Personal Support Networks
Online social networks, no matter their form or function, are based primarily on a framework of community. The site provides its members a shared connection and identity, linked by perceived common ties. Individuals reach out to other like-minded persons based upon mutual interest, fulfillment of perceived needs and to obtain information. Individuals use social networking sites and the Internet as a vehicle to interact with others to meet social, emotional, friendship, and informational needs (Best & Krueger, 2006; Ellison, Lampe, & Steinfield, 2009; Rau, Gao, & Ding, 2008). Social networking sites and particularly message/discussion forums have increasingly become a sophisticated resource of information, emotional support, and a source of experiential knowledge from other members within the group (Barak, Boniel-Nissim, & Suler, 2008; Kenen, et. al., 2007).
To use social networking sites to provide peer support to one another.
- Have a discussion with learners about the concepts of support networks and personal learning networks.
- Offer learners the opportunity to develop their own Personal Support Networks where they can offer and receive support from their peers. Depending on the age of the students, they can identify the social networks where they would be willing to be contacted for support and the type of support they feel capable of giving.
- A Google Spreadsheet can be set up and shared with the learner group to put this information.
For younger students, an Edmodo group could be set up for learners to provide support to one another, and the educator could monitor the site.