pinterest was not created when Will Richardson wrote his 3rd is definetly worth a write up!Pinterest is the newest, fastest growing social bookmarking site where users collect and share photos of their favorite events, interests and hobbies online. I have to admit, I like it so much more than Delicious and Diigo.
If you are not familiar with Pinterest (or if you are a male and think it is too girlie) please, do not dismiss it - as it really can provide a wealth of resources for educational resources. Just take a look at my Pinterest Boards. You will see the majority of it is related to my field of interest - Educational Technology. I have come across so many resources - it truly is....mind boggling! I find myself using Pinterest more than Diggo and Delicious! I encourage you to visit my board, Pinning for Pinterest and take a gander of the below pins:

  • 16 Ways Educators Can Use Pinterest
  • 37 Ways Teachers Should Use Pinterest
  • 4 Ways Educators Use Pinterest
  • Educators Guide to the Use of Pinterest in Education

Assignments for Chapter 6: Due 11Nov13

  • Read Chapter 6.
  • Please view the 0_VoiceThread (Web 2.0 app of the week) tab in the wiki (This will show you a screenshot on how to navigate in VoiceThread). Towards the bottom of that page, you may locate three pdf's which may be helpful to you about VoiceThread. Additionally, you may locate a How to Section on VoiceThread as well as some great resources on my Diggo bookmarks.
    • Please view this video, "What is Voicethread?"
    • Sign up for an account then (at a later time) contact VoiceThread to apply for a FREE educator's account.
    • Please set up your identity (profile for VoiceThread once you signed up)
  • Please view the below embedded VoiceThread and click on my picture to view the comments/assignment for each slide BEFORE you respond.
  • evans_voicethread6.jpg
  • Please answer the three discussion questions. Please do not post on the first slide as this is just an intro slide.
  • Direct link to the below VoiceThread.

  • Set up a Social Bookmark account with either Diigo or Delicious and begin utilizing/bookmarking sites. Make sure to check out the Settings tab.
  • Take a screenshot of your social bookmark site. (Your log in name should be visible on the screenshot) See the below example: Upload it to your Documentation wiki page.
  • evans_fall 2013_paricipants.png
  • evans_social_bookmarks.png
  • Please join the following social networking groups.
      • Classroom 2.0. - (I will send you an invite.)
      • Web 2.0 Book Study Social Network - (I will be sending you an invite.)
      • Linked In (optional) – Professional network (I will send you an invite. Again, LinkedIn is optional to join.)
      • Twitter (optional) - If you do decide on setting up a Twitter account, please let me know so I may follow you.
  • Set up your profile for the 2 social networks. (Click on the link - profile for the 2 social networks - for screenshot examples - At least add your photo to each social network.)
  • On the Web 2.0 Book Study Social Network Ning, please comment to the the following post, "What are your thoughts about using Facebook in the educational setting?".
  • K_evans_web 20Ning.png

  • Using the free program, Jing ( ) make a screenshot/snapshot of your profile for the two social networks you just joined. (Classroom 2.0 and Web 2.0 Book study Social Network).
  • Upload these screenshots/snapshots to your wiki page as documentation. Please see the my documentation example page.
  • LinkedIn - should you choose to join. (Here is an example of my profile for LinkedIn)

Optional: Visit links from Chapter 6: