As I’ve been enjoying my summer holidays, one thing I’ve been doing is expanding my twitter and blogging networks. I’ve been sorting through new channels in both spaces, trying to find new people who I can make connections with. While I’ve been doing this in a number of ways, one of the main things I’ve been doing is looking at the connections that are being recommended for me by different wesbsites.
Take twitter as an example.
Each time I find a new profile to follow, twitter recommends other people for me that I might be interested in looking at as well. This often leads me on interesting journeys as I click from link to link, looking for people who I might want to add to my network.
This has left me wondering why we don’t have a tool like this for kids.
This is what I’m thinking:
We need a recommendation engine for students that would help them find other students around the world that they can learn with. This might have a number of different looks to it, but a simple one would be to set up a website that is sitting on the code to bring kids together. For example, a teacher might sign up his / her class on this site, getting a password back of some kind. They would then have their students add the URLs of their blogs to this site, using the password they were sent to cut down on spam. The sign up process could be very quick and clean, asking students a few questions about their age, geographic location, interests, etc. Simple google form stuff. But as well as this, the website could have some code that would suck at the tags that the person uses on their blog, creating a database of information.
Once this site has been populated by people of different ages, locations and interests, it becomes useful. After signing in, students would be able to find others to connect with around the world based on a number of things. They could search for people in their geographic area (or a completely different area “I’m interested in Africa, I wonder how many student bloggers out there my age I can find to connect with), they could find people based on how they answered the initial interest survey, they could find people based on the tags they have been using on their blogs (“I’m looking for someone writing about music”) or the website could recommend people for them to follow based on the information it has collected. For example, the site could find students who are using similar tags in their writing or who have similar interests.
The site could also recommend people for you to follow based on holes it sees in your network. (“I notice you are following few people from south east Asia, here are some possibilities for you.”) Doing this with blogs might be a place to start, but the site could also grow to include twitter feeds, flickr accounts, etc.
The entire idea behind this site would be to help students forge connections with other learners around the world, to help them become more globalized in their thinking about issues. Too often, blogging and learning networks for students only consist of people in their classroom or of people their teacher can make connections with, this type of space would help that process to become much easier.
Anyone have any ideas about putting something like this together? I’m willing to donate the webspace if other people can help out with the coding.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xanxhor/4052765588/sizes/m/in/photostream/