Learning to Network & Networking to Learn (NECC Submission)

Here is the second of five submissions I made for NECC 2008. At first glance this session looks a lot like the one I shared yesterday, but I consider the focus and the audience to be different. In the case of yesterday’s session it’s focused on folks who actually want to “Be An Edublogger” so to speak. This one I see more as a focused on a skill that all teachers can benefit from. Too, the previous session was very much focused on the tools of the trade, whereas this session is all about looking beyond the tools to the life-long skills. Also, this session has more of an academic foundation in social constructivism.

In any case, I am indepted to a tweet from Steve Dembo in which he simply pronounced that it was no longer important to teach teachers how to use the tools, but rather we needed to teach them how to access a learning network – or something along those lines. (I’d link to the tweet, but that is no longer possible – at least this morning.) And again, I’d love to hear what any of you think of this.


Learning to Network & Networking to Learn: Beyond The Tools…


There’s always new web tools, but it’s more important to become part of an online learning network than to master any specific tool. Learn how.


An interactive welcome activity will begin this session. The presenter will then provide a brief overview of social constructivist learning theory, including the concepts of socially negotiated meaning making and the zone of proximal development. This portion of the session will draw on work by constructivists such as Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bruner – and on work by explicitly constructivist educational technologists such as Papert and Jonassen. It will conclude by connecting these theories to the recent work of read/write web enthusiasts such as Will Richardson and David Warlick. Then participants will be introduced to ways in which tools such as blogs, social networking, social microblogging, and instant messaging can support such learning. The presenter will share anecdotes from his personal experience as a teacher-turned-educational-technologist. The theme of these stories will switch the focus of the session to the overriding importance of making connections and making contributions, regardless of the tool being used. Finally, the presenter will share concrete ideas for how participants, too, can make connections and make contributions as they grow their own online learning network. The session will conclude with an interactive reflection activity.

In the interest of sharing – and in hopes of receiving feedback – I’ve made an archive of the complete submission available, too:

Learning to Network & Networking to Learn (NECC 2008 Submission)

If you check it out, you’ll notice I also included the same interactive elements as I mentioned yesterday: a Google Docs preso and a wiki with a possible webcast. :)

I hope you’ll feel free to leave me any comments, suggestions, or other feedback. Unlike the previous submission, I know I’ll get to give this one a few times. I’ve used a version of this idea for my upcoming keynotes at local CUE affiliates in the Cochella Valley this Saturday October 6th and in San Diego on November 3rd… so your feedback will have a chance to get used – and soon.