Monday, July 18, 2011

Social networks

        I was wondering what social networks are useful for. Some people say that we can share and interact somehow, but we are always sharing and interacting at work, in a classroom, aren’t we? Some others say that this a way to know about opinions and ideas from people who are far away but, being connected online, we get close and share ideas faster than using the old-fashioned mail. Certainly, it is a new and fast way to get in contact. I was asked to open a Facebook account to fulfill an EFL master course program, and a couple of nights ago I was contacted by my sister, my father’s oldest daughter. We had a lot of time without seeing each other. Well, this could be an answer to my question. I went deeply into this topic and found some other reasons.

     According to Wenger (2004), we all belong to communities of practice (CoP). He states that communities of practice are everywhere, at work, at school, at home. However, our social active participation is what makes the difference. For him, a social theory of learning must be integrated by the following elements: meaning, practice, community and identity. Turning our head to educational issues, Wenger (2006, n/p) defines CoPs as “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly”. During my path on TEFL, I have had the great opportunity to belong to VenELT which is formed by a group of English teachers with the interest to share knowledge and learn more about how to teach English and how to become better educators for the benefits of our students.

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