The report is in! The social media project required me to ‘design and implementation of a unique social networking community to support the information, learning, social and/or organizational needs of a group of people’. I could see the long-term value in creating a blog that could become the additional and virtual, networking place for an existing physical (real) group of people with similar professional interests. The Teacher-Librarians Connecting blog was created! As a group of specialists we are isolated within our individual schools (though there are 3 at St Andrews P-12 campus!) and an online option is current practise! The ‘blogging’ platform was chosen for the ideal attributes it provides through a digital medium. Klamma and others (2006) identify those attributes under the headings of functionality, usability, interactivity and naturalness (cite in Uden & Eardley, 2010). The whole process was much more time-consuming than I’d thought it would be at the outset. Considerably more forethought and planning should have gone into the whole project before it got underway. The whole project included: the Blog content; initial exposure timing for the target audience; goal of survey questions at the beginning and the end of the 4 week period, and the ongoing commitment to keep a worthwhile ‘virtual community’ viable with interaction. Inspite of these challenges, the feedback received from participants was positive and my goal will be to persist with this blog as a personal ‘project’.
Perhaps the challenges may not have been as great , had I not also been expected to have my first foray into Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, an altered Delicious bookmarking platform and SecondLife (among others!). . . and had I not also chosen to set up the Scoopit! aggregator to feed me links of interest each morning! My PLN has mushroomed through Warlick’s (2009) three main catagories: Synchronous connection (Skype, SecondLife), Semisynchronous connections (mailing lists, Twitter, blog comments) and Asynchronous connections where the information is coming to me (RSS feeds, Scoopit!). This latter category involving curation, stresses the filtering process that we practice on a daily basis to select, organise and manage information for ourselves and others to access through their connections with us. It’s becoming easier all the time to ‘collect the connections’ – but we must give time to quality interactions with the people at the end of the link. Could be a ‘Catch 22’ situation: the more we link and read the more we need to pause and give time to internalising the information – to formulate our own ideas and opinions then connect again to share in a continual learning process. These same processes are what we need to involving students in so they gain the transmedia literacy they’ll need for their future connections.
Uden, L., & Eardley, A. (2010). The Usability of Social Software. In T. Dumova, & R. Fiordo (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Social Interaction Technologies and Collaboration Software: Concepts and Trends (pp. 574-584). doi: 10.4018/978-1-60566-368-5.ch050
Warlick, D. (2009) cited in Lee, M. & Finger, G. (2010). Developing a networked school community: A guide to realising the vision. Victoria, Australia: ACER. Cht 13 p.205