I am passionate about empowering people through knowledge and the power of ideas to change attitudes and lives. The internet provides a wealth of information, knowledge and inspiration for social learning. I was fortunate to attend and contribute to the learning technologies conference and exhibition (#emtech11) held at the Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh on Friday 25th February. It was really interesting to explore how technologies offer new ways to engage, converse and collaborate to improve social services practice.
People are now using the internet to communicate and interact in a completely different way. People want to be heard and understood and this has implications for social learning. This presents both opportunities and challenges for learning, education and training professionals. Is the new role for learning and development as brokers for learning, connecting people to each other and to other sources of learning and not just providing formal learning opportunities?
Social media can be one of the most powerful ways to understand what we do and why, learn as we go, and share what we learn with others through discussions and observation. Social media is, in many ways, all about learning.
My workshop demonstrated how we can use the internet to answer the question “What would you like to learn today? Slightly daring because those who know me are aware that technology per se is not my strong point!
A big question for me. At a time when public support is urgently needed to protect social work and social care why are we not using social media to engage with our stakeholders? One of my favourite videos from Erik Qualman about the phenomenal growth in social media activity during the past two years
“it is not a question now about whether you should be involved in social media but how well you do it”
I believe everyone should know about TED a unique phenomenon which gathers the best minds from around the world to explore thoughts and ideas. TED shares the inspirational ideas through videos which are freely available online. Two of my favourite TED talks:
Derek Sivers: How to start a movement 2010
Lessons about leadership and the importance of the first follower with help from some surprising footage, Derek Sivers explains how movements really get started.
JK Rowling: The fringe benefits of failure 2008 At her Harvard commencement speech, “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling offers some powerful, heartening advice to dreamers and overachievers, including one hard-won lesson that she deems “worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”
Do you know about ALISON? – This website has a lot of free resources to help staff improve their basic skills. ALISON is a free online learning resource for basic and essential workplace skills including study skills.
Some excellent resources for social services
Social Care Institute for Excellence: Free e-Learning resources which provide audio, video and interactive technology to assist in exploring the nature of Personalisation
The Alzheimer Society of Calgary has developed an on-line educational resource called Dementia Basics. As a first step to understanding dementia and the disease process, this resource helps families living with dementia and professionals.
Mental Health Foundation: Assessing Mental Capacity This site has been developed to help staff working in health and social care (including those in the private and voluntary sectors) as well as unpaid carers, to improve the way they assess mental capacity. The Assessment of Mental Capacity Audit Tool (AMCAT) is a simple online tool to help staff and others evaluate, reflect and learn about an assessment of mental capacity they have done.
Free access to a Personal Assistant Induction e-learning course through the Independent Living Association (ILA) West Sussex.
horsesmouth is an online mentoring platform where people affected by dementia can offer each other informal information and advice. Horsesmouth have teamed up with the Department of Health’s ‘Living Well with Dementia’ programme.
Get Safe Online is particularly useful with lots of clear and useful advice about things that you can do to avoid becoming a victim of fraud and identity theft. try the quiz “Just how safe are you?” .
The best thing about social media tools is that they are easy to get started with and can be very inexpensive.
Twitter is a great way to share and discover what is happening in real time through micro-blogging. Start communicating, sharing and interacting with people using short 140 character text messages. It’s a simple way to network with like minded people. My twitter name @shirleyayres
People who tweet about social learning on twitter
@C4LPT The Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies is a good resource to find out about social media for working and learning
If you were not fortunate enough to win a copy of Jane Harts excellent Social Learning Handbook at #emtech11 you can purchase a copy here
Professional Development through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional networking site which enables you to connect with colleagues, share information and join groups to discuss and debate professional issues.
The Advanced Social Work Practice Network (ASWPN) is a group for social work practitioners, academics, employers and partner organisations who wish to support the development of professional leadership in social work
The Personalisation Group to revolutionise social care Delivering quality, efficiency and outcomes to support ordinary lives This group is for passionate people in the sector who just want to get on and do it – make the change where it counts
The Scottish Social Work Network is a new group which provides opportunities for social workers working in Scotland to network, ask questions and share information.
Why not start your own personal social learning network today! I hope this brief overview of the resources available inspires you to use the internet to explore resources, engage in conversations and share your knowledge and expertise. Please feel free to post your recommendations about good social learning resources here and contact me with your comments and thoughts firstname.lastname@example.org
I have recently joined Aspire Knowledge as Consultant Director Third and Public Sector Knowledge. We have now launched the Third Sector Digital Communications and Social Media Convention 2011 Two days of engaging, inspiring and must have knowledge for the third sector covering all aspects of innovation, developments, leading practice and strategy in digital communications and social media