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Thursday, 3 January 2008

Other examples of social networking and professional development?

Greetings and Happy New Year to everyone!

I wonder if I can kick off 2008 by picking everyone's brains for a moment - I confess I have a selfish motivation behind this, but I think any answers I get may be of wider interest to others as well.

What I'm looking for is examples of organisations (or looser affiliations of individuals) who are using social software for professional development. Apart from RSA Networks, of course. So does anyone have any suggestions that I could follow up?

By social software I mean social networks (e.g. Facebook, Ning), blogs, wikis, shared bookmarks etc. And professional development can mean many things, but I'm mostly interesting in enhancing intrinsic job-specific skills on the one hand and broader scouting of collaborative/entrepreneurial opportunities on the other. The organisations could be membership-based, employers, educators or just self-organising networks.

The selfish part of this is that it relates to some work I'm doing for the National College for School Leadership, who are interested in extending the way they use social software with their constituency of school leaders. I'm happy to feed back the lessons from any leads that anyone gives me and share them with readers of this blog. Look forward to hearing from you if you can recommend any suitable examples (with contact details if possible). Our immediate deadline is 18th January, but happy to continue the discussion beyond then...

8 comments:

davidwilcox said...

Hi David - did you pick up on Ed Mitchell's work with CILIP. This was in-house, but Ed has wider interests

David Jennings said...

Thanks, David -- I think you may have mentioned this over a beer before, but I had forgotten, so thanks for the reminder. Ed looks like a very useful person to speak to.

laurentius rex said...

Well I could cite the Autism Hub
http://www.autism-hub.co.uk/

But then we have been in cyberspace a long time as this article from 10 years ago relates

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9803E7DC1F31F933A05755C0A961958260

One of the things we Autistics have been able to organise eschewing the need for face to face meetings, overcoming the problems of distance that separate us is Autscape
http://www.autscape.org/

out of which has recently grown a European wide advocacy network Autreach
http://www.autreach.eu/

David Jennings said...

Many thanks for those leads!

Sophia Parker said...

Not sure if this counts as professional development, but you could also look at how the Innovation Exchange are using social networking to share practice - see here: http://innovation-exchange.org/ - furthermore in local govt, the Improvement and Development Agency have invested quite a lot in their community of practice website - I would say with mixed success - but you might be interested in having a browse... http://www.communities.idea.gov.uk/welcome.do - it's easy to register and you don't have to work in local govt. Finally you could check out School of Everything here http://www.schoolofeverything.com/. If you haven't, I've got contacts for all of these so let me know if you'd like me to connect you...

davidwilcox said...

English Heritage have launched Our Place - calling it "Facebook for the cultural sector" in their release

David Jennings said...

Thanks again, Sophia and David,

IDeA are already on our radar, and we may be following that up.

I've met (briefly) assorted folks connected with School of Everything, but that's not fully under way yet, is it?

I've added you as a contact on Our Place, David. What's the world record for the number of networks on which the same two people have connected/befriended?

Mnemonaut said...

"I mean ... wikis ... enhancing intrinsic job-specific skills ... scouting of collaborative/entrepreneurial opportunities ... self-organising networks."

Autreach, mentioned in a previous comment, is an example of the above, using Backpack (wiki-ish)