Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Social Network Sites in the Schools

Digital Directions, an online journal, published a helpfu article exploring the pros and cons of using social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Ning in the school setting. This article should be helpful reading to you as an educator. Let us know what you think after you have read the article, Social Networking Goes to the School.

Illustration Roy Weiman from the article "Social Networking Goes to School."


Jenny C said...

I used to feel the way Principal Sheninger felt. I was not interested in social networking, but after reading this article, I think what an amazing outcome! I think it's fantastic to partner up with a company to incorporate more (free)technology into classrooms. Grants are wonderful, but hey, here's another avenue for schools to take. I really found this article interesting. I think the FB page for the school in New Jersey is a great way to keep the school members feeling as though they are a tight knit community.

Cristin said...

I love the idea of using Skype to chat with classes all over the world. As a French teacher, I would LOVE to have students practicing their French this way with students in French-speaking countries. Since my students are at the entry level of the language, I don't think I could personally use Skype in this way. I agree with the comment that it creates a global awareness that there are people in other countries out there besides us. I feel that's such an important lesson for kids now, who are often unexposed to people of other cultures and backgrounds.

Heather said...

I do not agree with using facebook in the classroom. When facebook first began, it was only for college students, as a way to get to know people on your campus. I feel that it has gotten out of hand by allowing young students to have their own site. What happened to the old fashioned attending class and participating by raising your hand?

However, Cristin, I do think you raise a great point about skype. I never thought about using that to communicate with students in other countries. Great idea!

Sara said...

Social Network Sites in the Schools

As social network sites, like Twitter and Facebook, continue to gain popularity, teachers and students are finding new and creative ways to use such technology-based items in the classroom. These sites continue to let students do what they love to do and therefore keep them more engaged in the classroom.

As the article stated, there were several administrators who were against the idea at first because they felt that it distracted from the lessons. However, as teachers and administrators start to explore the possibilities of the new technology, they begin to figure out the usefulness that social networks will have.

With network sites, such as Facebook, I think students can participate more in the school community. Having a page dedicated for the school only, students will be able to find out when club meetings, trips, and sports events are scheduled. This can increase the amount of students who attend the events. Skype is another great tool that is gaining popularity, which can be very useful in the classroom. Students will have the chance to call other classrooms anywhere in the world and speak to them directly. They can get first hand knowledge of culture and language: both of which are nearly impossible to get in a textbook.

As new technology continues to come out, teachers are finding new ways to use them in class. The iPad could be the greatest tool ever used in class when it becomes more affordable. Students can have access to textbooks, links, and homework assignments that the teachers send to them via e-mail or school site. With an iPad, students will have a willingness to learn. The Kindle is another great example of technology that can change the way we teach in the classroom. In the future, textbooks could be rented through kindle for less than $10 compared to having a pile of books that could amount to more than $200. The Kindle would allow you to bring your schoolwork any where in the world rather than bring lugging a five pound book in your backpack.

I feel social networks and new technology are essential to keep up with how students learn. If teachers, administrators, and schools want to keep students in the classroom engaged, the use of technology would have to be necessary to keep up with the technology oriented students.

Jennifer said...

I am actually inspired by all the creative ways Principal Sheniger is implementing various social networks within his school system. Having a cooperative partnership with a networking company in order to gain free technology and materials...brilliant! Times are changing...students are changing and evolving with the times..teachers should also. We live in a global community where kids all over the world can learn so much from one another. Social networking is a gateway to link and cohesively connect education, teacher, children and all their experiences.

Lourdes said...

I don't see harm in using social network sites for appropriate purposes in schools. In fact, my daughter's math teacher has asked his class to set up a facebook page to use as a communication tool. This way, if a student is absent, she/he can access the page and find out what she/he missed. Also, it will help the teacher to post daily activities for parent to see and also homework.
I think this is great!
My daughter is in high school and struggles a lot with math so the use of facebook as a communication tool can help get clarification on concepts she has trouble with. One thing I would strongly recommend is that students are warned about the appropriate use of social network sites.

Glenn S said...

I found this article very interesting. I have used Skype in my classroom to have "guest speakers" appear and talk about how mathematics is used outside the classroom (e.g., some of my past collegues in the business world such as traders, engineers, actuaries, etc). I found the discussions very educational for the students and a nice break from the typical mathematics lecture. On the other hand, I am in a constant debate about Facebook. I have created a Facebook page and have agreed to friend only those students who have graduated from school - it enables me to keep in touch with them and for them to reach out to me if they need any help, references, etc. But given some of the inappropriate things I see on Facebook frequently, I often times question if I should just delete my account. Thoughts?

Kelly said...

I think social networking is a great way for students to interact with students from other parts of the world or country. I think it is important to allow students these opportunities through Facebook, Skype, or other social media networks. Students may otherwise not be able to experience a foreign country. It is great how schools are already using these tools in their classrooms. This article was very informative.

Diana said...

I have reservations about using social networking sites in the classroom, however I do think they can be a great motivating and engaging tool to help fuel learning. I would be concerned using social networking sites like Facebook because the age of my students is mostly under 13 and there are certain laws that prohibit students below the age of 13 from using these sites. On the other hand, as a social studies teacher I loved reading about the project "Around the World with 80 Schools," because it gave students an opportunity to connect with students in different areas of the world. So often students struggle to make connections to places they have never seen or heard about and this would enable them to learn about places they are studying in a real-life context and definitely be engaged in wanting to learn more. I think there are pros and cons to using social networking in the classroom, it needs to be highly structured and regulated but can be very beneficial to learning as well!

Kate said...

Like Principal Sheniger I have always been very apprehensive about bringing a social networking format into the classroom. Something such as facebook to me is on the boarder of the croosover of personal and classroom life. I strongly believe that the line needs to be drawn. That being said I do believe that some social networks can be set up to benifit classroom learning for all level learners. Facebook can be used it a page only for students is established and the students are able to set up an account independent from thier own accounts. Also Nings or blogs can be another positive tool. I love the idea of Skype and VoiceThread. Skype is a great tool for students to learn and become sensitive towards other cultures.
This all being said, these are only my opinions based on this artilcel and on my class. I have not implemented any of these into my class YET. I plan on doing so but it is my understanding that I am in a school system that are "Blockers." They just established a rule about facebook use and I know they block most sites on-line. You need to get permission to use specific things. I know that the line can be crossed for some teachers on what is appropriate and what is not and I am not fully against blocking, but when you are in the heat of a learning moment with your kids and you remember something you saw that would help them understand, and you can not access because it is blocked, that puts a damper on it.
I look forward to using many of these tools in my classroom and possible becomeing an advocate for the proper us of social networking in the classroom.