What are Social Networks?


Today’s web users are prolific creators of content, and they upload photographs, audio, and video to cloud-based social networks, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and many others by the billions. While the initial emphasis of social networks was placed on producing and uploading media to these popular sharing sites, as the notion of social media has evolved it has ultimately become more about the conversations started and relationships formed via this media. For educational institutions, social media enables two-way dialogues between students, prospective students, educators, and the institution that are less formal than with other media. LinkedIn, for example, is a professional networking platform that is particularly useful for the education sector because it facilitates communities of practice and special interest groups. The rise of Snapchat may also cause learning institutions to consider how they will incorporate a new kind of fast-paced network. As social networks evolve and add new features, the hope is that education leaders will continue to harness them for teaching, learning, and collaborative activities.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - gordon gordon Jul 21, 2016

1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • I was just wondering why there are no entries here as yet. One reason may be that we are taking social networks for granted or seeing them already in place and widely used, so less of a new trend. Another reason and what I often hear is: while "we" (educators, researchers...) may believe that we need to pick up the students where they are - in many cases in the social networks -, it could also be that social networks are seen and used as places outside work and study, so perhaps not the right learning channels at all... - helga helga Sep 19, 2016
  • Curation of digital assets and management of digital profiles has become increasingly important, and Social media platforms allow us to do just that, but the lines between educational and recreational usage are becoming increasingly blurred, and some institutions are wary of using systems over which they have no control e.g. FaceBook , not least because such networks may choose to assert their ownership rights over content that is created and/or shared via their network. We have a duty to educate our staff and students in the correct use of social media to ensure the things they share and the content they create do not cause problems further down the line. I do not believe we can "harness" social networks - all we can do is jump on, and hold on for dear life... - damian.mcdonald damian.mcdonald Sep 20, 2016 - yvette.drager yvette.drager Sep 29, 2016
  • Personal learning networks could fall into this topic and how important they are to both educators and students. Leveraging the affordances of such social networks as Twitter an educator could become part of a students personal and professional learning network with the teacher microblogging relevant information about the topic and holding tweet chats with students to engage them about the topic for example CSU Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) uses this method for all units. This is fast becoming popular in regional Western Australia with the VET sector as a way to both keep in contact for educators and students and for industry professional to give contextualized information and current research or activities in the fields of study. - yvette.drager yvette.drager Sep 29, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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