Social Networks, Communities of Practice, and Personal Learning Networks
Social Networks are websites platforms that allow people get connected. When it comes to online social networking, websites are commonly used. These websites are known as social sites. Social networking websites function like an online community of internet users. Depending on the website in question, many of these online community members share common interests in hobbies, religion, or politics. Once you are granted access to a social networking website you can begin to socialize. This socialization may include reading the profile pages of other members and possibly even contacting them.
The friends that you can make are just one of the many benefits to social networking online. Another one of those benefits includes diversity because the internet gives individuals from all around the world access to social networking sites. This means that although you are in the United States, you could develop an online friendship with someone in Denmark or India. Not only will you make new friends, but you just might learn a thing or two about new cultures or new languages and learning is always a good thing.
As mentioned, social networking often involves grouping specific individuals or organizations together. While there are a number of social networking websites that focus on particular interests, there are others that do not. The websites without a main focus are often referred to as "traditional" social networking websites and usually have open memberships. This means that anyone can become a member, no matter what their hobbies, beliefs, or views are. However, once you are inside this online community, you can begin to create your own network of friends and eliminate members that do not share common interests or goals. I joined to Facebook three years ago, and I have found many friends, former classmates, relatives, etc. I haven`t used facebook for academic purposes but recently, I created a group named "Teaching Reading through ICT" in which I have posted some interesting links and pictures, related to Reading Comprehension and Cognitive strategies. It has been a satisfactory experience so far. Next term, I think to take advantage of these group with my students at Unexpo. Communities of Practice It is a group of people getting together because they have a common interest. It`s a group of individuals participating in communal activity and experiencing, continously creating their shared identity. The most known communities of practices related to the educational field are: Avealmec, Ventesol, Venelt, Eltnet, Wikieducator, Edtech, etc.