Pretty interesting article about using social networking in education: http://www.wired.com/culture/education/news/2007/04/myspaceforschool

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Good article in many ways but they get some fundamental facts wrong giving far too much credit to the University of Brighton and far too little to Dave Tosh and Ben Werdmuller who are completely independent of the University.
I thought that was neat. I'm still one of those teachers who doesn't want my students on social networking sites because of the creepy people who lurk there, so I was intrigued to learn that there's some open source software out there that can run a social network. I'm not sure how many schools have a server out there that the administration would approve as a site for a closed/controlled social network, but the possibility of a social network is still intriguing.
What if we started a social networking service that allowed schools to set up private social networks that were "walled gardens?"

I am thinking that schools might want to have a social network for teachers/administrators and a separate one for students...?
There is such a social networking service in place, called Personal Learning Space. Paul Allison and Susan Ettenheim, in New York City, have done a lot of work with PLS. PLS is a closed network, only for middle school students. There is another, wider network called Youth Voices, which is not as closed at PLS but it is used by high school students, and their teachers (not open to the general public). (Both PLS and YV are based on Elgg.)
I guess I'm more interested in a space just for teachers and administrators at this point. It's part of my perception that the best way thing I can do it to help them experience the benefits of "engaged conversations" through Web 2.0 tools... which will ultimate lead them to want to bring them to their classroom.

I have not used Elgg myself. Do you have any ability to compare that experience with this network? Which would be more inviting to someone who has not had any experience with Web 2.0?
Mmh...I think elggs are pretty user-friendly once introduced to the format and its inner workings. An elgg for teachers is http://educationbridges.net/elgg
I think probably the EducationBridges elgg and Classroom 2.0 serve basically the same function but the elgg is more bare-bones, with less features, and might be less intimidating?
You should check it out and make your own assessment.
We are doing this, at least to some extent, with Moodle. There is a class site, in which kids create profiles and blogs, and respond to forums (or set up their own). There is a teacher space for out "teacher lounge" kind of discussions, and several open school spaces, such as technology, and the library.
My kids are setting a lot of this up for the school. They are part of a Kids Teach Teachers program I set up, after the inspirational video from Edutopia (Turning the Tables) Kids are getting teachers into Moodle, and students as well. They're taking a LOT of ownership in this. They're trouble-shooting problems that come up, and working hard to make things meaningful and involving.
Parents have been very favorable. I ask the kids to take their parents on tours. Parents feel this is a safe way to learn some important skills. Everyone is identified and part of our school.
My most powerful assignment, by the way, just for a super-social example, is an ongoing "Ask Elders" forum. A kid has to interview an elder in his or her life, to get the answer to a question. They write the answer together. (Some questions: What music has had a big impact on your life? What is one of the most beautiful places you've ever seen?)
What's really cool is that kids then see the elders comments--and react to them. The author (the forum responder) is getting the real-life contact it takes to conduct the interview, and others' reactions to what was written.
I like how this connects the "old world" with the "new world."
My school district has Moodle for teacher and student use. Some of the teachers use it with their students quite a bit at the high school level.

I recently received my Moodle password and started setting up my pages, so I'm not an expert- yet!

I'm curious to see how other people have organized their Moodle sites. I'm a school psychologist, so I have lots of resources for teachers and parents. I also use a lot of digital photography and video with students to create digital social stories (I work with a good number of students who have autism spectrum disorders).

My school recently installed interactive whiteboards in two classrooms. I have a ton of web-based interactive resources that would be great for whiteboard activities. I want to make my Moodle site teacher-friendly, so when they access my resources to review for use on the IWB's, there will be very little down time.

I was thinking about making a graphical interface for my resources. The students and teachers then could look at the pictures to select what they wanted, rather than scroll through a list of links or a drop-down menus. There is a graphical web search program for children called "Quintera"

I'd love to hear how teachers are using IWB's with social networking activities in their classrooms.

-Lynn
I'm intrigued, but I can't read it! I can get to wired.com but the article's name evidently alerts the school's filter and the article hits the Sonic Wall!
I'll have to read it at home. :(
I was able to convince the network administrator to unblock Classroom 2.0 for us after I'd invited six teacher leaders to join and we found out they couldn't! But MySpace and FaceBook have caused us some problems, with a few students posting inappropriate pictures and commentary on their sites, using their school-owned laptops from home. So we are sometimes a little leary of where social networks could take us. We are one-to-one for the first time this year. A good AUP and on-site filtering only take you so far, we've found. Rather like driver's education, one of our principals says. You can teach them and practice with them and remind them of the rules, but when they're out on that highway without you, they are still tempted to break the rules.
Since I set up www.Classroom20.com for the network, does that allow this network to be unblocked without unblocking any other Ning networks?
Yep, seems to be the way it is working at our location.
Yes, Steve, it does for us in Australia. I am blocked out of so many ning sites but if I ask the technicians to unblock certain ones, it will do each individual one. I could not bear for classroom2.0 to be blocked at school and some of the others that I am a member of.

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