How to use social media to collaborate*

Over the last few years my presentations and workshops, designed to share my enthusiasm for Web 2.0 with colleagues, have led to many new friendships as well as much personal and professional excitement at the future of learning.

It is evident to me that all of us involved in education need to personally develop life-long learning habits and to a large extent, having a Personal Learning Network (PLN) using online tools is fundamental.

Lately, I have been thinking about how I can update to reflect the most current wave of technological innovation in my presentations. Of couse, I don’t want to become out-of-date, stale or be boring. RSS feeds, Google Reader, blogs, a nearly defunct(?) social bookmarking site, twitter and yammer are ‘old-hat’ to many who spend much time online. Maybe I am better off to doing something funky that will dazzle. Maybe I should explore multi-sources reader like Zite or Flipboard for iPad.What else is out there for me to use. What’s the latest thing?

Then I read a post from Seth Godin that resounded:

RSS is dead. Blogs are dead. The web is dead.

Good…

Great music wasn’t created by the first people to grab an electric guitar or a synthesizer.                                                                                                             Source

Godin is making the point that these staples (certainly of my online experience) are still just that, staples. He says, of people who move on to the next big thing:

That’s when people who are seeking leverage get to work, when we can focus on what we’re saying, not how (or where) we’re saying it.

Anyway, just to be sure, I used Survey Monkey to check out what the delegates thought they wanted from my presentation at the NSW Secondary Deputy Principals Association‘s Professional Learning Day. Here is the data. It confirms that DPs are keen to gain more skills using social media and recognise our changed paradigm.

The session went well, even if I struggled with some features presenting with my, recently purchased, new Macbook Pro.

Delegates explored the DP blog and are enthused by yammer. This thread made some good suggestions that we checked out live. From the survey it as clear that digital citizenship and practical ssues for DPs managing issues at school are of particular interest. This post by Damian Wanstall highlights the digital citizenship website as a particularly useful resource.

The delegates seemed very positive and I should mention that the DP State Congress seemed to be very receptive about ideas presented for ‘future communications options’ too. I am hoping that DPs keen to collaborate and share their ideas will join yammer and maybe email if interested in writing a blog post: [email protected]

Delegates reading this post may want to check out resources I mentioned at the workshop – here, here and here – that will assist you with learning about PLNs, digital citizenship and social media.

Hopefully, my sessions next week at INSPIRE INNOVATE: Transforming Learning in the Digital Classroom are useful to the delegates, even if they are a little…well, ‘old-hat’.

*Stephen Downes prefers the word ‘cooperate’, rather than ‘collaborate’, as a more accurate description of what us learning professionals do online. I tend to agree but ‘collaborate’ resounds with many of my colleagues.

PHOTO CREDIT: Thanks to Mark Brannan for the slider image.

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The views expressed at this site are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

5 Comments

  1. Damian Wanstall:

    As always, thoughtful musings Darcy :-)

    I often refer to a quote from Perry Marshall “Nobody who bought a drill ever really wanted a drill. They wanted a hole.” This highlight the point you make – it’s not about the tool – as Seth points out – it’s the task that matters!!

    I spent a portion of last week at Microsoft Peer Coach facilitator with my colleague Chris Simmons and others.
    I am interested in how you have reflected on your initial question “What else is out there for me to use. What’s the latest thing?” … and perhaps, as you indicate, this is not the right question. Indeed, for the future of learning, as in the past, it’s “What can i do with this?” that will make the difference.

    Our colleagues may also be interested that there is a Digital Citizenship group on yammer they can join.

    Cheers :-)

  2. Andrew FitzSimons:

    The DP pre-event data is instructive. Us principals would probably have a similar profile, except we are a little older.

    People used to talk about the ‘generation gap'; now we have a ‘digital gulf'; DET leaders are so distant from our students’ culture.

    Well done to Mr Moore for being on the front foot. The DP comments about why they wanted attend was inspiring. DP culture in NSW is on the improve.

    Andrew [14 years as a DP or equivalent].

  3. Garry Raftery:

    Darcy,
    Came here after the provocative comments by Dean Groom at Inspire and your Yammer post and link. I assume what Groom and Godin are trying to avoid is the Batman Utility Belt of Web 2.0 tools, leading to a crimefighter more confused about which device to extract from its holster, rather than thinking that a simple punch in the jaw might do the trick! I have been at conferences where a series of Web 2.0 ‘tools’ have been flashed before my eyes, with little reflection about what problem the tool will actually solve in education. I think Ben Jones’ recent attempts to refocus on the ‘reason’ rather than the ‘flashy tool’ are apt here, as is Damian’s comment about the drill above, which I also often use in presentations.
    We can too often overwhelm those new to the game (the game of ICT in education) with bombardment strategies. I’d like to suggest an additional hat for De Bono’s wardrobe – your ‘old hat’. My old hats still keep the sun off my rapidly balding pate.

    • Darcy Moore:

      The base kit: RSS, a Reader, Twitter and Delicious are a utility belt most could use IMHO. I do, every day (as does Dean, one imagines). There are a gazillion other cool tools, if one wants to wander…

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