Social media can be learning networks. Self-evident? Maybe so, but these last few months I gave a few presentations for young, somewhat less young and more senior people – all of them well-educated – and they seemed to be surprised about stuff such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), the fact that we can consider Wikipedia, Linux or Arduino as learning networks, the Maker Movement and related topics.
Mentioning Facebook often results in discussions about privacy and the NSA (older folks), about looking for alternatives such as Twitter (younger people), but Facebook as part of a personal learning environment is new for many people ‘out there’.
Of course, the only solution is to talk even more about it. Especially because the ‘digital world’ is merging rapidly with what we used to consider as a purely ‘physical’ world – sensors, social media, data, mobile internet, location aware devices, it all permeates that so-called ‘physical world’, turning it effectively into a mixed reality.
Once people start to realize the opportunities and dangers they start asking ‘how do I start learning about this’, on a rather practical level. I’ll limit myself to three books:
– Net Smart by Howard Rheingold in order to learn to use social media intelligently, mindfully and humanely.
– Peeragogy.org, a handbook for all those wanting to engage themselves into peer2peer learning (a collective work in which I participated).
– The Age of Context by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel about mobile, social media, data, sensors and location services.
In case you wonder what I talked about during the presentation: