Social Networks & PPLNs for Business English


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Presentation given at the BESIG Summer symposium in Preston, UK, June 2011

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  • While you're waiting, can you guess what the images on the title slide have to do with what I'll be talking about? = these are the images that appeared in Google when I searched on my presentation title
  • Who am I? I mainly teach young learners social media consultant for the British Council I haven't been to a BESIG event before but have taught a lot of business English and ESP
  • Title of presentation – adjective 1.pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: a social club. 2.seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious. 3.of, pertaining to, connected with, or suited to polite or fashionable society: a social event.
  • Title of presentation = making contact and exchanging information with other people, groups or institutions.
  • Title of presentation We'll be looking at how building a network of professional contacts can help you This network is personal because it will be different in shape and form from other people's networks – it is also personal because it is owned by you and not an organisation
  • Title of presentation I'll be talking specifically about how this can be used by Business English teachers for professional development I won't be saying much about how you can use social networks with learners
  • “ Your business attitude determines your potential for innovation, creativity, even genius, and success in your field.” “ There are two basic attitudes: 1) the kitten – if a small kitten is confused or in will do nothing new but mew until its mother comes and carries it to safety 2) the monkey – by contrast, a baby monkey will run to its mother and jump on her back at the first sign of trouble” Michael Michalko, Thinkertoys This presentation is for those who have a monkey attitude, who are willing to work for themselves to build a PLN and enjoy the real benefits of that work
  • What is a PLE? PLE (Personal Learning Environment) is a reaction to the idea of using a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment – e.g. Blackboard, Moodle) which was owned by an institution and meant that when you cut ties with the organisation, you lost what you had built. A PLE is more flexible and is owned by the person who creates it. What is a PLN? PLN (Personal Learning Network) refers to the people you connect to using the PLE – most of the learning takes place through connecting with other people and sharing knowledge and skills
  • How do the tools in a PLE connect together? - You can use different tools for different reasons and connect to different people through different tools - Facebook – perhaps more about family and friends than colleagues, photo sharing, discussion, knowing what's going on without trying - Twitter – more about link sharing, conversations, up-to-the-minute information, instant feedback - Linked In – more professional profile, business oriented - Blog – more reflective, but promote through other social networking tools
  • Who do you connect to? - up to you : I have a wide network, connecting to a lot of people all over the world. Apart from family and friends, I'm happy to connect to educators and other people who may be of interest - I don't make distinctions between who I connect to on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc
  • The value of social networking It's not new – we have known for a long time that connecting to a lot of people can help us professionally...but what has changed? “ Information is now a social asset and should be made public, for anyone to link, organise, and make valuable There's no such thing as “too much” information. More information gives people the hooks to find what they need Authorities are less important than buddies. Rather than relying on reviews, customers trust people like themselves. (David Weinberger – Everything is Miscellaneous)
  • Forester's update social technographics ladder A way of looking at how people participate online – where do you stand? Originally from book / blog – Groundswell by Josh Bernoff & Charlene Li
  • There are so many social networks that you can belong to Which are the most important ones as far as Business English teachers are concerned?
  • So much has changed since 2007 and MySpace was the most important and influential social network The 2010 updated map shows just how much Facebook has grown to predominate
  • What are the main differences between the 3 most predominant social networks? How do people use them? They can be used in similar ways, but many people either belong to only one of these, rejecting others, or if they use all three, their use is very different. What about you?
  • Linked in and BESIG – it's interesting to note that BESIG and Business English teachers are the most prominent on this network
  • Interesting reflections on Linked in, what for many BE Teachers is the most important social network – for reasons mentioned here
  • More interesting reflections on Linked in, what for many BE Teachers is the most important social network – for reasons mentioned here
  • The alternative – Xing, an interesting site for comparison and one which could lead to BE work opportunities and new connections
  • As Facebook becomes more and more the place where most people are, there are some who have decided to build apps to turn Facebook into the kind of space that they want – like this, which emultes Linked in – in fact, when you create an account, you have the opportunity to import your Linked in information to it.
  • Twitter has a lot to offer the BE professional too – with its up-to-the-minute news and the immediate contact with a global network of contacts – the best way to use Twitter is with a third party add-on such as Tweetdeck.
  • What other social networks are there that may be useful for the BE teacher?
  • Specialist networks such as Ning (now paid) or or grouply are options for those teachers who want to build their own space.
  • With the rise in importance of mobile devices, we may see social networks such as Foursquare, Gowalla, or Scvngr becoming more important – at the moment they are proving to be useful SNs for tourism.
  • Internal networks such as Yammer, which offers a Twitter like experience to those with the same email could become of interest to some – but relevant to BE teachers?
  • There are other benefits that social networks can give a teacher, that may not be apparent at first glance
  • For example, Twitter can be used as a rough and ready concordancer – you can obtain sentence length examples for class that are current and authentic Using Sns for search is becoming more popular – instead of making Google your first stop for search, why not try Twitter, Facebook, Youtube first? You could be surprised at the results
  • Your network is your filter (Wikinomics – Don Tapscott & Anthony D. Williams): “ Collective intelligence: the aggregate knowledge that emerges from the decentralised choices and judgements of groups of independent participants” James Surowiecki calls it 'The wisdom of crowds' = ability to pool the knowledge of millions of users and use the web like a 'global brain' - If you want to know something, think about asking your network first, don't ask Google (e.g. resources chosen by real people, tried and tested) Good to be connected to diverse group of people – not those who all think the same (W of C)
  • Status updates – the short messages that explain what you are doing at a particular moment – mean it's possible to scan your entire network of friends quickly and communicate with more efficiency Some feel reserved about sharing what they are doing, but it really does allow you to keep up with your friends without really trying Could it be that this is changing Dunabr's number? (Robin Dunbar) = naturally occurring limit to the number of meaningful contacts each of us has (=150) For many people, social networks have far exceeded this number (Click by Bill Tancer)
  • It seems obvious to those of us who are so at one with social networks...
  • ...but there are still lots of teachers who are reluctant to do so
  • Are they missing out? And is it worth trying to convince them? Are there any in the audience?
  • Barriers to actively using social networks Many teachers have fears, uncertainties, and doubts (FUDs) when it comes to social networking These need to be acknowledged and replaced with positive thoughts
  • Many who are reluctant use the argument that social networks are not as useful / beneficial as meeting people in person – that the contacts/friendships are somewhat 'unreal' or not as real
  • From Michael Michaelko's Thinkertoys “ Designed to change the way you think – Wall Street Journal” Prescott Lecky, pioneer of self-image phsychology found there were 2 powerful levers for changing beliefs and overcoming fears: 1. Belief that one is capable of doing one's share 2. Belief that there is something inside one that makes one equal in talent and ability to the rest of the world and one shouldn't belittle oneself Tick Tock – powerful exercise designed to help overcome FUDs : write out your fears, confront them and substitute positive factors that allow you to succeed.
  • Once you've overcome the FUDs, how best should you start?
  • For some people who are unfamiliar with social media, it can seem to be a dark art at first, but there is nothing magical about it Just get started and become involved in the conversation...but if that's not enough for you...
  • ...then seek professional help...
  • Because of the perceived barriers, doubts and the reluctance of some teachers to get involved in social networking for CPD, a group of language professionals who actively use it have embarked on a EU project to help others. The Autonomous “Personal Learning Networks” for Language Teachers (aPLaNet) project is a European Union education project funded by the Liefelong Learning Programme (LLP) that will help language educators who are not yet using social networks, to understand: - What are social networks for language educators? - Why they should use them? - How you can get involved and still keep your privacy?
  • The project will help teachers join and use Internet Personal Learning Network (PLN) on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Nings etc. We will be doing this using a mentoring system – if you fall into either the category of a teacher who would like to build their own PLN or one who is proficient and would like to help others through mentoring, then we would like to welcome you to join us The project Autonomous “Personal Learning Networks” for Language Teachers has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein
  • One thing we all need to take into account and which is one of the FUDs that most people cite is privacy
  • The idea of privacy has changed - we all need to get used to this and not post anything online that would be damaging to our reputation = necessity to manage our reputation online (just as we have done offline up 'til now)
  • The idea of privacy is changing – companies are learning this and are starting to establish social networking presence in order to better listen to their customers and to better handle crisis management.
  • Klout is gaining ground as a useful tool to measure reach and impact that a person has on social networks “ If you want a job in Silicon Valley today you can forget it if your Klout rank is below 50' (Thomas Power, Chariman, Ecademy
  • Klout may seem to be about social media vanity but is interesting for anyone who is interested in knowing if they are successfully reaching / having an impact upon their contacts If you aren't, then you can get insight into why this may not be and change behaviour
  • Klout results can be interesting – even surprising
  • In conclusion, and appropriating Daniel Pink's guidelines for understanding what drives most people to do things (intrinsic motivation not extrinsic motivation)... successfully use social networking for CPD we need to take the lead and direct our own online reputation, using these tools, learning how to use them well to benefit our own professional development and that of our colleagues
  • We can do this through these 4 attitudes 1) Become involved in social networks 2) Be open to making new contacts and to new ideas 3) Engage with people and what is being said 4) Be flexible enough to accept change – don't just stick to one way of doing things
  • Hope this has been useful Please get in touch if you would like to know more or if you want to share your experience of PPLNs, etc.
  • Here are the books that I have cited during the presentation
  • Social Networks & PPLNs for Business English

