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Time to crank it up…

OK, summer is rapidly coming to a close so it’s time to kick myself back into the swing of things. Taking a lot of time off in the summer is kind of like staying in shape. It’s easy to get out of shape, just stop exercising and eat anything you want. It’s more difficult, however, to get back into shape once you’ve fallen off the wagon. That’s kind of the way I feel having returned to work after hanging around in South Haven and the Smokies.

Over the last couple of years there’s been a lot of talk about social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook (I’ll go ahead and link them even though they’re blocked at school.) and how they have the potential to be dangerous or at least disruptive to the lives of our students. However, there’s been somewhat of a shift away by some folks who see not just the problems, but the potential that social networking sites have to offer.

Most recently, the National School Board Association published a report entitled Creating & Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social and Educational Networking, recommending that schools

Consider using social networking for staff communications and professional development.

as well as to

Find ways to harness the educational value of social networking.

That’s an about face for many! Some organizations have already begun the shift. Here are a couple that have set up their own sites and invited people to the party. Check them out!

MACULThe Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning created MACUL Space last spring to help members stay up to date and connected with each other. It’s a great place for technology using teachers to get together from around the state to share ideas, etc. MACUL Space uses a site called Ning…you could set up your own Ning site for your classroom!

I just ran across the Inspired Learning Community yesterday. It’s from Inspiration, oneInspiration of my favorite learning applications. Once you’re there you can “Find and share ideas about visual learning, Inspiration®, InspireData™ and Kidspiration®.” Hey, that sounds pretty good. The conversation is starting off slowly, but the site is new this summer, so perhaps it will pick up once the school year gets going.

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