Alec Couros's talk was quite interesting. He's a big advocate of getting online. Not only do students already network among themselves online, but teachers can also benefit greatly from online networking.
I agree that networks are important, both social and professional. But I'm not convinced that online networking should take up as much of my time as Mr. Couros would like. Twitter is especially suspect in my mind. To be fair, I haven't used Twitter much, but it seems like it would add more to my to-do list if I were to dedicate my time reading all those tweets. If I spend so much time on my digital identity, when do I have time to work on the real me, the one who actually teaches?
Mr. Couros's main point seems to be that, since so much information is available anytime the student wants it, learning is becoming more and more autonomous, and therefore, our role as teachers is fast changing into something other than a lecturer or, as I like to say, the classroom know-it-all.
Not only is the face of education changing due to the online community - other aspects of society are changing as well. Through social media platforms and crowd sourcing, we have formed our own personal learning networks, which we access often for information on everything from good restaurants in our neighborhood (Yelp) to the history of the Ottoman Empire (Wikipedia). We can find out anything in a very short span of time, so we no longer need the experts like we used to.
With the ever-growing phenomenon of participatory media, we can learn about world news events as they happen, instead of waiting for Brian Williams to tell us. Perhaps the news as we know it will also go by the wayside in favor of a more accurate crowd sourcing model.
It's quite exciting to be part of this emerging culture of sharing information and resources. It looks like we're moving ever closer to a real global community.