Blogging about Social Networks and Digital Citizenship

I have always been a fan of using technology to bridge the gap between distance and time. Using blogging and social networks to help students collaborate within the classroom and from afar makes it possible to connect students with others from around the globe. In addition, social networking in the classroom gives students a safe platform to practice digital citizenship that will impact them for the rest of their lives.

Social networking was a term I hadn’t really thought about much before this week. I knew that I was part of two of the most popular social networks—Facebook and Pinterest. However, I didn’t think of all the lesser known networks I had participated in like wikispaces and blogging forums. It was refreshing to think about social networking in a new way. Now, I think of social networking as a way to collaborate with others in an online environment. That broad term makes it so much less taboo and seem more relevant for the classroom. Based on my research from this week, I want to incorporate ePals as a way to connect with classrooms globally.

In one article from this week, I read that many students see the actions of adults and may adopt those as proper etiquette. When adults misuse social media in a way to share negative opinions about a topic or another person, they are showing students how to abuse the technology. In addition, poor grammar and communication is ever present in social media. These two violations of proper digital etiquette motivate me even more to use social networks in the classroom. As educators, we have the responsibility to teach students the proper way to behave in an online environment. We must also address the misuses that we see on a daily basis. By sharing social networks with students at a young age, they can have years of experience using them for educational purposes that promote positive sharing of ideas. They can receive feedback and guidance to help enhance their impact on the social networking world. There’s a higher chance that this generation of technology users will be able to use social networking for the betterment of society.

My colleagues have backed away from opportunities because they feared the types of comments students may leave on these social networks. However, with carefully selected digital citizenship lessons, an AUP and a Digital Citizenship Policy to guide us, I believe we can address these issues. In fact, because of their fear, I believe it is even more important that we work with students in the classrooms to become respectful and contributing members of the online community. If they aren’t going to learn the skills in the classroom, chances are they aren’t going to learn correct digital citizenship.

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Tags: AUP, citizenship, digital, networks, social

Comment by Azalea Bell on September 20, 2014 at 5:38pm

Thanks for sharing your experience with social networks and education.  I found it surprising that there are social networks out there dedicated to supporting education.  I think you are right that it is our responsibility to teach students the skills they need for digital citizenship.  

Comment by Tiziana Angiolini on September 21, 2014 at 4:13am

I have just read  about  your ideas and think  that  the  future of education is also in social networks.

I live in  a country - Italy- where the implementation of the use of new Technologies is far behind other  countries in Europe and in the world. Some schools  have only  a few  computers connected on the internet but our students use social networks in every day life. As  Teachers  we are required to teach our  students  " the rules" when they are young and  what to do while they are using  social networks. The use of Language should be taught,  often I read what people write and I feel that we still need  good education and  good Teachers .

TIZIANA ANGIOLINI   - ITALIAN  TEACHER OF  LANGUAGES (ENGLISH AND GERMAN) in  secondary school 

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