Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Social Networking in Schools

How can Social Networking benefit students?

Students and teachers can use social networking for more than just keeping in touch with others. Social networking, for example, can be used to help students compare themselves with other students and schools. When students are doing research they could look for other students in the world who are doing the same research or students who could help them.

Social networking can enhance projects in multiple ways. Some students may feel more motivated by the use of these technologies. Other students may feel comfortable using such programs if they have experience with technology at home. The students who are shy may feel that communicating with others through the use of the computer is better for them. This would also appeal to outgoing students because they would have the opportunity to talk with others.

I would like to use social networking next year to start web pals, instead of the traditional pen pal system that I have been using. Students could communicate with other students online through the use of email, blogging, wikis, etc. My students would be able to communicate with their web pals more often than in the past. Using the Internet would cut back on the time that the class had to spend sending the letters and waiting for replies. Web pals are not only more time effective, but money efficient too. The school would not have to pay for postage if I used the Internet instead. Students with access to the Internet at home could keep in touch with their web pal even more frequently. Parents would again have another opportunity to be involved in their child’s education.

Articles
Schools and Online Social Networking

Teens & Social Networking in School & Public Libraries

63 comments:

Susan said...

I have done web pen pals with two classes over the past few years. For the first attempt, we used Nicenet which is free. Pros were that it is free for schools and works with any browser. Cons were that there is no RSS and all the students could access each others letters. We didn't have any problems with that, but I can see how problems could arise.

Last year one of my third grade classes wanted to have internet pen pals and this school, like me previous two, don't give elementary students email accounts, so I set up a Moodle and we used a wiki. Still no RSS or privacy, but it was just right for third graders.

I encourage you to do this. It works so much better than paper penpals, especially if the children are continents apart. No long wait to receive the letters, no need for the teacher to wait until every one is done with their letter to send off the package. And if you are writing to a class half way around the world, like we were, you can write a message at school and you might have a response by the next day!

Another advantage to online is the ability to use spell check and other nifty tools.

I've also used Blackboard, making guest accounts for the other school. I think we used the discussion forums and each pair kept replying to their partner.

Good luck!

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