I am not keeping up with the things I want to communicate and discuss with my colleagues, and it will get further behind as I head to the UK and Portugal to engage with colleagues involved with school libraries from around the world. However, just this fact of going and working with people – hands on – to explore new options and to savour old options reminds me that learning is essentially a social activity. We learn when we enjoy. We learn when our minds are challenged and piqued with curiosity. We learn when we laugh. We learn when we feel a sense of success and accomplishment.
We do all these things in all sorts of places. I will do this when I meet with my international colleagues – and continue to do this when I communicate and share with them via webspaces, skype, and any social networks I can get my hands on to.
To learn is to engage and develop as a person within and as part of our social framework. Ultimately, it's not just about skills and competencies in isolation, but about skills and competencies within the greater context of our global society. The reality is that the web environments of social networks are very empowering when utilised to develop ideas, share resources, hone knowledge and empower creativity.
What is it about the social institution that is 'school' that doesn't quite work for our students? What are we doing to support learner groups to connect in virtual environments – a natural extension of life for 'millenials'. How do we create a learning framework that is real, physical, virtual – even visceral? How can we help our students NEED to learn?
Information fluency is understood by our students, engaged with as a natural choice, and unfortunatley seen as something other than what they are expected to do/enjoy/learn/create at school. As educators we are beginning to discuss these issues. Great! Some have grabbed these issues by the throat and have been working with them for months, and even years. Overall though, as a educators, we are just waking to the urgency of social networking. We have to talk about this.
A recent message from Stephen Abram, SirsiDynix Vice President of Innovation, really weighs in on these issues, and provides a list of social websites that he talks about. In particular he tries to focus on what libraries can learn from MySpace. You can it read it here in the SirsiDynix OneSource monthly e-Newsletter. Actually, many of the papers he writes are great food for thought.You can access other issues and subscribe here. I have Stephen's Lighthouse blog in my blogroll.