You may have noticed the more infrequent updating of EduDemic and EduDatum over the past week or two. That’s because I have been tinkering away with a new way to grow your PLN. It’s a new educational social network that’s free, easy to use like Facebook, and open to educators, education administrators, students, and other like-minded people who have a passion for learning.
The new social network is called Socially Learning and was built using the increasingly popular Buddypress plug-in for WordPress. The new site has some of the more useful features from many top sites. Here’s a few examples of what the site offers:
From ‘Teachers in Canada’ to ‘iPad in Education,’ there are groups for everyone. Whether you make your own or join a few that are already created… it’s easy to share information about a particular topic and be sure the audience is made up of people who actually care. Rather than putting a tweet out in hopes that someone local will see it, your message will live in the group page for a longer time so more people in your chosen group can see it. For example, planning an event in Philadelphia? Join related groups and post your event info.
Using a Digg-style setup, you can share your favorite links and watch as other users vote them up or down. This way the best of the best float to the top. The difference between Digg and Socially Learning is that this site is for only educational links. It will (hopefully) be a great teaching resource for all!
It’s easy to find new members of your PLN that you may not have found on Twitter or other social networks. Using the groups page or the friends page you can now search for friends in your area, country, interest area, etc.
I’m a big fan of Twitter so it was important to make sure Twitter is built into Socially Learning. You’ll see it’s easy to share your updates on Socially Learning on Twitter and vice versa. Just a couple clicks and you’re done!
Similar to Twitter, you can type @USERNAME and your friend will get a direct message about your post.
There are easy-to-use controls on your profile page that let you share as much (or as little) information as you wish. Want people to just see that you’re a high school teacher and not your location? Not a problem.
A recent addition to Socially Learning is the ability to share videos and pictures. Just paste the url of your favorite YouTube video and it will automatically show the video instead of just the link!
There are more bells and whistles and I’m working on making the site easier to use but one thing at a time. I hope you enjoy the new site and take a moment to share some helpful information.
Want to dive in? It’s free and the sign-up process takes about 30 seconds. New members are automatically approved so they can have a chance to share their academic interests. If it quickly becomes noticeable that new members (or any members) should not be a part of the site, they can get manually or automatically blacklisted and removed. I want to keep information flowing among members so please behave and this won’t be a problem