Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Facebook groups supporting professional learning

Social media has been around for a little while now, I remember when Facebook first appeared for the general public in 2006. I joined up and I was getting poked along with other ridiculous online actions, I really couldn't work out what it was all about, then in 2007 a few of my real life friends joined and it became part of my way of keeping in touch with friends and family and staying aware of what was going on in their lives.

Twitter arrived and I was introduced to it in October 2007 by Stephen Heppell at a conference in Hong Kong. Again I had no idea how it worked, then about 18 months later it all exploded and I could see the value for professional learning when hashtags and lists are used. 

Google plus arrived at bit later, and I joined, but I didn't really get into it, but I saw others made use of the longer text and groups and it worked for them.

Sometime later I started a number of Facebook Pages for local professional groups I was part of - ALESS, Golden Dragon Awards, and became a moderator for the Digital Citizenship in Schools Page with a number of others. International Librarians Network is a page that I follow, along with Book Riot and the Australian Teacher Librarians network . Facebook Pages need regular maintenance with constant posting by the moderators, it comes down to a few people doing the work however there is more control over what is posted and can be quite successful for organisations if managed well. I started one for my consultancy company School Librarian Connection, however, I find I am drawn more to Facebook groups. Many school libraries have their own Facebook Pages to advertise their services and resources.

After attending the ALA conference in San Fransisco in Summer of 2015, I learned there was a giant Facebook group called the ALA Think Tank, there were over 15,000 members at that time, and they were mostly posting about library related matters - all types of libraries and all types of topics. It got me thinking about how the Asia region of school librarians could be connected through a Facebook group and I started the Asia School Library Connection Facebook group. I initially connected with a few people who I knew and who would help me get this off the ground.  Nine months later, the group had become so diverse in locations that the name was changed to Int'l School Library Connection where we now have over 600 people as members.

Since joining the ALA Think Tank I was made a aware of a number of other library professional sub groups and joined a few.

If you do a quick search for Library under groups, you will see there are literally hundreds of groups specific to libraries that you can join.

Facebook groups work for me as I am already on Facebook, and the group feeds come into my feed, which means I do not need to go anywhere else to access them. I prefer groups to pages as they are more interactive and I can have a proper conversation, and anyone can post, which means much more diversity and less work for the moderators in what is posted and, I need to take the good with the bad. Some groups are closed, and some are open and depending on how you feel about your posts being accessible on the wider web, you need to consider which group is right for you.

Zakir Hossain is a school librarian in Vietnam and a man on a mission, he does much research in the field of school libraries - you can see his research and published works on this websiteHe is currently working on how school librarians use Facebook groups for professional development. The survey is short, and will be a rich source of information on what and how school librarians are using these groups to be empowered to enhance their professional practice. He needs more people to participate in the survey to make the research viable and meaningful. If you do participate in a Facebook group, please complete the very short survey.

1 comment:

Zakir Hossain said...

Thanks Dianne. Just learned number of new FB groups from your post. Personally, I learned lots through facebook groups and I've found your Group is not only active but also authentic in terms of members and posts.