Your Name and Title: Leigh A. Hall; Associate Professor of Literacy Studies

School, Library, or Organization Name: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Co-Presenter Name(s): n/a

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: United States, Durham, North Carolina

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): College Educators

Short Session Description (one line): Presents benefits and challenges with incorporating social networking into college level instruction.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like): I have been using social networking in my teacher education classes for three years. I will share the benefits of using social networking, common problems, and how to address issues that typically arise. I will also share ideas for how to include social networking as a regular part of your classroom instruction.

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session: n/a

Tags: 2012SLS, blogging, college, education, networking, social, teacher

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I find the possibility of using social networking in teacher-education classes very interesting.  How do you think it would work in teaching introduction to computers courses at a community college level?  They are very much into social networking... and the students at this level are very technologically savvy  I had no idea how much influence social networking is having until I started blogging recently.

Janet Lindner

Janet, I think it has a lot of potential. My favorite thing about it is that it can make learning public. Students' struggles, ideas, questions all become public for all to read. It's no longer a conversation between student and teacher. Now, students can interact with each other between classes. As a teacher, you can also peruse blogs and comments and see what students appear to have a handle on and where they need more help. It can really help you focus your instruction better during class. I think the larger concepts of social networking at the college level can apply across contexts. I plan to focus on those larger ideas that would hopefully transcend disciplines.


Thank you for your reply.  Since I've never done any 'social networking' it's been interesting to see how many people are using this tool for their classroom instruction.  I was introduced to a few of the Web 2.0 features at a conference several years ago and it was amazing to see how the elementary teachers were introducing the features into their lessons.

Now that these younger students are older and are constantly on twitter and facebook, perhaps we as educators could utilize these social networking tools for engaging our students as well.  You make a good point regarding the realtime value of being there for them when they need help.  I look forward to seeing how I could use this for our students.



I am currently working on how to use social networking for teacher education, and am very interested in your work. How did you get the ball rolling for participation?

Participation is required. They are expected to blog once a week during the semester, and they are expected to comment on two separate posts each week. Some people go above and beyond those requirements, but most do not.


Since students are so consumed by the social networking 'craze' I am interested in investigating how these tools could be used for education.  Once we find how to engage students in our lessons via social networking, we can incorporate this into the teacher-education programs.  Once the student teachers get out in the field and show students how to use this, we may all benefit as educators. Have you gotten any feedback regarding how to get this started?


Hey janet,

For students wise I've tried using twitter it seems to work pretty well, a lot of scaffolding though and modelling the kind of conversations required from them. Not sure about the teachers, haven't quite tried it yet, I am planning to do prototyping first in the next few months. But teacher behavior here is the crux, many of them complain about insufficient time and that they are always busy, (I will be working with current teachers) I am hoping that social media on the go will answer my prayers. I believe the same amount or maybe even more scaffolding and modelling needs to be done. Perhaps an enculturation period.

I'm also interested in learning what you've done. It's my first year as a teacher educator. I used Edmodo this semester but I would much prefer having students write blog posts on Blogger. I was just a bit apprehensive about having everything be open-access. A colleague asked me about whether or not there would be FERPA concerns... I also want them to be able to post journal articles and discuss them so I want to avoid copyright violations there. I guess I just want to know if it is OK to require students to join sites, post things publicly, etc. Starting them off on writing a blog in my class would be great as it could carry on through student teaching, first year teaching, etc. for those that choose to.

Hi James-

I've been using social networking in my teacher education courses for three years. The first year I was able to use ning back when the features of it were free. The second year, ning started to charge and I used something else that wasn't as user-friendly. This year, I was able to get funding to support a ning site. The great thing about ning is that is can be password protected/member only. You can get them relatively cheap I believe. I got the one with all the bells and whistles because someone else paid for it.

That said, next academic year I am moving off the ning into a public space for the first time. I teach literacy classes and classes for English teachers. For the students in my masters literacy courses, I am going to require them to be a part of Engage through IRA and set up a blog. This is a very public space, but teachers all over the world have blogs here. I think it will be ok once I set some basic ground rules. For my English teachers, I am going to have them join Jim Burke's English Companion Ning (also a very public space).

Of course it's not ok for students to publicly share information about their schools and the kids they work with. However, I think it would benefit them to be a part of a larger community. Engage and Jim Burke's site are way more authentic than what I have set up through the ning. I wouldn't have them posting journal articles. I do think it's fine to discuss ideas from journal articles on a public blog. You do of course have to make sure your following the guidelines of your university.

I would love to hear more about what you do with blogging. I will be working up a new syllabus to incorporate these more public spaces for blogging over the summer. If you're interested in talking more or sharing ideas please feel free to email me at




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