    1. 2.
    2. 3. Social
    3. 4. Networking
    4. 5. Personal Professional Learning Networks
    5. 6. Business English teachers
    6. 7. Michael Michaelko This presentation is for monkeys not kittens
    7. 8. What?
    8. 9. How?
    9. 10. Who?
    10. 11. Being social
    11. 12. The change in digital behaviour
    12. 13. Which social networks?
    13. 14. dynamic changeable landscape 2007
    14. 15.
    15. 16.
    16. 17. Why use Linked in? real information about people...with regard to their experience and abilities... gives a more accurate picture of one's employable assets (than Facebook, Twitter)
    17. 18. it acts as a kind of cv my contacts on Linked in are only people I know and who I'm contacted to professionally I use it in lessons about business networking, style, culture, etc. I've received students and clients from my network... I've been recommended to CEOs and high level executives a necessary part of everyday business for me and my students
    18. 19.
    19. 20.
    20. 21.
    21. 22. other social networks
    22. 23. Specialist
    23. 24. Location
    24. 25. Internal
    25. 26. Added value
    26. 27. Search
    27. 28. Filter
    28. 29. Time saver
    29. 30. Business English teachers
    30. 31. Do you? or don't you?
    31. 32. Can you afford not to?
    32. 33. FUDs
    33. 34.
    34. 35. Tick - Tock I don't have the time Just start You find time to read email during the day
    35. 36. How to do it
    36. 37.
    37. 38. Professional help
    38. 39.
    39. 40.
    40. 41. Danger!
    41. 43. Managing & Monitoring
    42. 44. If you have to be naked, you had better be buff. privacy vs transparency managing online reputation We are all going to be naked In this age of digital transparency
    43. 45. social reputation
    44. 48. Autonomy Mastery Purpose in the service of something larger than ourselves direct own lives get better at something that matters
    45. 49. involvement openness engagement flexibility
    46. 50. Thank you!
    47. 51. References