Saturday, 5 May 2007
Enterprise networking, Advances: Australian education:Negligence???
The first few days of May 2007, see many articles related to social networking tools, providing evidence of the increasing use of such tools in industry and enterprise. Others not only refer to their use, they show a current trend in business to create their own tools, tailor existing tools to their specific needs, the new features and functions being added to existing tools, due to requests from users. I recently ventured into the world of Ning, where the users are to offer suggestions, make requests for new features and functionality in an apparent search and need for a one stop shop, that will do anything and everything required by the users. Unlike many other tools, Ning has created a network, allowing users to be involved in a rapidly, evolving, innovative and responsive community, one that values user input and allows users, to actively engage in the decisions and current and future directions of the social networking site, they are operating within. It is intriguing that the owners of these sites are not only listening to their clients but actively engaging and responding to the varied needs. Yet, I am still finding educators, who believe that they know best and refusing to listen, or even acknowledge, the needs and requests of their learners, for learning that engages social networking tools and related technologies. In the extreme, Australian Education Departments have in some states already blocked learners and educators from accessing and using all current social networking tools and will upgrade as required to block, those that become available in the future. It appears that in Australia we currently have a situation, where those who wield the power, are living on a planet, unfamiliar to myself and our youth and learners. Why is this country continuing to focus on potential dangers, dangers that could be minimised, if learners were afforded guidance, by those in their learning environments and parents were provided with the opportunity to understand the true nature and need, for the inclusion of social networking tools, within educational settings. I now wonder if those who have in their wisdom, provided institutions with the tools to block, are not only shortsighted and ill informed but in fact negligent. All involved in education as I understand it, owe a duty of care to all learners. One of the elements of that duty, is to provide learning that is current, relevant and caters directly for the needs of the learners. The Australian Government deems 'Skilling Australia' to be of national importance, yet how can that happen when learners are denied access to tools, that they maybe required to understand and employ, when in the workforce of today and tomorrow. Scare tactics have to cease and common sense must prevail. The constant negative reports in the media that are driving nothing but sheer terror into parents, must be countered with examples of the current use and the benefits of such use. We must hear from our youth, their voice must be made public, their needs catered for. All engaged in business, must speak out and ensure that the community and the government are made aware, of the detriment 'blocking' is causing to learners, educators, the future of business, the workforce today and tomorrow and the Australian Economy. The only way to ensure that Australia has a 'Skilled Workforce', is to unblock all the tools already blocked. Learners and educators must be allowed to use and explore social networking tools and must engage their use as learning tools in all disciplines. To not do so is negligent and will see the Australian Workforce, lagging behind the rest of the world. Is the intent to Skill Australia, or Kill Australia? The articles listed below reflect the current trends and provided me with great food for thought, resulting in my comments above. I may not be correct in the conclusions I have made. I may be totally off track, however as usual these are my thoughts, and come from my head alone at this time. If you have an opposing view, evidence that can refute my ideas, provoking further thought on my part and others interested, or you are thinking in a similar way, please share, as I certainly do not have all the answers but I am incredibly curious. CEO Guide to Technology Social Networking: Not Just For Teens Anymore Welcome to the easy world of Real Estate Networking Web 2.0: A Marketer's Dream 'Net works for Generation Y Jacinta