E. Santana Lisbôa, C. Pereira Coutinho

University of Minho (PORTUGAL)
The Web 2.0 or Social Web brings multiple possibilities for the socialization of individuals. This form of socialization happens in different ways, whether through sharing photos, music, or even through interactions in discussion groups, among the many applications available in cyberspace called social networks or virtual communities.

In addition to socializing, some studies have proved that these spaces are mostly informal and present educational potentiality because, in fact, learning happens in a social network (Lisbôa and Coutinho, 2011). Its use is very common in the teaching and learning process as a complement to face-to-face teaching; in distance education or even in the professional development of teachers (Pinto, 2009), since these professionals face the current society demands and feel the need to keep up to date and lifelong learning through interaction and knowledge sharing.

In this context, Senge (1990) emphasizes that knowledge is seen as a social construct, whose learning organization necessarily involves the search for knowledge in which individuals are encouraged and feel the need to develop "continuously their ability to create the results they truly desire, with high standards of reasoning, where collective aspiration is set free, and people learn continuously in group." (p. 11).

Having this, our objective in this paper is to assess the educational potential of PROEDI social network (Teachers in the Digital Age – in the promotion of collaborative learning. To this end, we shall take as a basis the contributions from the forum titled "Stricto Sensu", analyzing first the interaction dynamics established between the group, as well as the construction of knowledge, with reference to the collaborative model of Murphy (2004), consisting of the following phases:
i) social presence;
ii) articulate individual perspectives;
iii) host or reflect the perspectives of others;
iv) co-build common perspectives and meaning;
v) construct shared goals and purposes;
vi) produce shared artifacts.

The empirical study research plan is analytical because it is based on a documentary analysis process where data sources have taken the written text format (input from members on PROEDI social networking forum). To analyze the contributions of forums we take as a reference the instrument for the identification and measurement of collaboration in online asynchronous discussions – OAD – designed by Murphy (2004), containing the six references mentioned above and their descriptors. Regarding the number of contributions in the forums, we used the WebQDA software, which is a qualitative data analysis program that was developed at the University of Aveiro (Souza, Costa & Moreira, 2011), and to the sociometric analysis and we turned to software Ucinet and Net Draw.
In terms of results it was possible to verify that the construction of knowledge happens when there is a high degree of collaboration between members. This fact can be proved when comparing the data obtained from analysis of the Forum with a sociometric analysis. So, it was possible to observe that the centralization index and the degree of intermediation are necessary factors to the construction of knowledge as a result of interaction and knowledge sharing among peers.