Friday, May 15, 2009

A Discussion on Social Technologies

Social technologies may provide the greatest opportunity for students to connect with other students, friends, acquaintances, faculty and others. These technologies may at first be dismissed as having little value or impact on student learning. However, these technologies provide the greatest opportunity to explore, develop and maintain many of the ad hoc communities so essential for student engagement. It is the social technologies that allow students (and faculty) to extend the classroom and go beyond the traditional or typical classroom spaces.

  • Social technologies, such as Google Groups and Google Chat, allow students to develop social groups, or communities centered around a variety of interests. It is the development of these social groups that promote continued engagement for students.
  • Social technologies will allow students to belong to a community, a virtual neighborhood, and provide them with a venue for interaction.
  • As students grow in their social communities, the opportunities for networking increase as well as the opportunities for collaboration.
Characteristics of social technologies:
  • Sense of place - allow participants or end users to feel a sense of belonging, a sense of empowerment. The technologies allow this sense of place, whether synchronous or asynchronous.
  • Create, develop, and sustain communities - technologies focus on building community, whether community of opportunity or shared purpose or interest, and sustain the community.
  • Allow faculty to connect with students in and out of class – lifelong learners, community of learners. The connection can extend outside of the classroom, outside of the course, and long after the formal education has ended.
  • Provide students opportunities to feel a part of class
Social technologies, teaching and learning
  • Belonging, identity, status - Students, or members of the social group, have a sense of identity and membership in a larger social gathering. This allows technology to be the means to connect members - whether virtually, synchronously, or asynchronously.
  • Pedagogical impact on focus on engagement, active learning, and interaction - Through the technologies, members feel and can become involved. The members begin to define and refine their roles and the expectations of the social group.
  • Outcomes include develops as citizen, member of community - Through the persistent and deliberate use of technology, members grow as individuals and members of the larger community.

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