Social Networking

The iGen student described in "Understanding the Digital Generation" Juke, McCain, Crockett (2010) prefers to "network simultaneously with many others."

Blocking of social networking sites creates an environment where students use unprotected mobile networks to maintain their social networks at school. I do not advocate the use of FaceBook for students of Primary or Intermediate age students. It has little merit as a communication tool for this age but can provide easy access to images that are relevant to the student. 

Schools today need to create an environment that allows students to choose the correct tool to network for learning and for social interaction within school. Learning to use the right vehicle for getting the message across, along with adapting the content to the audience have always been important skills for both students and adults.

Education needs to realise that social networking sites such as Facebook are used by a large cross-section of society to maintain both social and business networks. More than 500 million Facebook users makes it a mainstream communication tool. Teachers need access to social networking sites. They need to be one of the 500 million so they can engage in those powerful conversations with students around appropriate use of the internet for learning and for participating in society. I need to state again that blocking of social networking sites creates an environment where students will use unprotected mobile networks to maintain their social networks at school.

Explore Facebook for your own development. If you want a social networking solution for your classroom try Twiducate.

Comments

  • Nancy Groh

    Hi Linda I have been priviledged to hear a number of positive stories from  teachers  who are  using social networking, and in particular FB very effectively  in their school. I think one of the important starting points is being clear about the purpose:  Here is a great story from Jane  Danielson.

    http://www.mylgp.org.nz/guide/359/facebook-in-schools/

    There are  several more including some resources  to help  teachers think about  and discuss what is  best in their context

  • Linda Lehrke

    Makes a good read Nancy. I follow Jane's school on facebook and twitter and see their model as an effective use of social networking for primary schools. At Learning at School, Brett Lee said that people often know what is right but need a reason to choose what is right. If we block students access to social networking then we rob them of the chance to make the best choice for learning. By teaching students about tools like twiducate, ichat and google chat they can use effective social networking tools for learning.