Social Networking in Education

Posted: September 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

What is your opinion on using social networking in education?

I think that twitter can have some advantages in education.  Teachers can follow other educators and get some great ideas and feedback.  I think teachers should have a digital presence as an educator just as long as it stays professional.  However, I think that is hard for some people to do.  To keep it “professional.”  I don’t think that Facebook and Twitter for students is as beneficial.  They have been brought up using Facebook as strictly a social tool.  I don’t think that students would be able to keep it professional.  Plus, there is so much risk.  Bullying is much easier and there are so many more legal risks that schools would have to be aware of.  These risks will have to be taken into consideration when forming school policy.  These include sexual solicitation, online bullying, and cheating in the classroom.  Schools face the challenge of implementing effective technology and procedures to combat these problems.  However, with all that being said, I do keep an open mind and as I read more and more articles about social media in the classroom, my opinion sways some.

In the article “Social Media Finds Place in the Classroom,” New Milford High School has nearly 12,300 Twitter followers. The principal and his teachers use Facebook to communicate with students and parents, and students use it to plan events. In class, teachers routinely ask kids to power up their cellphones to respond to classroom polls and quizzes. Rather than ban cellphones, the principal calls them “mobile learning devices.”  I agree that the school sounded like they did a great job of utilizing the technology.  The students seemed connected.  They principal said that working online pushes education beyond the confines of school, allowing kids to broaden discussion of their work.  It forces them to do “authentic” work that gets tested out in the real world, as outside viewers see it and respond to it.  I think one lesson to be learned here is that schools need to be all for it.  Everyone needs to make it a priority and proper use must be taught and guided.  The principal went on to discuss a quote from the book, From Fear to Facebook. “If you keep it out, kids are creating their own cultures in this space with no guidance from adults — and that’s not responsible.”

I think the school from the article has done a nice job of integrating these social medias.  However, I still feel that Facebook would be too tempting and distracting for students.  If I would have to choose one that I would implement, then I would utilize twitter.  Social networking such as twitter can encourage participation and collective contribution. If used correctly there can be “People Power” in the “age of peer production.” Cooperative learning can result in higher academic achievement than individual learning.  This sharing of online peer-to-peer communication is a large part of what excites young people and therefore should contribute to users persistence and motivation to learn.

Toppo, Greg.  Social Media Find Place in the Classroom.  USA Today  http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/2011-07-24-schools-social-media_n.htm

Social Networking in Education.  International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy, 4(1), 1-15, January-March 2013.  http://eprints.ulster.ac.uk/24968/1/JIDE-SocialNetworkAnalysis.pdf

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