OK. I am sufficiently impressed. Christopher Sessums has created a wiki about social software and asked for opinions, so I took a look.
As a technical person who went to an engineering school, I like to base things on research. Christopher does a beautiful job of relating social software to Etienne Wenger's concept of community of practice. Sessums has created a chart relating Wenger's initial inventory of the components of a social theory of learning (Wenger, 1998, p.5) to social software. This chart and Sessums' writings make a lot of sense to me as a classroom teacher.
I would like to take this insightful message and relate it to what I've seen in my classroom:
- Identity - learning as becoming.
- Meaning - learning as experience
- Practice - learning as doing
- Community - learning as belonging
Sessums also has a great page on the types of social software. I encourage all of my readers to take a look and post your comments. (He says: "I live for feedback so any and all comments are welcome.") Well written pieces like his deserve feedback.
We need educational information that correlates the use of these technologies with research and modern educational theory. I am going to look at what I'm doing and ponder his wiki a little bit longer. I will be looking for more across the net like this!
We shouldn't do stuff just because we can, but because it is the right thing to do to increase student learning.