From socializing, to learning, to studying.  What will the next generation of social networking be?

Arthur C. Clarke, quoted in Popular Science May 1970, predicted that satellites would one day “bring the accumulated knowledge of the world to our fingertips.”

Social NetworkingHe was right. Today there is no shortage of social networking sites on the Internet, where we can instantly share ideas, business opportunities, and even recipes with our friends. Instant information is literally at our fingertips.

When most people think of social networks, they think of Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, or similar sites.  But an increasingly web savvy and time constrained working population are turning to social networks for professional development through discussion, file sharing, and collaboration. CEET (for educators interested in teaching with technology) and the Literacy Forum (to advance literacy and learning) are good examples of social sites for learning, designing and sharing educational practice.  And now there is a new crop of social networks emerging, designed specifically for studying, sharing class notes and collaborating.  Here are a few:

Finals Club – Free site for sharing Harvard University course notes

OpenStudy – Links learners who want to study free online educational content like MIT’s OpenCourseWare

GradeGuru – A note-sharing site run by  textbook publisher, McGraw-Hill Education, that pays students small rewards—in cash or gift cards—based on the popularity of their notes.

Mixable – Lets students share notes and coursework as well as form study groups within Facebook, using a free application developed at Purdue University.

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