Keynote: Harnessing the Power of Social Networks

I gave a keynote presentation yesterday titled “Harnessing the Power of Social Networks in Teaching and Learning” at the University of Delaware. Below, you can find the archived video and my slide deck.

I want to thank all of the good people at the University of Delaware who invited me, greeted me with wonderful hospitality, and let me be part of their excellent summer faculty institute. It was a terrific experience!

10 thoughts on “Keynote: Harnessing the Power of Social Networks

  1. Thanks for sharing your presentation. As I said I don’t normally have a lot of time so it was great to get a chance to watch especially since I do presentations on personal learning networks at conferences.

    I have some questions (and hopefully they make sense with this cold affecting me). One of the challenges with doing presentations on PLNs is participants that haven’t engage with these online tools can find it overwhelming. Do you feel as you do more of these presentations that people are starting to feel less overwhelmed as they are hearing the message more?

    Also have a question on your course this year compared to last year. With your students last year the development of their PLN was more structured in terms of you guiding them; while this year you let them create and choose their own PLN. If you compared both approaches which do you feel has achieved the better outcome?

  2. I enjoyed watching the presentation live as I sat at home in SC. I hope to share lots of things like this with the grad class that I’m teaching next week (my students are teachers). Thanks so much for being an inspiration to me!

  3. @Sue: Thanks for taking the time to watch the prez.

    IRT your first question, while I feel that the overall message seems to be more familiar with others, this particular language (PLN, PLE, etc.) is still very new to most audiences. More generic and specific terms (social networks, Twitter, Facebook) are much more common, but the shortfall continues to occur when we talk about these services and phenomenon in learning environments. So while the message is perhaps more well received from a general societal standpoint, when you get down into the specifics, it does still become a bit overwhelming unless those have had considerable exposure to these tools in their own personal learning.

    To your second question, it is very difficult to compare last year’s students from this year’s because I was given a ‘captured’ group that were auto-enrolled in the course vs. voluntary participants. Additionally, there were great cultural differences in this group from last which made these experiences very different. So, I don’t know if I can narrow down the success or failure of that particular strategy with these other important variables in flux.

    @Pat: Thanks so much, glad to know it was useful for you. And it’s good to hear from you, as its’ been a while.

    Cheers to both of you. Take care.

  4. Thanks Alec I got a lot out of watching your presentation and while I read Darren’s posts I had totally missed how he uses Scribe Posts. So I’ve now written a post about this and it will go live over the next few days (all I have now is to decide on a nice title).

    Yes my biggest part of talking about PLN is that you can’t really explain how it changes learning. I try to model what a PLN is like during my presentation — which is often quite funny :) My main message is you have to experience that for yourself to appreciate how differently you start learning and start using these tools for your own learning before using them with others.

    What I missed with this years group of students was the connections. Last year I got to know your students and had great conversations. Perhaps your students were talking to me this year and I didn’t know it? But I don’t think so.

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  6. Hi,
    FYI: That is not barley in the Monsanto and the farmer pic-it’s canola-in case the story is to match the pic. : )

  7. Mr. Couros, I have a question. Does everybody at your University, I mean all the teachers and also the students from the different courses are engaged and using all this technology, social networking easily? I’m asking that because, here in Brazil, I feel that most of people are not aware of the huge importance of this social media, PNL and things like that and what is more serious is that most of them don’t want to admit its importance. They are always procrastinating the use f this social media. So, does the same happen in North America? Because from what I understood you started this course – so I concluded by myself this kind of discussion – in the 1st semester of 2008. It seems to me – that is “following/taking some hints” from the outside – that it’s very normal, acceptable among most of the people engaged in education there. Is it really? Or is it something “new” for most of them?
    I’m really interested in taking a post graduating course in this area at your University, with this focus by 2012 when I will have concluded some work commitments that I have assumed here.

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