Thursday, 26 February 2015 | 2 Comments
As a serial organiser, a brain cell explodes when I read on a social network involving teachers, “where can I find?” or “has anyone got?”.
Increasingly teachers are part of professional networks built around online social networking platforms, be it Facebook, Yammer, Twitter, Edmodo or Google+. One of the fundamental problems of these networks is the transience of something shared. Today Mrs Triangle shares a great YouTube clip about percentages on Facebook, next week Mr Polygon recalls that he saw the clip, but can't remember where. Even if he can remember it was on Facebook, the conversation, and the shared clip, have moved on. Your friendly search engine will not find the clip, at least not where it was shared on Facebook, because it's behind a login in a closed group.
This is one of the problems I tried to solve when creating MathsLinks and MathsFaculty. MathsLinks provides a catalogue of links, a place of permanency for sharing online resources. Similarly MathsFaculty provides that permanency for downloadable resources.
Whilst MathsLinks has over 1000 links and MathsFaculty has over 150 shared resources, there are only a small number of regular contributors.
Yet, on these social networks, teachers are sharing… but it's transient sharing.
Clearly, MathsLinks and MathsFaculty are not meeting the needs of people who want to share. It's not as though they have a small userbase - total registered users sits at over 1900 people from all sectors of education, all states of Australia and many countries of the world.
So, I'm asking the many readers of this blog, and my colleagues who reach this post through one of the many social networks I will post it to (irony?), how can I improve the sites to meet the needs of people who want to share?
I'm currently thinking there is one key reason that teachers are chosing to share on social networks rather than sharing on MathsLinks and/or MathsFaculty (as a starter before sharing on a social network).
It's super easy.
Type: “Here is a link I found… http://blah” [send].
I get the ease, but this form of sharing is, as I've explained, broken - also, with no key words you have no chance of even searching for the link in the future.
Possible solution: I make a Quick Submit option. With just a title and link (or file), a resource is posted with the option to share on a social network(s) - a URL for sharing with others is available immediately.
Some time later a moderator (read: me) links the post to topics/syllabus and expands on the description.
Is this all it will take for teachers to share?
Here are some other reasons (summarised from comments received elsewhere) that may contribute to teachers preferring to share on social networks:
Time - sharing on the internet takes time.
Confidence - not confident enough to share their knowledge and resources; the feeling that they may be judged and that they dont have anything worth sharing; fear of being criticised.
Personally, I understand the problem of time. Yet, if as a community we develop a collection of resources, we start to save time.
I have previously heard the suggestion of confidence as an impediment to sharing, what I didn't expect was hearing this response from three different people on three different platforms.
New Subscribe to the …MathsLinks
Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
MathsClass is about teaching and learning in a maths classroom. more→
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