Social Neworking for Adult Educators


As I explore the topic of using social networking for adult educators, I see many advantages to both the educator and the student.

For the adult educator, this is a wonderful opportunity to find others in your field who are also passionate about this topic (adult education) and maybe even the subject you are teaching. It is a professional development opportunity every time you connect with your social network. Colleagues are sharing resources, participating in discussions and debates, and sharing details as they struggle and succeed in their everyday journey. It’s a place to ask questions and make connections on a global scale. You have access to people and resources that are global, instant and diverse. It can become a rich community of sharing and support.

Additionally, an adult educator who provides social networking opportunities for their students opens the door for an endless learning experiences limited only by the student’s own sense of adventure and creativity. No matter the topic, the abundance of social resources will become an ever flowing river of resources to your students. They will have access to people following the same interests, experts in the field, and social filters only those working with the topic on a daily basis will have. I believe you will also find this is an environment some students will thrive in as they have an opportunity to express themselves in a different, typically non-threatening, medium.

Some important resources to investigate and try with your colleagues and/or students.

As we work more and more in this online collaborative space, what tools do you find most useful and what do you feel are the key advantages of social networking to adult educators? Please comment!

October 2009 – Adult Education Conference PresentationSocial_Networking PDF – 6.6 Meg

6 thoughts on “Social Neworking for Adult Educators

  1. Tracy Adrian

    I’ve used several Web 2.0 tools in my Info Tech classroom.

    Facebook and Twitter: I mainly for personal & professional use to connect with peers and experts in my field. I’ve also used Facebook groups for teams and organizations which allows us limited, password-protected access to schedules, pictures, photos, discussion boards, messaging, etc

    Wikis: Great for definition lists! Assign students one or two words each, they post, others have a revision role.

    YouTube: It’s is a wonderful teaching tool. I’ve found many How-To’s that I’ve used in class. Did you know that you can replace the youtube URL with kickyoutube and download the streaming video into something you can use offline?

    Google bookmarks: I have students open a Google account and we use that for bookmarking favorite sites. The favorites can go along with them wherever they have a Google toolbar or at

    Blogger: Our students use their Google accounts to begin a blog. They write about what we’ve learned in class and follow each others’ writings, commenting as well.

  2. Lynne Herr

    With the increase in online learning for adult learners, social networking tools are essential to help build community among geographically isolated classmates. A key aspect of learning is the exchange and debate of ideas, and this can be challenging and limited with online learning.

    Twitter has become an essential professional networking tool for many of my colleagues and graduate students, as well as myself. Thanks to tools like twitter, my students from many different sections of my courses, over a period of years, can interact with and learn from each other.

  3. Jason Post author

    Tracy, I like your idea of using Facebook Groups for a discussion forum. If they already have accounts, this is a nice feature to keep the different hats you wear separate! That has always been a question in terms of how to keep your personal/professional/classroom life separate. Also like the advice! I do use that all the time!

    Lynne, Do you find the conversations continue well after the class? I can definitely see that when you become a part of someone else’s network, you have a greater opportunity to share well after the formal class is done.

  4. Sandy Blankenship

    I find Twitter and Facebook very helpful to me as an adult learner. Now that I’m working mainly from home and not attending all the TAG trainings, etc. these social networks are a big part of my “personal learning network.” I explore the sites my friends post on social networks, plus follow some nationally recognized speakers on Twitter so I see what they are doing and/or discovering.

  5. Jason Post author

    I like your use of PLNs – Personal Learning Networks. That is the buzz right now! I can really see how using this would be beneficial with all the groups you consult with. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Jason Post author

    I had much help from my social network on my presentation to Nebraska Adult Educators who met yesterday here in Kearney. Here are some resources my PLN shared:

    jdegn @jason_everett the best to follow is @jdegn. Look it up, it is in the Geneva Conventions.

    planetadams @jason_everett Also this is a great wiki to wade through for educators to follow

    planetadams @jason_everett I love @hostageek @ransomtech @snbeach @dianadell and @ChrisLAtkinson and I have my sporadic moments!

    cehyde9 @jason_everett I would definitely put @langwitches on the list…she always has good stuff!


    Jason Everett – Good morning! Heading to a conference this morning. Presenting social networking in pm – who would you suggest they follow? Who is your fav?

    Dianne Keiter – Facebook – obviously 🙂 It has some great features and abilities too.

    Jason Everett – Hi Dianne – what is your favorite feature of FB? I would have to say I use threaded status updates most. Like reading what others are doing. Going to their profile pages, etc. Also use Pages some but not Groups too much here on Facebook. Use Ning more for group activities.

    Sue Rains – Jason, I like the Events feature. It’s a great way to get information out on upcoming activities for school, groups and etc. Also like to share pictures and like the fact that you can have some security as to who sees them and who doesn’t.

    Jason Everett – Sue, I agree! I bet that is why 90% of people get started with facebook – the pictures!

    Dianne Keiter – I am using facebook on a personal level (pictures and updates), on a professional level (I made a page for Yellow Van Cleaning & Restoration) and for other activities such as Rotary and the music ministry at my church. I love the events feature where I can create an event and have people RSVP online. It’s also been a good way to network and stay connected.


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