I recently read Anne Kenneally’s blog post There is power in being connected, and found myself nodding, agreeing, and getting more excited as I read about the power and potential for using social networks to help drive and influence professional practice.
Educators are important and have important things to say, and every day I see strong relational networks growing within and between schools and kura, so it was good timing to view Alan Daly’s talk about the potential of using social networks to leverage collective wisdom or intellectual capital. As the Online Facilitator for CORE Education’s edSpace, I also see huge potential for teachers, kaiako, leaders, and tumuaki to continue those rich connections online.
What can edSpace do for educators?
According to recent research, New Zealand teachers are using a variety of social media tools and networks to support their teaching and professional learning by:
- collaborating with teachers beyond their school 61%
- asking teaching-related questions online 76%
- sharing teaching resources online 62%
- contributing to online discussions about teaching 51%
- taking part in online learning opportunities 50%
Like social networks, communities of practice enable us to connect to other people, information, ideas, and events. edSpace is a community for those who have a strong common interest in education. We are a community of experts — some in classrooms, some who support a community of practitioners — who can connect and learn from each other in a safe and open environment. What’s the difference between a social network and an online community?
What can edSpace do for you?
edSpace enables us to access and generate intellectual capital together, beyond what and who we know. This, in turn, can generate new ideas and inspire transforming shifts in our professional practice. In the establishment phase of edSpace, we see relationships forming and interactions ignited where community members are invited to share experiences, facts, opinions, emotions, resources, ask teaching-related questions and take part in online learning opportunities. Relational trust is the foundation of this mutual engagement, where multiple interactions grow an audience into a community. Connections might look like this:
Getting the most out of edSpace
Once you join edSpace you’ll find a collection of Ngā Rōpū (groups) and a mixture of communities — each dedicated to particular interests and people. Some meeting spaces are openly associated with CORE projects, products or services (events), fostering opportunities for many voices to engage, share, debate, challenge, and explore. There are like-minded people and groups of interest to connect with such as the following featured themes and events:
- Collaboration and professional learning
- Innovation and transformation
- Future focused education
- Blended and digital learning
- Inclusive practice
- Multicultural education
- Online Programmes: Empowering You
- Breakfast Kōrero
- uLearn discussion group
- Face-to-face workshops | Enabling you
- CENZ Connected Educator New Zealand
If your areas of interest are not represented yet, we invite you to create your own. To get started:
Some food for thought
- How might you connect with others in edSpace to support your own practice?
- What are the benefits for you, your colleagues or students?
- What concerns do you have about becoming connected?
- What is the way forward to overcome any concerns and maximize the benefits?