The social web provides an opportunity for users of myspace and Facebook to get ahead of the game. Whether they realize it or not, they are gaining experience with web-based collaboration tools that enable individuals to communicate and share information that is important to them. While a lot is being said that is negative about myspace and Facebook, there are perhaps untapped resources lying dormant in these sites.
Blogging also provides a very low-threshold means of enabling personal web-based publishing. One's voice can be heard globally, which frankly could be a scary thing. Are we thinking about the privacy issues of posting our personal thoughts for the entire planet to read? Are we aware of the fact that our future boss or spouse may be reading our blog? Despite the concern about exposure online, these tools are the realization of some very old-school online communities that have been around since the 80's (do you remember the BBS?). Today, online communities are emerging within a global context, rather than a context centered around a local dialing area code.
So, as you're preparing for a teaching career, how are you using tools of the social web to build collaborative communities of learners amongts your friends in the teacher ed program? Are you thinking about how you might transform recreational use into pedagogical use?
Why do I ask? Because 2nd graders are asking to start their own blogs, they IM on gaming sites, and know how to play multi-player online games. Today's undergrads will be teaching students who grew up with a mouse in their hand who are more familiar with Reader Rabbit than with Dick & Jane. Are you prepared to lead 2nd graders who are digital natives?
Along these lines of transforming technology into pedagogical tools, take a look at the following websites for more information about how you can use blogging as an electronic portfolio or resume.
- Escrapbooking.com/blogging provides some excellent tips and pointers for getting started with blogging in general and in education context.
- Electronicportfolios.org and Electronicportfolios.org/blog provide excellent resources for using both blogs and eportfolios.