Saturday, February 14, 2009
Social Networks for education
No doubt that social networking is changing everything, Business, politics, health care and sooner or later, education. 21st Century learners use web 2.0 tools already. Facebook is a popular site and often banned by teachers and restricted by a lot of educational institutions. OK, I admit I had a Facebook account by update and post information less that 5 times a year. Many teens, or adults check and update information 5 times a day! The tool itself is just a tool. It has good features and others that are really just a distraction. There are lots of legitimate business, college and university sites and groups in Facebook, I even found our Local Mayor has a site. I found some for online learning and web 2.0. I guess my biggest concern about using Facebook for education with high school age students is that it may not be perceived as professional and supported by other teachers, parents. Students may have a hard time distinguishing between their personal life, friends and academic uses. I guess web 2.0 tools have so much to offer that I would put this one at the bottom of the list, to avoid the controversy. I can see using it for a particular task, like the student in my civics class who started a environmental petition and web site as part of his final assignment but not as ongoing assignment, work area. I guess I'll take the wait and see approach on this one.
There are other excellent social networking sites out there that you can create for free. This offers the teacher more control on setting, access and can block any inappropriate users. I'm testing one out this semester, have to coach the students along the way, they are eager to jump in and all get how to use it because it's so much like Facebook, but have to keep the conversation on topic. I'll have to let you know how it goes once we have used it a bit more.
How to set up privacy for Facebook
Advancing K-12 Technology Leadership, Consortium for School Networking(CoSN) Video